Boreham Wood manager Luke Garrard said that, despite the result, Thursday night’s official opening of the club’s DESSO pitch, against Arsenal, was a huge success and proof of what a special relationship the two clubs have.

A strong Arsenal XI struck four past the Wood as they flew to a 0-4 win. Chuba Akpom opened the scoring the Gunners from the spot, before Jon Toral and a Stephy Mavididi brace secured the win.

The high-profile friendly was the official opening of the club’s new million pound DESSO pitch and Garrard said that to have both Arsene Wenger and Ivan Gazidis there to cut the ribbon made it extra special.

“I managed to speak to Arsene for 10-15 minutes, which was brilliant,” Garrard elated. “You look at the facilities and for me that is the best that it has ever looked and I have been here 10-years now.

“It is a credit to all of the staff behind the scenes and the Chairman, the work that they have put in, in the 10-weeks that it has been built, it is a credit to all of them.

“Tonight was nice to top it off, unfortunately not with the result, but I think that the evening went well.”

It has been a long and busy 10-weeks for Boreham Wood, but the 31-year-old expressed his delight at how the community came together to celebrate this special occaision.

He continued: “At the start of the night at 5 o’clock the community department went mad and you had 160 odd kids on a coaching course.

“You then had the Mencap group who done the flag bearing and you have the mascots walking the players out and then you finish it off with the cutting of the ribbon and the match.

“I just think that across the board it was such a successful evening for the club. Me and Ricky Shakes went to Tesco with the FA Cup beforehand and there was a lot of interest there.

“If we can exercise that and get as many supporters as possible come the Tuesday evening against Dagenham, then it is all worthwhile.

“Let’s hope that we can drum up as much support from the local community to try and get behind this team, because I think that they deserve it, they have had a tough pre-season and I think they warrant some support.”

Arsenal brought a strong XI to Meadow Park, featuring the likes of Mathieu Debuchy, Carl Jenkinson and Chuba Akpom, and showed their strength with a dominating performance.

The Wood fought strong and had a number of chances of their own, but eventually succumbed to the might of Arsenal.

“I think that Arsenal done unbelievably this evening, their movement and the way they played, they moved the ball with real quality and I think that they tested us immensely.

“I said to the boys that I don’t think they are ever going to replicate that in terms of a fitness session, I think that will have done the boys wonders in terms of topping up their fitness.

“In terms of how we move forward; the lads are physically strong, they moved the ball well, they pressed with an intent, and like I said, I don’t think that you are ever going to replicate that in the National League or in a session.

“Out of possession I feel that the boys needed that, you look at teams that are going to dominate the ball at our level and I don’t think that they are going to move it quite as good as Arsenal did tonight.

“It puts us in good stead and I can’t stress enough how much that will give us. I think that we are coming into the back-end of pre-season and that little boost will give us an added incentive to go against Barnet on Monday, and then kick off the final few sessions before we face AFC Fylde.

“Tonight was a huge test, I think that we dominated the ball in spells and that the shape of the team was good, but individually, they got some good work ethic out of it.”


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