Boreham Wood v FC Halifax Town
Saturday 12 August, 2023, 3.00pm
Mangata Pay UK Stadium Meadow Park, Vanarama National League

Meadow Park hosts its first Vanarama National League match of the season with the Wood facing a high-spirited FC Halifax Town side that sit third in the league table. Luke Garrard’s side came back to draw to Gateshead last weekend from two-nil down to equalize in injury time. His side face The Shaymen, who opened their account with a convincing victory over last seasons promotion playoff semi-finalists Bromley FC. 


Founded in 2008 following the dissolution of Halifax Town AFC, it was decided that FC Halifax Town would be placed in the Northern Premier League Division One North. Three promotions in only five years saw the West Yorkshire-based side find themselves in the National League in 2013, and though they recorded successive top half finishes in their first two seasons, they were relegated back to National League North in their third season. However, they bounced straight back up the following year and have remained in the fifth tier ever since. After the arrival of Pete Wild as manager in 2019, the clubs luck changed for the better, as he guided them to the play-offs in two of his three seasons at the Shay. 

Unfortunately for the club, his success didn’t go unnoticed as he departed for League Two side Barrow in the summer, with assistant Chris Millington taking the reins. The Shaymen then went on to reach the FA Trophy final in 2023, facing Gateshead at Wembley Stadium. Jamie Cooke’s 44’ minute goal was the only difference between the two sides as they went to lift the trophy in front of 27,000 fans on the day. 


After reaching the playoffs in the 2021-22 season, the Shaymen looked at last season as promotion chasers once again, battling the giants of the league in the likes of Wrexham, Notts County and Chesterfield. Instead, they finished middle of the table in 11th place ahead of Oldham and Wealdstone, with 61 points and a record of 16-13-17 (W-D-L) in the league. Comfortably avoiding any threat of relegation, they sat 10 points adrift of the playoff spots, which is far from poor. Top scorer was Emmanuel Dieseruvwe managed 13 goals in 42 games that ensured a mid-table place for the Shay.  

Their golden moment of the season was their FA Trophy run, which ended in jubilation on the grass of Wembley Stadium. It was the Shay’s second visit to the national stadium, after winning their previous final in 2016. A 1-0 victory thanks to Jamie Cooke’s winner in the first half ensured that the trophy returns to Halifax’s trophy cabinet. 


The Shaymen start the new season without top scorer Dieseruvwe as he has secured a transfer to fellow National League side Hartlepool after being released by the club. Hartlepool were relegated from League Two last season so will hope a new talisman will guide their chase for promotion.  

The big summer arrival for the Shay is the Kosovan midfielder Florent Hoti who arrives after a short spell at Tranmere Rovers where he played 8 games since joining on a one-month deal last season. Having spent his youth career at Rochdale, he moved to Scottish Premiership side Dundee Untied for two seasons followed by a short spell for Arbroath FC in the second division of Scotland. With Football League football experience, Halifax will hope he can improve their midfield this season. 


Tom Clarke is a Football League veteran, having spent the majority of his senior career in the next step up from National League. He started his career in the Huddersfield youth team before being promoted to the senior side and subsequently loaned out to Halifax Town. Having also played for the likes of Bradford, Leyton Orient, Preston, Salford and Fleetwood Town, he is known for his composure in the heart of the defence. 


Chris Millington has been involved with FC Halifax Town since 2019, firstly as Pete Wild’s Assistant Coach before being promoted to Head Coach. Following Pete Wild’s departure at the end of May 2022 to join League Two’s Barrow AFC, Chris Millington took over the reins in his first job as a Head Coach. The 55-year-old has had lots of experience coaching with coaching roles at Curzon Ashton, Altrincham and Oldham Athletic before his move to the Shay in 2019.



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