Boreham Wood v FC Halifax Town
Saturday 18th February 2023, 5.20pm
LV BET Stadium Meadow Park, Vanarama National League
The BT Sport cameras will be present to document the visit of FC Halifax Town as the Wood look to continue their unbeaten league run in 2023, and they will be keen to bounce back to winning ways after two successive draws.
IN FOCUS: FC HALIFAX TOWN
Following the dissolution of Halifax Town AFC in 2008, it was decided that FC Halifax Town would be placed in the Northern Premier League Division One North and the Shaymen have faced a rapid rise from the eighth tier over the last decade. Three promotions in just five years saw the West Yorkshire-based side find themselves in the National League in 2013, and although they recorded successive top half finishes in their first two seasons they were relegated back to the National League North in their third campaign, a real blow to a side who had for the most part improved year on year. However, they were able to bounce straight back at the first time of asking and have remained in the fifth tier ever since, with the arrival of Pete Wild as manager in 2019 bringing a change in fortunes for the better, as he guided them to the play-offs in two of his three seasons at the Shay.
Unfortunately, Wild’s success didn’t go unnoticed and he departed for League Two side Barrow in the summer, with assistant Chris Millington taking the reins. They have struggled to adapt under their new boss after other high profile departures in Jamie Allen, Billy Waters, Niall Maher, Tom Bradbury, Tyrell Warren, Kieran Green and Martin Woods, although new signing Emmanuel Dieseruvwe has impressed with eight goals for his new side following his permanent move from Tranmere Rovers. Dieseruvwe has been joined by Rob Harker, Mili Alli, Angelo Cappello and most recently Fidel O’Rourke in attack, while Jamie Stott, Sam Minihan and Jordan Keane arrived with Alli from Stockport County to add steal to the Shaymen’s backline, and Millington will be hoping for an improved second half of the season in an attempt to match the heights of last season’s fourth place finish.
LAST TIME OUT
Southend United 2-1 FC Halifax Town
Tuesday 14th February 2023
Vanarama National League
FC Halifax Town fell to defeat in Essex as second half goals from Jack Bridge and Gus Scott-Morriss saw the Shrimpers come from behind to seal all three points.
The first opportunity fell to the hosts after 11 minutes with Scott-Morriss testing Sam Johnson from a corner, but the Shaymen quickly grew into it as Blondy Nna Noukeu had to palm away a Milli Alli strike from distance as they looked to make the breakthrough. An even first half saw neither side gain the upper hand, and chances continued to fall for both as Nathan Ralph got to the byline and forced a corner shortly before Mani Dieseruvwe went down under a challenge from Ollie Kensdale, with the referee waving away his appeals for a penalty. This only spurred the visitors on though, and they began to enjoy the better of things towards the end of the half. A superb interception from Jordan Keane allowed him to lead a counter attack which saw him pick out Adam Senoir on the overlap who won a corner, with the resulting delivery meeting Dieseruvwe who forced Nna Noukeu into another save. The Shaymen would soon find some more luck though, with Alli winning a corner late into stoppage time. The ball was flicked on by Dieseruvwe towards Jesse Debrah who tapped home from close range, finally finding the breakthrough on the stroke of half time.
Despite the sucker-punch of Debrah’s late opener, the hosts started the second half brightly and found some joy out wide and from set pieces, but the Town defence held firm. This would last until the hour-mark though as Jamie Stott was adjudged to have fouled Henry Sandat in the box, with Bridge stepping up to send Johnson the wrong way. The Shrimpers were in the ascendancy and almost took the lead when Callum Powell saw a shot blocked by Johnson, before some good play from Town saw Max Wright and Senior combine to win a corner. However Nna Noukeu claimed the resulting delivery unchallenged and immediately distributed the ball to begin a rapid counter attack that saw the hosts win a free kick just outside the box, with Powell’s effort going straight down Johnson’s throat. They soon had claims for another penalty waved away when Sandat when down under a challenge from Debrah, but this wouldn’t faze the Blues as they soon took the lead with just over ten minutes left. A Bridge corner caused havoc in the box with the ball being sent goalward via a touch from Debrah, but Scott-Morriss wheeled away to celebrate what would prove to be the winner. Indeed, despite a late push by the Shaymen to find a late equaliser, seven minutes of added time could only bring an effort from Keane which was saved before the referee signalled for full time.
Southend United (A)
Maidenhead United (A) W0-0 (4-5 on pens)
Barnet (H) L1-3
Oldham Athletic (A) W0-1
Harrow Borough (A) W2-2 (5-6 on pens)
Notts County (A) L1-0
The Shaymen have seen a slight upturn in form in recent weeks, notably with a run to the FA Trophy Quarter-Final with two victories in the competition since the end of January. Defeat at league leaders Notts County saw them stretch a winless run to five games, but they found themselves return to FA Trophy action at just the right time as they were able to reset against Southern League Premier Division South side Harrow Borough, and overcame the Boro on penalties after Rob Harker’s late goal was cancelled out by an even later strike from George Moore. They followed this up with a first National League victory in 2023 against Oldham Athletic, but couldn’t put a run together as they fell to defeat away at promotion hopefuls Barnet three days later. They once again switched their attention to the FA Trophy though where they took on fellow National League side Maidenhead United, with a goalless draw requiring another penalty shootout to find a winner, with the Shaymen coming out on top. They do come into Saturday’s game fresh from a setback though, with Southend United condemning Chris Millington’s men to a second league defeat in as many games.
IN THE DUGOUT: CHRIS MILLINGTON
A midfielder by trade in his playing days, Chris Millington had turned out for Manchester City as youngster before spells at York City and Crewe Alexandra before transitioning into coaching with stints with Altrincham’s Under-18’s and Stockport County’s Centre of Excellence, as well as taking over at Curzon Ashton in 2016. He would briefly move to Croatia before joining up with Pete Wild for the first time, and they would together work in the Oldham Athletic academy before being promoted to the first team following the sackings of Frankie Bunn and Paul Scholes. Millington would later follow Wild to FC Halifax Town and remained as his assistant for three seasons, but the latter opted to depart in the summer for League Two side Barrow leaving the first team job vacant, with the 54-year old filling the void to take on his first first team role.
ONE TO WATCH: JAMIE COOKE
Attacking midfielder Jamie Cooke is in his second season at the Shay after arriving from Colne in 2021, and makes things tick for the Shaymen. The 21-year old initially burst onto the scene at Fleetwood Town, but found first team opportunities increased after moving to West Yorkshire having gained experience on loan at FC United of Manchester, Matlock Town and Curzon Ashton. He subsequently proved to be an impressive sight during pre-season, and his importance has grown since breaking into the first team, contributing four goals in 21 games in all competitions this season.
LAST TIME WE MET
FC Halifax Town 1-0 Boreham Wood
Saturday 19th November 2022
Vanarama National League
A second half goal from Rob Harker consigned the Wood to a second defeat in a row, with their sixth game without a win seeing them slip down to tenth in the National League table.
Although it was the visitors who started on the front foot, it was an uneventful first half where both sides created little. The Wood failed to really threatening despite putting on some early pressure, and it was the Shaymen produced the first real chance after seven minutes when Harker picked out Luke Summerfield who tested Nathan Ashmore. This would be followed by a handful of half chances which fell to both sides, started with George Broadbent who had a shot blocked by Jack Senior. Ashmore would need to be at his best to deny Angelo Cappello midway through the half and went close again on the stroke of half time, after Will Evans had headed wide from a Zak Brunt corner, with Summerfield closing out a half lacking much quality when he failed to convert another good opportunity.
The Wood were the first side to close after the interval with Jamal Fyfield unable to convert from Evans’ flick-on from a corner, and they would soon be made to pay as the hosts started to dominate. Harker hit the post with a rasping shot before Summerfield hit a free kick off target, but the former would make amends for his earlier miss when he finally made the breakthrough with what would prove to be the only goal of the game on the hour-mark, as Ashmore spilled a Harvey Gilmour strike straight into the path of Harker who made no mistake from close range. Luke Garrard reacted by introducing Danny Elliott and Bruno Andrade so inject some much-needed energy, and they almost immediately drew level with Jack Payne firing over when well placed. They were subsequently unable to create much more, and thought the game was put to bed when Jamie Stott doubled Halifax’s lead only for the assistant’s flag to rule it out. Nonetheless though, the Wood couldn’t find a way through the Shaymen’s defence even with seven minutes of added time, and Evans’ late header summed up a disappointing afternoon in West Yorkshire as they just didn’t have enough to find an equaliser.
OUR TOWN. OUR CLUB. OUR COMMUNITY.