Boreham Wood v Scunthorpe United
Saturday 25th February 2023, 3.00pm
LV BET Stadium Meadow Park, Vanarama National League
The Wood welcome relegation battlers Scunthorpe United to the LV BET Stadium Meadow Park for the first time in either side’s history on Saturday, looking to finally turn some draws into wins after picking up a point in each of their last four outings.
IN FOCUS: SCUNTHORPE UNITED
Scunthorpe United are a club with a rich history in the Football League and were competing in the Championship as early as 2011. However, a whole host of issues behind the scenes has led to their downfall, and the Iron found themselves relegated to non-league after 72 years above the fifth tier, in 2022. Unfortunately for the Lincolnshire-based outfit, they have struggled to adapt to National League football as their problems have persisted, and they currently sit inside the bottom four with back-to-back relegations very much on the cards as it stands, although they will be hoping the arrival of former Peterborough Sports manager Jimmy Dean will spark a change in fortunes for the club. Indeed, the Iron are onto their fourth manager this season after the dismissal of Keith Hill back in August, with caretaker bosses Tony Daws and Michael Nelson struggling to turn things around for United. However, Dean arrives at Glanford Park with plenty of pedigree following his time with the Turbines, and the 40-year old has picked up one win and two defeats from his opening three games in charge although he has overseen a slight improvement to their performances.
Dean has certainly taken on a difficult task, something which has been the case all season long. Ten players were released at the conclusion of the last campaign, and the Iron have also had to deal with the departures of all three of their top scorers midway through the season with Joe Nuttall and Caolan Lavery joining Oldham Athletic and Doncaster Rovers respectively, while Robert Apter returned to Blackpool following the end of his loan spell. Dean used his expertise to combat this and bring in Dion Sembie-Ferris from Peterborough Sports, as well as relying on new recruit Danny Elliott from the Wood to score the goals required to stay up, joining the plenty of new faces who arrived at Glanford Park in the summer including vastly experienced Football League midfielder Jacob Butterfield along with Reagan Ogle and Tom Pugh, while Colin Daniel, George Taft, Andrew Boyce and most recently Ben Richards-Everton add experience at the back in front of young goalkeeper Marcus Dewhurst who is on loan from Sheffield United. Elsewhere, the club have used the loan market to bring in Harvey Bunker from Forest Green Rovers, Billy Fewster from Nottingham Forest, Jake Leake from Hull City and Will Smith from Harrogate Town, and while there is certainly a mountain to climb for the Iron, they will be hoping their mid-season recruits signals a new dawn, and an improved second half of the season in their pursuit of their National League status for next season.
LAST TIME OUT
Wrexham AFC 2-0 Scunthorpe United
Tuesday 21st February 2023
Vanarama National League
Despite a hard-fought display against highflying Wrexham, Scunthorpe United were beaten by the promotion chasers after being edged out by two Paul Mullin penalties.
The Red Dragons threatened for the first time with two minutes gone and put some early pressure on through crosses and throw-ins, but the visitors quickly settled and produced the first shot on target when Alfie Beestin’s effort was deflected into the gloves of Rob Lainton. The Iron went close again soon after through Danny Elliott, before Bryce Hosannah almost gave Wrexham the lead following a cutback inside the area. The hosts maintained possession but couldn’t take advantage, and the Iron looked to seize their chance with opportunities for Harvey Bunker and Jacob Butterfield going amiss, before the hosts hit the crossbar from distance. Soon after, a Wrexham corner brought a tame header which was watched by Owen Foster as it bounced past his right-hand post, with Elliott and Andrew Boyce almost giving the Iron a shock lead later on. They would soon pay the price though, as the hosts took the lead when Mullin was adjudged to have been fouled in the penalty area with the striker stepping up to convert the spot-kick. The visitors looked to hit back immediately with Elliott having a couple of golden opportunities to equalise, before Butterfield tested Lainton once more. The former Manchester United youth product would then tee up Elliott for another opening before Reagen Ogle sent another cross into the danger area, but they were unable to find a way through before the break.
Despite the Iron’s improved performance, half time saw them lose any momentum they had had with the hosts going close after the break, but Scunthorpe were keen to get back in the swing of things and produced their best chance of the game when Beestin teed up Tom Pugh who’s effort cannoned off the post, with Elliott, Butterfield and Bunker all trying to meet the rebound before Wrexham were able to clear. At the other end, Mullin looked to hook the ball towards goal from the second phase of play from the corner, before Jacob Mendy Mendy surged forward before flashing an effort across the goal. Foster thwarted Ollie Palmer later on with Liam McAlinden skewing the rebound into side-netting, but the Iron almost got their equaliser with a little over ten minutes to go, with Ogle picking out Beestin who’s header needed to be palmed away by Lainton. Once again though, they would regret not putting away their opportunity as Foster dived at Mullin’s feet when saving a long range effort, with the referee once again awarding a spot-kick that the striker converted once again. Although United kept batting away to try and work an opening as the game reached its conclusion, they couldn’t pull a goal back as they were condemned to their 18th defeat of the campaign in North Wales.
Wrexham AFC (A) L2-0
Dagenham & Redbridge (H) W3-2
Barnet (H) L1-3
Bromley (H) D1-1
FC Halifax Town (A) W0-1
Woking (H) L0-2
The Iron have been plagued with poor form throughout the campaign having picked up points in just 14 of their 32 games so far, although the arrival of Jimmy Dean will hope to signal pastures new for the Lincolnshire-based outfit. Dean has taken charge of three games so far after taking the reins from caretaker boss Michael Nelson, who had previously seen an 11-game winless run come to an end with victory over Maidenhead United, before they quickly found themselves back to familiarity with defeat at home to Woking a week later. However, they picked up three points on the road for the first time all season with Cameron Wilson’s first half strike sealing the victory away at FC Halifax Town, and they were able to consecutive games without losing for the first time since October after Elliott Whitehouse’s late goal cancelled out Michael Cheek’s opener to secure a point against Bromley. Dean’s subsequent arrival preceded his first game at home to Barnet with the Iron hoping he could put together a run of form, and although the Bees condemned them to defeat in his first game, it wouldn’t take long for Dean to get up and running with victory over Dagenham & Redbridge being secured after Liam Feeney’s injury time winner saw them come from behind to seal a precious three points. Unfortunately for the Iron, they would follow this up with a trip to title contenders Wrexham, and the Red Dragons made no mistake last time out with a comfortable victory.
IN THE DUGOUT: JIMMY DEAN
Scunthorpe United confirmed Jimmy Dean as the club’s new manager following the dismissal of Keith Hill, replacing interim Michael Nelson. His arrival followed a hugely successful spell at National League North side Peterborough Sports where he enjoyed four promotions in five completed seasons, as well as steering them to three titles and 11 trophies in total since becoming manager in 2015. He has been widely acclaimed for his excellent work with the Turbines and has been hailed as one of the best bosses in non-league, with his eight-year spell in Cambridgeshire coming to an end last month as he opted to jump up a division with a move to Glanford Park.
ONE TO WATCH: JACOB BUTTERFIELD
Veteran midfielder Jacob Butterfield briefly spent time as a child in the academy of local club Bradford City before joining Manchester United, and later came through the ranks at Barnsley. He made his debut for the club in August 2007 and went on to play nearly 100 times including a spell as captain at just 21 years of age, with his form attracting Premier League scouts and a call-up to the England Under-21 squad. With a growing reputation at Championship level, he would join Norwich City in 2012 but struggled for game time and joined Bolton Wanderers and Crystal Palace on loan, before spells at Middlesbrough, Huddersfield Town and Derby County saw him establish himself as one of the better players in the second tier, winning the Terriers’ Player of the Season award in 2014/15. Loan spells at Sheffield Wednesday and Bradford preceded a move to Luton Town, but he opted to depart after just a season and left the UK after racking up more than 300 appearances in the Championship over a 13-year period, going on to feature for Australian outfit Melbourne Victory as well as Scottish side St Johnstone. Butterfield returned to England for the first time in two years last summer, reuniting with former Barnsley manager Keith Hill at Scunthorpe United.
LAST TIME WE MET
Scunthorpe United 0-2 Boreham Wood
Saturday 3rd September 2022
Vanarama National League
In a first ever meeting between the two sides, goals in quick succession from Lee Ndlovu and Tyrone Marsh continued the Wood’s 100% away record at the start of the season with a fourth victory out of four on the road, this time overcoming Scunthorpe United.
Following a scrappy opening, it was the visitors who produced the first chance of the match with Jack Payne’s long throw-in causing confusion in the Scunthorpe penalty area that saw Will Evans play in Marsh following a scramble, who blazed over from close range. The hosts then went close shortly after when Rob Apter forced a save from Nathan Ashmore, and slowly grew into it with a neat move involving Apter and Marcus Carver resulting in a chance for Colin Daniel who couldn’t keep his effort on target. Soon after, a lovely run and pass from Jamal Fyfield played in Dennon Lewis who cut inside the Iron defence before shooting over the crossbar, but this spurred the Wood on and they put plenty of pressure on for the remainder of the half, with Marsh testing Marcus Dewhurst at his near post. The hosts almost took the lead against the run of play when Ashmore denied Jai Rowe, before the half was closed out with Ndlovu firing over on the brink of the interval.
The Wood started the second period on the front foot with Ndlovu again going close early on, before Liam Feeney fired over as he looked to make the breakthrough for the Iron. Zak Brunt started to pull the strings in midfield though as the Wood began to dominate, playing a delightful pass to Ndlovu who saw his effort deflected over, before Brunt almost turned finisher when he forced Dewhurst into an excellent save to deny him from distance. The visitors soon took the lead though as Dewhurst denied Marsh’s towering header from a Dion Kelly-Evans cross, but the ball fell into the path of Ndlovu who steered the ball home, and it soon got even better as Marsh got his goal when he fired home from close range to double their lead in a matter of minutes. The hosts offered little after that with Elliott Whitehouse’s half chance being the closest they came to scoring, and the Wood tried to take advantage when substitute Danny Elliott had a couple of chances to add a third, with a Lewis shot was spilled into his path before seeing his shot was deflected wide, shortly before firing over. Nonetheless, Luke Garrard’s men were able to hold out comfortably for the three points, sending the Wood Army home from Lincolnshire happy.
HAVEN’T WE MET BEFORE? DANNY ELLIOTT
Danny Elliott made the move to Boreham Wood last summer after firing Boston United to the National League North play-off final, with 30 goals that saw him named in the division’s Team of the Season as well as winning Boston’s Fans’ and Players’ Player of the Year award. His form for the Pilgrims naturally brought plenty of hype around the former Nottingham Forest and Aston Villa man, who joined a side who had scored the second fewest goals in the top half during the previous campaign. However, his time in Hertfordshire proved difficult as he was unable to establish himself in the Wood’s front two, with tough competition including top scorer Lee Ndlovu, former League Two striker Danny Newton and the ever-reliable Tyrone Marsh. He did show glimpses of his quality with three goals in 17 appearances for the Wood, including winners against Maidenhead United and Wealdstone and a decisive equaliser against Notts County, but he was ultimately in search of regular game time and left on loan to fellow National League side Gateshead at the start of December, where he scored six goals in nine appearances in all competitions and won the club’s Player of the Month award. His form for the Heed saw him recalled after a little under two months on Tyneside and he made his return with a start against Aldershot Town, but he opted not to revive his career in Hertfordshire ensuring there would be no comeback for the Wood, with the 27-year old departing on a permanent basis with Scunthorpe United securing his signature at the start of February.
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