Boreham Wood v Wealdstone
Saturday 15th October 2022, 3.00pm
LV BET Stadium Meadow Park, FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round
The FA Cup returns to the LV BET Stadium Meadow Park after a historic run in the competition last season. The Wood welcome Wealdstone to town just a week on from sealing victory at Grosvenor Vale, and the Stones will be seeking revenge in Hertfordshire in the Fourth Qualifying Round.
IN FOCUS: WEALDSTONE
The Stones are a side on the rise after ending a 32-year absence from the fifth tier. Wealdstone were named champions of the National League South following a successful 2019/20 season, albeit on a points-per-game basis due to the suspension of the campaign following the COVID-19 pandemic. Nonetheless, Dean Brennan’s side were well-deserving of silverware and subsequently began the 2020/21 campaign positively, eventually finishing the season in 19th place. The Ruislip-based outfit followed that up by achieving their highest league position in 35 years with a 16th place finish last season, and added quality to their ranks in the summer with the likes of Max Kretzschmar, Lewis Kinsella and Dominic Hutchinson joining the club. Wealdstone currently sit eight in the National League table after winning five of their opening 12 games, along with four draws and just three defeats.
LAST SEASON’S FA CUP CAMPAIGNS
Wealdstone fell at the Fourth Qualifying stage as a late comeback from ten-man Dagenham & Redbridge saw the Stones succumb to a 2-1 defeat at Grosvenor Vale. The visitors had a disastrous opening to the match as Paul McCallum saw red for a foul on Alex Dyer after just two minutes, and Wealdstone made their numerical advantage count when Jay Bird latched onto Jerome Okimo’s pinpoint pass and rifled home a sublime half-volley past Elliot Justham. The hosts remained resolute for much of the afternoon as the Daggers looked for a way back into the game, with the away side even passing up a lifeline when George Wickens was equal to Angelo Balanta’s spot-kick with 20 minutes to go. They did finally find a way past the Stones’ stubborn defence though as late drama ensued. With the Daggers rallying for an equaliser, they were duly rewarded with minutes left as substitute Matt Robinson fed Balanta who made amends for his earlier penalty miss and converted past Wickens. With the visitors spurred on and the hosts shocked, Balanta would proceed to notch his brace and condemn the Stones to an early cup exit.
Unlike Saturday’s opponents, the Wood enjoyed a historic FA Cup campaign that saw them reach the Fifth Round of the competition. Local rivals Barnet were the first to feel the brunt of Luke Garrard’s side, with a second half goalmouth scramble ending with the ball rolling over the line via Aston Oxborough, with Will Evans claiming what would prove to be a fortuitous winner that kicked off an incredibly memorable run. Into the First Round proper where fellow National League outfit Eastleigh were comfortably dispatched of thanks to a Scott Boden brace either side of half time, setting up a Second Round tie that brought another local derby. National League South side St Albans City made the short trip to Borehamwood but the Saints would come away empty handed in front of the BT Sport cameras; a brace from Josh Rees was followed by goals from Gus Mafuta and Adrian Clifton to seal a 4-0 thumping over their Hertfordshire counterparts. The Wood were into the hat for Round Three, not for the first time as flashbacks to 2020/21’s visit of Millwall were still fresh in the memory. Lightening didn’t strike twice though, and the Wood began to move into the spotlight when Garrard’s former team AFC Wimbledon came to town, only for Clifton to pop up late on once again to secure victory over the League One side following Tyrone Marsh’s early opener. Into the Fourth Round for the first time in their history, and an exciting trip to the South Coast to take on Championship highflyers AFC Bournemouth awaited. Incredibly, the Wood shocked the country when a first half Mark Ricketts strike bounced past Freddie Woodman to send the travelling support into hysterics, with the Wood holding out despite the Cherries’ best efforts to become the first non-league side to reach the Fifth Round since Lincoln City in 2016/17 and keep the dream alive. Despite an incredibly valiant effort, all good things must come to an end which was the case at Goodison Park where the Wood appeared at a Premier League ground for the first time. A brace from Salomon Rondon finally confirmed the Wood’s exit from the FA Cup, but although the fairy-tale was over, it proved the sky was very much the limit for Garrard’s men.
Boreham Wood (H) L1-2
Solihull Moors (A) L2-1
Aldershot Town (A) W1-2
Southend United (H) L0-1
Torquay United (H) D1-1
Maidstone United (A) D1-1
Wealdstone began the 2022/23 campaign in wonderful form, losing just one of their opening nine games. Despite that, Stuart Maynard’s side has somewhat dropped off in recent weeks, winning just one of their last six. Successive draws against Maidstone United and Torquay United were followed up by defeat at home to Southend United after a Marcus Dackers penalty ended the club’s seven-game unbeaten run. They bounced back as two second half Rhys Browne goals saw the Stones come from behind to beat Aldershot Town, but last season’s play-off finalists Solihull Moors succumbed them to a second defeat in three games before they made it two in a row against the Wood last time out.
IN THE DUGOUT: STUART MAYNARD
Stuart Maynard was unveiled as Wealdstone’s new manager earlier in 2021, having taken over as caretaker boss after the departure of Dean Brennan. As a player for the Stones during the 1990’s, Maynard is a popular figure around Grosvenor Vale and returned to the club in 2019 as part of the backroom staff to Brennan, helping the club secure the National League South title in his first season before guiding the club to a 19th place finish in his first season as manager. He followed that up by achieving the Stones’ highest league position in 35 years, with a 16th place finish last season that was rewarded with a contract extension in May.
ONE TO WATCH: JACK COOK
Charlton Athletic academy product Jack Cook enjoyed spells at Worthing and Hampton & Richmond Borough early on in his career, following manager Alan Dowson to Woking after an impressive 2017/18 season with the latter. The imposing defender made a name for himself at the Laithwaite Community Stadium and won many plaudits, going on to make 127 appearances for the Cards . He played key roles in their National League South promotion-winning side of 2018/19 along with their memorable run in the FA Cup in the same season where they overcame League Two side Swindon Town, setting up a Third Round tie with Premier League highflyers Watford. He would win the Woking News and Mail Player of the Season award for his performances in their first season back in the National League during 2019/20, before departing Kingfield for fellow National League side Wealdstone in June 2021. Cook is a versatile and athletic defender who offers much physicality and has featured 52 times for the Stones, being named Player of the Season in his debut campaign at Grosvenor Vale. He was rewarded further by being named club captain in the summer, and the 29-year old marked his first game with the armband by scoring the winner in the Stones’ opening day victory over Bromley.
LAST TIME WE MET
Wealdstone 1-2 Boreham Wood
Saturday 8th October 2022
Vanarama National League
A quiet first half saw Nathan Ferguson threaten first when he struck a dipping volley past Nathan Ashmore’s goal, before a dominant spell for the Wood saw Dennon Lewis, Zak Brunt and Tyrone Marsh all go close. Wealdstone begun to enjoy plenty of possession without really presenting any danger for their opponents, and the Wood turned the screw after Connor Stevens was forced off with an injury at his former ground, with Femi Ilesamni testing Sam Howes shortly before a deflected George Williams shot fell into the path of Josh Rees who was unable to hit the target.
They would eventually take the lead shortly before the hour-mark when Rees slotted past Howes following Danny Newton’s excellent run, and they doubled their advantage soon after. Rhys Browne found himself one on one with Ashmore and sent a dinked effort goalward, but a fantastic goal-line clearance from Williams prevented him from levelling the score. Browne would prove to rue this miss as Marsh went down in the area moments later, with the Wood striker stepping up to convert the penalty himself, tapping home after initially being denied by Howes. From here on out the Wood remained comfortable, albeit during a dominant spell for their opponents. Olufela Olomola had previously struck the post, but Simeon Akinola did eventually halve the deficit with a powerful header to set up a nervy finale. The Wood were able to see out the victory though and continue their unbeaten away run.
OUR TOWN. OUR CLUB. OUR COMMUNITY.