Boreham Wood v Woking
Saturday 12th November 2022, 3.00pm
LV BET Stadium Meadow Park, Vanarama National League
The Wood face a difficult test against a Woking side who have enjoyed an excellent start to the season, with the fourth placed Cards making the journey to Hertfordshire looking to increase the gap on their counterparts who sit just three places and five points below them.
IN FOCUS: WOKING
Woking are a club who have spent their entire history in the non-league, but they are finally looking on course to potentially end that run after making their best start to a National League season since their glory years in the 1990’s. Currently sitting fourth, the appointment of former Stevenage and Yeovil Town manager Darren Sarll has seen an upturn in form for the Cards, who picked up three wins and a draw in their first eight games under their new boss to finish 15th, before going up a level during the current campaign with ten wins and three draws from their opening 18 games. Aiding their rise up the league has been the decision to allow Sarll to put his own mark on the squad, reuniting with Luke Wilkinson and Dan Moss with whom he worked with at Yeovil along with Scott Cuthbert with whom he worked with at Stevenage. He has also looked to bring the average age of the squad down by bringing in plenty of young players in Reece Grego-Cox, Ricky Korboa, James Daly and Jake Vokins, while adding experience in Pádraig Amond, Jim Kellerman and Rhys Browne to bring a good balance to the team. This has seen the Cards produce a vast improvement on the previous campaign having scored more and conceded less than they did at the same stage last season, with Grego-Cox in particular impressing with eight goals in just ten starts.
LAST TIME OUT
Bromley 0-2 Woking
Tuesday 9th November 2022
Vanarama National League
Woking continued their fine form with victory over Bromley at Hayes Lane, with substitutes Reece Grego-Cox and Rhys Browne getting on the scoresheet to secure a third successive win.
It was the hosts who produced the first opening of the game as Michael Cheek got in behind the Woking defence only for Joe McNerney to recover well and thwart the forward. This spurred the Cards on who began to grow into the game, and went close shortly after the quarter-hour mark when Pádraig Amond hit the woodwork. Woking enjoyed a period of control, but Bromley hit back with Harry Forster leading a counter attack before Billy Bingham fired over. The best chance of the half fell to Amond on the stroke of half time, with the Ireland youth international testing Tom Smith with a header from close range after meeting Josh Casey’s cross.
With the two sides going into the break goalless it was all to play for in the second half, and Ricky Korboa had an effort blocked inside a minute. He would be subbed off shortly after in place of Grego-Cox, who made an instant impact when he chased the ball down to win a corner which Casey floated over to the forward, who provided the crucial touch at the back post to give Woking the lead shortly before the hour-mark. In search of an equaliser, Bromley produced their best chance of the game with 20 minutes to go as Cheek forced Craig Ross into a good save, moments before Adam Marriott sent another header over the crossbar. The two forwards called Ross into action again just minutes later when the former forced him into a low save from distance before the latter tried his luck from a tight angle. The Cards’ dominance would soon be rewarded though with Grego-Cox involved once more. The winger did well to beat the Bromley defence before spreading the ball over to fellow substitute Browne, who calmly slotted the ball beyond Smith to seal all three points.
Bromley (A) W0-2
Yeovil Town (H) W1-0
Eastleigh (H) W1-0
Dorking Wanderers (H) D3-3
Gateshead (A) W1-3
Southend United (H) W2-1
Woking have enjoyed their best start to a National League season since the 1990’s and have really come into their own after a relatively inconsistent August. Unbeaten in their last six, the Cards bounced back from defeat at home to title hopefuls Notts County by overcoming fellow National League side Southend United in the FA Cup, which was followed by a comfortable 3-1 victory over newly promoted Gateshead. A six-goal thriller against another newly promoted side in Dorking Wanderers meant Darren Sarll’s side were unable to make it two wins in two as a late goal from Rhys Browne rescued a 3-3 draw at the Laithwaite Community Stadium, but they have won their last three games in a row heading into Saturday’s fixture with successive 1-0 victories over Eastleigh and Yeovil Town preceding a 2-0 win at Bromley last time out.
IN THE DUGOUT: DARREN SARLL
Darren Sarll enjoyed a short playing career before transitioning into coaching, turning out for Hitchin Town, Berkhamsted Town, Bedford Town, St Albans City, Chelmsford City, Dunstable Town, Hemel Hempstead Town, Chesham United and Biggleswade United, after starting in the Ipswich Town academy. His first professional coaching job saw him take over the reins at Stevenage Borough before joining Brentford as youth team manager ahead of the 2008/09 season, but Sarll would return to Stevenage initially as caretaker manager before taking over the role full time. He spent two seasons at Broadhall Way before departing and he would return to youth football with a brief role in charge of Watford’s academy, before later coming back to senior football when recently-relegated Yeovil Town opted to make him their manager. Having signed a three-year deal at Huish Park, Sarll almost made it to the end of his contract before choosing to leave in March 2022, with Woking announcing him as their new manager on the same day. He has taken the Cards to new heights since his arrival, with a 51.9% win ratio having come out victorious in 14 of his 27 games in charge.
ONE TO WATCH: REECE GREGO-COX
Republic of Ireland youth international Reece Grego-Cox is enjoying his second stint with Woking having briefly appeared for the club in 2018. A Queens Park Rangers academy product, Grego-Cox was spotted playing for Bedfont Sports after scoring nearly 60 goals in one season for the Under-14’s and went on to feature a handful of times in the Premier League. A brief loan spell at Newport County would be cut short due to an injury and he would depart QPR by mutual consent a month later, joining Woking for his first spell. Despite making just 18 appearances for the Cards he left following their relegation to the National League South, making the move to League One side Crawley Town. A three-year spell with the Red Devils saw him begin to establish himself with 77 appearances, but he would return to the National League initially on a temporary basis with Barnet, before making the move permanent when he opted to return to Woking ahead of the 2022/23 campaign. He is currently the Cards’ top scorer with eight goals in just ten starts, proving himself as one of the most dangerous attackers in the league so far this season.
LAST TIME WE MET
Boreham Wood 0-1 Woking
Saturday 2nd April 2022
Vanarama National League
A late penalty from Max Kretzschmar was enough to give ten-man Woking all three points at the LV BET Stadium Meadow Park, bringing an end to the Wood’s unbeaten home streak.
A poor first half was very little in the way of opportunities, with half chances for Danilo Orsi and Frankie Raymond at either end of the half being the closest the Wood came to scoring. Woking meanwhile fared no better, with Kretzschmar drilling a free kick just wide of Taye Ashby-Hammond’s right-hand post just before the half-hour mark for their only shot of the half, although Tyreke Johnson did look the most threatening for the visitors having carried the ball dangerously at times and delivering a couple of crosses that came to nothing.
The Cards will have been the happier of the two sides going into the break having restricted their opponents to just a couple of opportunities, and began the second half even better with openings for Johnson and Kretzschmar as they looked to break the deadlock. They impressed at the other end as well with some good defending to deny the hosts, preventing a low cross from beating the onrushing Orsi before holding their line well to catch Tyrone Marsh offside, ensuring the whistle had already gone when Scott Boden put the ball in the net. This was sandwiched in between a couple of excellent chances for George Oakley to give his side the lead that both went amiss, which was followed by a couple of openings for Inih Effiong as well. The Wood were handed a lifeline to salvage the game with 22 minutes to go when Rohan Ince saw red for a late tackle on Gus Mafuta and immediately looked to take advantage, with Boden heading over a deep cross. Woking would be handed a golden opportunity to take the lead against all the odds though when Will Evans fouled Johnson inside the box, with Kretzschmar stepping up to arrow his strike into the top corner with just seven minutes to go. The Wood subsequently attacked with desperation as the game reached its conclusion, although they should have equalised late on when Craig Ross punched the ball into the path of Dennon Lewis who couldn’t keep his effort down, moments before Adrian Clifton headed over the crossbar as the referee signalled full time.
OUR CLUB. OUR TOWN. OUR COMMUNITY.