Eastleigh v Boreham Wood
Saturday 2nd October 2021, 5.20pm
Silverlake Stadium, Vanarama National League
Match Preview written by Aaron Bennis (BWFC Media Assistant)
This Saturday, Wood travel to the Silverlake Stadium to take on Eastleigh in the tea-time kick-off, broadcasted live on BT Sport.
The Spitfires have started the season well, with two wins, two draws and three defeats cementing their 14th place position in the table.
Wood bounced back from their first defeat of the season when they overcame Yeovil Town last time out, and are currently up in fourth sitting two points from top.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
A veteran throughout the lower leagues, Doncaster-born Andrew Boyce began his career with his local club at the age of 16 as a trainee in the Rovers academy, being offered professional terms in the summer of 2008. He spent the 2008/09 season on loan at Worksop Town, before being released by Doncaster in January 2009 having never played a senior appearance for them. He would drop into the non-league in search of regular football and joined King’s Lynn, where he made 18 appearances before leaving at the end of 2009, and within a few days signed for Gainsborough Trinity where he helped the club reach the Conference North play-off final in 2011/12. Boyce earned a move to Lincoln City, playing 66 times for the Imps before joining Scunthorpe United on loan, a move that would be made permanent with the defender penning an 18-month contract, having played a part in the club’s successful promotion bid to League One. He spent three further years with the Iron, although the majority of it on loan elsewhere with Grimsby Town, Hartlepool United and Notts County. Upon his release from Scunthorpe he returned to Grimsby on a permanent basis, spending a season at Blundell Park before joining Eastleigh on a free transfer. A well-rounded and reliable defender, Boyce has gone on to make over 100 appearances for the Spitfires over four seasons in Hampshire.
A graduate of the famous Southampton academy, Jake Hesketh came through at St Mary’s in 2014 and made his Premier League debut under current Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman as a substitute for Dusan Tadic, before making his first start less than a week later. The following season he featured primarily for the youth team, making 22 appearances for the under-21’s and helping them lift the 2015 Premier League cup. He struggled to break into the first team over the next few years, with loan spells to Burton Albion, MK Dons, Lincoln City and Crawley Town in an attempt to gain valuable experience that would see him make an impact on the first team. This wasn’t achieved however, and at the age of 25, Hesketh departed Southampton after 17 years at the club with the expiry of his contract. He would drop to the National League with Eastleigh in the summer.
A 22-year old striker, Ben House was spotted by Reading having began in the youth team of Aldershot Town, joining the Royals in 2016 and signing a professional deal a year later. His first taste of senior football came on loan at Swindon Town, where he played six times during the second half of 2018/19. A further loan with Dagenham & Redbridge came in November 2019 initially until January before being extended until the end of the season. Upon his return to Reading he was released at the expiry of his contract, and he joined Eastleigh in the summer of 2020. House was awarded the National League Player of the Month award for October, scoring five league goals in his first month at the club and ended the season with nine in 37 appearances.
LAST TIME WE MET
Eastleigh 1-0 Boreham Wood
Saturday 22nd May 2021
Silverlake Stadium, National Premier
Late heartbreak succumbed the Wood to defeat in Hampshire as an injury time penalty was enough for Eastleigh to come away with all three points
In their pursuit of the play-offs, it was the home side who started the game strongest and won a free-kick early on, making clear it would be a tough challenge ahead. The first half saw Eastleigh enjoy more of the ball but struggled to make it count, with chances limited throughout the opening 45. Wood had their first opportunity after 20 minutes when an excellent ball from Kieran Murtagh picked out Kabongo Tshimanga, who did well to beat the defender before firing wide. Gus Mafuta also went close soon after with a terrific shot that cannoned off the crossbar, prior to the hosts first real opportunity with Nathan Ashmore proving to be equal to Tyrone Barnett’s effort. The latter stages of the first half saw Eastleigh ramp up the pressure, but the score was level going into half time.
It was Wood who went closest after the break, needing to wait until just before the hour mark for the first real opportunity. Tshimanga was at the centre of the positive play for the Wood, once again finding himself in the box where he tested keeper Joe McDonnell, before some intricate play around the Spitfires’ penalty area between Tshimanga, Tyrone Marsh and Corey Whitley brought another chance at goal for the away side, but it didn’t come to anything. Tshimanga then did brilliantly to turn the defender and find Whitley who was flagged offside. Chances were sparing for the hosts for much of the game, but just like in the first half, the end of the second saw Eastleigh at their most threatening. Ashmore made a fine save to deny Ben House shortly before doing the same to prevent Jack Payne from opening the scoring with a free kick. Pierce Ben put the ball in the net but it was ruled out for offside, however the celebrations in the home end would prove to be a rehearsal for what was to come. As the clocked ticked into added time, Sam Smart’s cross struck a Wood hand inside the penalty area, leaving referee Aaron Jackson with no alternative. Joe Tomlinson was the man to step up and send Ashmore the wrong way, sealing a narrow victory for the hosts.
PRE MATCH WORDS
HOW TO WATCH
Tickets can be purchased online and on the gate, but to reduce queues on matchday, it is strongly advised that supporters purchase their tickets in advance with the link below…
WHERE TO WATCH
This fixture will feature on BT Sport 1 with coverage starting from 5pm.
You can keep up with the action via our Twitter and Instagram pages, where there will be regular updates throughout the course of the match.
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