National League Debut On The Road!
Boreham Wood v Eastleigh Match Preview,
by John Mead.
Our first ever away match at National League level sees us make the trip south to face our old Conference South rivals Eastleigh, this coming Tuesday.
The Spitfires won the Conference South two seasons ago, but their promotion party was dulled on an evening in April 2014 when Ian Allinson’s wannabees turned up at the Silverlake Stadium, grabbing all three points in a 0-1 win against the already Champions. The Spitfires went off to Conference Premier heaven and gave the League a sound lesson, flying the flag for the Conference South. Their 4th placed finish last season was remarkable, losing out on a place in the Football League to Grimsby Town in the play offs.
Their pedigree has made them 4th favourites for the Title this campaign.
We have met the side who up until 2003 were playing their football in the Wessex League on eight occasions, winning four and drawing one. Under the guidance of Paul Doswell they rose from local football into the Conference South in just two seasons, via the Ryman Premier Play off Final after gaining promotion from the Southern League Division One East the year before.
During their nine year stay in the Conference South we famously beat them 6-1 back in the 2011-2012 season. Six different Wood players including Man Of The Match Luke Garrard scored that famous day, with Daryl McMahon notably featuring for the visitors. It was according to Ian Allinson at the time, “ The best we have ever played!”
The following season saw a change in Management, with Richard Hill joining from Stevenage. From that point on they went big and Hill lost the play off Semi Final to Dover Athletic in his first season in charge before storming to the title the following year.
Hill has added striker Ross Lafayette from Luton Town, whom Wood fans will remember from his Welling United days. Also joining ranks are the highly sought after defender Dan Harding, who will be playing above his station after deciding to quit League Football. The thirty one year old won two promotions with Southampton during his career.
Josh Payne a midfielder with League experience at Oxford United, then latterly of Aldershot and Woking is also new at The Silverlake Stadium, along with Barnet winger Lee Cook.
Like ourselves, Eastleigh have added a fabulous new stand to their set up since we last visited, which drew a crowd of over 4000 on its opening day, remarkable for a televised game, which saw the home side run out convincing 4-0 winners against Macclesfield Town.
Their supporters played their part that day and we need some of that too as we embark upon our first ever trip in the National League. Please show your support for the team and make the trip to Hampshire a memorable one. There is a fabulous atmosphere at this level as our hardy band of travelling fans, who grew in numbers and voice throughout last season can testify!
Come On You Wood!
Eastleigh v Boreham Wood.
The Silverlake Stadium, Stoneham Lane, Eastleigh. SO50 9HT.
Tuesday August 11th, kick off 7.45pm.