Everton v Boreham Wood
Thursday 3rd March 2022, KO 8.15pm
Goodison Park, Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round
This evening, Wood travel to Goodison Park for their highly anticipated Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round tie with Everton.
The Toffees have endured a difficult Premier League campaign as they sit just one place and one point above the bottom three but will be hoping to make up for it by building on wins over Hull City and Brentford in the previous two rounds of the FA Cup to reach the quarter final.
Wood made the seemingly impossible possible by overcoming AFC Bournemouth in the previous round, extending their run after beating Barnet, Eastleigh, St Albans City and AFC Wimbledon and will be sure to enjoy a historic day at a Premier League ground for the first time.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
France youth International Abdoulaye Doucouré began his career in the Academy of OFC Les Mureaux, where he was picked up by Stade Rennes at the age of 14 and eventually came through the youth system to play initially for the club’s B team, before making a goalscoring Ligue 1 debut in April 2013.
He played a significant role in their run to a third Coupe de France final appearance in 43 years and went on to make a total of 92 appearances in all competitions that brought 16 goals from midfield.
A physical and energetic “number eight,” he made the move to Premier League side Watford on Deadline Day at the end of the 2016 January transfer window, immediately moving on loan to then-sister club Granada CF until the end of the season. He impressed in Spain and after having a late move to FC Lorient fall through, he broke into the team under Walter Mazzarri to become a key member of the Hornets team over a five-year stint at Vicarage Road, with his performances first under Marco Silva and then under Javi Gracia seeing him win Player of the Season in 2017/18.
After 129 appearances, his time at Vicarage Road came to a disappointing end following the club’s relegation and having been on the verge of making the switch a year earlier, he finally completed a move to Everton ahead of the 2020/21 campaign, going on to play 53 times for the Toffees so far.
Born in Birmingham, Demarai Gray was spotted playing for the Cadbury Athletic junior teams and soon emerged as a bright young talent after joining the Birmingham City Academy. After seven years in the youth teams, he was named in the squad for a Championship match against Millwall having impressed manager Lee Clark in training, coming on in injury time to make his senior debut.
Demarai won Academy Player of the Season for 2013/14 and soon began to feature regularly under Clark’s successor Gary Rowett with his pace and trickery becoming a key weapon against opposition defences, as well as scoring six times in 28 Championship starts in 2014/15. He would be snapped up by Leicester City in January 2016 after a decade at St Andrews and played a small role in the Foxes’ fairy-tale title-winning campaign of 2015/16, continuing to feature primarily off the bench during the following season, although he did start once in the UEFA Champions League. He started 40 of 63 matches across 2017/18 and 2018/19, however an inconsistency in playing time plagued much of his time at the King Power Stadium, and the arrival of Brendan Rodgers would eventually see his game time become even more limited.
Demarai departed midway through the 2020/21 season after just two appearances in all competitions to join Bayer Leverkusen, but returned to England six months later with Everton, where he has become a bright spark in the Toffees’ attack and has contributed to six goals and three assists in 25 games.
Brazilian forward Richarlison arrived at Goodison Park in the summer of 2018 for a club-record fee, reuniting with manager Marco Silva after half-a-season together with Watford.
Beginning his career in his native Brazil, he joined América Mineiro’s youth setup from Real Noroeste and hit the ground running as he scored ten minutes into his debut at the age of just 18, before helping América earn promotion to Campeonato Brasileiro Série A.
He would be picked up by four-time national champions Fluminense and quickly became one of their most influential figures with his speed, skill and physicality. After scoring 19 goals in 67 matches for Fluminense, he left his homeland to make the switch to England, joining Premier League side Watford where he swiftly acclimatised to Premier League football and would end the campaign with five goals and five assists to win the Young Player of the Year award at Vicarage Road.
Although he did go 27 games without a goal contribution prior to his Watford exit, the arrival of Marco Silva at Goodison Park was enough to convince the club to part ways with £50m to bring him to Merseyside. He went on to top score with 14 goals in all competitions, winning the Toffees’ Young Player of the Year award and went one better the following season with 15 to win their Player of the Season award, keeping up his consistency in front of goal with another 13 in 2020/21.
WOOD’S ROAD TO THE FIFTH ROUND
The Wood’s 2021/22 season has been unforgettable to say the least, with the FA Cup run putting the club in the spotlight for the entire world to see. A short trip to local rivals Barnet kicked things off, with Will Evans’s fortuitous effort bouncing off the post before ricocheting off Aston Oxborough to give the Wood a second half lead and setting up a First Round tie with Eastleigh. They comfortably dispatched of the Spitfires, with Scott Boden’s brace either side of half time being enough to secure their name in the hat for Round Two.
Another local derby was on the horizon, with St Albans City’s name being pulled out for a trip to the LV BET Stadium Meadow Park, a first meeting between the two sides since the Wood’s triumph in the Herts Senior Cup Final in 2019. The Saints made the 20-minute drive south but came away empty handed, as goals from Josh Rees, Gus Mafuta and Adrian Clifton brought a 4-0 thumping.
Luke Garrard’s former team AFC Wimbledon awaited in the Third Round, with flashbacks to the previous season’s visit of Millwall being fresh in the memory as the first time the Wood had reached this stage of the competition. Fortunately, lightning didn’t strike twice, as goals from Tyrone Marsh along with a late second half goal from Adrian Clifton off the bench knocked out the League One side and confirmed the Wood’s best ever FA Cup run. Everyone from the Chairman down to the fans waited patiently for the next 24 hours to pass, where the Fourth Round draw would be conducted with Boreham Wood’s name for the first time.
Many were sure to dream of a trip to Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur or Liverpool, but a trip to the South Coast to take on AFC Bournemouth would have to suffice. A difficult tie nonetheless, but a chance to cause an upset was on the mind. Kidderminster Harriers’ valiant effort against West Ham United the day before Wood’s trip to the Vitality Stadium was bound to spur the Wood players on, and Mark Ricketts’ first half strike kept the non-league dream alive. As the referee brought an end to a truly magnificent display, carnage ensued in the Vitality Stadium away end. This team refuses to give up, with Everton up next in their first ever Fifth Round appearance.
HOW TO WATCH
WATCH LIVE ON ITV
Wood’s match up with Everton is being shown live on ITV1 and ITV Hub.
The away allocation for this fixture has SOLD OUT.
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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