Boreham Wood v FC Halifax Town
Tuesday 14th September 2021, 7.45pm
Meadow Park, Vanarama National League
Match Preview written by Aaron Bennis (BWFC Media Assistant)

THE CONTEXT

This Tuesday, Wood look to extend their unbeaten run to six games as they host FC Halifax Town in the first midweek kick-off of the season.

The Shaymen have had a decent start to the season, sitting seventh with three wins and two defeats.

Wood moved up to second with their dramatic victory over Bromley last time out, making it four wins from their opening five.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

“THE DESTROYER”
NIALL MAHER

A versatile defender, Niall Maher joined the Bolton Wanderers academy at the age of ten, spending 13 years in Lancashire. After a brief loan spell with Blackpool, he made his Trotters debut towards the end of the 2015/16 season but was released at the end of it despite making five appearances during the final two months of the campaign. He joined close neighbours Bury for the following season and played 22 times in all competitions, prior to short-lived stints with Galway United and Telford United. He moved to FC Halifax Town in 2018 where he had played close to 100 league games, and now captains the club.

“THE PLAYMAKER”
MARTIN WOODS

The veteran midfielder is one of the most decorated players at the club, having plied his trade in professional football for 18 years. Born in Scotland, Woods began his career as a youngster for Celtic before moving to Leeds United for a scholarship. He had a brief loan stint with Hartlepool United where he made his professional debut, returning to Leeds to make one appearance before leaving at the end of his contract. He spent a season with Sunderland where he made seven Premier League appearances, although only one of these were starts. In search of regular first team football, Woods dropped to League One with Rotherham United, ending the season with 37 appearances in all competitions as well as his first senior goal, scored in a 3-2 defeat to Doncaster Rovers. Doncaster would be his next destination, and subsequently the first place he achieved genuine success. He helped the club win promotion to the Championship in his first season before playing 41 times as they stayed up comfortably, finishing 14th. With Rovers bouncing between the Championship and League One over the next few seasons, Woods would leave the club in 2014 with 135 Rovers appearances to his name over seven years. He opted to join Barnsley where he had a brief stint before returning to Scotland for the first of two separate spells with Ross County, sandwiched between a season at Shrewsbury Town. After two further years with the Staggies, he enjoyed success with Partick Thistle and Dundee, most notably with the latter where he won the 2016 Scottish League Cup, scoring in the semi-final against his boyhood club Celtic. He arrived back in England with Halifax Town in the summer of 2020, where he has made 40 appearances.

“THE FINISHER”
BILLY WATERS

A graduate of the Crewe Alexandra academy, Waters was called upon for the first team by manager Steve Davis in October 2012, being an unused substitute five times during 2012/13. After signing his first professional contract that summer, he made his senior debut at the end of November 2013 as well as his first start four months later. Although the 2014/15 season started strongly, he suffered a dip in form and ended the campaign with three goals in 21 games, subsequently being released at the end of the season. He would join Cheltenham Town on a one-year contract, impressing in pre-season and taking his form into the league campaign, kickstarting his professional career. He helped the club win promotion from the National League as champions, contributing 11 goals in 37 games. He went one better the following season with 16 goals as Cheltenham retained their League Two status, catching the eye of other teams after being voted as the club’s Player of the Year, Players’ Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year. He signed for League One outfit Northampton Town after turning down a contract offer from Cheltenham. This spell failed to match his previous heights however, partly owing to a change in management after Justin Edinburgh was replaced by Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink. A loan back to League One followed in January with Cambridge United and was transfer listed upon his return to Northampton. Further loan spells included a return to Cheltenham and a stint at Newport County that was unable to pull up many trees and he was released by the Cobblers at the end of his contract. Waters linked back up with former Cheltenham boss Gary Johnson at Torquay United, helping the Gulls to a play-off attempt before joining FC Halifax Town in the summer, starting the season like a house on fire with four goals already.

LAST TIME WE MET

FC Halifax Town 0-1 Boreham Wood
Saturday 8th May 2021
The Shay Stadium, National League

Femi Illesamni’s first goal of the season was enough to bring the three points back to Hertfordshire with a narrow victory.

Despite the hosts trying for a play-off place, they were very much second best all afternoon, being unable to compete against a physical, resolute Wood side. The visitors grew into the first half with Corey Whitley being a standout, getting in down the right for their first real chance but he blazed over from an angle. Whitley’s free role in attack caused problems for the Halifax defence throughout, causing many shooting opportunities that required the hosts to be alert to keep out. Although there weren’t too many clear-cut chances, the Shayman looked sluggish in comparison to their opponents who nearly took the lead just before the break through Kabongo Tshimanga, but Sam Johnson was on hand to keep the striker at bay. The second period saw a slight improvement from Halifax, who began to push Wood back and gain more of the ball. They continued to struggle to make effective use of their possession though with a lack of quality in the final third, and Wood came ever so close to punishing them with a goal from a corner ruled out for a foul on Johnson, before the Town keeper again denied Tshimanga one-on-one. It was undoubtedly a quiet affair, but was one that saw the deadlock remain sealed until the 67th minute. Illesamni broke the stalemate with an impressive finish across goalkeeper Johnson to bring a deserved opener. Halifax’s hopes for a fightback soon suffered a major blow too, as Danny Williams was dismissed for a second yellow card just six minutes later and they were unable to find an equaliser.

PRE MATCH WORDS

HOW TO WATCH

MATCH TICKETS 

All spectators are encouraged to pre-purchase their match tickets to avoid queuing and congestion upon entry into the ground. Tickets are also available to be purchased on the day via cash and debit/credit card.

Home supporters purchasing match tickets on the day should go to the club’s ticket office located in the main club car park, whereas visiting supporters can purchase match tickets on the day from their designated turnstiles.

Home Tickets (General Sale) – Click Here.

Home Tickets (Black Card Members) – Click Here.

Away Tickets (General Sale) – Click Here.

LIVE UPDATES

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.

Instagram: @boreham_woodfc
Twitter: @boreham_woodfc

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