Grimsby Town vs. Boreham Wood
Saturday 27th November 2021, 3.00pm
Blundell Park, Vanarama National League
Match Preview written by Aaron Bennis (BWFC Media Assistant)

THE CONTEXT

This Saturday, Wood face another top of the table clash as they travel up north to take on Grimsby Town.

The Mariners have started life in the fifth tier strongly following their relegation last season, currently sitting just a place behind the Wood in third with a three point gap separating the two, and can leapfrog their opponents on goal difference with a win.

Wood’s draw with Notts County last time out saw them keep up the pace with league leaders Chesterfield who also dropped points, and will be keen to put some distance between themselves and Grimsby this weekend.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

“THE DESTROYER”
LUKE WATERFALL

A veteran in the lower leagues of English football, 31-year old defender Luke Waterfall joined Grimsby Town from Shrewsbury Town in the summer of 2019. Having began his career in the youth teams of Barnsley, he joined Tranmere Rovers after a successful trial, making his debut as a substitute in 2-0 defeat against the Mariners. His time in Birkenhead proved to be short-lived as he left after just a season at the club, following a brief loan spell with Altrincham. He signed for Conference North side Ilkeston Town and made 43 appearances in his debut campaign, before leaving for league rivals Gainsborough Trinity the following summer. He would make over 100 appearances for the Holy Blues across three seasons, with his form attracting interest from the Football League. He would join recently relegated Scunthorpe United on a one-year deal ahead of the 2013/14 season, enduring a two-year spell that included loan spells away at Macclesfield Town and Mansfield Town before returning to the non-league to join Wrexham, eventually signing for Lincoln City after just half-a-season in Wales. He would be appointed club captain and made 55 appearances in the 2016/17 season, helping the Imps achieve promotion to League Two as champions, along with a successful FA Cup run that saw them reach the quarter-final in the same season and a Checkatrade Trophy win in 2018. He made 130 appearances in total for the club and would join Shrewsbury Town in the summer of 2018, remaining for a year before being unveiled as a Grimsby Town player on the same day he was released by the Shrews. He has since played 87 times at the heart of the Mariners’ defence and was a part of the team that was relegated from League Two at the end of the 2020/21 season.

“THE PLAYMAKER”
ÉRICO SOUSA

A Portugal youth international, Érico Sousa moved to England when he was just ten years old and joined the youth team of Manchester City five years later. He would leave for Barnsley in 2011 and progressed through the academy, before being released in 2014. He briefly joined Hyde United where he made 14 appearances in the 2014/15 season, and moved to Slovenian side NK Celje at the end of it. It was with Celje that he made his professional debut in a Slovenian PrvaLiga match against Gorica in which he scored in a 3-2 defeat, and his form would see him establish himself in the first team making 29 appearances by the end of the season. The following campaign proved to be more difficult and he would leave in the summer of 2016 after making no appearances at the start of the season. He returned to England and signed for Tadcaster Albion, enjoying further stints at Accrington Stanley and Tranmere Rovers, before a second spell with the former that brought promotion to League One during the 2017/18 season. A loan spell at Barrow followed before a brief return to Tadcaster Albion that preceded a move to Darlington, where he top scored with seven goals in 14 games from the wing in a season that was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic. His form along with his exciting and direct attacking style on the wing attracted the interest of recently relegated National League side Grimsby Town, and his move to the Mariners was completed last summer.

“THE FINISHER”
JOHN MCATEE

Star man John McAtee has been one of the key performers for Grimsby Town so far this season. A Shrewsbury Town academy graduate, the 22-year old made his debut on the final day of the 2016/17 season before signing a one-year professional contract. He would join Halesowen Town on an initial one-month loan in September 2017 and had it extended until Christmas before returning to his parent club. The next year would see him join AFC Telford United, Ashton United, Telford for a second spell and Curzon Ashton all on a temporary basis, before being released by Shrewsbury in May 2019. Two years at Scunthorpe United brought five goals and four assists in 58 appearances, but he turned down a new contract offer to join Grimsby Town last summer, reuniting with manager Paul Hurst for a third time after previously playing under him at Shrewsbury and Scunthorpe. A forward with real quality and versatility, he has proved himself as an excellent finisher and creator and has been able to create a terrific relationship with strike partner Ryan Taylor, playing in behind the 33-year old as a second striker and have each contributed to six goals this season.

LAST TIME WE MET

Grimsby Town 0-0 Boreham Wood
Saturday 13th February 2016
Blundell Park, National Premier

Relegation threatened Boreham Wood held promotion chasers Grimsby Town to a goalless draw at Blundell Park.

The visitors were determined to go against the odds and dominated the first half, with Conor Clifford trying an effort from range early on before a sharp strike by Luke Howell was kept out from close range by Mariners keeper James McKeown, who gathered the second attempt and prevented them from taking the lead. This was shortly followed by Pádraig Amond having a glorious chance to open the scoring himself, but James Russell was alert enough to keep the striker at bay from 12 yards. Grimsby grew into the game and began to threaten with Jon-Paul Pittman, who skipped past a couple of challenges before cutting in from the goal line and sending a fierce cross towards Nathan Arnold who looked to beat the out of position Russell, but the Wood keeper was able to block the goal-bound attempt with his legs. McKeown was forced into another save shortly after when Anthony Jeffrey stretched the Mariners’ defence and danced past Richard Tait and Aristote Nsiala, cutting in from the left to shoot at the legs of the Grimsby keeper at the near post, who had to pounce onto the rebound. The hosts found they were most dangerous from corners with Pittman going closest with a downward header after 36 minutes, but Dave Stephens and Scott Doe were comfortable at dealing with set pieces. The central defensive pair were in fine form and kept chances for the home side to a minimum. A fruitless spell of football midway through the second half was ended by a darting run through the inside left channel from Howell, but he was unable to keep his strike down. Omar Bogle soon suffered the same fate at the other end after he turned the defender but also sent his effort over the bar. Jon Nolan tried a low drive that was pushed away by Russell, who kept out the follow-up effort from Bogle with an even more impressive save. He was truly at his best in this fixture, with a string of remarkable saves in the second half to prevent Grimsby from taking the lead. The resolute nature of the Wood’s performance helped the Wood see out the game and come out of a tough away trip with a crucial point, one that left them 21st in the National League table with just a point separating them from the drop zone.

PRE MATCH WORDS

HOW TO WATCH

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