Boreham Wood v Hitchin Town
Wednesday 13th July 2022, 7.30pm
Top Field, Pre-Season Friendly
The Wood go on the road for the first time this season as they visit Hitchin Town, continuing their pre-season preparations after defeat last time out.
The Canaries have suffered successive 3-0 defeats at the hands of Luton Town and Stevenage so far this pre-season as they look to improve on their 17th place finish in the Southern League Premier Division Central last season.
Wood lost for the second time in three games at the hands of a Chelsea XI, but will be hoping for an improvement after three very difficult tests so far.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Republic of Ireland international Stephen Gleeson is a Football League veteran, having turned out nearly 350 times in the Championship, League One and League Two for a number of different clubs. After being scouted by Cherry Orchard in his native Ireland, he would be picked up by Wolverhampton Wanderers at the age of 15 and began to make his first steps into senior football in the 2006/07 season. Separate loan spells at Stockport County either side of a stint at Hereford United saw him gain experience before moving on to MK Dons in 2009, a switch he would later make permanent. A versatile player, Gleeson would feature more than 200 times for the Dons over a five-year spell that saw him named vice-captain in 2011, but a desire to play in the Championship influenced his decision to leave, signing for Birmingham City in 2014. A further 125 appearances saw him establish himself in the Blues team, but limited game time towards the end of his time at St Andrews saw him join fellow Championship side Ipswich Town before crossing the border to join Scottish Premiership outfit Aberdeen, where he struggled for opportunities. Having not played any competitive football in a year, Gleeson returned to England and dropped into the non-league where he played for Solihull Moors and Hemel Hempstead Town, before moving to Hitchin Town in November 2021.
A product of the Chelsea academy, Rio Dasilva began in the Luton Town youth setup before spending four years at Stamford Bridge alongside brothers Jay, who has impressed at Championship level with Bristol City and Cole, who is currently at Oxford City. Rio on the other hand would spend a year at Dunstable Town before joining Hitchin Town at the start of the 2020/21 season, where he has gained plaudits for his performances on the wing or as an attacking midfielder.
Colchester United academy player Jake Hutchinson was included in a matchday squad for the first time in an away game at Morecambe, having come through the ranks at the U’s where he signed his first professional deal in 2020. Having excelled at youth level, the 20-year old has found success out on loan where he has gained valuable experience, with stints at Brightlingsea Regent, Grays Athletic and Maldon & Tiptree. It was a first spell at Hitchin Town where he began to catch the eye, scoring seven goals in 15 games in his maiden stint at Top Field before playing a handful of times for Tonbridge Angels at the start of the 2021/22 season. A return to Hertford saw him go up a level, with 15 goals in 21 appearances in all competitions beginning with a first half hat-trick on his second debut against Stourbridge.
LAST TIME WE MET
Hitchin Town 2-1 Boreham Wood
Wednesday 11th August 2021
Top Field, Pre-Season Friendly
The Wood rounded off their pre-season campaign with defeat at the hands of Hitchin Town after a disappointing performance.
The visitors were at best lacklustre in the first half, with chances for Tyrone Marsh and new signing Scott Boden going amiss early on. Luke Brown went close for the first time moments after when he headed wide but this showed warning signs for the Wood, who would go behind a minute later. An uncharacteristic error from Jamal Fyfield gifted an opening for Brown, who capitalised to give the Canaries the lead. The away side continued to pile on some pressure as the half progressed with chances for Jack Munns and Gus Mafuta, while Charlie Horlock was equal to another Marsh header before Mafuta had a similar chance cleared off the line. They would soon pay the price, as Hitchin doubled their lead when Rio DaSilva’s header beat Nathan Ashmore. They did think they had pulled a goal back when Marsh put the ball in the net on the stroke of half time, but he was ruled offside.
The visitors enjoyed an improved second half with Will Evans and Marsh testing Horlock, before substitute Connor Smith supplied Mafuta who headed wide. Former Hitchin full back Kane Smith then followed up an excellent run with a poor shot, but Marsh met a Jacob Mendy Mendy cross to halve the deficit shortly after. They would go ever so close to finding an equaliser as they hit the woodwork three times, with crosses from Mendy Mendy and Smith being deflected onto the crossbar before Mafuta hit the post with another header, shortly before the referee brought an end to proceedings.
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