Boreham Wood v Luton Town
Saturday 17th July 2021 KO 3.00pm
Meadow Park, Pre-Season Friendly
Match Preview written by Aaron Bennis (BWFC Media Assistant)

THE CONTEXT

This Saturday, Wood kick off their pre-season schedule against Championship side Luton Town at Meadow Park.

The Hatters finished in an impressive 12th last season as they saw a vast improvement on 19th place finish in 2019/20.

Similarly, Wood ended with a mid-table finish in 14th, a drop off in comparison to Luton’s rise having earned a play-off place the year before.

2021/22 SEASON REVIEW

THE WOOD

Similarly, to the 2018/19 season, Wood followed up a successful campaign in which they reached the play-offs with a disappointing one, finishing in the bottom half of the table. A 12-game unbeaten run during February and March was an anti-climax of sorts, with just two wins and ten draws costing them a higher finish. Successive defeats to Wrexham and Eastleigh mathematically ensured play-offs were out of the question for Luke Garrard’s men, before five defeats from their final seven meant they ended the season in a disappointing 14th. Wood did enjoy FA Cup success however, reaching the third round for the first time in their history where they faced Championship side Millwall; the highest ranked opposition they had ever played against in a competitive fixture.

THE HATTERS

Luton have been on an upwards trajectory of late, ending their last campaign with their highest league finish since they ended the 2005/06 Championship season in 10th. Nathan Jones’ return to the club in May 2020 following a brief stint at Stoke helped to spur on their battle against relegation, taking their good form at the end of the 2019/20 campaign into the season just gone. They started strongly with the exception of the first Herts-Beds derby for 14 years against Watford, meaning it was just three wins from their first four games. However, they battled well throughout and while it was a relatively inconsistent season in terms of results, one defeat from their final seven ensured a third successive Championship season for the first time in their history.

NEW ARRIVALS

THE WOOD

FRANKIE RAYMOND

Frankie Raymond joins Wood on a two-year deal from league rivals Bromley. The ball-playing midfielder becomes the first summer signing and will offer energy and determination in the middle of the park as well as a good eye for a pass.

Following his release from Reading having come through the club’s youth academy, Raymond was picked up by Gillingham for a brief spell before dropping to the National League in Eastbourne Borough. It was here that he began to receive his first experience of regular first team football, making 61 appearances over a two year period. His form at Priory Lane earned him a move back to the Football League, spending three years with Dagenham & Redbridge.

A Wembley Stadium appearance followed a move to Bromley in the FA Trophy final where he enjoyed arguably the best spell of his career to date, and Raymond will be looking forward to achieving the same sort of success in Hertfordshire.

WILL EVANS

Former Chesterfield captain Will Evans has signed a two-year deal with Wood following his release from the Spireites. Evans, a tough tackling centre half, has a wealth of experience at National League level with spells at Hereford United, Newport County, Eastleigh, Aldershot Town and Chesterfield.

After graduating from the Swindon Town academy in 2010, he failed to make a senior appearance but found success on loan at Hereford before making the move permanent, where he became the fastest ever goal scorer in the club’s history with a spectacular 25-yard strike to open the scoring against Macclesfield Town inside 12 seconds. He was a part of the Newport team that gained promotion in League Two in 2013 making six appearances on loan, before being released from Hereford upon his return and soon joining Eastleigh. He helped the club to the National League South title in his first season at the Silverlake Stadium, going on to play 106 times over two-and-a-half seasons.

His move to Aldershot in 2016 didn’t see quite the same level of success although he did help the Shots reach the 2017/18 play-offs, and after three years at Chesterfield he will be keen to recreate some of the glory he achieved during the earlier days of his career.

JOSH REES

Wood have announced the signing of Josh Rees after the expiry of his contract with Aldershot Town, signing a two-year deal. Born in Hemel Hempstead, Rees spent 11 years at Arsenal having joined them as a schoolboy, leaving the club in 2013 following a spell on loan at Brentford. After departing North London he joined Nottingham Forest’s youth setup, making just a solitary senior appearance in three years at the City Ground and subsequently dropping to the National League with loan spells at Nuneaton Town and Torquay United. He then remained permanently with a move to Chelmsford City.

Preferring a more advanced midfield role, Rees scored seven goals from midfield in 49 appearances for the Clarets, before joining Bromley a year later despite interest from higher leagues. He was a part of the team that reached the FA Trophy final at Wembley Stadium along with fellow Wood arrival Frankie Raymond, and despite losing on penalties as well as falling short in their attempt to finish in a play-off spot, it was a superb individual season for Rees who notched 20 goals in all competitions. A move to the Football League finally came to fruition with League One side Gillingham, however this was short-lived with a return to Bromley after just a season.

A less successful campaign meant he then joined Aldershot where he scored 12 goals in 39 appearances, before opting to join up with Luke Garrard’s men for the upcoming season.

JACOB MENDY MENDY

Former Wealdstone wing-back Jacob Mendy Mendy has joined the Wood on a three-year contract after the club activated his buyout clause, joining Luke Garrard’s men for a club record fee. So good they named him twice, Mendy Mendy is a highly rated Gambian-born Spaniard who helped the Stones to win the 2019/20 National League South title as well as their subsequent survival, winning the club’s Player of the Season award for the last campaign.

Ten goals from wing-back caught the eye of many National League and Football League clubs, with the Wood taking advantage of his buyout clause to bring him to Meadow Park. Beginning his career in Atletico Madrid’s youth setup, he enjoyed spells at Redhill FC and Carshalton Athletic after coming to England before his most successful stint with Wealdstone, and will be keen to show the same form for Boreham Wood.

THE HATTERS

CARLOS MENDES GOMES

Luton Town completed the signing of forward Carlos Mendes Gomes in June 2021 on a permanent transfer from League One side Morecambe.

Up until this point, Senegal-born Gomes has embarked on a remarkable football journey after him and his family initially moved to Lanzarote when he was two. His football talents were spotted as a schoolboy by Getafe and after moving away from his family at the age of 13 to spend a year with the Madrid-based outfit, he moved to their cross-city counterparts Atletico Madrid.

His time with the Spanish giants would come to an abrupt end, however, after Mendes Gomes’ father decided to move his family to England due to the prospect of a higher quality education.

He moved to the country and didn’t speak a word of English and failed to find a team for over a year, eventually signing for tenth-tier West Didsbury & Chorlton in the North West Counties League.

The winger was later scouted by Morecambe whilst playing for his college team, and following two years of sporadic appearances, he truly made his mark last season under Derek Adams, playing a vital part in securing promotion to League One for the first time in the Shrimps’ history, scoring 16 goals, including the winner in the play-off final against Newport County.

HENRI LANSBURY

Experienced midfielder Henri Lansbury joined the Hatters on a free transfer, becoming Nathan Jones’ fifth new signing as he looks to build on the 12th place finish in 2020-21.

Lansbury came through the ranks with Arsenal featuring regularly for the Gunners’ youth team – winning the Premier Academy League and FA Youth Cup double, and made his first-team debut in a 3-0 League Cup win against Sheffield United in 2017.

He signed his first professional contract with the North London club the following year and represented England at every youth level, before spending the next few years gaining regular first-team experience on loan with the likes of Scunthorpe United, Norwich City and West Ham United.

Lansbury then decided to make a permanent switch away from the Emirates to join Nottingham Forest, where he played 145 times for the Championship club between 2012 and 2017. Amid speculation the midfielder joined Aston Villa for a reported fee of £3m and helped them gain promotion to the Premier League via the Championship play-offs.

The London-born midfielder played 16 times in the Sky Bet Championship, including 71 minutes in City’s 3-2 loss against the Hatters at Ashton Gate in April, before joining the Town two months later.

CAMERON JEROME

Vastly experienced striker Cameron Jerome arrived at Kenilworth Road as a free agent as the fourth signing of the close season, having scored 15 goals in 38 appearances last season for Sky Bet League One club Milton Keynes.

Jerome has more than 500 games and 145 goals to his name at club level in this country, having begun his career with Cardiff City in 2004.

After netting 20 goals for the South Wales club in the 2005/06 Championship campaign, he was signed by Birmingham City for a fee of £3 million.

He spent the following five years at St Andrew’s, where he experienced the highs and lows of two promotions and two relegations, whilst also lifting the League Cup in 2011 after the Blues’ win against Arsenal at Wembley.

The striker joined Stoke City later that year for a reported fee of £4m, but following 50 appearances in the space of three seasons at the Britannia Stadium, he opted to switch to Norwich City in 2014.

The Huddersfield-born striker played 130 times for the Canaries and scored 38 goals, one of which came in the 2015 Championship play-off final victory against Middlesbrough.

Following a successful four years at Carrow Road, Jerome has since played in the second tier for Derby County and then had a two-year spell with Goztepe in Turkey – scoring eight times in 49 appearances – before returning to England in October 2020.

FRED ONYEDINMA

Former Millwall and Wycombe midfielder Fred Onyedinma signed for Luton in late May 2021 for an undisclosed fee.

The 24-year-old Nigerian started his professional career at Millwall in 2014 after graduating from the youth academy, where he remained until 2019, bagging 12 goals and assisting 15 in 151 appearances.

Raised in south-east London, Onyedinma spent two spells on loan at Wycombe, first in League Two as a teenager and then in League One during 2018-19, before signing for them permanently in the summer of 2019.

After helping them secure promotion from League One in his first campaign, he finished with five goals and four assists in 46 appearances in the Chairboys’ season in the Championship, before leaving Adams Park to join the Hatters and remain in the second tier following Wycombe’s relegation.

HATTERS PLAYERS TO WATCH

“THE DESTROYER”

SONNY BRADLEY

Centre-half Sonny Bradley joined the Hatters in the summer of 2018 after rejecting a new contract at Plymouth Argyle, penning a three-year deal. The 29-year-old started his career with hometown club Hull City but gained initial first team experience on loan at Harrogate Town and Aldershot, where he spent a season-and-a-half in League Two.

At the end of the 2012-13 campaign he signed for Portsmouth on a permanent deal, then a year later switched to Crawley Town. The left-footer brings with him valuable experience of having played in the third tier for both the Red Devils and Plymouth, with whom he won promotion as League Two runners-up in 2016-17.

“THE PLAYMAKER”

HENRI LANSBURY

Lansbury came through the ranks with Arsenal featuring regularly for the Gunners’ youth team – winning the Premier Academy League and FA Youth Cup double, and made his first-team debut in a 3-0 League Cup win against Sheffield United in 2017.

He signed his first professional contract with the North London club the following year and represented England at every youth level, before spending the next few years gaining regular first-team experience on loan with the likes of Scunthorpe United, Norwich City and West Ham United.

Lansbury then decided to make a permanent switch away from the Emirates to join Nottingham Forest, where he played 145 times for the Championship club between 2012 and 2017. Amid speculation the midfielder joined Aston Villa for a reported fee of £3m and helped them gain promotion to the Premier League via the Championship play-offs.

The London-born midfielder played 16 times in the Sky Bet Championship, including 71 minutes in City’s 3-2 loss against the Hatters at Ashton Gate in April, before joining the Town two months later.

“THE FINISHER”

ELIJAH ADEBAYO

The 6ft 4ins forward enjoyed loan spells in Non-League football with Slough Town and Bognor Regis Town as a teenager, before gaining EFL experience with Cheltenham, Swindon and Stevenage while coming through the ranks at Craven Cottage. He left Walsall with an impressive record of 18 goals in 39 League Two starts, with the Hatters securing his signature despite interest from Championship clubs both in England and Scotland.

Adebayo scored on his first start for the Hatters against Millwall and was an instant hit with his teammates and supporters alike. He followed up an impressive performance against the Lions with a goal and assist versus Sheffield Wednesday.

The striker scored three more times in the 2020/21 Championship campaign, as he made the transition from League Two to second division football look seamless.

LAST TIME WE MET

Boreham Wood 0-2 Luton Town
Saturday 22nd July 2017
Meadow Park, Pre-Season Friendly

It was goals from Pelly Ruddock and Olly Lee to seal the victory for Luton in a 2-0 friendly win.

PASE product Ruddock opened the scoring early on after bursting through on goal to get on the end of an Alan McCormack through pass, slotting home with a low shot from 12 yards.

This lead was doubled six minutes after the restart; substitute Olly Lee played in Andrew Shinnie who forced a good save from Grant Smith, only falling kindly into the path of Jack Stacey who calmy sent in a cross from the right for Lee to head home from six yards.

Wood had their chances to get back in the game, most notably with some Bruno Andrade in the final ten minutes, but goalkeeper Marek Stech had little trouble dealing with them to allow the Hatters to see out the win.

HOW TO WATCH

MATCH TICKETS 

Due to the updated government guidelines, both home and away fans are now able to enter Meadow Park to watch the game live. All tickets are encouraged to be pre-purchased, any sales taken on the day are also encouraged to be via debit/credit card.

TO BUY YOUR MATCH TICKET – CLICK HERE

LIVE UPDATES

Alternatively, 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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