Southend United v Boreham Wood
Saturday 6th August 2022, 3.00pm
Roots Hall, National League
The Wood kick-off their 2022/23 National League campaign with a trip to Roots Hall, with Southend United the hosts at the start of the season.
The Shrimpers endured a difficult season last time out after their 101-year stint in the Football League came to an end, beginning life in the non-league with a 13th place finish.
Wood will be keen to improve on their ninth place finish last season, and enter the campaign with momentum after a four-game unbeaten run to end pre-season.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Manchester-born defender Shaun Hobson played youth football for Fletcher Moss Rangers alongside future England international Marcus Rashford and was spotted by Burnley, where he spent two years in the Clarets’ academy. He would move to AFC Bournemouth in 2016 and gained experience on loan at Eastbourne Borough, Chester, Eastleigh and Weymouth, helping the latter clinch promotion before signing for Southend United in 2020. The 24-year old stood out in a dismal first campaign overall and was named Player of the Season, making 89 appearances for the club in all competitions so far.
After joining Southend United at the age of nine, Jack Bridge signed his first professional contract in 2014 and moved on loan to Soham Town Rangers and Chelmsford City, making his debut for the Shrimpers upon his return to the club in 2016. He would depart Roots Hall in January 2018 and enjoyed stints at Northampton Town, Carlisle United, Concord Rangers and Bromley, helping clinch a play-off place with the latter in 2020/21 where they fell short to eventual winners Hartlepool United, paving the way for a return to Southend at the end of the season.
Veteran striker Rhys Murphy began his career at Wimbledon before breaking into the Arsenal reserve team, and gained experience on loan at Brentford and Preston North End after signing his first professional contract in 2008. He would move to Holland to join Eerste Divisie club Telstar before returning to England at the end of the season, and further stints at Dagenham & Redbridge preceded loan moves to Crawley Town and AFC Wimbledon. Two years at Forest Green Rovers initially saw him join York City, Crawley and Torquay United on loan prior to a brief stint at Gillingham, dropping into the non-league after making just one appearance. The 31-year old scored 25 goals in 38 games and 30 goals in 63 games for National League South side Chelmsford City and National League side Yeovil Town respectively, before making the switch to Southend United following the expiry of his Glovers contract.
LAST TIME WE MET
Southend United 1-0 Boreham Wood
Tuesday 26th April 2022
Roots Hall, National League
A late goal from Jack Bridge was enough to see off the Wood as their late surge for the play-offs suffered a blow.
A slow start to the game saw little in the way of chances as Harry Cardwell’s tame effort on eight minutes proved to be the first of the evening, but the hosts certainly controlled proceedings in the first half with Shaun Hobson and Cardwell going agonisingly close. Jason Demetriou should have given Southend the lead on the stroke of half time but he was unable to direct his header on target, as penalty appeals for the a push on Bridge as he looked to meet the initial cross were waved away.
The Wood were perhaps lucky to go into the break level and the second half began in a similar vein to the first. The visitors did produce an opening for the first time though with Tyrone Marsh skying his effort after being picked out by Scott Boden, moments before Sam Dalby’s strike from distance whistled over the crossbar. The Wood were unable to build on their rare chance and paid the price, as Bridge finally gave the Shrimpers a deserved lead with a good header into the far corner shortly after a couple of good chances for Boden and David Stephens at the other end. Cardwell would go close once more just minutes later, but Southend had to settle for the one goal as the referee brought a close to proceedings.
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