Boreham Wood vs. St Albans City
Monday 6th December 2021, 7.45pm
LV Bet Meadow Park, Emirates FA Cup 2nd Round
Match Preview written by Aaron Bennis (BWFC Media Assistant)
This Monday, Wood welcome local rivals St Albans City to the LV Bet Stadium Meadow Park for the highly anticipated FA Cup Second Round tie, broadcasted live on ITV 4 from 6.45 pm.
The Saints stunned Forest Green Rovers when the sixth tier side overcame the League Two leaders 3-2 in the First Round, with goals from Mitchell Weiss as well as ex-Wood men Zane Banton and Shaun Jeffers being enough to see them through into the next stage of England’s oldest competition.
Wood meanwhile defeated fellow National League side Eastleigh in the last round thanks to a double from Scott Boden, and are now six unbeaten going into the Second Round.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
A Wales youth international, Tom Bender began his career at Colchester United where he graduated through the club’s academy, becoming the second youngest player ever to represent the club at 16 years and 243 days when he made his debut in 2009. Loan spells with Accrington Stanley and Chelmsford City brought valuable experience before signing for Championship side Millwall in 2013. A brief stint saw him turn out primarily for the development squad, and he left after just a season having previously gone out on loan to Welling United. A further 16 appearances for Dartford followed but he was released after just half-a-season, soon arriving at Conference Premier side Forest Green Rovers on a deal until the end of the 2014/15 season. After helping them reach the play-offs, he was offered a six-month contract ahead of the 2015/16 season but left the following November to join St Albans City on loan, subsequently joining them permanently. He has gone on to play over 200 times for the Saints, and has been rewarded for his performances being named the 2016/17 Supporters’ Player of the Season and Players’ Player of the Season, as well as the 2017/18 Young Player of the Season.
Lower league veteran David Noble is still going strong at the age of 39. Having come through the Arsenal academy, he made his first senior appearances while on loan at Watford under the management of former Juventus and Chelsea striker Gianluca Vialli. A permanent departure from the Gunners was confirmed in February 2003 when a move to recently relegated West Ham United was announced, having never played a senior game for Arsenal. A deal until the end of the season was agreed but he found chances limited, joining non-league club Boston United on a loan deal that would be made permanent the following summer. Two years with the Pilgrims proved far more fruitful, and he earned a move to League One with Bristol City in January 2006. He scored the two goals that sent the Robins back into the Championship before being released at the end of 2008/09 after a loan spell with Yeovil Town, and went on to enjoy spells with Exeter City, Rotherham United, Cheltenham Town on loan, Oldham Athletic, and a return to Exeter initially on loan. A return to non-league followed in 2016 with St Albans City, and he has gone on make over 100 appearances for the Saints.
Former Wood man Shaun Jeffers has impressed in attack since joining St Albans in 2020. A Coventry City academy product, he made just a handful of appearances during his stay with the Sky Blues and left for Peterborough United in the summer of 2013, after loan spells with Cheltenham Town, Cambridge United and Tamworth. He continued to struggle for opportunities and joined Newport County, where he endured similar. He continued to bounce around with loan spells at Brackley Town and Woking and a move to Yeovil Town, before arriving at Chelmsford City ahead of the 2016/17 season. He enjoyed a hugely positive campaign, with his 21 goals helping the club reach the play-off final. This saw him earn a move up a tier, and he was part of the Wood team that enjoyed a historic 2017/18 campaign. A further loan spell with Hampton & Richmond Borough preceded returns to Brackley Town and Chelmsford City, before arriving at St Albans. He has scored 32 goals in 41 games for the Saints, and an electric start to the current campaign saw him net six times in October with him being awarded the National League South Player of the Month award.
LAST TIME WE MET
Boreham Wood 1-0 St Albans City
Wednesday 24th April 2019
LV Bet Stadium Meadow Park, Herts Senior Cup Final
A second half strike from Ralston Gabriel was enough to secure silverware for the Wood as they lifted the Herts Senior Cup for the second season in a row and for the seventh time in their history.
The hosts came out the blocks quickly and ready to make an impact, putting plenty of pressure on the St Albans defence right from the off. They were unable to create a clear goalscoring chance though, and had to wait until midway through the first period before managing to find a way through. Former Saints man Gabriel latched onto a through ball from Ricky Shakes, who took a touch before failing to beat Dean Snedker in the Saints goal with a side footed effort. Shortly after, they would have the ball in the back of the net. Kane Smith sent in a cross from the right which was well met by Gabriel, heading past Snedker, however the assistant referee’s flag was there to save the visitors after deeming the Wood striker offside. Still, it was a positive opening to the game, with Gabriel in particular being a serious menace throughout. He was involved once again in another chance, dropping deep to pick the ball up just inside the St Albans half and driving at the defence, before unleashing a powerful effort from 20 yards that Snedker had to be at his best for, pushing the ball wide for a corner. Despite the Wood’s dominance, the Saints went close to taking the lead on the stroke of half time. Liam Sole whipped the ball into the box from a corner which found Michael Clark at the back post, but he couldn’t generate enough power to beat Ryan Huddart with his header being saved comfortably. The first chance of the second half went St Albans’ way after an open start, with Dave Diedhou heading over from a corner. Snedker would prove himself a real nuisance to Gabriel after preventing the striker from opening the scoring once again after he latched onto a loose pass from the Saints backline and sent a powerful drive that was saved by the keeper’s feet, before nearly conceding a 40-yard rocket from Kieran Murtagh who’s free kick cannoned off the crossbar. A rare attack for St Albans saw an overload of four vs three but they were unable to capitalise and gave the ball away cheaply, allowing the Wood a breakaway of their own. Shakes picked the ball up and fed Smith out wide on the right, who delivered the ball into the box and put it on a plate for the receiver, who just needed a touch to find the back of net. It was Gabriel who finally got the better of Snedker to score against his old side, tapping home to give Boreham Wood the lead with 20 minutes to go. Wood almost doubled their lead shortly after when Sorba Thomas nearly taking advantage of a poor pass from the Saints defence and burst through the middle, firing a sweetly struck shot that rebounded back off the crossbar. Wood just needed to hold on, but that doesn’t mean this tie was without drama. St Albans came ever so close to finding a 92nd minute equaliser when Soloman Sambou curled the ball into the box. Ben Wyatt did excellently to get on the end of it but could only put his header straight into the arms of Huddart, much to the relief of the home crowd. Moments later, referee Dave Rock then blew his whistle to confirm Boreham Wood as the 2018/19 Hertfordshire Senior Cup champions.
PRE MATCH WORDS
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