Boreham Wood 1 – 0 Yeovil Town
Saturday 29th April 2023
LV BET Stadium Meadow Park, Vanarama National League


Tyrone Marsh’s first half strike was enough to clinch the Wood’s place in the top seven, with a nail-biting encounter against already-relegated Yeovil Town being all that stood in the way of the Wood and the illustrious play-off spots as it all came down to the final day.

With a point the bare minimum required, the Wood needed to at least match Southend United’s result against Wealdstone in order to seal their play-off place, as well as bettering Bromley’s result against Oldham Athletic in order to leapfrog their rivals and finish sixth, and Marsh put them in the driving seat when he opened the scoring with a bullet header shortly before the half-hour mark, something made even sweeter with Charles Clayden simultaneously giving Wealdstone the lead at Roots Hall.

It was all going the Wood’s way when Joe Nuttall broke the deadlock against the Ravens on the stroke of half time, although Wes Fonguck would level things up for Southend straight after the interval and meant the Wood needed to stay focused and protect their top seven spot. Results elsewhere were seemingly starting to swing the other way with Southend taking the lead and Bromley equalising, and this put the pressure on the Wood to defend their lead during a second half in which they struggled to maintain control.

Nonetheless, with the Glovers having nothing to play for they stopped threatening as much during the final 20 minutes or so, allowing the Wood to see out the win and end the season with the best defensive record in the league.

Victory over the Glovers sees the Wood cement their place in the play-off places, and with results remaining the same at Roots Hall and Boundary Park, this meant a sixth place finish for Luke Garrard’s men which sets up a trip to Barnet on Tuesday, 2nd May.

An enforced change to the starting line-up saw Josh Rees replace George Broadbent in midfield along with a switch at the back seeing Will Evans drop out for Jamal Fyfield, completing two alterations made by Garrard ahead of the final game of the season.

And it was the hosts who kicked things off the brighter of the two sides, forcing a handful of corners in their pursuit of an early opener. The latter of these set pieces ended with Fyfield being hauled down in the box, but the referee perhaps controversially waved away the appeals for a spot-kick much to the frustration of those in the North Bank.

Yeovil certainly seemed to hold their own during the opening stages, and could have broken the deadlock themselves when Charlie Cooper fired a speculative effort goalward from a long-distance free kick, although it flew off target via a deflection which took it out for a corner. The Wood almost made more out of the corner than their opponents though, with the visitors needing to recover their shape quickly to prevent Érico Sousa from breaking away effectively.

The Glovers continued to battle well nonetheless during a quiet affair thus far, with Zanda Siziba showing trickery to evade the Wood backline and make his way into the box before seeing his low cross cut out with a crucial sliding challenge, shortly before Cooper curled a shot from outside the box just wide of the far post.

The Wood were in need of a spark as they looked to regain control, and this soon came along in the form of Marsh’s first goal in seven outings. Chris Bush found himself in unfamiliar territory when he created space on the left flank to whip an inch-perfect cross into the danger area with his weak foot, where the Wood number ten was waiting to send a bullet header past Grant Smith and give the hosts a crucial lead.

Marsh’s opener was enough to see the Wood coast to the interval largely untroubled, although they overcame a brief scare when Siziba had a shot deflected wide from the edge of the area. This was all Yeovil could muster though, and the Wood went into the break narrowly ahead.

HT: Boreham Wood 1-0 Yeovil Town

An enforced change at half time saw Dion Kelly-Evans replace Sousa, adding more energy on the right flank and repel the threat of Siziba, who had caused problems all evening for the hosts.

It was from the other side where they could have found a leveller though, with Nathan Ashmore  being forced into his first save of the match almost immediately after the break as Yeovil searched for one last hurrah in their final National League game for the foreseeable future, with Chiori Johnson’s strike from range being palmed away by the Wood stopper.

This was followed by a spell where Yeovil looked more likely to score, with a rare chance for the hosts going unpunished when they were unable to take advantage of a breakaway as Marsh found himself with acres of space to run into, but as he looked to send Lee Ndlovu through on goal, a crucial intervention from Ollie Haste was enough to halt their attack. They almost paid the price moments later when Cooper sent an effort inches over the crossbar from the edge of the box, and this signalled a wake-up call for the Wood as they looked to defend their lead.

Ndlovu later produced a great chance for the hosts when he found himself free on the right flank, but nobody was in the box to get on the end of his delivery as another opportunity went begging, and this preceded perhaps Yeovil’s best chance of the game, as substitute Reo Griffiths latched onto Siziba’s through ball and drove into the box before looking to curl a shot past Ashmore, but his effort was tame and the Wood keeper was able to produce a comfortable low stop.

The pace of Dennon Lewis would then be added to the action in place of goalscorer Marsh as the Wood looked to nick a second goal, but the Glovers remained in the ascendancy as Jordan Young flashed a free kick across the face of goal with 15 minutes to go.

Garrard reacted by introducing skipper Mark Ricketts for his longest outing since October, as he looked to add steal and tenacity to the heart of the midfield in place of Zak Brunt in an attempt to see out the three points.

And this seemingly had the desired effect, as Yeovil could throw little more at their opponents with Marsh’s first half strike enough to secure the win, ending the league season victorious and clinching their place in the top seven.

FT: Boreham Wood 1-0 Yeovil Town

Boreham Wood: Ashmore; Agbontohoma, Fyfield, Bush; Sousa (Kelly-Evans 45’), Payne, Brunt (Ricketts 80’), Ilesanmi; Rees; Ndlovu, Marsh (Lewis 75’)

Subs Not Used: Evans, Newton

Goal(s): Marsh 26’

Yeovil Town: Smith; Johnson, Haste, Hunt, Freckleton; Cooper, Clarke; Young (Mwaruwari 77’), Pollock, Siziba (Oluwabori 69’); Linton (Griffiths 57’)

Subs Not Used:

Star Man: Femi Ilesanmi



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