By John Mead
Wood are next in action at Meadow Park this coming Monday 3 September, when last Season’s Play- off challengers Sutton United provide the opposition, kick off 7.45pm.
Narrowly missing out on a second successive promotion, losing out by the odd goal to Welling United after winning the Ryman Football League Premier Division the Season before, Paul Doswell’s side are a work in transition. Doswell himself declared that the U’s “Were not ready for the Conference Premier” last Season and the astute Manager has been busy strengthening his Squad with a host of summer signings.
His acquisitions bring a wealth of experience to the side. Defenders Jamie Stuart and Gareth Gwillim along with midfielder Reece Jones were all on AFC Wimbledon’s books last Season. Doswell has further strengthened the midfield with the acquisition of Nick McKoy from Tamworth and Sam Rents from Gateshead. It is clear that The U’s are building for the future with a Squad fully versed in playing at a higher level. In attack the prolific Kezie Ibe signed from Chelmsford City.
The Surrey side, at time of writing, have recorded draws against Welling United, Maidenhead United and Dover,Athletic, whilst losing 2 – 1 at Basingstoke Town on the opening day of the Season. It will surely not be long before this highly fancied side start putting some serious points on the board and Wood boss Ian Allinson will be very aware of the dangers.
Last Season Wood held the U’s to a 1 – 1 draw at Meadow Park, in a game that the visitors dominated. It was almost an unlikely three points for Wood until The U’s grabbed a ninety-fourth minute equaliser. However both Squads have dramatically evolved since then, with just Charlie O’Loughlin remaining from the side that turned out for Wood last Boxing Day.
This coming Saturday sees Ian take his charges down to Cornwall for the weekender with Truro City. Avoiding defeat there will maintain the side’s unbeaten record in what has been a very encouraging start to the Season. Current form aside Ian is well aware of the advantages we have over last Season’s trip to the South West. “We were forced by the League to play on a Tuesday night, I had three players unavailable through work and it is hard to prepare for a match so far from home when most of the team are worried about getting back to work on time. This Season we have a full Squad available and we will be overnighting down there in a hotel with excellent facilities.”
Come On The Wood!