Boreham Wood preview (H) – Emirates FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round

It’s FA Cup Fourth Qualifying weekend and fixtures don’t get much bigger than this, a local derby live on BBC Sport.

The stakes are high, whoever comes out victorious of this weekend’s fixture will secure a place in the First Round Proper with the draw live on Monday evening, when teams from League One and Two enter the competition.

For the Saints, this game will be extremely difficult, facing a side that sits in eleventh place in the Vanarama National League table having picked up 22 points from their opening fifteen games. The Wood finished last season in the same league position that they find themselves in, so while their start will have pleased manager Luke Garrard, the former Wood player will be looking to aim higher than equalling last campaign’s finishing position.

Over their last five league games the Wood have found themselves in some mixed form, winning one, drawing two and losing two. The solitary victory came against Eastleigh eleven days ago when a Bruno Andrade strike proved to be enough for the three points. That victory, however, has proved to be the highpoint of their recent performances. Garrard’s side suffered two defeats against National League side new-boys Maidenhead and Ebbsfleet towards the end of September, while also drawing with Gateshead and FC Halifax Town, who snatched a late point last Saturday when Adam Morgan equalised following Andrade’s early opener.

Unlike the Saints, this will be the Wood’s first game in the competition of the season as National League sides do not enter until this stage. However, Garrard’s side easily progressed through this stage of the competition last season after defeating Bostik League side Hendon, and will be looking to once again secure their place in the First Round Proper with a victory this Saturday.

Central to Boreham Wood’s chances of avoiding an upset and making it through to the next round will be the performances of the aforementioned Andrade and Shaun Jeffers. Andrade is top scorer for Garrard’s side this term having found the back of the net on six occasions from wide positions, and since arriving last summer from Woking, the Portuguese winger has proven to be a revelation at Meadow Park.

Jeffers, meanwhile, is a relatively new-arrival having signed from fellow National League South side Chelmsford City during the off-season. The forward, who scored twenty-one goals for the Claret’s last season, has scored three goals so far for his new club and will be hoping to make an impact in this weekend’s fixture.

Matt Ball won the game for the Saints when the two sides last met.

Of the last six competitive fixtures between the two clubs, dating back to January 2011, the Wood have come out on top with four victories, while the Saints have won  just two. However, the last time the sides met, in a Herts Senior Cup tie ten months ago, the Saints won 1-0 courtesy of an 83rd minute Matt Ball strike, and manager Ian Allinson will be hoping that his City side can again triumph against his old club.

 While the recent head-to-head record may favour the visitors, the Saints go into Saturday’s game knowing that when it comes to local-derby’s and FA Cup ties, anything can happen.

Don’t forget that kick-off is at 12:30pm and segregation will be in place. Further math day information can be found here – https://www.stalbanscityfc.com/important-match-information-saints-v-boreham-wood/

Come On You Saints!

Rhys Murrell-Williamson celebrates with young fans behind the goal