In the spotlight: Boreham Wood

Fact File

Full Name: Boreham Wood Football Club

Year Formed: 1948

Nickname: The Wood

Stadium: Meadow Park

Capacity: 4,500

2021/22 Finish: Ninth in the National League

Review of the 2021/22 season

One of the biggest stories from the National League last season was Boreham Wood and their Cup heroics. Their league campaign also got off to a good start as the only lost twice in their first 12 games – the defeats came against Solihull Moors and Chesterfield. The Wood’s historic FA Cup run started with a 1-0 away win at Barnet, while Eastleigh and St Albans City would also fall to Luke Garrard’s side as they made the third round. By the end of 2021, Boreham Wood also found themselves fourth in the National League, just two points behind the Spireites. Fantastic performances against AFC Wimbledon and Bournemouth secured an FA Cup fifth round tie away at Goodison Park against Everton. Two Salomon Rondon goals eventually brought the curtain down on their brilliant Cup run – a defeat in the FA Trophy fifth round against Wrexham left only one focus for the Hertfordshire side. However, following the defeat to Everton, Boreham Wood started to slip down the table and not only saw their title hopes drift away but also their play-off aspirations. Two wins from the start of March saw Boreham Wood finish in ninth place.

Manager – Luke Garrard

Despite being the youngest manager in the National League at 36, Luke Garrard has made a big name for himself in the fifth tier. The former defender had a 13-year playing career which included three separate spells at Meadow Park. He became manager of the Wood in October 2015 and quickly worked to establish the club in the National League. They finished fourth during the 2017/18 season and made the play-off final – eventually losing to Tranmere Rovers at Wembley in the final. Garrard has won two National League Manager of the Month awards and also led Boreham Wood to the FA Cup fifth round in the 2021/22 season.

Luke Garrard

Star Player – Josh Rees

Josh Rees started his career with the likes of Arsenal and Nottingham Forest but relied on loans to gain first-team experience. In 2016, he joined Chelmsford City in the National League South. Over the next two seasons, the midfielder scored 22 combined goals for Chelmsford and Bromley as he secured an EFL move to Gillingham. Rees struggled for form in League One and returned to Bromley just a year later. He once again showed form as a goalscoring midfielder for Aldershot Town during the 2020/21 season, scoring 13 goals in 43 appearances for the Shots. A move to Boreham Wood followed and the 28-year-old scored nine goals as the club embarked on a remarkable FA Cup run.

Josh Rees

Overall Head-to-head Record

P7   W2   D4   L1

Chesterfield and Boreham Wood have served up close games since the two sides first met in 2018. However, it was the former who racked up four points from the two meetings last season. Kabongo Tshimanga and Danny Rowe put Chesterfield two-goals up by half time in the first meeting. Former Spireite Will Evans scored a consolation goal and also saw red in the second half as the game ended 2-1. The reverse fixture saw and evenly matched game in front of the BT Sport cameras. Akwasi Asante scored what looked to be a late winner, but Adrian Clifton equalised on the stroke of full time to snatch a share of the spoils.

Played for both – Kabongo Tshimanga

Kabongo Tshimanga was rewarded for his good form at Oxford City by securing a move to Boreham Wood in the summer of 2019. The striker’s return to the National League proved to be a successful one as enjoyed a fantastic season which was curtailed because of COVID-19. He scored 19 goals as the Wood reached the National League play-off semi-finals – they lost to eventual winners Harrogate Town. Tshimanga’s second season happened to be better than his first as he once again scored 19 league goals. Another three strikes in the FA Cup saw the forward end the campaign on 22 goals. Chesterfield came calling for the 24-year-old in August 2021 and he immediately became a fans’ favourite at the Technique Stadium. Despite suffering a season-ending injury in February, Tshimanga bagged 25 goals in 31 appearances and was named Player of the Year and Players’ Player of the Year.

Kabongo Tshimanga

*Boreham Wood photos courtesy of Boreham Wood FC.