This could be it. With three points needed to earn promotion back into the Football League, this couldn’t possibly feel more important. The women’s team have led the way with a promotion which means much more than just a change of division: the stakes are just as high for the men’s side.
There was a remarkable atmosphere at The Racecourse last Tuesday, and it’ll be rocking again as Phil Parkinson’s side looks to take the final step in front of their devoted fans rather than leave it to a nerve-jangling final day at Torquay.
The 3-0 victory over Yeovil on Tuesday leaves Wrexham needing a win from one of the last two games of the league season to clinch the league title. Jacob Mendy will hope to be available again, although Anthony Forde made a goal-scoring return to the team in an unfamiliar position. Jordan Tunnicliffe will also hope to be available as he recovers from a back injury.
Boreham Wood will certainly not roll over and allow us to take an easy three points though. Tenacity and organisation is written deeply into their DNA as a team, and they have promotion aspirations of their own, of course, having rallied after an early season slump to firmly establish themselves in the play-off spots.
The Wood were extremely hard to beat last season, and have continued to build on their solid defence. They have conceded fewer goals than anyone else in the division, and only Notts County and ourselves have a smaller number of defeats. They have struggled at the other end though, and remarkably only Halifax, Maidenhead and the bottom three have scored fewer goals.
They've actually done better on their travels this season, both winning and scoring more than they have at Meadow Park. Their away form has been excellent in 2023, with 4 wins and 4 draws coming from 9 matches. Those results include an admirable 1-1 draw at Notts County and the recent 4-0 thrashing of Maidstone which condemned the Kent side to relegation.
An early George Broadbent goal earned Boreham Wood victory over Wealdstone last Saturday, keeping them in 6th place. Two more points will, more than likely, secure a play-off place but Wood won't be settling for that. Saturday's match marks the start of a massive final week of the season, as they will then play two winnable home games as they look to leap into 5th place. First there's a game in hand against Gateshead on Tuesday, before rounding off the season against Yeovil, whowere relegated at The Racecourse in midweek. If they can overhaul Barnet, who are 4 points ahead having played a game more, their reward will be a home quarter-final in the play-offs, quite probably against the side they overtook, rather than an away game.
LAST TIME WE MET
22/10/23 Boreham Wood 1 (Newton 31) Wrexham 1 (Hayden 53)
Boreham Wood Ashmore, Coxe, Ilesanmi, Evans, Stephens, Brunt (Rees 78), Payne, Broadbent, Marsh (Elliott 71), Lewis, Newton. Unused subs: Williams, Andrade, Ricketts
Wrexham Howard, Hayden, Tozer, Tunnicliffe, Forde, Young, J.Jones, McFadzean (78), Lee (J.Davies 87), Palmer, Mullin. Unused subs: Watson, O’Connor, Dalby
HEAD TO HEAD
If we want a Racecourse coronation, we need to get past the considerable obstacle that Boreham Wood present. Our record against The Wood is terrific, but only tells half the story. While we’ve won 11 out of 15 matches against them, very few have been comfortable victories: results have gone our way, but they’ve been consistently one of the toughest opponents we’ve faced in the National League.
Last season we put in two superb performances against Boreham Wood at The Racecourse. The first match was an FA Trophy 5th round tie, and the visitors arrived in terrific form: they hadn't conceded more than 2 goals in their previous 30 games that season, and were unbeaten in 17 matches, keeping 11 clean sheets and knocking AFC Wimbledon and AFC Bournemouth out of the FA Cup in the process. By the time half an hour had passed, we'd already scored 2, through Ollie Palmer and Jordan Davies, and we became the first side to manage more against them all season when Aaron Hayden scored a header in added time.
Our second encounter last season took place shortly after The Wood's heroic 2-0 defeat to Everton in the 5th round of the FA Cup. They'd played 4 league games since their last journey to North Wales, getting back to normal with 3 more clean sheets, but once again we found the key to breaking down their stubborn defence. Once more Ollie Palmer gave us an early lead, but ex-Wrexham striker Scott Boden equalised before the break. Hayden got the better of The Wood's defence once more to put us ahead and James Jones swiftly grabbed another within 2 minutes the visitors pulled the score back to 3-2, but another 2 minutes later Paul Mullin snuffed out their optimism to complete a 4-2 win.