In-form Wrexham will look to maintain the title push against a Boreham Wood side fresh from their cup heroics.
With five consecutive wins under our belt, Wrexham have terrific momentum. One of those wins was against Boreham Wood – a 3-0 win in the FA Trophy which saw Callum McFadzean provide two assists in a spectacular debut.
Since losing to Yeovil in November, The Red Dragons have been in fine form at home, winning 7 games out of 8 and scoring 22 goals in the process. The one exception was the 1-1 draw with Maidenhead, which we dominated despite playing 86 minutes with ten men, and only conceded the equaliser deep into injury time.
Paul Mullin has returned from suspension with a bang, scoring 3 goals in 2 games, but there are selections headaches for Phil Parkinson to conjure with. Tom O’Connor and Jordan Davies have both suffered muscular injuries recently, so a midfield reshuffle might be required.
Boreham Wood, of course, have been making national headlines with their spectacular run to the fifth round of the FA Cup. The high point was their superb win at AFC Bournemouth, and last week they were able to swell their coffers further with a televised cup tie at Goodison Park. A 2-0 defeat was an honourable way to exit the competition, with Everton comfortably kept at bay until the second half.
The cup run might have been lucrative, but it has led to a build-up of fixtures which The Wood must negotiate if they are to achieve their main objective: an unthinkable elevation to the Football League.
They have the second-best points per game in the division, and would overtake Stockport at the top of the table if they were to win their games in hand. However, they've played 4 games fewer than the Hatters - indeed, everone in the division has played at least 2 games more than them - so their schedule is already looking rather busy.
They will also hope to get back to winning ways, as results have dipped since that win over Bournemouth. That was a third win in a row, and a 17th game unbeaten, but their next match was that 3-0 defeat at Wrexham's hands in the FA Trophy, which started a sequence of 2 wins, 2 losses and a draw heading into the Everton match.
They still boast the best defence in the division, having conceded just 17 goals in 27 matches, and have lost the fewest games too. With 5 points dropped from their last 2 away games, they need to get back into the routine of winning league games after their cup escapades.
Boss Luke Garrard will hope to have 37-year old cup hero Mark Ricketts available. The muscular midfielder has been playing through the pain, and will hope the 4 days between matches will be long enough for him to recover from the exertions of Goodison Park.
There are a couple of familiar faces in the Boreham Wood squad, of course: Jamie Reckord returns for the second time in 4 weeks following his January departure and Scott Boden has experienced a remarkable 12 months, from being furloughed by Chesterfield to spearheading The Wood's campaign in both league and cup.
HEAD TO HEAD
Wrexham’s record against Boreham Wood is remarkably good considering how the Wood have established themselves as regular promotion challengers. We’ve faced them 12 times and won 10 of them, keeping 7 clean sheets in the process.
The most recent win, and clean sheet, came just last month. Ollie Palmer and Jordan Davies gave us a 2-0 half time lead which Aaron Hayden added to in added time as we equalled our biggest win over Boreham Wood.
Our other 3-0 victory over them came in August 2018, as Mike Fondop, Jordan Maguire-Drew and Rekeil Pyke struck to erase memories of our sole defeat against Boreham Wood, at The Racecourse four months earlier.
It was a bad tempered and controversial match. Manny Smith was harshly judged to have pushed his man in the area, allowing Borehamwood to score the only goal of the game early on, and our attempts to fight back were hampered by another controversial decision as Kevin Roberts was sent off soon after the break, and a great deal of time-wasting by the visitors went unpunished.
In March 2016 The Wood’s first trip to Wrexham was decided by an early Connor Jennings penalty, and the following season spot-kicks were again decisive. Anthony Barry gave us the lead from a penalty, but the visitors equalised the same way. The game remained level until the third minute of added time, when another penalty was given to Wrexham. Barry had been substituted by then, so John Rooney stepped up to score the winner.
The only other time Boreham Wood came to The Racecourse was on the opening day of last season. Debutant Reece Hall-Johnson opened the scoring and, after The Wood equailsed, Luke Young struck magnificent winner from a free kick.
Hall-Johnson is Wrexham’s all-time top scorer against Boreham Wood with three goals. He got them all last season: apart from that first strike of the season, the others came in our remarkable 3-2 win at Meadow Park. We were trailing 2-0 at the break, but Hall-Johnson pulled a goal back after an hour, set up Jordan Ponticelli’s 87th minute equaliser with a fine cross, then hit the last minute winner. Guess who was man of the match after that one!
Three other Wrexham players have scored more than once in this fixture: Jennings hit the only goal in each of the first two clashes between the sides; John Rooney scored at Borehamwood in October 2016, then kept his cool to score that penalty winner in 2017; and Ben Tollitt scored both goals in a 2-0 away win in February 2019.
There was a remarkable proliferation of penalties in the early history of this fixture. In the first six games, only eight goals were scored, and five of them came from the spot. Indeed, Boreham Wood didn’t score past Wrexham in open play until our 9th meeting!
After 5 penalties in our first 6 meetings, the next 6 games featured no spot-kicks: will the pattern return for this match?
We’ll surely see a new mark established for the biggest attendance in this fixture. The current record is 4,746, established in that sole defeat in April 2018. There has never been a four-figure attendance to witness the sides clash at Meadow Park.
Ben Tozer’s 500th career appearance.
Rob Lainton’s 200th career appearance.
Rob Lainton’s 175th league appearance.