Borehamwood, as you might expect from a side which looks to make the most of its resources, have had a very settled look all season. Nine of the side which faced Wrexham in August were in the starting eleven of at least one of their last two matches. They retain the three man defence which has served them well all season, but have recruited shrewdly during the campaign, bringing back ex-players in Morgan Ferrier and Scott Doe as Dagenham looked to respond to their financial difficulties by offloading players.
Borehamwood’s defeat at Aldershot two games ago was their first in eight games as they consolidated their promotion push. It also marked the end of an impressive run of away results as, apart from a defeat to Coventry City in the FA Cup, they had previously been unbeaten in 16 matches on their travels, winning 10, going back to September.
They dropped a further two home points at home to Barrow on Friday, and have had problems hitting the net in recent matches. Surprisingly for a team with good attacking options, they’ve failed to score in four of their last six matches, leading to points being dropped in goalless draws away to relegation strugglers Woking and Hartlepool as well as the Barrow game.
Borehamwood made subtle alteration to their approach in response to the defeat at Aldershot, switching from a 3-5-2 to a 3-4-1-2. This might also have been a reaction to change in the nature of their opponents: Aldershot look to pass the ball around and have good forward movement from midfield and wide positions, making the increased midfield cover of a 3-5-2 more useful, whereas Barrow are a long ball side and Borehamwood were therefore engaged in a battle with a side whose style is similar to theirs, with the ability to bypass midfield and feed three attacking players more useful.
As one would expect from a direct side, Borehamwood will drop long balls over the top of the opposing defence for their quick strikers to run onto. If they don’t get to the ball, their job is to force the defender into either putting the ball out of play or making a hurried clearance, allowing Borehamwood’s midfield to press up quickly and win a second ball high up the pitch.
Restarts are an important part of Borehamwood’s game, including when they are taken by the opposition. Defensive throws will allow Borehamwood to box the opposition in, looking to win the ball high up the pitch.
Of course, such aggressive pressing can lead to Borehamwood being left open to the break. If the initial press is by-passed, it’s possible to exploit the gaps left behind in midfield and drive forwards.
Borehamwood play with strikers who often look to attack from out to in, adopting wide early positions as targets for long release balls, but wanting to cut inside into the danger area. Bruno Andrade has been very effective in this role this season, often starting to the left and cutting inside to threaten the goal. However, in the Bromley match he was utilised behind the wide strikers, looking to offer support both on the flanks and through the middle when the strikers’ wide positions dragged the centre backs apart. Andrade is able to shoot with both feet though, so he presents a problem for defenders when he cuts inside and isolates them on the edge of the area, as he has the ability to shift the ball either way to get a shot off.
Width is important to Borehamwood’s approach, and they have a slightly lop-sided approach, with the right wing-back, Kane Smith, more adventurous than his left-sided counterpart. Smith likes to get forward and has an accurate right-footed cross, but is also able to come inside to threaten the goal himself. Due to his high starting position it is possible to get in round the back of him, however, and he creates a slightly different shape on the right for Borehamwood as Tom Champion, the right-sided centre back, sometimes get forwards to support Smith in open play, but can also find himself pulled over into a right back position to cover for him.
On the other flank, Ricky Shakes is a little more conservative than Smith when he goes forwards, and doesn’t tend to get ahead of the ball and join in moves early on. However, he has pace and the experience to know how to time his runs, and can be very effective attacking space.
Danny Woodards has started some recent games as left wing back, but is more of a defensive option.