Macclesfield Town
Posted:Sun 27 Aug 2017

Boreham Wood Line-upBorehamwood are probably not the sort of side you want to face with only one day’s rest, as they are direct, physical and will force you to put in a hard shift to get any reward from them.

They look to play at a high tempo, offering a direct threat when they go forwards. They like to play early balls down the channels for their quick strikers to chase, especially Bruno Andrade, while Shaun Jeffers is more of a conventional target man. They are happy to surrender possession to maintain this attritional approach, constantly turning the opposing central defenders to give the forwards something to chase, and incrementally creeping forwards in midfield as the defenders hurriedly clear the ball.

Both strikers are strong and mobile, but Andrade is their major threat as he likes to drift out to take a wider starting position on the left and then drive into the left channel. However, Jeffers showed at Torquay that he can also run in behind the defence, particularly after Andrade was substituted.

The right wing-back Kane Smith is crucial for them when they go forward. He crosses accurately on his right foot and is able to cut onto his left to offer a threat on goal. As an illustration of his progressive approach, in the first 22 minutes against Aldershot he’d already delivered three crosses, two with his left, and had a header on goal from inside the six yard box. 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 and 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 appears a little more conservative in terms of how high he ventures up the pitch, but he is also a threat, albeit in a different manner. He adopts a deeper starting position, 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.

As a player who has spent much of his career in midfield he has the ability to deliver good service for the strikers, as he showed against Aldershot when his clever early free kick set up the first goal, albeit in rather controversial circumstances as the scorer, Andrade, looked offside. Shakes would also get into dangerous advanced positions in counter-attacks, using his pace to burst forwards in support of the forwards from his deeper starting position.

The midfield trio are energetic when they do not have the ball, and track back diligently. Angelo Balanta tends to take up a more advanced position than the other two, in support of the strikers.

Borehamwood have height to exploit from set pieces, as they play with three big centre backs and the midfield trio are also well built. Their goalkeeper will regularly come up to the half way line to take free kicks, encouraging as many big defenders to go forwards as possible, with David Stephens a regular target.

Fielding two forwards also helps them to press hard in the opposing half, looking to benefit from early turnovers of possession to provide service for the strikers.

Considering their height, they were surprisingly vulnerable to set pieces against Torquay. Although they enjoyed a 4-2 away win at Plainmoor, a number of corners and long throws found their way deep into the Borehamwood box and weren’t won cleanly by defenders, or were won by Torquay players, despite the delivery not being particularly special. They mark man-for-man apart from two zonal markers in the six yard box, one at the near post and one central. This made it possible for Torquay players to win the ball if they won their individual battle with their marker.

Torquay enjoyed a lot of the ball and put Borehamwood under considerable pressure in the six half of the match, which contained all six goals, but their high defensive line played into the visitors’ hands as they played constant balls over the top for Andrade and took advantage of a demoralised Torquay’s sloppy errors in their own half. It was a neat illustration of how Borehamwood do not value possession: they are happy to play without the ball, launching swift, direct counter-attacks.

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