Preview: Boreham Wood

It all comes down to the final match as the Fleet make the short trip to Boreham Wood where a point will guarantee National League football for the visitors next season whereas three will do the same for our hosts. 

Fleet fans aren’t often short on important matches at the end of a season and this is another to bring the travelling reds together in a titanic 90-minute clash that has attracted the TNT Sports TV cameras to Meadow Park for the game dubbed as ‘Survival Saturday’.

Form guide
Boreham Wood looked to be heading on a one-way journey down the table for a long spell until strong results in recent weeks have seen them undefeated in three, all of those games also benefiting from clean sheets. Before an emphatic 4-0 victory over fellow strugglers Wealdstone, the Wood had suffered six successive defeats in the League, pushing them into the drop zone. A shock 3-0 result on Saturday away to Aldershot pulled them closer to the Fleet and then like ourselves, a trip north to Rochdale on Tuesday ended in a goalless draw. All of which has created a ‘Survival Saturday’ situation, leaving Boreham Wood in a must-win position.

Last time out
The Fleet picked up the three points in the first fixture at the Kuflink Stadium back in September, securing a 3-1 victory over the Wood. Luke O’Neill opened the scoring with a close-range effort in the 22nd minute. Darren McQueen doubled the lead a little later before Angelo Balanta clawed a goal back before half-time. McQueen made things safe with his second of the afternoon after that. Boreham Wood finished that match with 10 men after Billy Sass-Davies was shown a straight red for a stamp on Josh Wright.

Fleet have a good record across their last four visits to Meadow Park, the last one coming in 2019. Read about the history between the clubs here.

The potential outcomes
The Fleet head into this fixture 19th in the National League with both Boreham Wood and Woking below us. Five teams could potentially join Oxford City, Kidderminster Harriers and Dorking Wanderers in the drop zone on Saturday. For the Fleet to secure National League football for the 2024/25 season, a point is required. Boreham Wood need all three points or they are relegated. 

If the Fleet leave Meadow Park empty-handed and Woking lost at home to AFC Fylde, then it would be the Cards who would face the drop. 

Elsewhere, York City and Wealdstone are tied with the Fleet on 53 points so a point for both sides will secure their spot in the National League next season. York City travel to Solihull Moors whilst Wealdstone make the trip to Oldham. If the Fleet were to lose on Saturday, either York or Wealdstone could be relegated instead if they lost by two more goals than us. But it’s a win that’s the target for the Fleet as Danny Searle has made clear.

Familiar faces
The home side have no fewer than five ex-Fleet faces – goalkeeper Nathan Ashmore played alongside defender Chris Bush and midfielder Jack Payne at Stonebridge Road. In addition, the Wood have strikers Tyrone Marsh and Kwesi Appiah who both have Fleet links. The first four are likely to be in Saturday’s squad, with only Appiah having not featured since February.

Billy Clifford could feature against his former club once more this season

Meanwhile, both Billy Clifford and Shaq Coulthirst have worn Boreham Wood colours, Clifford in two spells in 2015/16 and again in 2018 while Coulthirst was at Meadow Park for the 2020/21 season.

Newest face
Striker Kabongo Tshimanga has returned to the Wood from Peterborough United on loan and struck seven goals since then. The former Oxford City and Chesterfield scorer was part of the Boreham Wood side the last time they hosted the Fleet in 2019.

The manager
It was recently announced that long-standing boss Luke Garrard will part company with Boreham Wood after his nine years at the club on the conclusion of Saturday’s game. Garrard has managed 440 matches for the Wood during his spell which began in October 2015. The 38-year-old’s journey at Meadow Park goes back further as he spent six years as a player across 140 appearances for the side.

Ticket info
Tickets can be purchased in advance here and the Fleet have been allocated up to 1,250 tickets including covered seating for 359. Tickets can also be bought on the day for an additional £2.

Your support this season home and away has been unbelievable and we need you more than ever for the final and most important match of the season – and coach travel can be booked all through Friday (see below).

Travel guide
The Fleet Supporters Trust coaches depart at 9:15am and cost £10 for adults and £5 for kids. Anyone who had purchased their ticket before the price drop will be reimbursed on Saturday. Bookings continue up to 9pm on Friday night.

Return train tickets cost £25.50 when departing from Ebbsfleet International to Elstree & Borehamwood. More info on departure and arrival times can be found here.

Driving to Meadow Park is approximately a one-hour journey. Parking is limited at the stadium but alternative parking can be found in Brook Road Public Car Park and also at the Hertsmere Council Civic Car Park which is less than a five-minute walk to the stadium.


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