Boreham WoodFA CupVS
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Non-league Boreham Wood’s reward for seeing off AFC Wimbledon in the third round of the FA Cup is a trip to the seaside to face Championship side Bournemouth.
They’ll know the task facing them is a pretty big one, but given they’re on a 14-game unbeaten run at the time of writing, they’ll head into the game with plenty of belief.
The hosts sit third in the Championship, and the league will certainly be the main priority for them this season. However, Scott Parker will know there’s a certain level of expectation from supporters when you’re at home against non-league opposition.
Kindly note that all information in this preview, including whether or not the event will take place, is subject to change due to Covid-19.
It’s likely Bournemouth will have plenty of the play and create a good handful of chances. Boreham Wood have been pretty solid defensively so far this season, but they’ll obviously be facing a different level of opposition here.
If at their free-flowing best, it wouldn’t be surprising if the home side registered several times. They’ve been a tad hit-and-miss at the Vitality Stadium lately, but Parker will likely see this as a good opportunity for his team to build some momentum again.
The visitors certainly have it in them to get on the scoresheet too. They’ve scored at least once in 22 of their last 23 matches, but ultimately, we think Bournemouth’s quality will prove the difference. With that in mind, the selection we’ve opted for is Bournemouth To Win And Both Teams To Score at odds of 5/2.
The Cherries haven’t exactly been at their ripe best over the last month or so, but they’re still in a decent position in the league. With Fulham opening a bit of a gap of the top of the Championship, their realistic battle looks to be the fight for second place, and FA Cup success can always be a good way of keeping positivity within a squad rolling.
They did go on a run of six games without a win near the end of last year, before bouncing back to form with three straight successes.
But since then, they’ve lost to both Luton and Hull, and boss Parker will be hoping for a bit more consistency from his players.
They face a struggling Barnsley side in the league prior to this game, where they'll be favourites to get the win. If they do that, this contest will be a good way of potentially starting up a new winning streak, and they have a few fairly favourable fixtures ahead over the next few weeks.
In the last round they faced another non-league team in the shape of National League club Yeovil Town. They secured a 3-1 victory at Huish Park thanks to a hat-trick from midfielder Emiliano Marcondes.
On the sidelines for the Cherries remain Junior Stanislas, Robbie Brady and Adam Smith.
Boreham Wood have already been through four rounds to reach this stage of the FA Cup. Their journey so far has seen them beat Barnet, Eastleigh, St Albans City and AFC Wimbledon respectively.
An away trip to a high-flying Championship side is undoubtedly their toughest test yet, but it’s something they’ll likely embrace. The chance for a lower league team like Boreham Wood to play against such opposition is what the FA Cup is all about.
They’re having a solid campaign in the league so far. Luke Garrard’s side are 5th in the National League, but with a few games in hand, and it being tight at the top, they’ll have their eyes set firmly on top spot and a route into League Two.
Not only will Garrard have been pleased with the result in the last round, but his men produced an excellent performance to accompany it too.
After a great through ball, striker Tyrone Marsh produced a terrific finish to put Boreham Wood ahead, and that got the home fans bouncing. In the 86th minute Adrian Clifton made it two, cleverly flicking in from a cross. The Wood did all the gritty things defensively too, and coming away with a clean sheet against a club two divisions ahead of them will certainly give them plenty of confidence.
This will be the first time the two clubs have clashed in any competition.
The Vitality Stadium holds 11,364 and was first opened back in 1910. Bournemouth are bottom when it comes to average attendance in the Championship at 9,710 supporters a game but given that means there aren't too many empty seats, you can usually rely on a good atmosphere at the ground with its intimate setting.
Bournemouth did announce plans to build a new stadium back in 2016. That idea looks to have been shelved for now, but the vision to do so still remains.
On paper this should be a relatively routine win for Bournemouth, but whatever the scoreline ends up being, Boreham Wood will give maximum effort.
The non-league side are a solid outfit, and their win in the last round shows what sort of performance they are capable of against opposition from higher leagues.
That said, we see the home side progressing. They might have to be patient to break down some stern opposition, but if they strike first the game could open up a bit, resulting in more of an open affair.