Boreham Wood vs Southend United...
Southend United begin their Emirates FA Cup journey on Saturday as they travel to Meadow Park to take on National League side Boreham Wood in the competition’s First Round proper.
It’ll be just the second meeting between the two sides and will be the perfect opportunity for Blues to shift the focus away from what has been a tough run of results in the league campaign.
And boss Mark Molesley will hope that a positive result can give his side the lift they need while being wary that Southend lost at this stage last season against another National League club.
Blues’ form has been disappointing in recent weeks with Southend losing their last six games in the league, the most recent of which being Tuesday’s 3-0 defeat to Bradford.
Molesley, though, was buoyed by Blues’ second-half response on a chilly night in West Yorkshire and hopes that a similar performance will bring with it a first competitive win of the season.
Come Saturday, it would have been 11 days since Boreham Wood were last in action. Last time out they beat Woking 1-0 and have won three and drawn one of their six competitive games this season.
Saturday 24th November 1973
Southend United 3-0 Boreham Wood
Terry Johnson, Brian Albeson, Stuart Brace
Southend United ended Boreham Wood’s FA Cup run at the First Round stage with a 3-0 victory at Roots Hall on a misty November afternoon in 1973.
It was the Athenian League club’s first appearance in the First Round after coming through four qualifying rounds, but goals from Terry Johnson, Brian Albeson and Stuart Brace put Blues through.
From The Boss
"It’s such a great, historical competition and I always remember playing my first game in the FA Cup when I was a youngster in non-league.
"It’s a great cup competition and one we certainly want to go as far as we can in.
"There’s a lot riding on all the games for us at the moment and we need to get that win and start building confidence. The financial rewards are there, a real tough challenge awaits and there’s not much separating us and them in the pyramid.
"They’re a very good side, have gone [to the] play-offs quite a few times in the Conference now and possess a big threat which will pose a big challenge.
"It’s one we’ve got to be ready for and seize with both hands."
Molesley added: "Conference clubs, we probably do them an injustice when we say non-league because they’re a full time outfit and there’s some really good sides in that league. You see how good Harrogate have been since they’ve come up, Barrow as well, so it’s not a challenge we’re taking lightly and it’s one we’re going to have to be at our absolute best in.
"We'll research them the best we can and they'll do the same for us. It's a more social world now and you can find out more information and a lot quicker. It adds to the ingredients of a tough cup tie."
Blues Team News
Mark Molesley will have been boosted by the return of John White to full training this week after the defender recovered from a hamstring injury picked up in early September.
The Blues boss also hopes to see a quick return for loanee Kyle Taylor who missed Tuesday’s trip to Bradford after limping off with a hamstring problem against Port Vale, however he's had a scan to double check the severity and Blues are hoping it'll only be short term, so he is unlikely to be involved this weekend.
Taylor is one of three loan players who have all been granted permission to be involved in the competition.
Richard Taylor should be OK after travelling to Bradford but failing to make the bench due to a muscle tweak in the warm-up in West Yorkshire.
Boreham Wood Dangerman
Experienced striker Matt Rhead will undoubtedly cause the Blues backline a few problems at the weekend and is a big presence for Boreham Wood’s attack.
The 36-year-old came to prominence while at Lincoln, helping them climb from the National League to League One as well as play a major role in their historic cup run to the Quarter Finals in 2017.
Rhead’s height and power make him the perfect target-man for Wood’s attackers to feed off of and it’ll take some doing to keep him quiet at the weekend.
Football League referee Ben Toner will be the man in charge at Meadow Park, being assisted by Andrew Hendley & Bradley Hall, with Ryan Atkin filling in as the fourth official.
Toner has officiated 10 games so far this season and has handed out a total of 34 yellow cards and one red, although his book wasn’t needed last time out in Blackpool’s 1-0 win over Wigan.
Saturday will see Toner referee Boreham Wood for the first time, while it will be the referee’s first Southend game since officiating Blues’ 3-2 defeat at Bolton Wanderers last December.
This weekend’s cup clash will not be available on iFollow Blues, however, it will be available to watch on Boreham Wood’s live streaming service for £9.99.
Proceeds from the sale of Video Match Passes will be split 50/50 between both clubs and coverage of the match in Hertfordshire will start a 2.45pm.
For more information on how to purchase your Match Pass as well as other troubleshooting information, click here.
Audio commentary is available on the Blues website, those passes are £2.50 and are available here.