Southend United v Boreham Wood…
Southend United host Boreham Wood this evening as they look to propel themselves back into the top half of the National League.
The two sides were due to meet at Roots Hall in February, but the match fell victim to Wood’s impressive FA cup run; the rearranged fixture promises a much altered proposal with Blues no longer on their lengthy unbeaten run, and Luke Garrard’s side falling out of the automatic promotion fold and battling to get back into the play-off picture.
Both teams recovered from poor runs of form by recording victories last weekend, and now the two sides face with seemingly very little on the line, although the visitors will have hope of an outside chance to steal a play-off place if they can win their remaining games and teams above them slip-up.
Southend went head-to-head with Boreham Wood at Meadow Park back in October in the sides’ last meeting. An 83rd minute goal by Tyrone Marsh was all that separated the two that day in a tightly fought affair, which was severely hampered by the controversial red card dealt to Abu Ogogo.
The Wood hit national headlines throughout the campaign as they shocked many with their excellent Emirates FA Cup run.
They reached the Fifth Round, where they eventually were beaten 2-0 by Everton at Goodison Park, but their mighty run included victories against Bournemouth and AFC Wimbledon.
Since their Fifth Round defeat, Garrard’s men have struggled to maintain the momentum they had in the league and went on to slump to a 10-match winless run.
So, while promotion now seems a pipe dream, Wood’s season has still been a massively successful one, and with Garrard in charge, they have a boss who can galvanise his squad and come back stronger next season.
Both sides picked up crucial victories on Saturday, Blues’ 1-0 triumph against FC Halifax Town ending a run of two consecutive home defeats.
Garrard’s men returned to winning ways after failing to pick up a victory in their last 10 outings as they beat Bromley 2-0.
Kevin Maher’s side head into tonight’s clash hunting their third straight win, impressively bouncing back from the previous sequence of five defeats on the bounce.
While the form guide doesn’t look pretty for the Wood, they have the joint-best defensive record of any side in the fifth tier – they’ve conceded 31 times this season, the same number as Halifax.
Blues have picked up six points from their last 15 on offer, while Boreham Wood have accumulated four.
From The Boss:
"For them to be where they are is testament to the manager and the work that’s gone on there,” said Maher.
"They had a difficult period but that happens to everyone, and they will be looking to finish the season strongly.
"They’ve had a lot of games and a great FA Cup run so this will be a tough, tough test.
"They’ll ask questions of us, and we will have to stand up to that.
"But hopefully we can pose one or two problems ourselves and it should be a decent game.”
Blues’ Team News:
Kevin Maher is keeping a close eye on Kenny Clark, Jack Bridge and Noor Husin after the trio were all forced off injured in Blues’ last outing.
The Blues boss admitted Clark is “sorer than when he had to come off,” and said he will give Bridge and Husin “the best chance we can” to feature.
Tom Clifford, though, will remain out with a hip injury having not returned to training.
John White is back with the squad after loan club Wimborne Town finished their season, but he is suspended for the clash with Boreham Wood.
Nathan Ralph, Rhys Murphy, Simeon Akinola and Abu Ogogo are all unavailable.
Scott Tallis will take charge of proceedings when Maher’s men meet ninth-placed Wood.
Tallis’ last trip to Roots Hall came when Blues were held to a 1-1 draw by Maidenhead United in December, he distributed two yellow cards on the night.
Over the course of the season, he has officiated 16 National Leage matches, showing 48 yellow cards in that time and two reds.
Tickets are on sale for the game from the Blues Box Office online, on the phone (0344 477 0077) or in person.
Tickets cost £20 for adults, £15 for concessions and £10 for juniors (9-16) and £5 for a child (8 and under).
Elsewhere in the National League:
Bromley v Aldershot Town
Dover Athletic v Notts County
Weymouth v Wrexham
How to Follow:
Blues fans unable to attend Roots Hall will still be able to follow all the live action by subscribing to Blues TV where you’ll get live match commentary from the BBC Essex team from all first-team matches this season.
Blues TV costs £4.49 per month or a one-off cost of £45 for the season, with your subscription not only giving you match commentary, but also exclusive access to extended match highlights, full pre-match press conferences, interviews, features and more.
You can also follow live minute-by-minute updates on social media via the Club’s official Twitter account by following @SUFCRootsHall on Twitter, which will ensure you get all the latest news and more throughout the 2021/22 season.
The matchday programme ‘Roots Review’ will be available to buy from programme sellers outside the stadium at the programme hut, main gate off Victoria Avenue and the West Stand entrance.
A digital matchday programme can be bought via MatchDay Digital.
Don’t miss out on picking up a copy of our junior pull-out, which is available at no extra charge.
It features lots of fun quizzes and is ideal for all young supporters.