Has Luke Garrard Taken Boreham Wood As Far As He Can? – Opinion

Sitting one point off the National League relegation places with just seven games left to play probably wasn’t what Boreham Wood fans had in mind twelve months ago when they were dreaming of a Wembley playoff final.

The Wood have struggled for form and consistency all year but relegation to the National League South is alarmingly close if Luke Garrard’s team fail to find some form against those around them.

Having reached the playoff semi-finals last season, Wood have spectacularly collapsed during this campaign, leaving some to wonder if time has run out for Garrard within this team framework.

In less than nine months, the Meadow Park outfit have gone from being 45 minutes from Wembley to a few games away from playing regional football next year. It’s quite a fall from grace. However, it can be traced back to the recent past when a year of highs was followed by one of struggle.

Back in 2018, the side finished fourth, only to survive relegation the following year by finishing one place outside the bottom four. In 2020, they were once again in the playoffs followed by a 14th place final-standing in 2021.

Although they didn’t make the end-of-season party in 2022, Boreham Wood finished only seven points short and flipped their earlier record by making their way in the previous campaign.

This year may not come as a surprise given their record in past years, it’s almost as if they suffer a hangover from the previous season’s disappointment rather than going one better and getting promoted.

Boreham don’t score many goals either. One goal can win a game and Wood have become very good at shutting up shop or at the very least taking a point. Only once in the last six years have they scored more than 55 goals in a forty-six-game season and at least a quarter of their matches end in a draw on average over the same period.

Boreham Wood are built on a strong backline. The likes of Nathan Ashmore and Jamal Fyfield are stalwarts and have a defensive mentality that few could breach. However, alongside those two are Femi Ilesanmi and Chris Bush, and while none are yet to reach their late thirties, it’s an area of the squad that needs younger reinforcements to complement the experience they already have. They have suffered with injuries across this campaign, but it’s been no different for any other club at this level.

The lack of a regular goalscorer hasn’t hampered them in years gone by. In fact, they made the play-off last season with Lee Ndlovu as the top scorer with just eleven goals. You have to go back six years again to find the time a Boreham Wood player hit twenty goals, ironically the last time they scored more than 55 in a season.

Garrard is into his ninth year as manager at Meadow Park, one of the longest serving in the division but there comes a time when each one has taken a club as far as they can. Attendances haven’t grown off the pitch in the same way as the club have developed on it. Sometimes a change of scenery, either forced or in some cases reluctantly taken, is better for all parties.

While Wood’s style of play isn’t too easy on the eye, it has shown to be effective for Garrard to be talked about in circles above when linked with EFL jobs, but a relegation this season, whilst blotting his CV, might mean a parting of ways, although it certainly wouldn’t be the end of Garrard at this level.

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