National League side Boreham Wood defy odds against Championship side AFC Bournemouth to progress into the last 16 of the FA Cup


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All eyes were on the last tie of the FA Cup Fourth Round last night as AFC Bournemouth hosted National League side Boreham Wood.

The visitors attacked the game with no fear and booked their place in the next round with a 1-0 win, courtesy of Mark Ricketts’ first-half strike.

It is worth noting that the glorious last 16 clash with Everton which lies ahead will represent the first time the Wood have played at this stage of the competition. Rather impressively, Luke Garrard’s men are also yet to concede in their FA Cup run this season.

Elsewhere, Kidderminster Harriers almost pulled off the unthinkable against Premier League side West Ham United on Saturday. The Hammers needed extra-time to eventually overcome the National League North side, with a Jarrod Bowen goal on 120 minutes crushing Kiddy hearts.

Following their heroics against Bournemouth, Boreham Wood are the lowest-ranked side left in the competition. With no League One or League Two side remaining, their nearest league position rival is Championship Peterborough United.

AFC Bournemouth correspondent for Dorset Live, Jacob Tanswell, says the visitors impressed and thoroughly deserved the win against the Cherries.

“They were brave early on and they pressed Freddie Woodman. In the second minute, he passed the ball to them in the middle of his box and that set the tone from there on in.

“Bournemouth couldn’t break down their low block. They [Boreham Wood] were more purposeful in what they did, passing the ball quickly. I think Bournemouth made 650 more passes but they were lackadaisical, lethargic, while Boreham Wood were more physical so it could be a case of them wanting it more.

“You saw some quality with the goal, but they only made 160 passes all game. Defensively, I thought they were fantastic and well drilled, really brave in their press early on. They looked like a team that could compete at a higher level, full credit to Luke Garrard and his team.

“Although some [National League teams] are still semi-pro, there is a real appetite for cohesion and you have to understand back in the day, there was a lot of physicality and they used to rely on brute force. Now, there is a lot more structure and build up play and ways of working which you can see through Garrard’s methods.”

Over the years, games against National League sides have been overlooked by their opponents from higher divisions. However, times are changing.

There is always that ‘banana skin’ analogy thrown about when it comes to teams in Non-League especially. However, in recent times, we have seen special results with Boreham Wood and Kidderminster being the two that lead the pack in that department. 

The FA Cup is a competition for all, and if anything, it has raised awareness that quality lies outside the Football League.

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