Not for the first time in pre-season, Ian Allinson’s Boreham Wood acquitted themselves well against strong opposition before ultimately coming up short.
The Wood were again impressive as they held Championship Watford for 67 minutes before Matej Vydra’s deflected shot saw Beppe Sannino’s Hornets home.
Czech striker Vydra started in his preferred role through the middle before coming out to the left in the second half, with captain and talisman Troy Deeney absent, prompting much speculation as to where the forward will play this season.
Between the sticks, James Courtnage had an excellent game, deputising for the unavailable James Russell and keeping out Vydra on more than one occasion before the Czech international got the game’s only goal.
With the Wood playing four friendly matches in a week, Allinson took the opportunity to rotate his side, with Sam Cox starting on the bench and Luke Garrard in midfield. Ricky Shakes partnered Lee Angol up front.
The Hornets started brightly and saw wingers Lloyd Dyer and Ikechi Anya get in behind the Wood backline on several occasions without getting past the impressive Courtnage in goal.
Boreham Wood refused to roll over and die for their visitors, though, and threatened to cause an upset on more than one occasion when they forayed into the Watford half.
Angol in particular was unlucky not work former Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes when he swept wide first time following an inch-perfect right-wing cross.
Vydra almost put the Hornets ahead soon after but could only place his shot against the base of the post after being played in over the top.
Full-back Ben Nunn almost caught Gomes out with a lofted cross which ended up the roof of the net before the half drew to a close with the Conference South side having enjoyed their best spell.
Cox came on for the Wood at half time, whilst Watford made five changes.
Substitute Mathias Ranegie should have opened the scoring shortly after his introduction but instead contrived to head wide from Vydra’s chip to the back post.
Vydra then tested Courtnage once more, the goalkeeper displaying superb reactions to push the forward’s header over from an Almen Abdi corner.
With 23 minutes to play, the Hornets’ superiority told when Vydra finally beat Courtnage.
Picking up the ball on the left, the Udinese loanee drifted across the penalty area before working the angle to shoot beyond Courtnage with the aid of a deflection.
Grame Montgomery almost levelled in stunning fashion but the winger’s shot was well tipped over by Gomes in the Watford goal.
With time running out, substitutes Diego Fabbrini and McGugan combined well before the latter shot against the Boreham Wood crossbar.
The Hornets had created plenty of chances but found the route to goal blocked by the inspired Courtnage. For Wood, the match had been another useful run-out against strong opposition.
Allinson’s men return to action this evening as a Reading XI visit Meadow Park.
Watford: Gomes; Doyley (Hoban HT), Angella, Tamas (Ekstrand HT), Pudil; Abdi, Tozser, Battocchio (McGugan HT); Anya (Ranegie HT), Vydra, Dyer (Fabbrini 73).
Watford substitutes not used: Bond, Doherty, Smith.
Boreham Wood: Courtnage; Nunn, Hill (Cox HT), Reynolds, Morgan; Whichelow, Thomas (Hope 78), Garrard, Montgomery (Sterling-Parker 78); Angol (Noto 78), Shakes (Donnelly 78).
Boreham Wood substitutes not used: Freund.