Merseyside has become a happy hunting ground for Boreham Wood this season and today was no exception as Luke Garrard’s side swept Southport aside 3-0.

Victory over the Sandgrounders moves Wood up to 19th, two points clear of the National League relegation zone and adds to the scalp of Tranmere Rovers earlier in the campaign.

Two first half goals from Luke Howell and a training ground free-kick finished off by David Stephens clinched the points for Wood who go to Barrow on Tuesday in a re-arrange fixture.

Reflecting on the win, Garrard said: “We have had this in our locker for some time and the boys were well worth the win.

“We dominated literally the whole game and to execute a training ground move was the icing on the cake to round off a fine afternoon.

“Jason (Goodliffe), Junior (Lewis) and I are very proud and again our small band of fans were outstanding.

“We now prepare for a tough trip to Barrow in three days’ time, unfortunately without the services of Sam Cox who will need some recovery time.”

Ricky Shakes was preferred to Billy Clifford for Wood, with Delano Sam-Yorke handed his first start in a Wood shirt in the National League at the expense of Jamie Lucas.

With Wood possessing one of the meanest defences in the league, the home side set about breaching the fold with a series of low driven balls into danger.

Fortunately for boss Garrard his side were as equipped to deal with all kinds of deliveries into the penalty area. After ten minutes a free-kick delivered from the left found the unmarked Andy Wright who headed against the post.

It was a warning for Wood and, after 15 minutes, another free kick led to a mix-up between Sam-Yorke and keeper James Russell almost allowing another chance, this time Joe Devera was on hand to hook away.

A minute later Howell steadied the nerves for Wood in emphatic fashion.

Stephens’ ball downfield picked out Sam-Yorke and the counter attack was on. The striker held up play before laying into the path of Howell whose exquisite first-time volley found the back of the net.

It was as special as his and the club’s last goal ten days earlier at Braintree Town.

The Sandgrounders were looking for their first win in six and their task got even bigger when Howell struck again after 29 minutes.

Sam-Yorke set up Anthony Jeffrey to run and cross from the left wing. His delivery found Shakes inside the area. He was given time to bring the ball under control before rolling into the path of the arriving Howell, who took advantage of the sleepy defence to slide home his fifth of the season, becoming joint top scorer in doing so.

The two-goal cushion allowed Wood to dominate the rest of the half with Russell a spectator, such was the dominance of his superb line of defence.

The second half began with Southport upping the tempo, but it served only to frustrate them even further with Stephens, in particular, in outstanding form.

The rushed football from the Sandgrounders allowed Wood to exploit on the counter attack with Sam-Yorke and Jeffrey combining, leading to Sam-Yorke being upended on the edge of the area. Conor Clifford’s effort curled just wide of the upright.

With the home side running out of ideas Jeffrey shot wide with the visitors looking the likelier to increase their hold on the game. Howell and Clifford combined sending Sam-Yorke through on goal whose low shot was well saved by the legs of Max Crocombe.

A fruitful afternoon was capped off with 15 minutes remaining.

Wood won a free-kick just in front of the Wood dugout. What followed was a training ground plan transferred from paper to pitch in outstanding fashion.

Clifford delivered and Danny Woodards supplied the run, heading into danger to find a host of recipients ready to pounce. It was Stephens who struck home, capping a man-of-the-match performance.

The management team were mobbed, the Wood Army went wild and the first step towards survival were complete.

Sam-Yorke shot just wide before a tame on target shot from Southport’s Paul Rutherford was met with sarcastic applause by the home fans after 78 minutes.

When Sam Cox missed a challenge, allowing Mike Phenix through on goal, it looked like Wood’s clean sheet was to be tarnished. Until the imperious Stephens stepped in to divert the danger.

The victory came at a cost when the unfortunate Cox took a boot in the face with just minutes remaining, the only blot on a perfect afternoon for Wood.

Boreham Wood: Russell, Devera, Stephens, Doe, Woodards; Shakes, Cox (Kamdjo 89), C.Clifford, Howell, Jeffrey (Nunn 90); Sam-Yorke.

Subs: Lucas, Morias, B.Clifford.