Champions elect Cheltenham Town turned on the style in front of a bumper crowd to inflict Boreham Wood’s heaviest defeat of the season as they slumped to a 4-1 loss.

Danny Wright got the ball rolling with a 17th-minute penalty and he went on to convert a second spot-kick, either side of two goals from Dan Holman, while Danny Haynes registered Wood’s consolation with a fine free-kick.

The visitors pre-match preparation was far from ideal as, plagued by holiday traffic, the team bus finally rolled into the Whaddon Road car park at 2.45pm, causing a delayed kick off.

Despite the disruption, it was Wood who looked the brighter when play did get underway, winning four early corners and Ricky Shakes forced a save from Jonathan Flatt, who got down quickly to palm away the effort.

Cheltenham’s first effort was created simply from a throw-in on the right and James Dayton saw his rising drive kept out by a finger-tip save from James Russell.

The nature of the Robins’ opener was controversial. Holman initially got beyond Scott Doe, who then got a toe on the ball, only for the on-loan Colchester United striker to go to ground. Referee Rob Whitton pointed to the spot and Wright duly converted with 17 minutes played.

It was a bitter pill to swallow given the promising start made by Luke Garrard’s men and the Wood boss reflected afterwards: “We started well given our journey, before conceding the first penalty. Maybe we should have let Dan Holman have his shot, but we did not and it cost us.

“I thought both Harry White and Danny Haynes worked tirelessly for us up front, yet we were in truth up against a ruthless strikeforce and they made us pay. I told the players to admire the way that Cheltenham did all the basic things right this afternoon.”

Wood continued to enjoy the lion’s share of possession, which yielded a half-chance for White who could not convert after fine build-up work from Conor Clifford, Luke Howell and Shakes.

Town won their first corner after 38 minutes and Wood allowed far too much space, forcing White to do a turn in defence, blocking well.

There was no controversy surrounding Holman's next contribution to the game as half-time approached. Receiving a pass from Asa Hall he took one touch inside before driving home a superb and unstoppable shot across goal into the bottom right-hand corner.

Wood had a chance to atone when two defenders suffered a communication breakdown, allowing Shakes to flick the ball beyond Flatt, before the acuteness of the angle denied him.

It was for the time in the National League this season that Garrard had to conduct a half-time talk with his players two goals behind and it was almost three when Kyle Storer floated a cross from the left to the far post, where Cameron Burgess’ header went just wide of the upright.

Garrard introduced a second striker in the shape of Junior Morias as the Robins continued their best spell in the game. When they are on song, they are spellbinding and a superb interchange of passes between arguably their best three players reaped rewards.

Dayton linked up with Wright through the middle who fed a pass for Harry Pell and his run was ended by a poor challenge from Doe. The impressive Wright duly crashed home his second and his side’s third from the spot after 51 minutes.

Wright and Pell then combined again to set up Hall, whose effort had the beating of Russell but not the post. It then needed a superb block from the rock solid Joe Devera to prevent Holman knocking in the rebound.

Town continued to create with Wright having two attempts blocked when well placed, but Wood never stopped believing and crushed the Robins’ dominant spell after 63 minutes. Clifford’s run was blocked, allowing Haynes to curl a superb free-kick into the top right hand corner of the net, giving Flatt no chance.

The Robins put a greater emphasis on maintaining a two-goal cushion after the Haynes strike, which in the main was comfortably achieved.

Clifford’s work rate was almost rewarded when he played Morias in for a shot on the turn which was blocked, allowing the Republic Of Ireland midfielder to rush in and force a save from Flatt from the resultant loose ball.

Amari Morgan-Smith was introduced by Gary Johnson to freshen up the forward line and he forced Russell to save well when through on goal.

He played a big part in the fourth goal, scored in stoppage time, which showed the necessary credentials required for an immediate return to the Football League.

Haynes lost possession on the Robins goal line and seconds later it was in the back of the Wood net. Morgan Smith broke with pace down the left wing, laying into the path of Holman whose finish was as accomplished as his first of the afternoon.

Boreham Wood: Russell, Devera, Woodards, Stephens, Doe, Kamdjo, Shakes, C Clifford, White (Lucas 74), Howell (Morias 48), Haynes. Subs not used: Nunn, Reynolds, Sam-Yorke.