Boreham Wood’s Luke Garrard was in a reflective mood post-match and admitted his pride at how far the team have come in the space of two years.

The Wood were denied an historic promotion to League 2 in the National League Play Off Final at Wembley, after James Norwood’s goal ten minutes from time gave Tranmere a dramatic 2-1 victory, in a match which saw them play with ten men for virtually 90 minutes after Liam Ridehalgh was dismissed after just 54 seconds.

But despite the obvious disappointment of losing on such a big occasion, Garrard admitted his pride at how far the team have come in the space of two years.

He said: “I left the dressing room there and they are gutted. They have given me everything and they left everything out there on the pitch. Credit goes to Tranmere because to go 89/90 minutes with ten men and to play in the manner they did, I have to give credit to Micky Mellon and his side. It is a bitter pill to swallow.

“All I said to them at the end was thank you. We’re Boreham Wood. I know 90% of the football world didn’t think we had a chance but we finished fourth in the National League and we beat Sutton 50/60 hours later after losing three players in the Fylde game.

“I’m immensely proud of my players, my staff, the club and the fans and when the dust settles, we were 22nd in the National League when I took over. We finished 11th last year and fourth this year, so I think we’ve done fantastic.”

Despite going down to ten men early on, it was Tranmere who took an unlikely lead in the sixth minute when the National League’s top goal-scorer Andy Cook nodded home from close range.

After a nervy start to the game, the Wood slowly started to settle and they got back on level terms on the stroke of half-time when the club’s talisman Bruno Andrade stroked the ball into the bottom corner from inside the penalty area.

But Wood’s historic bid for promotion was denied by Norwood, whose header trickled over the line despite the attempts of goalkeeper Grant Smith to hand Tranmere victory and a return to League 2 for the first time in three years.

However, the game’s biggest talking point was arguably the dismissal of Ridehalgh and Wood boss Garrard felt referee Neil Hair made the right decision in sending the Tranmere man for an early bath. 

Garrard said: “I think it’s a red I’ve got to be honest. I haven’t had the luxury of looking at it back but the pitch was slick so in fairness to Liam, he’s slid about three or four metres prior to making the contact. But in my opinion, first hand it was a red.”