Wood's new joint player managers, Engwell and Harvey, may sound like an upmarket department store to some, but after four defeats on the spin it is vital that their men return to winning ways before the onset of the January sales.

The pair take charge of their first match before the Meadow Park faithful on Saturday, as Wood begin a sequence of three successive home games, and it will be a tough baptism, as second placed Gravesend come to town.

The Fleet's 2-0 success last weekend against Kingstonian was their eighth home win in a row, and on current form they seem the only pretenders to leaders Canvey Island's throne, remaining only three points adrift of the high profile Gulls.

Roared on by a 691 Stonebridge Road crowd, an Eliot Martin penalty and a strike from skipper Jimmy Jackson in four second half minutes saw Gravesend home against the K's, and it will not please Wood to note that their away record is also among the best in the division.

Maximum points have been gained from their visits to Aldershot, Basingstoke, Billericay, Croydon, Hampton, Kingstonian and Maidenhead, with a 2-0 loss at Grays the only blot on the Fleet's copybook.

In former Hampton striker Che Stadhart, Fleet have one of the leading goalscorers in the Premier Division, and they have also recently signed experienced goalkeeper Adrian Blake from Kingstonian.

Winners last term of both the Full Members Cup and Kent Senior Cup, Gravesend also finished sixth in the league their highest position since joining the Ryman ranks in 1997.

This fixture was originally scheduled for November 17, but Fleet were otherwise engaged that afternoon in an epic FA Cup tie at Huddersfield, where only a last minute goal by the Second Division side saw them through.

The last time Wood faced the Fleet was at the climax of their last Premier Division season in April 2000.

That evening at Meadow Park a flurry of goals in the last five minutes saw Wood crash 3-4, a result that effectively condemned them to relegation.

Revenge will be surely sweet this Saturday.

Boreham Wood v Gravesend & Northfleet

Ryman League Premier Division

Saturday, December 22, Kick Off 3pm

Meadow Park


With Enfield currently groundsharing at Meadow Park, one could not get a more local derby than this, and Wood will be looking to extend their excellent recent record against the E's.

Since originally returning to the top flight in 1995, Wood have won seven and drawn two of the ten league meetings between the sides, as well as ending Enfield's interest in both the FA Trophy and League Cup along the way.

There are several on both sides who will be keen to shine in the post yuletide glow.

Wood's new forward James Bunn was signed recently from the E's, and the former Spurs trainee will be keen to open his account against his former team mates.

Bunn celebrates his 24th birthday on January 12, and scored twice in the reserves' 2-3 Capital League loss at home to Yeading on Monday evening. Fullback Dave McDonald served both Enfield and Wood in the past two seasons, and he is facing treatment this week on a troublesome hamstring.

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Wood's joint player boss Lee Harvey has also worn the E's white shirt.

In the Enfield line up, defender Steve Magona played around 50 times for Wood, and he too will look to do well.

Last Saturday the E's drew 1-1 at Meadow Park with Aldershot, taking the lead through George Gregoriou, but they remain in 18th place in the table.

The hosts will have to watch Gregoriou's striking partner George Georgiou, the Premier Division's leading scorer in his final campaign with previous club Purfleet.

Boreham Wood v Enfield

Ryman League Premier Division

Boxing Day, Kick Off 3pm

Meadow Park


Forthcoming Fixtures:

Sutton United (H) Sat 29 Dec 3pm;

Grays Athletic (A) New Years Day 1.30pm; St Albans City (A) Sat 5 Jan 3pm


Two men who have already occupied the Wood manager's chair this term were in the news last weekend, as both moved into new positions.

In a move that raised few eyebrows, Tommy Sampson has taken over as boss of Dr Martens League side Dartford, for whom he played 250 times as a player in the 1970s.

Sampson, who is also a vice president and shareholder of the Darts, said: "It's brilliant. I can't think of a better club to manage.

"If things had been right at Wood I would have still been there. It was the right job at the wrong time, and I only applied for this one after I'd resigned."

Wood chairman Danny Hunter observed bitterly: "Surprise, surprise! It seems like everybody had it right after all."

Meanwhile, Graham Roberts has been installed at first division Carshalton Athletic following the sacking of manager Frank Murphy.

Roberts said: "I've accepted the job because they are good friends of mine. It's another challenge for me. When I took over at Wood they were 17 points off the top. The feeling was that they'd be lucky to finish third, but we won the division."

Asked if he had any regrets about the way his brief Meadow Park sojourn ended, Roberts said: "Not at all. I was charged with getting them up, and that's exactly what I did."