Boreham Wood vs Tranmere Rovers: Vanarama National League Play-Off Final Preview3 min read

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Blogger of many different sports. My main interests are in football and formula 1, but I tend to write about anything topical in the world of sport. I also write about fantasy football on a regular basis.

Saturday 12th May will see Boreham Wood take on Tranmere Rovers at Wembley Stadium for the Vanarama National League play-Off final, with the winners joining National League winners Macclesfield in the Football League next season. For the clubs, much will be at stake on the prestigious Wembley turf. But what factors might be at play beyond 22 men kicking a ball around a stadium, and who is likely to prevail?

New Playoffs, Same Huge Game

2017-18 has seen a new format to the playoffs, with all teams finishing 2nd-7th qualifying for the end of season playoffs. The proposals caused a great deal of debate despite being voted in by 18 of the 24 National League teams, and yet the two teams in the final finished 2nd in 4th (in Tranmere and Boreham respectively). So in reality, the only difference compared to last year was Boreham playing two different teams rather than one, and Tranmere playing a game less. Nevertheless, this certainly doesn’t take anything away from the implications of this game.

Experience

Tranmere fans will be hoping that recent history doesn’t repeat itself following last year’s 3-1 defeat to Forest Green Rovers at the same stage. Despite their loss, there’s no doubt that the experience of playing at Wembley will have helped them and could give them an early advantage against Boreham Wood. Tranmere players will no doubt benefit from the leadership of veteran Centre-Back Steve McNulty, who has already achieved promotion to League Two twice before, with Fleetwood and Luton. The National League play-off final is unique in the atmosphere it generates: a 90,000 capacity stadium only filled by around 18,000 fans (going by last year’s attendance) is something that won’t have been experienced by the Boreham Wood players.

Key Players

As well as relying on McNulty, Tranmere will be hoping that Talisman Andy Cook continues his scintillating form this season, as the league’s top scorer with 26. Boreham Wood will be hoping that promising goalkeeper Grant Smith is able to keep Cook at bay, having kept 17 clean sheets this season, whilst their biggest goal threat will be Bruno Andrade, who has contributed 21 goals from midfield including goals in both games against Tranmere this season.

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Charlie Widdicombe

Blogger of many different sports. My main interests are in football and formula 1, but I tend to write about anything topical in the world of sport. I also write about fantasy football on a regular basis.

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