Boreham Wood manager Luke Garrard was pinching himself at the prospect of locking horns with Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole after his non-league side stunned Bournemouth to book an FA Cup fifth-round clash with Everton.
Mark Ricketts’ first-half goal was enough to dump Championship promotion hopefuls Bournemouth out at the Vitality Stadium and set up a mouth-watering trip to Goodison Park
The Toffees recently appointed Lampard as their new manager with Cole joining the coaching staff at the Premier League side, and Garrard is already contemplating the chance to test himself against the two former England and Chelsea greats.
He said: “I love Frank. Ashley Cole is the best left-back Arsenal ever had. To be able to pit my wits against them, it hasn’t sunk in yet…”
Boreham Wood went into Sunday’s fourth-round clash unbeaten in 16 games in all competitions and having not conceded a goal in their four FA Cup matches to date this campaign.
However, the National League outfit were firm underdogs against a Bournemouth side lying third in the Championship and Garrard admits he had feared the worst against Scott Parker’s men – only to then be left “on top of the world”.
The 36-year-old former Swindon and AFC Wimbledon midfielder said: “I thought they were going to hit us for eight. I am in tatters. I am on top of the world. The emotions at the minute are incredible.
“We rode our luck. I tell my boy every Sunday to be a good team player. That is what we did. I am going to get emotional. They are unbelievable, these boys.”
The visitors, who have the best defensive record in the top five divisions after Manchester City, were by no means overawed on their trip to the south coast and they kept their hosts largely at bay before taking a shock 38th-minute lead.
Gavin Kilkenny’s clearance fell to Wood captain Ricketts on the edge of the box and the 37-year-old calmly slotted in a low shot off the post to send the 1,500 visiting fans wild.
Bournemouth had to wait until the 45th minute to register their first shot, when Lewis Cook saw his effort fly high over the bar, and boos rang out around the ground at the half-time whistle.
Things barely improved for the hosts after the break despite bringing on five replacements, with Philip Billing’s attempted lob which landed on the roof of the net one of their closest efforts.
The Cherries did almost snatch an equalizer but a combination of Boreham Wood goalkeeper Taye Ashby-Hammond and the woodwork denied Ryan Christie and Billing in quick succession before Jaidon Anthony poked the ball over the line only for an offside flag to cut short celebrations.
Parker sent on top goalscorer Dominic Solanke in the closing stages but he was unable to take his one clear chance during five minutes of stoppage time as he pulled his shot wide, and Boreham Wood could celebrate a famous upset.
Bournemouth boss Parker said: “They defended heroically and if you give a team something to cling on to then it’s very difficult.
“The fans leave this stadium with a lot of questions and a lot of doubt. I’m hugely hurt and disappointed.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.