The annual pre-season friendly between Boreham Wood FC and Arsenal has become something of a long-standing staple over the past couple of decades, with both clubs using the meeting as a chance to test their respective mettle before getting into the real nitty-gritty of the new campaign.
As it bloomin’ well happens, the 2013 encounter was a vintage affair. The non-league hosts eventually ran out 3-0 winners against an admittedly youthful Arsenal XI, scoring their first two goals inside the first 15 minutes.
Boreham Wood’s second goal came directly from a set-piece gimmick so devious it would make Machiavelli himself weep warm, salty tears of envy.
Like Rafiki presenting Simba to the denizens of Pride Rock, accomplice Luke Garrard actually picked up the ball and held it above his head, quickly rotating about 45 degrees before placing it back down as teammate Mario Noto steamed in to curl a low shot inside the upright.
Fiendishly, deleriously clever, almost to the point of being entirely against the laws of the game.
Still, you simply can’t fault the innovation.
Other instalments in the Set-Piece Pioneers series…