The Word In The Wood

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20/21 The Word in the Wood #3

Posted on 26th September, 2020

After missing out on all the fun last week, our U10 Boys returned to action in style this weekend, scoring an incredible eight goals in a vintage performance away to Croxley Green Whites.
The team's passing, tactical awareness and energy levels were perfect and provided the platform for Dragos to bang in an incredible four of the best, with Klaudjo, Charlie and Shreyank (2) also making the scoresheet with some fine finishing. At the other end, Aiden (& Charlie too once he'd finished scoring) were flinging themselves around like human cats, making multiple breathtaking saves!
MoM went to Shreyank who not only grabbed a brace but, produced a passing performance of true vision. Very well done.

U11 Boys just can't stop scoring and hurled in another four at home today against Pro Football London.
First up was brave-heart Lennon, mercilessly burying a nicely floated corner from the outstanding Julian (a boy who can seemingly outrun the Duracell Bunny), before the impressive Josh started a fabulous team move that ended with Zain crashing the ball home. Thereafter, the lively Joel turned it on, scoring two outstanding individual goals and adding to an impressive season's tally already.
At the back, the inspired Caed produced tremendous save after save and greatly improved his starting position as the game wore on, allowing him to calmly intercept opposition balls over the Wood defence. Hayden proved a rock at centre back and was amply aided by the diligent Flynn & Stanley, particularly as the game wore on. However, MoM was secured by the outstanding Will, who followed team instructions to the letter, grew quickly into his left back position and ended up producing a display of the very highest calibre. Super stuff.

U12 Boys played away at Maccabi Yellow trying to keep their perfect start to the season going. The boys looked strong but, struggled to pass the ball crisply or find the finish need to get their noses in front. The manager prayed for divine intervention and it came in the form of a Crucefix, as our rampaging attacker hurled himself bravely to head the ball into the net. Not content with this, he then smashed in three more goals all of which showed a very high level of technical skill and secured him as MoM.

As the action warmed up, Hobbs made a lung busting run down the length of the pitch only to see his long range shot cannon of the crossbar. Following on and after raising his game massively in the second half, McGuinness strolled up to a free kick and swerved it into the top bag for a goal of the season contender, then won a penalty that was unluckily crashed against the crossbar by Captain Hones.
The goal scoring action was completed by Ifeacho, who found the stanchion from seemingly hundreds of yards out and with a shot that resembled a Tomahawk missile in flight, while at the other end, Marshall was unlucky after making a fine attempt to keep out a late opposition penalty.
All in all, an excellent day's work, but, with tough games ahead, the boys will be looking to improve their focus and passing that little bit extra as they strive for honours.

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The Wood's U10 Girls' season finally started today and our little heroines put on a breathless display away against a fine Garston Wildcats side. With many new players making their League debut, the squad went about their business with great energy and a desire throughout to never give up, despite facing some impressive form from the opposition. Amongst the highlights, Kiella & Hazel made many penetrating runs from midfield, while Lucy, Chloe & Florence produced fearless tackles and passed the ball expertly. Emily looked a natural in goal with another 'old' girl Kara deservedly picking up PoM with an awesome box to box display that saw a wonderful range of incisive passing.

 

Just across the way, our U18 Girls were playing a final friendly against Garston Jaguars, and it seems like only yesterday when they were playing at U10 themselves! After seeing our two older squads moulded into one over the summer, the loyal Wood legions were delighted to witness an excellent performance with all 15 players in attendance making really positive contributions.

Swain created the opener from a wicked corner that was attacked bravely by Rodrigues; her reward seeing the net bulge and gaining that unique feeling only a goalscorer gets! The team were attacking really well with Coque & Joseph combining effectively down the right flank throughout and Hyman bossing centre midfield by attacking the ball first, time after time. However, some positional lapses saw the hosts gain a 2-1 lead despite the heroics of Manning in goal and excellent individual performances at the back from all our defensive players.

The 2nd half saw a finely balanced affair with Makamian retaining possession well and both Shaw, Embleton & Fordham putting in super, no nonsense performances. Just prior to the final whistle, the ever dangerous Swain received the ball wide of the penalty box and slalomed in before despatching a knuckle ball past the helpless opposition keeper. In many observers' opinions, a draw was the very least the team deserved.

In truth, every player performed highly today and though the season will be tough at times, with many older, experienced sides to play, the girls put on a very hardworking display that bodes supremely well for the future. With an excellent staff of talented, dedicated individuals with a variety of attributes too, the Wood faithful are looking forward to the start of the season with great anticipation!

20/21 The Word in the Wood #2

Posted on 20th September, 2020

U12 Boys hosted Whestone Leopards in a keenly fought match at a sunny Pursley today. The hot gossip pre-match was that Wood stalwart Makamian would be sidelined for some weeks with a fractured wrist, the result of a particularly devious rugby ball.

With their stricken buddy in mind, the boys attacked fiercely and secured a fine opener when Manning pulled back from an acute angle for the onrushing George to sweep home crisply. McGuiness was pulling the strings nicely in midfield only for the team to unexpectedly concede a couple of soft goals. However, the boys summoned great willpower to find an equalizer when Manning, enjoying a fine match, latched on to a loose ball to calmly find the bottom corner. A draw seemed imminent but, Pop had other ideas as he made a couple of fierce tackles to setup Manning, his goal bound shot being hammered in by the impressive George. Krakatoa erupted less than the home support then and Mary in the Tea Hut started handing our free bacon rolls to all and sundry, such was the spirit of elation.

On getting home, the boys realised their fine performance moved them to the peak of the Yellow division, ample reward for an excellent effort. MoM was picked up by Montgomery, who worked very hard throughout and played some lovely stuff while Reed, Hones & Hobbs also enjoyed stand out performances at the back.

 

After an excellent performance last weekend, our U11 Boys played a talented London Colney Lions away today. The hosts started well with the finely sprung Caed making two outstanding saves early doors before a well worked counter saw Jack pull off a remarkable, high tariff Rebona for his first ever Wood goal.

The team moved into overdrive then with the eel like Leon wriggling through the opposition defence to grab two fine goals, while top scorer Julian banged in a beauty of his own. Fast making a name for himself, Joel smashed in his fourth of the season shortly after before Caed almost pulled off a super save from a penalty late on.

Another exceptional performance from the boys with MoM going to Zain after he controlled the game for long periods and a special mention for Will also, who worked tirelessly for the team throughout. Very well done.

 

In the final fixture, our U10 Boys match was called off unfortunately but, they return next week rested and raring to go!  

20/21 The Word in the Wood #1

Posted on 13th September, 2020

The boys were back in town today, at last, with the glorious start of the 20/21 WFL season. It was great to see our little fellows galloping around, putting on some fantastic early season form.

 

U10 Boys were first up and faced a very tricky tie away to a slick Alexander Park North side. The boys gave it their all but, were unable to find the net on this occasion. Just great to be back playing, the squad learnt much and MoM went to Klaudjo after he selflessly lifted his team mates when entering the pitch after first half heroics in goal. Well done that man.

 

Craig and Sam of the U11 Boys' have done an incredible job in getting the team ready for the season from scratch in just a few weeks, but, surely it would be further weeks before we could expect a few goals from the side, this being the hardest thing to achieve in football? Neigh, neigh and thrice neigh, as the boys hit the floor running hard, blasting seven little beauties into the Pursley nets, against a fine HMH Athletico side.

Joel grabbed himself an amazing debut hatrick while Julian managed FOUR, the last of which practically destroyed the goal frame as it crashed home, earning him MoM in the process. Hayden was very solid and vocal at the back, while Zain ran tirelessly in midfield, enjoying a standout performance. What a superb début from the entire squad and staff.

 

As they embark on their competitive careers, U12 Boys faced a very difficult tie at HMH Eagles, searching for three valuable away points on a tricky astro surface. The boys poured it on from the start, competing well with George making an electric debut on the right wing and creating several early chances. However, unable to find the net, the Wood were grateful to captain Marshall for springing catlike to deny a certain goal on several occasions. As the game progressed, Makamian began to influence the match with accurate passing in midfield as did MoM Ifeacho, with buccaneering runs forward and missile like shooting inspiring his team mates to push for a winner.

After literally laughing in the face of adversity just prior, McGuinness pulled off a stunning ball over the top for Crucefix to shimmy his way into the box before converting expertly into the bottom corner. The place erupted in socially distanced pandemonium and the lads' long journey home was a very happy one, with many more than one thought spared for big Frank, who has done so much for the team over the spring and summer. 

 

We've all missed our football so much and it's just great to be back. Long may it continue and very soon our formidable gals will be back in action too and then, the circle will be complete again!

The Word in the Wood #34

Posted on 4th May, 2020

With the cancellation of all our kids' games and leagues, and the perilous state of the nation, the Wood's blog has been just a little redundant of late. However, as we begin to sniff the first sweet smells of lifting restrictions, we at the Club are staying positive and working hard to make sure we can get all our wonderful youngsters back out on the hallowed turf, sooner rather than later.

 

You'll hopefully have seen the Twitter and website items detailing the excellent progress expanding our Pursley parking capacity and we hope to be getting a dedicated toilet facility for the girls up there soon too. We have other plans to benefit our members but, at present, the world is a far different place to the one it was some months back. As such, the Club's priority is to keep a very steady ship financially and get through this difficult period in one piece, all the while providing our young teams with the infrastructure & facilities they need to play the game they love. With the loss of income from cancelled events and sponsorship, this will be challenging but, with everyone working together for the greater good, it is something we can realistically achieve.

 

Do to the huge and obvious difficulties caused by the lockdown, many clubs have sadly cancelled their end of season trophy presentations. Though we understand this reaction, our Club feels its kids and staff worked so hard, performing superbly during the season, and that this needs to be recognised. As such, we will be doing everything we can to hold a presentation day for the 2019/20 season. This will likely be different to normal and subject to national restrictions and rules, none of which any of us can second guess now, however, this is what we will be working to achieve.

 

With regard to the new season, again, right now, no one can be sure when this will kick off but, the WFL have started registration, so we are doing the same. As already advised by our team managers, parents/guardians of existing players re-signing simply complete the website registration form and email it to our Club Secretary. At this point, we are not taking registration fees as times are just too uncertain. When this changes and we know the new season is definitely going ahead, we'll sort out registration fees as usual. For now, let's just do what we can so the Wood is ready to get right amongst it when the whistle is blown for kick off!

 

Take good care of yourselves and with a fair wind, and in the words of the great Frank Sinatra - we'll be together again!

The Word in the Wood #33

Posted on 14th March, 2020

Sadly all WFL boys' games are off tomorrow but, just when you thought it was all doom and gloom, our little U9 Girls come trundling out at Pursley to brighten the day for everyone!

 

Although HGFPL matches are still on, our older girls were fixture-less, so it was left to the U9s to take up the baton for the club, and what a super job they did, playing against a handy Stevenage Starlets side.

 

After a slightly slow start the girls picked up momentum like a snowball rolling down the mountain, creating lots of chances that were well saved by the opposition keeper. Getting stronger as the match progressed, the team scored two wonderful goals; twinkle toed Lottie dancing around the opposition defence to score a sublime first goal for the club, while the multi talented Theaya launched a bazooka into the roof of net, deservedly securing herself PoM. Ella put in another amazing shift as she has done so often this season, while birthday girl and midfield dynamo Kara capped an exceptional display by proudly captaining the team.

 

Club photographer Russ managed to snap a few pictures of our heroines in action and I think you'll all agree, they look terrific!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Word in the Wood #32

Posted on 7th March, 2020

Our U9 Boys' pitch was just too wet to play on today and additional drainage for this area at Pursley is high on the club's priorities to address, particularly given the wetter winters we seem to be experiencing these days.

 

U11 Boys were able to play and put on a much improved display against Borehamwood Youth Knights in a first local derby for the team. After a gentle start, the boys found a higher level of energy and raised their game, scoring shortly after with top scorer Riley getting into double figures for the season after expertly dispatching following a trebuchet throw from debutant Kai M. The latter went on to secure MoM after an excellent opening match for the club, also supplying a slide rule pass for Kai J, who beat the offside trap and strode through to squeeze in a sweet strike for his second of the season.

The entire squad put in strong individual performances and with good protection in midfield from Charlie & Luke, a dominating, vocal match from keeper Max and excellent cover from Ben and Callum in defence, the boys also recorded their first clean sheet of the year. A really enjoyable game then, played in a good spirit between two well disciplined teams; without doubt, both were a credit to their clubs and the town.

 

In White division action, our U16 Boys took on a hot Harvesters South side pressing for promotion. After going a couple down after a lethargic start, the boys quickly improved and pulled one back after an excellent low finish from MoM Leiva; the first Wood player to christen the club's new full size goals. Though the result went away from the boys later on, the team kept at it throughout and were a credit to the club, as they have been all season.

 

 

        

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Wood's girls returned to match action today and there was of great football played.

 

U9 Girls were home at Pursley against a new opponent - Evergreen - and put on an excellent display. Lois added to her unbelievable season's tally with two wonderfully taken goals, while Emily drove through the opposition defence to drill home for her first ever goal. Thereafter, she pirouetted skilfully and fell into a crushing bear-hug from proud Dad and manager, Dave! Lottie and Gabby worked their socks off and enjoyed smashing games while Hazel kept things tight with an excellent cameo in goal.

 

Our U15 Girls played out a barmy match against Bedwell Rangers, scoring four times away from home, but, just unable to secure the win. In a vintage season, Swain added two more excellent goals to her mind-boggling overall total while Embleton, running ceaselessly throughout, skilfully found the net twice also. Rodrigues picked up PoM after selflessly filling in between the sticks.

 

U16 Girls had a really tough day with only nine players available and two of these succumbing to injury during the game. Despite that, the girls had a go and you can't ask for any more than that. Webb secured PoM with a resilient and gutsy display.

 

Both our older girls teams have struggled badly for numbers these last few seasons but, we have a core of talented young ladies that want to play football. The club will always support that so next season, we plan to merge the two teams into a super squad playing at U18; then it will be all systems go!

The Word in the Wood #31

Posted on 22nd February, 2020

Our U15 Girls match was postponed away to Chorleywood today, and while the squad headed off for a toe manicure at Champneys, our other two teams put on a richly rewarding display of top class footy.

 

First up were our mighty minis, the U9 Girls steaming on to the field against a much improved Chipperfield side. First amongst the goals was Theaya drilling a rising, angled drive into the top corner and simply choosing a heart-warming, beaming smile for her celebration that hands-down beat the cartwheels and knee-slides seen weekly in the Premier League! Next up was the gifted Kara, showing great compusure to record a fine finish, while deadly net-finder Lois banged in her 23rd and 24th goals of an incredible personal season; if she carries on like this, we'll run out of numbers! Last but, certainly not least, the club welcomed our latest new recruit - Cadence - who marked her match debut with a stupendous, thunderbolt of a goal! While the nets were bulging the Wood rear-guard were as miserly as Scrooge and PoM went to the superb Emily, who put in an immense shift at the back, stopping numerous Chipperfield attacks before breaking down the wings to set up our counters.

Immense credit goes to both the girls for taking to the game so quickly and to our management team - Dave and Sarah - who have taken what was no more than an thought last year and turned it into a thriving team of motivated and talented young players. First class and a lesson for anyone in what can be achieved when you are motivated and willing to volunteer your time for others.

 

It seems only yesterday that the girls in our senior side were knee high to a grasshopper themselves, having so much fun and doting on their manager's words! Years down the line and now leading the club's girls' section, our U16s seemed to have lost their love of the game earlier in the season, allbeit after some hard to fathom decisions by the League when placing them in Division 1. How fantastic then to witness the turn-around in their spirits since the turn of the year, re-engaged with their interest fully re-kindled. Today they faced the mighty Watford Ladies, with many observers predicting a rout, yet the Wood produced a season's best performance, managing to go in level at half time courtesy of a super corner delivery from the technically oustanding Branigan, that was met by Wood legend Young, swooping through the air like a human bald-eagle, to head the ball firmly into the stanchion!

Stand out performances were seen all over the park but, Luckhurst's ceaseless determination to keep going was a particular highlight as was a PoM performance from McLaughlin, who like a vintage wine, is getting better and better with age.

The match slipped away from us second half but, everyone in attendance was so proud of the girls and most importantly of all, they were proud of their own efforts and spirits were sky high at the end. Huge credit to them all, as well as to Adam, Susie and Jon for keeping everyone together and helping the team to turn the corner against all the odds.

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Our U9 Boys' game was postponed due to the continued bad weather but, both our U16s and U11s managed to play. Our U16s faced St Albans City East and put in a solid display but, were unable to secure a result on a wet and windy morning.

 

Meanwhile, the U11s lacked energy in their match with Pro Football London. Highlights were not in abundance but, Daniel broke from midfield to score a fine goal after a quick thinking throw from Henry, while Alfie secured MoM with a very hard working cameo on the wing.

 

I hope we can all expect a summer free of hose-pipe bans but, let's hope things dry up soon as I think we've all had enough of this rain!

The Word in the Wood #30

Posted on 8th February, 2020

The very high winds blew away any chance of our U9 & U11 Boys' playing today. However, our U16s wore lead boots and braved the elements to record a fab 0-1 victory away against Hendon United Netanya. The lads brought a hurricane force press to the game that proved just too much for the opposition who succumbed to a great all round performance and clean sheet, capped off in fine style by the in-form Valladares, who blasted in his first goal for the club. Super stuff and the team's points total continues to grow.

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With our U16 Girls without a fixture, this Saturday saw both our U9 and U15 Girls in action.

 

The U15s faced a local derby against Potters Bar Crusaders in a top of the table clash, with the team welcoming back Murray after a number of weeks out injured. In a pulsating match the lead went our way with Swain and Coque scoring yet more quality goals but, opposition pressure was relentless and the Bar edged the game 2-3. The girls and staff can be proud of their efforts and a strong finish to the season will keep the team in the title mix; anything is possible! PoM went to the impressive Rodrigues for a faultless defensive display.

 

With the news of yet another new signing in the offing, U9 Girls were in fine form against Southgate Adelaide. In a closely fought match, we sustained three nasty injuries one after the other but, Kara, Emily & Lois showed great bravery to carry on, with Lois going on to to score her 22nd goal of the season, dispatching the ball into the net with a flourish. The girls played some of the best football yet, passing from defence to attack and creating several 1 on 1s with the opposing keeper. POM went to the talented Lottie who is improving rapidly after only taking up the game recently while young Theaya received a special mention for an outstanding 'keeping performance in the second half!

The Word in the Wood #29

Posted on 1st February, 2020
It was literally crash, bang, wallop today, as our boys took to the field in a very eventful set of fixtures.

Our U16s were just four minutes into their match against Harvesters South when Tillcock and Amarteifio both challenging honestly for an aerial ball, suffered a serious clash of heads. Unfortunately, an ambulance was called and the match had to be abandoned, but, we're very glad to report both boys are bearing up well now, albeit with some bumps & cuts to nurse for a while. No doubt, they are both very tough cookies indeed. Great credit and thanks goes to our greatly experienced manager - Gene - who handled this difficult situation superbly as well as to the Harvesters South staff, who were hugely supportive and helpful throughout. Not a good moment then, but, so good to see so many decent people responding to adversity together.

As our U9 manager Bruce rushed to take Tillcock the Younger to A&E, the remainder of his U9 staff and parents' mobilised to ensure our young stars were able to fulfil their fixture away against the serpent like Harvesters Cobras. A stonking game ensued with 12 fantastic goals in total, the Wood's Bailey, Leo & Luis grabbing one each and the venomous Dragos slithering home four more in what is fast becoming an unbelievable season for him personally. MoM went to young Charlie, who played his heart out for big bruv and Dad, and the club places on record its thanks to Kelly, Jamie and Martin for pulling out all the stops to get the game on and the boys there, given today's difficult circumstances; a super effort all round.

Completing the day's events, our U11s faced local opposition in a humongous derby against Belstone. The boys received a harsh lesson at home earlier in the season against this talented side but, have improved rapidly since and flew out the blocks today, a bit like like the hare on a greyhound track! Keeper Max mixed it up by launching a meteor from his hands that top scorer Riley latched on to, showing great pace and technique to calmly slot home for his first. Two minutes later he met an excellent corner from Callum and executed a pirouette volley straight into the onion bag. Charlie and Ben continued to work extremely hard and good stints from Kai, Alfie and Khalid were also seen before Daniel produced a sublime pass from midfield for Sammy, who, despite having lots to do, produced a textbook finish that found the bottom corner, sent the Wood's away support completely crazy and secured him MoM too!

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It was very good to see all three of our girls' teams in action today.

 

After some weeks unable to field a side, the club was delighted to see our U16s take to the field again for Div 1 League action. Faced with a very tough assignment away against County Cup semi finalists Wodson Park, the girls played with a confidence and spirit that stunned their opponents, who were unable to score the glut of goals they perhaps expected. In the end, some exceptional finishing saw goals conceded but, our girls fought for everything, gifting their opponents nothing easy whatsoever.
Stand out performances were seen all over the park with keeper Harris making multiple outstanding saves, Turner playing with steel in defence & Branigan marshalling the midfield with a virtuoso technical performance. On the left side, Fernandez and Makamian worked tirelessly and effectively as a unit from start to finish and shared PoM honours.

 

Our U15s returned to League action against Herts Girls and with just 9 players recorded a resounding 3-0 victory, quite incredible given the lack of numbers and testament to their unquenchable spirit. The team's defence was rock solid with Manning, Rodrigues & De Maeijer dominating to help record a clean sheet, while in midfield Hopwood was very busy, covering the grass like a high speed robot lawnmower! Further up the field, our attacking trident of Coque, Embleton and Swain combined superbly to each find the net and secure a famous win that moves the team firmly back into League contention. PoM deservedly went to Weston after a no-nonense display including several crunch-o-matic tackles!

 

Last but, mostly definitely not least, our little heroines in the U9s went at it with gusto away to Garston. Lottie went close with a rasping drive before Lola - inspired by her big sis in the U15s - sighted the goal, drew back her foot and pinged the ball like a rocket into the top bag; her first goal ever! Kara enjoyed a super time between the sticks, springing about like Zebedee while Lois had the honour of securing PoM from both her own side and the opposition, a super compliment for a super player!

The Word in the Wood #28

Posted on 26th January, 2020

Yet more rain on an already wet surface meant we were unable to host any games at Pursley this weekend. Away from home, however, both our U9 Girls and U11 Boys turned it on.

 

First up were the girls, Lois scoring two crackers to take her season's total to an incredible 18, while Emily whipped in a wonderful corner that almost went straight into the net! All the team worked incredibly hard and PoM went to Lola, who ran ceaselessly and just never gave up. Well done you girls!

 

U11 Boys faced another away game and came out the blocks fast, the impressive Henry slinging across a super ball that was met with panache by the on running Luke, grabbing his third goal in two games and starting off 2020 with a real bang! Captain Ben enjoyed an awesome performance, running so hard he melted the studs on his boots, while MoM for the second week running went to Daniel, continuing to put in performances of great effort and technique.