The Word In The Wood

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21/22 The Word in the Wood #12

Posted on 27th November, 2021

Ahead of their big County Cup game next weekend, our U12 Boys warmed up with a consumate 8-0 performance against St. Albans City East.

 

The lads started very quickly indeed taking the lead within a minute then carrying on their excellent passing game despite the frosty conditions. Staszewski continued his fine run of form notching four superb goals on the day, while his attack partners Adoma & Rocha banged in deadly braces apiece. Despite such incredible goal scoring feats, MoM was rightly secured by Walker, leading his defence to an impressive clean sheet and not putting a foot out of place the whole time he was on the pitch.

 

The squad is in super form and ready to raise their game again next next Sunday as they attempt to secure a quarter final place in the biggest cup of the lot!

 

 

Meanwhile, U11 Boys faced a very strong Rap-Aid Youth side but, put in a really gutsy performance far away from home.

 

Keeper Luca started strongly in goal as did his defence of William, Matei and Noah. In midfield, Aiden and Bailey were in fine fettle, passing slickly and feeding the forwards well.

Jayden, Klawdjo and Thomas - making a very strong debut - played some lovely stuff up front before Aiden moved to goal and Audley to midfield as poor Luca succumbed to injury.

 

Everyone in attendance played really well and gave it their all and no one can ask anymore than that; everyone at the club is very proud of them. Bailey secured MoM with a dynamic and lung-busting midfield performance.

 

 

*

 

Our U11 Girls braved the elements today to continue their fine run of games with an outstanding peformance at home to a strong LGDA side that were setup for rapid counter attack football.

 

On a freezing day that was horribly windy and wet, the Wood were excellent in possession throughout, waiting patiently for a goal to arrive. Rampant No8 Lucy finally broke the deadlock early in the second half. It’s normally her running power that impresses most but it was excellent timing and really good positioning to force the ball over the line that worked so well here.

 

Our defence was as mean as ever and Annie & Kiella gave nothing away backed up by emerging star Emily in goal, pulling off two incredible fingertip saves. Elsie in midfield had an awesome game gliding over the muddy surface like George Best of old and scoring a super second goal in a memorable performance.

 

PoM Romey took her superb training ground form on to match pitch, working so hard off the ball and constantly threating the away defence. She held the ball up really well too and often linked with dancing midfielder Karadonna.

 

Hazel had a very solid game and got two assists today and is learning to be an all round striker. The game was very tense with the clock running down before up stepped captain Theaya, drilling the ball home for her third in three weeks. The girls are in tremendous form and we can't wait to see what they get up to next week!

 

U18 Girls had a free week but, will be roaring back into action next Saturday!

21/22 The Word in the Wood #11

Posted on 20th November, 2021

U13 Boys faced Oakhill Tigers Tornados in the last 16 of the Junior League Cup, knowing that a good perfromance would see them through to the quarter finals. The boys didn't disappoint, securing a fine 0-8 victory.

 

All over the pitch, the Wood faifthful saw quality performances. Marshall was faultess in goal, Captain Hobbs led a three man defence including Hones and Ifeacho who dealt very efficiently with all opposition attacks. A centre midfield consisting of the 3Ms - McGuinness, Manning and Makamian - controlled the middle of the pitch, playing some delightful football and feeding lively wingers Malcom and Montgomery, who raided down the flanks throughout. Up front, Crucefix, Song, Reed & Oswald were intent on letting fly at every opportunity and looked a threat all game as a result.

 

Reed scored two including a perfectly taken penalty, Crucefix bagged four including two with thrilling individual runs that started in his own half. Manning filled his boots with a rasping shot while Montgomery produced the cross of the game to setup Malcolm who slid in expertly with great desire to guide the ball home with his left peg. He also secured MoM with an excellent performance mixing up tracking back, skillful wing play, simple passing and deadly finishing! All in all, a very fun day for the lads.

 

 

U11 Boys meanwhile faced a talented Whetstone Jaguars side at Pursley. Missing some players through sickness and injury, the boys in attendance stepped up to the plate and were raining shots down from the off, while keeper Luca - rightly named MoM - produced save after save and showed great skill in reading the game.

 

Matei, Yue and Christian were holding their own really well in defence with Aiden and Noah lively in midfield, making run after run and passing the ball forward effectively. In attack, Shreyank, Audley and Klaudio were getting quality crosses away and firing in shots throughout. Aiden skillfully won and converted a penalty while Audley struck with style to send the net bulging again.

 

Second half continued in much the same way with Riley taking position in defence and William on the right wing, both to great effect. Aiden finished off the scoring with his second, a stunning strike that cannoned off the underside of the crossbar before flying in. All in all, a super performance from the lads as they prepare for competitive football next season!

 

 

U12 Boys put in a solid performance against Alexandra Park North but, a couple of avoidable early goals cost them as they recorded a 1-4 reverse. Gardiner scored a fine goal that sailed imperiously into the net while Hebblethwaite secured MoM with a typically all action and non-stop display. Well done young man. 

 

 

*

 

Our U11 Girls are flying right now and played away at tough opponents Welwyn Pegasus today, who always produce strong displays against the Wood.

 

However, the Wood got off to a great start with an early penalty. Up stepped the goddess of thunder - our No9 Hazel - to dispatch her effort at the speed of light into the top bin! Two seconds later and Hazel's hammer struck again, a true poacher's goal dispatched expertly.

Lucy and Ella prowled the midfield and did their upmost to stop any breaks with Lucy on one such occasion stealing the ball in front of our area before a typical show of pace, power and skill running the length of the pitch before slotting calmly past the Pegasus keeper!

 

Star winger Lois was in rampant form notching two and it was just like watching Tobin Heath in her pomp! Lois has always been unplayable at her best and today everything her and the coaches have been working on came off; her team play, crossing and tracking back was a joy to behold for the football purist!

 

Karadonna scored a goal that isn’t often seen at this age and on these pitches, dancing and mesmerising the home defence throughout and on this occasion having the nous to lob the Welywn keeper goalie who had just left her line. A sheer thing of beauty was how manager Dave described the finish!

 

New girl Amie is proving to be a fantastic addition to the squad and has settled in perfectly. Her first goal has been coming for a couple of weeks now and it duly arrived today with a low, long range drive that flew into the net. Her awareness of the situation she was in and the ability to capitalise on it speaks volumes of this player.

 

Our best goal today wasn't scored last but we've saved the description to last so good was it. The ball was won on the right by defensive rock Kiella who played a cross-field pass to the other pillar of our defence Kate. Kate beat one player before producing an inch perfect pass to Amie. She fed Ella, who released Lois into space behind the Pegasus right back. Lois dribbled on then got to the byline and cut the ball back where two Wood players where waiting! Striker Lottie and right midfielder Theaya had both made training ground runs to the middle of the box and the back post, much to their coaches happiness. Theaya was ready on the back post for an simple looking tap in but those who know have seen the team working on this move for a while now!

 

Emily was a contender for PoM as was Kate (Ella Z) before going off with an injury but the deserved winner was Lois with two goals and numerous assists. The coaches are so proud of this young side!

 

 

Meanwhile U18 girls suffered some late pull-outs and were unable to get a side over to Ruislip for their League game. Hoping to have all the girls back for our next fixture.

21/22 The Word in the Wood #10

Posted on 13th November, 2021

U13 Boys have been on a bit of a wobbly run of late culminating in their early exit from the Middlesex County Cup last week, knocked out by a lower division team they'd beaten comfortably just a few months back. That's football sometimes and to break such runs, you first have to put in lots & lots of effort.

 

That was the watch word today as they took to the field away against Oakhill Tigers Sharks in the League and the lads certainly put in a mighty shift to secure a valuable point and start to move the wheel of fortune back in their favour.

 

Leading in this were Pop, Hones and MoM Hobbs, covering every inch of grass as they sought to move the team forward, the latter soaring through the air like a Borehamwood condor to plant his swede on a sweet Hones corner and send the ball arcing into the net!

 

Montgomery was lively on the right wing and narrowly missed out with a smart shot that was saved well by the home keeper but, further good opportunities were not siezed with conviction before the Wood blotted their copybook with the concession of a cheap goal that could've been defended better, a corner ball dropping uncontested into the danger area before being bundled home unceremoniously.

 

After dominating the match to find themselves still level at half time, the team were down but, not out and showed great spirit to seek a winner. Manning & Pop pushing the team forward from the centre and Crucefix looking dangerous out wide, supplying a super pass that Captain Ifeacho drove just wide of the upright. There was still time for Oswald to hammer a shot narrowly wide and for keeper Marshall to produce a world class save at the death when it seemed that Oakhill must surely score.

 

Well done to the boys for trying very hard and they head back to the training ground ready to hone their technical skills and build on this platform they constructed today with hard graft and desire.

 

 

U12 Boys meanwhile are riding the crest of a wave just now and the boys carried on from where they left off last week with some lovely football against Hinton & Finchley Hotshots in the League. Rocha was back out on pitch after his 2 games in goal and was straight back to what he does best, drifting pass players and scoring goals. He scored the first and second today with deadly finishes, Staszewski then cooly grabbing another to make it 3. Evans got the goal he's worked so hard for recently, finishing a rebound expertly after a great save by the keeper. 4 up at half time.

 

The back 5 when called upon were solid and were determined to keep the clean sheet. The passing football carried on in the second half but the boys seemed to be rushing their finishing slightly, then in the last 10 minutes the goals flowed once more, MoM Staszewski added 2 more to complete a genuinely devestating hat trick and Adoma got the goal he deserved after a great counter attack involving Delia, Adom & Staszewski. Three valuable points gained and the Wood head up the league table very nicely indeed!

 

 

Last but, not least were our U11 Boys who have been playing such good football of late. The boys suffered a bit today after an erratic refereeing performance but, it;s all good experience at this age. Looking forward to next week already!

 

 

**

 

U18 Girls travelled away to face a physical Garston Jags team in HGFPL Division one today, with a really good squad numbering 15 girls.

 

Captained by the hard-running Umalin, the players were in excellent spirits, starting fast with Hodges unlucky not to score after a rasping shot following excellent build-up play from Warren, while Harry-Brown almost scored a worldy with a piledriver that missed by inches. After putting on a really good defensive display too, the Wood headed in 0-0 at half time, 

 

Garston's number 8 enjoyed an outstanding game in centre midfield and despite their best efforts, the Wood struggled to keep her in check throughout. However, we did manage this well at the start of the second half leading to several chances the best of which saw Umalin produce a flying save from the home keeper. Makamian produced a sublime dribble and shot that narrowly missed the opposition stanchion while Hodges and Embleton both let fly with quality shots too.

 

The game was open and the Wood defence performed so well to hold Garston back throughout, with Steward and PoM Branigan particularly superb while ably supported by Turner, Warren and keeper Hyman, who was just unable to stop a vicious shot from the Garston wing finding our net.

 

This decided the match and that's how it goes sometimes, but, once again, the girls showed great courage, desire and togetherness to perform very highly on the day and produce a more than respectable result. Really well done to one and all.

 

 

Meanwhile, our U11 Girls played away to Stevanage Starlets today and had a very tense game against very strong opponents.

Key players Hazel, Kiella & Ella W were rested this week and Kara made her first start up front, getting her 1st goal of the season shortly after, a beautiful finish after excellent team play. The Wood’s incisive passing created good scoring positions many times thereafter but, great keeping stopped further goals at this time.

Emily was fantastic between the sticks throughout and kept Starlets at bay with many fine saves. Lucy patrolled midfield and stopped the opposition from influencing the game too much and was greatly helped in this by Elsie and Annie, who were both tenacious and very hard working.

 

Lois was causing havoc on the left wing and came close on numerous occasions before brilliantly setting up Theaya, who also opened her account for the season with a stunning finish that had the away support cooing in admiration.

Wood nearly got a third and Theaya’s second but were stopped by a super goal-saving tackle which embodied Starlets’ great spirit. In a super advert for girls’ football, Emily was proudly selected as POM by both teams. With Lottie and Romey running themselves into the ground supporting their teammates, it was a day to remember and another quality performance from the squad.

21/22 The Word in the Wood #9

Posted on 6th November, 2021

It was County Cup day for our competitive boys’ sides with our U12s facing off against Ruislip Rangers. The boys were very much up for the challenge with a great performance from the whole squad, playing good football all over the park for the whole game.

 

Staszewski was the match winner on the day, firing home two exquisite efforts from 25 yards out, the first a stunning free kick, the second an arrowed effort after excellent work from Parratt. Adom secured MoM with a dominating centre half performance while special praise also goes to Adoma for unselfishly chasing down every loose ball and Rocha, for stepping up to play in goal again and keeping a fab clean sheet. Could our boys be on a path to the final?!

 

U13 boys faced off against Omonia in a game they fancied having won comfortably against this opposition a couple of months back. Unfortunately, the boys are making too many defensive mistakes right now and were two down quickly. The team fought back well with Pop scoring an opportunist goal but, despite Ifeacho crashing an excellent effort against the crossbar later, were unable to find an equaliser.

 

U11 Boys played Hendon United in another cracking game today at Pursley. Aiden starting off the shooting with a snap effort from 15 yards that was saved by the away keeper. Aiden, Bailey and Matei played well in defence stopping everything and making sure the ball was fed upfront.

 

Ethan and Noah starting in midfield with flawless play passing and running keeping Shreyank, Klawdjo and Audley forward all the game. Shreyank drilled in tow special efforts first half. Second half saw Aiden push into midfield while William stepped into defence making runs everywhere.

 

The outstanding Klawdjo & MoM latched on to this change in tactics to score 3 of the finest goals imaginable while Audley scored the team’s 6th with an outstanding netbuster. The boys are really finding their feet now and could have scored more with further goals fractionally offside and a late penalty miss too.

 

Jayden was lively in attack throughout, testing the away keeper many times while our own keeper, Luca, had a very solid game with some brilliant saves and cat like reflexes. Huge credit goes to Cristan & Riley in midfield too, for working so hard in what was a fantastic squad effort.

 

**

 

Our U11 girls are just doing so well and not a week goes by without the club receiving a new enquiry from parents looking to join their girls. The 14 proud players currently holding the shirts took on our friends away at LGDA in what has become a bit of a local derby and had all the hallmarks of a tight affair based on previous recent encounters.

 

The Wood started on the front foot, pressing LGDA all over the pitch and pinning them back into their own half for most of the opening stanza with great work from our front 3 of Hazel, Lois & Theaya. The terraces were packed and the Wood support sensed a goal was coming, then just like that, Hazel's hammer broke the sound barrier again with a stunning corner that had defenders scattering as it flew into the net! 

 

The girls continued to press, creating further good chances with Lucy patrolling midfield just like a young Danielle van de Donk, supported so well by a solid Wood wall consisting of keeper Emily and defenders Annie & Kiella. This defence is as mean as Arsenal's legendary back four and they were ably supported by returning defensive star Ella Z, unfortunate to have missed chunks of the season due to illness but returning today and turning back the clock in a rampaging left back role a la Magdalena Eriksson!

 

The Wood's constant pressure paid off when the uber talented Lois, scored a lovely little corker that sailed into the top bag. Thereafter, Ella W was running and tackling like a dervish so that it seemed there were three of her at times! Kara or Karadonna as is her club nickname was showing all her tricks today and her dancing feet where reminiscent of Ginger Rogers, her close control is a sight to behold at times and the crowd were left gasping for more!

 

With time running out, up stepped Elsie our new midfield lioness! She picked the ball up deep beating players then travelling 50 yards with the ball under pressure before slotting home a superb 3rd and early contender for goal of the season.

 

Manager Hobbs was delighted with the performance and spoke briefly to Jim White at Sky Sports before treating the family to a £5 a head all you can eat Chinese buffet. "These young girls play football that is sublime and are going to be a force for years to come in the female game. Great attitude, great energy, very good technically and a wonderful team ethic". Very sage words, but, will he be having the prawn crackers?!

 

 

Meanwhile, our U18 Girls had a record 16 players available for their match against Hitchin and a vibrant tactical discussion was being held on the team chat group when news broke that the game was off, Hitchin being struck down by illness. We wish the Hitchin girls better and look forward to going over to them later in the season.

 

With a point for the draw last week and three this, the Wood are moving up the League and confidence is growing. Most importantly though, the girls are now enjoying themselves, the team spirit is very much improved and win or lose, they are happy to just have a go and have some fun. How can anyone argue with that? Fogey manager Makamian began to try but, when everyone cleared off leaving him on his jacks in an empty room, even he agreed too proving you can teach an old dog new tricks!

21/22 The Word in the Wood #8

Posted on 30th October, 2021

Well, the boys took over from the girls and continued what's been a fine weekend of football.


Even though the rain was beating down with some hail in the mix too our U11 Boys managed a blistering performance, scoring 6 beautiful goals, while at the back keeper Luca played a fantastic game, producing save after quality save. Aiden, Matei, and Bailey played brilliantly in defence with Noah and Ethan in midfield passing the ball around. With Shreyank, Audley and Klawdjo all playing up front it wasn’t long before we were off with Klawdjo scoring a lovely first, Shreyank netting a stunning second, Noah with a classy third and Audley banging in a super fourth!


First half was very good then and the second half was much the same. Aiden, now playing up front had several rasping shots that only narrowly missed the net before Klawdjo banged another one in with Shreyank following soon after with a sweetly hit drive.
After a very hard game, the boys held their own for a season's best performance thus far. Ethan secured mom with his dribbling, passing and play-making. Awesome job!

Meanwhile, U12 Boys faced Omonia at Pursley and got of to a fine start, Adoma gaining huge credit by riding a foul to stay on his feet and finish calmly. Though Omonia levelled up, Joyce and Hebblethwaite were working effectively in defence, providing a solid platform and it wasn't long before Khan worked some magic that allowed Parratt to drill home in style, restoring the Wood's lead.


Omonia levelled again and with the seconds running down Adom received the ball outside the box in a bit of space. This talented boy used this superbly, manipulating the ball on to his right foot before sending a shot that sung like a tuning fork as it whistled into the top corner! A goal worthy of winning any game.


As the Wood crowd erupted into delirious euphoria it was left to stand-in keeper Rocha to produce yet another outstanding save to ensure the win. More used to banging them in the other end, this young man's willingness to sacrifice his own ambitions to help the team was quite wonderful to see and he was very rightly named MoM. All in all, a great squad performance from the lads.


After a wonderful effort last week, hopes were so high for the U13 Boys. Unfortunately, the boys just couldn't produce even close to their best on another deflating day, going down 1-2 against Northwood.

Highlights were few and far between as the boys failed to pass the ball as they can but, Song grabbed an excellent solo goal and secured MoM with an encouraging performance. Up front, Oswald also made an excellent debut.

One or two of the boys need to step out the pack to get the team back on the rails and competing again. We eagerly await to see who that will be and then it won't be long before the good times roll again!

 

 

*

 

Though the weather was grey and wet at times, the Wood's gals lit up the day with a couple of outstanding performances in full technicolor!

 

It wasn't plain sailing for our U18s though as they turned up at Welwyn Pegasus with just 11 players available. That was nothing though compared to when Murray trotted out on the pitch in her flip-flops after dad Andy foolishly forget her boots at home! In the doghouse, Murray Senior totally redeemed himself with a seriously rapid dash back home to collect the vital footwear, collecting just a bargain nine points on his licence in the process!

 

With 11 indomitable lionesses now in full fighting order, Captain Luckhurst proudly led the team forward before two quick first half goals put a little fly in the ointment. Too often this season, the concession of goals has been the cue to give up, but, not today, not these girls. Luckhurst grabbed a corner flag, beat her chest like Queen Boudicca and demanded a response, rousing her teammates who roared their approval and smeared mud-lines over their faces like true warriors! Branigan coolly supplied Embleton who slipped a super ball behind the Welwyn defence. Umalin, human just seconds before, morphed into a cheetah, outstripping the home defence to round the keeper and find the net in style.

 

Confidence surged through the side with debutant Levene enjoyed an outstanding match after enjoying some warm weather training earlier in the week. She combined with Luckhurst to supply Umalin, running riot to grab her second in an excellent performance.

 

With no subs to support them and tiredness enveloping rapidly, it was left to our courageous defenders to see out the draw, with Murray and Hooda in particular putting in repeated last gasp tackles to frustrate the opposition.

 

PoM went to Evans, whose desire to listen and improve saw her enjoy a great game, whipping in dangerous balls and noticeably taking her first touch towards the opposition goal, allowing her to make thrilling runs down the wing as a result. However, everyone was a PoM today, the team playing for each other, with encouragement and support in evidence throughout.

 

As a footnote and being no greater sign of what it means to be part of a squad, the girls were delighted to see Fordham make the journey over to support them from the side-lines despite a nasty injury and several stitches suffered so unfortunately in midweek. We've nothing but, admiration for this formidable young lady and her support today no doubt inspired her team-mates to produce an incredible performance against the odds. Very well done to one and all.

 

 

Now, at the other end of the scale, our U11 Girls were just buzzing today against an excellent Meninas Curitaba at Pursley. The Wood were able to field a strong side from the off, star winger Lois racing off to grab her 1st of 4 super goals. This top-drawer player is almost unplayable when in such form and she ran riot down the right flank today.

 

Hazel’s Hammer struck twice again today with the Wood’s pocket rocket also assisting to setup chances for her teammates. Elsie one of our new signings along with talented twin sis Annie, opened her account scoring a world class brace and dictating play from centre-midfield like a young Lucy Bronze!

 

Karadonna was up to her usual tricks with dazzling feet and skills able to grace any ground and she had a part in the majority of the goals, just failing to notch herself but for the Meninas keeper’s heroics! Our other new signing Amie was in rascal form and came close to opening her account too.

 

Theaya and Lottie kept the team ticking over beautifully and accurately like a fine Swiss watch with their range of passing and devilish tackling, while the defence was marshalled ably by linchpins Annie and Kiella, more than ably supplemented by the outstanding Ella W who rightly secured POM. This young lady was a demon in the tackle giving away inches in height, but, with the heart of a lion she out fought all others and then got the ball down and played the simple football her coaches are asking for.

 

Romey making only her 4th start was a constant threat to Meninas and also came agonisingly close to opening her account today after a couple of stunning efforts. Keeper Emily stayed focused throughout and dealt with everything in a confident and highly skilful manner, with outstanding distribution and undeniable commitment. Super effort from a super team!

21/22 The Word in the Wood #7

Posted on 23rd October, 2021

Well, what a Sunday's football it's been for the boys’ section and not necessarily down to results either.

 

First up were our young U11 Boys who flew out the blocks today against a handy Club SFC, with Audley & Claudio on the front foot and probing almost from the referee's first whistle. Christian was really lively down the wing too, ably supported by Matej who was bombing forward at will and the Wood came so close to a goal on so many occasions.

 

In midfield, Noah and Ethan showed outstanding technical ability as well as a very encouraging attitude to track back and mark. While the superb Bailey and Aiden patrolled the rear guard with tough tackling and intelligent, well executed passing, also constantly pushing the team high to ensure they didn’t leave big areas for the SFC attack to play in. Riley and William made dashing and committed cameos too.

 

All the while, keeper Luca was a calm, assured presence, moving forward with the team when it pushed up in order to quickly sweep up any long balls over the defence. This young man went on to keep a fine clean sheet which was the very least the team deserved and MoM went to Audley, who was a constant attacking threat, listened really well and enjoyed a game of the very highest quality. This team is going places and we so look forward to seeing their football journey unfold.

 

 

U13 Boys faced table topping AC Finchley East at Pursley with one third of the squad unavailable and just 10 boys able to play! A really daunting task particularly after taking a hammering in the same circumstances recently.

 

However, armed with that experience and the certain knowledge that panicking never pays off, it was a calm and collected Wood that took to the pitch to play a match of the rarest quality. In defence, McGuinness, Hobbs, Ifeacho & Hones had inspired matches, coping well with opposition attacks while the midfield of Manning, Makamian, Captain Pop and Song were industrious and slick on the ball. Lone striker Crucefix put a mighty shift in up front, while between the sticks, Reed not only covered in goal, but, used his outfield knowledge to stay high and sweep the defence superbly, richly earning MoM in the process.

 

Over 70 minutes the boys conceded just a single goal each half against a big Finchley squad, returning with several chances of their own that were very unlucky to miss. One such saw Hobbs cannon a fine header of the crossbar after a series of top quality corners from Crucefix while Ifeacho forced a flying save from the opposition keeper with a shot that flew like Halley’s Comet!

 

All this aside though, everyone in attendance knew there was more than just a football match going on in front of them today. Instead, they witnessed a group of young local boys moving forward into the early stages of manhood, trusting in their training, their talent and in each other and putting on a spectacle of great skill, courage and fortitude that no one could’ve predicted. That priceless experience is all locked safely away in their heads now and we so look forward to seeing the benefits of this in the future.

 

 

Finishing of the action were our U12 Boys, who started their League match against Ally Pally like a rat up a drain, Staszewski calmly finishing a beautifully worked team move soon after kick off. Five minutes later Adoma, Staszewski & Rocha combined sharply for the latter to blast a second into the away goal.

 

Ally Pally where clearly a good side but every chance they created was either dealt with by the defence or by the flying Delia in goal, enjoying a real blinder. Just before half time, Staszewski scored his second direct from a corner to send the Wood three up, with manager Parratt lavishing praise on the team but, urging focus as the job was not done. Rocha in particular, was a player who worked tirelessly all half to help out his defence whilst also springing into life to get forward.

 

The team went back out in high spirits second half but, fell straight into an Ally Pally tiger trap! Despite a sensational penalty save from MoM Delia, the Wood went on to concede six rather smelly goals, going from 0-3 up to 6-3 down quicker than you can say boo to a goose!

 

However, as always, so much experience was gained that will help the boys going forward and avoid turnarounds like this happening. Game management, staying focused and never underestimating an opponent are just some of these things but, we now move on to next week’s match with great anticipation and just a little wiser. Onwards and upwards!

 

   

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U11 Girls travelled to Hemel Aces Jaguars for the first time today and enjoyed an excellent match starting the game very brightly indeed with an early goal from Hazel, the God of Thunder’s Hammer! This young lady is playing the best football of her young career and was at times unplayable today.

A physically advanced side, our girls battled really well to contain the considerable Hemel threat while making scintillating passing moves of their own, laced with talent and technique.

The second half saw the Wood scrapping for everything, with Hazel’s hammer again finding the net with an awesome shot! Wave after wave of quality attacks from Kara, Elsie, Lois, Lottie and Lucy were somehow turned back by the opposition keeper. One such highlight saw Theaya step out of defence classily before unleashing a rocket that was destined for the top corner only to see a stunning saving block from the Hemel centre half.

Our defence of Kiella, Annie, Ella and Theaya played out of their skins to keep Hemel at bay while Amie made her debut and had a storming match, causing havoc in attack with her probing runs and running power; look out for this fab new player going forward!

PoM went to another recent signing – Elsie – who enjoyed an incredible game and wowed the Wood faithful with her endeavour and excellent play throughout.

 

Back at Pursley, our U18 Girls gave it everything to record a first half clean sheet against a good Wormley side that played in the JPL last term. After shipping too many goals over recent weeks, the packed Wood terraces were delighted with the team’s stingy defence, with Turner, Kennedy-Millar, Steward and Murray marking tightly and fighting for everything. In this, they were screened superbly by Hooda in the holding role and supported by keeper Hyman, who enjoyed an excellent match.

 

Despite a lung-busting effort by Harry-Brown & Embleton to rally the side, negativity crept into the Wood ranks second half and inevitably our performance and belief dropped, with a familiar pattern of four away goals following. Makamian scored an excellent consolation goal in response, dribbling skilfully before chipping the Wormley keeper for her third of the season.

 

PoM could’ve easily gone to Umalin who thrilled throughout with her energy, skill and enthusiasm, but, on the day, was secured by Luckhurst, who produced flying cameos with bustle and desire and whose love for her team is just something to be really admired.

21/22 The Word in the Wood #6

Posted on 16th October, 2021

After years without a County Cup fixture due to Covid, the Wood had two in one day as both our U12 & U13 Boys played in the Middlesex FA Trophy today.

 

U12 Boys were out first and faced a long trip over to Northolt against Larkspur Rovers. With an emphasis on passing, the lads took off like a rocket with good football resulting in an own goal within 30 seconds. Larkspur equalised before the Wood took the lead with a well worked goal from Staszewski, now running the midfield with Khan.

 

Larkspur equalised again just before half time so the boys got together at the break, firing each other up, determined to stay in this blue ribband competition. Captain Gardiner lead the troops back into battle with a Wood Army chant which had the boys buzzing for the second half! Within five minutes Staszewski added another with a solo run and finish, before good work from Rocha sent Adoma racing through who was then wiped out for a penalty. Staszewski calmly stepped up and dispatched the penalty for his hat trick, sending his old man a clear message of how many he had scored!

 

After a goal mouth scramble, Larkspur pulled one back to make it 4-3 but the Wood dug deep before Adoma turned it on, scoring a ten minute hatrick that put the game to bed. Staszewski added his 4th of the game to make a final score of 3-8.

Every player was brilliant today with great passing all over the pitch with Mill, Joyce and Gardiner starting of our attacks with some accurate passing from the back. Mom went to Staszewski who not only scored 4 but was everywhere. Happy days!

 

 

Meanwhile, U13 Boys travelled over to Barnet FC's Hive complex to face Belmont Bees White. The boys started off a little slowly, not passing very simply and not looking very effective as a result. It took Ifeacho to buccaneer up from the back and dispatch a cool shot past the away keeper to secure the Wood a 0-1 lead at half time.

 

Second half was a different affair, the boys' passing flowed and they looked a really good outfit. Nine goals followed with Hobbs & Manning grabbing a goal each, Savin and Malcolm grabbing two a piece and Crucefix grabbing a luuuverly hatrick and sealing a 0-10 victory.

 

The boys will face much more capable opposition going forward but, the policy of passing and moving remains the same and always yields results. MoM went to Pop who played the holding midfield role really well today and enjoyed an outstanding match.

 

 

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In the HGFPL U18 Girls Division 1 there are no easy games and every point gained has to be earned over 90 minutes with hard graft and good technique; player’s must believe in themselves and their team-mates. No easy task.

 

For instance, today our girls faced Watford Ladies, who are strictly trialled, very motivated and always turn up with a strong side, many of whom have experience playing for their full adult side. After conceding cheaply very early, the Wood responded really well with a quick equaliser, Hodges producing a first class strike that whistled through the air like a V2, detonating in the top corner of the Watford goal! The girls piled on the pressure and could easily have scored again but, inaccurate passing saw pressure build and a further two goals conceded.

 

Second half saw a spirited charge with Warren hitting the post before combining beautifully with Hodges, who crossed for the onrushing Makamian to thrash home. Tails were up, the fight-back on, but, from an excellent position to attack, the Wood mis-passed again and one quick counter later found themselves 2-4 down. Heads dropped, effort levels dived, voices were silenced, injuries grew and the team struggled to compete. At this level, that means more goals conceded and that duly happened, the game finishing 2-6.

 

The weekly challenge of this League is demanding but, most is learnt in such circumstances and players improve most when they are challenged in this way. There is no doubt this will benefit those girls that continue in the game, even if the reality right now is tough. As an example of the commitment required, Kennedy-Millar gave every last iota of energy she had today for the entire time she was on the pitch and was rightly named PoM.

 

 

Now, our U11 Girls are going along very nicely indeed and hosted Goffs Oak today in a cracking match.

The Wood found the net in the first half when star No9 Hazel swung her hammer and smashed a shot past the keeper and into the net direct from a corner! Goffs Oak fought back well though and the match was finely balanced, so it was great to see PoM Annie - industrious and tenancious - willing the side on to greater things!

Wave after wave of Wood attacks were stopped by the opposition keeper who thwarted stunning efforts from Lois, Hazel & Elsie. While midfield dynamos Lucy & Lottie broke forward in style time after time, constantly looking for another home goal. After a while, that chance came, the result of an unlucky handball.

With minutes to go and the pressure on like never before, up stepped Hazel with her Hammer and again dispatched the ball so fast, no one even had time to blink! The players, went crazy, the crowd erupted and manager Hobbs lent on the corner flag, giddy with delirium!

 

Ella Z made her return from illness today and was her normal rampaging self while Romey who is learning the game at a rate of knots helped ably from the bench stretching the Oak defence and creating room for her team to attack. Well done all and looking forward to next week's adventures already!

21/22 The Word in the Wood #5

Posted on 9th October, 2021

U13 Boys received a lesson in desire and basic technique from Hinton & Finchley Legends today as they slumped to a 6-0 defeat.

 

The boys seemed deflated before the game even started when realising they had only 10 players in attendance. Rather than rising to that challenge and making up numbers with sharp passing and hard running, they raised the while flag and succumbed almost immediately, conceding goals that in the most part were down to their own hesitant and timid play.

 

A harsh lesson but, if it is learned, a very valuable one in how to prepare mentally for a match. MoM went to Reed who gave it a go.

 

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Our U11 Girls have had a frustrating time of it this season with their opening fixtures delayed and then getting a rest week when they really didn't want one. As such, it was great to see them in away action against a good and physically imposing Chipperfield side today.

 

The girls started the game on the front foot and dominated the first half with some classy and incisive football. Human buzzsaw Hazel finished off brilliantly for our first, before Lottie dispatched a cool finish for another super goal. World class defending from Kiella & Annie kept Chipperfield out for long periods and they have the look of a very good partnership indeed, while Lucy, Theaya and live wire Ella W controlled the midfield.

 

Second half saw Chipperfield start strongly and the Wood had to withhold much pressure before releasing the outstanding Lottie who finished beautifully for her brace and a deserved PoM award. With Hazel hitting the post a further 3 times today, more could easily have followed!

 

Elsie worked good angles up front for her rocket shot while Kara completed her usual display of flashing feet & dribbling wizardry, being instrumental in the build up play to all the goals. With Captain Emily keeping them out the other end, it was an exemplary performance from the girls and just proves everything comes to those who are patient!

 

 

U18 Girls meanwhile were buzzing after making a tremendous signing late last night and taking to the pitch away against an unbeaten Garston Panthers side.

 

With just a handful of players with Division 1 experience, the girls have done really well to score many goals thus far this season but, at the other end, it's been hard work to keep out the quality attackers within this League. After many late nights crunching the numbers and applying scientific algorithms, the team tried out a new formation today and were at it from the off. Chance after chance was created as Garston were pegged back but, the net just refused to bulge. As sometimes happens, too much space afforded to a very fast opponent saw the Wood go two down and had the faithful in attendance scratching their heads.

 

However, the girls are made of stronger stuff these days and fought back tooth and nail with Captain Embleton dashing down the wing to cross for new signing Umelin to crash home her first goal for the club. The team were inspired with Makamian hoovering up danger in a new holding role while Steward and Hooda were wearing out the grass at left and right back as they were strong in defence and just as impressive going forward.

 

After so much Wood pressure second half, Embleton again flew down the line and crossed for the immensely talented Pickford to drill home and level the match. There seemed only one winner after that but, Garston picked up all three points with a free kick that was really worthy of winning any match.

 

The Wood's team spirit really seemed to return today with so many players willing to take on responsibility and cover for each other, putting themselves second and their teammates and team first. Joseph and Hodges playing in unfamiliar defensive positions when it was necessary for them to do so being just such examples. It was great to watch and everyone in attendance was delighted to see it.

 

PoM could have gone to keeper Branigan who just didn't put a single foot wrong all game and whose distribution was quite outstanding. Turner was outstanding in defence once again doing really well against a fast and quality opponent. However, having originally thought she was only tidying up her room today then heading down the nail bar, PoM went to Umalin for turning that down, having a go and producing what was an absolutely incredible debut performance! Take a bow young lady.

21/22 The Word in the Wood #4

Posted on 2nd October, 2021

U13 Boys faced GFA Enfield Lions away in the 1st round of the Challenge Cup and struggled to find their rhythm initially on a gusty day and difficult surface.

 

Once the boys got the ball down and started to pass they improved quickly and made many chances but, erratic finishing and a penalty miss saw the half draw to a goalless close. Second half saw more of the same before Captain Makamian took control of the ball and curled an outstanding shot into the corner of the goal. Shortly after, Savin outstripped the away defence with ease before coolly finding the bottom left side of the net.

 

Hones, enjoying an excellent game, moved forward and supplied a perfect cross that was converted by Manning at the back post, while Reed worked hard, was effective at centre forward and unlucky not to receive one of the many chances the team made on the day. The defence held focus well to ensure a pleasing clean sheet with MoM Ifeacho in sparkling form throughout, tough in the tackle and moving forward with real purpose when in possession.

 

 

U11 Boys continue to improve and faced a good London Colney side today. Manager Hill gave an exclusive interview to the Daily Bugle after the match and said, “My boys played a blinder today. Our new keeper Luca is coming along really well and made phenomenal saves and great decisions throughout the match. Outfield, the boys passed really well and peppered the opposition goal at times. I can’t fault any of them and they made us really proud. MoM went to Bailey after a typically industrious performance.” With that, he headed off down his local gastro pub for a prawn sarnie and a non-alcoholic beer. Fair play, we say!

 

 

U12 Boys faced a tough AFC Southgate side at Pursley in the League but, were in great form running out 4-3 winners in a pulsating match.

 

Staszewski was in fine fettle, winning the ball then using it really well, supplying the cross for Adoma to score his first. Adoma then rifled in two more for a stunning hatrick and MoM performance.

 

In the closing moments, Adom moved forward serenely, his feet flashing like Belisha beacons before firing a meteor like shot into the far corner! Classy stuff and a great start to the team's League campaign. 

 

 

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U18 Girls were missing many players for their fixture against Kinga today and the opposition proved very capable, despite missing many players themselves.

 

The girls really had a go with Evans scoring a cracking long shot in off the crossbar, Embleton firing in another after anticipating well and Captain Makamian scoring too after a fine dribble, showing character after narrowly missing from the penalty spot earlier.

 

At the back, our defence competed really well and were effective for long periods in the match, however, failing to pick up opposition players in the box has proved an achilles heel in the season thus far and Kinga's excellent attack were merciless in punishing as much today.

 

At 3-4, the Wood were piling forward for an equaliser and looking really good value to get one, Embleton crashing one off the post and another narrowly wide, before the team conceded on the counter and ultimately saw the game slip away 3-7 on this occasion. However, the girls in attendance gave it a great shot and and can be proud of their efforts, as manager Makamian certainly was. PoM went to Turner who played a typically combative match at centre half.

21/22 The Word in the Wood #3

Posted on 25th September, 2021

U11 Boys are building a formidable team and assimilating lots of new players, all with bundles of potential and a great attitude. They faced a talented Hendon United today in a rip-roaring match!

 

New signing, keeper Luca got off to a stormer flinging himself about like an Olympic gymnast, while just in front of him, Matei, Ethan & Jayden were strong in the tackle and efficient with their passing thereafter, with the latter scoring a fine goal that was roundly cheerd by the watching Wood hordes.

 

The team welcomed Bailey back into the fold and he, Noah and Klawdjo linked up to great effect in midfield, with Bailey grabbing a high quality brace that had the goal nets bulging. Not to be outdone, Shreyank's quick feet flashed and another goal was recorded while Aiden worked hard and effectively throughout. MoM went to Audley for a lung busting display that encapsulated everything good about the team today. Super stuff.       

 

 

U13 Boys faced GFA Enfield Lions in the 1st round of the Junior League Cup and made a great start with the excellent Crucefix firing in an early opener. The squad then fell behind unexpectedly by conceding two cheap goals, the result of not playing simply and losing position.

 

Undeterred and wiser, the boys went back to passing the ball smartly and moving into space and the results were evident immediately. The team scored a further 11 goals, hit the post twice and saw a penalty saved as they trusted each other, showed courage and played football simply and very effectively.

 

Pop buzzing like a hornet bagged 4, Montgomery 2 with Malcolm, Makamian, Manning & Hones grabbing one apiece and Crucefix completing his brace. Highlight goal of the day, perhaps the best we've seen from the team thus far saw Captain McGuinness and Makamian both staying calm under pressure to switch play to Hones & Crucefix who combined to supply Montgomery before he applied the coup de grace with a rasping finish.

 

Makamian & McGuinness continued to move the ball even when the team was winning comfortably and this composure spread throughout with Ifeacho, Hobbs & Hones bringing the ball forward from the back with classy second half displays. Manning was heavily involved in this throughout too and secured MoM with an outstanding centre midfield performance. Amongst the fun, the boys spared a thought for keeper Marshall, unable to attend today but, who will be back with them very soon. 

 

 

U12 Boys meanwhile received a very tough draw against Red division opposition in the Challenge Cup. The boys were asked to match AC Finchley's effort levels and they did this superbly, ultimately bowing out of this cup but, now armed with invaluable experience which will help them massively as their football journeys progress. In particular, Staszewski enjoyed an excellent game while Delia in goal was superb, saving shots a plenty while also somehow ensuring his funky new haircut was not impacted by strands of grass and mud! Joyce secured MoM with a commanding and ceaselessly energetic display at centre half; take a bow young man. 

 

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Our U11 Girls have been waiting and waiting for their fixtues to be compiled and were at last able to start their season today. Well, it was certainly worth the wait as the girls played a fab match against a game Bedwell Rangers side.

 

Woods' front three of Hazel, Lois & Kara were buzzing, working great angles to move rapidly forward, while Lottie patrolled midfield and dictated play ably with Kiella and Ella Z stopping Bedwell attacks from forming and quickly launching their own counters.

 

Keeper Emily handled everything that came her way with a calm assurance and the Club welcomed twin debutants Elsie & Annie on to the Pursley pitch for their debuts. With Annie a rock at the back and Elsie causing havoc in attack, both girls performed superbly and just couldn't have made better starts.

 

Romey was a fox in the box threat today and was inches away from opening her club account after a dazzling bit of skil, while Lucy dominated midfield with a show of power running and dribbling. Florence broke up play and knitted defence and attack expertly with Ella W performing admirably and showing great improvement in her reading of the game.

 

Crack winger & PoM Lois was so hot she had steam coming off her and found the net no less than four times with an outstanding display of finishing and trickery. All in all, a super start back for the squad. Well done girls!

 

 

Their older peers - U18 Girls - travelled far to face Bury Rangers in Div1 of the HGFPL knowing three points would see them move comfortably into the top half of the table.

The squad didn't disappoint, passing and moving from the off, making countless chances and working the Bury keeper throughout.

 

Hooda proved her adaptability again by moving seemlessly into centre back with Warren. Both players - in conjunction with Steward, Turner, Luckhurst and keeper Hyman - performed to a very high level indeed, were fully focused throughout, positionally sound and got their reward with the team's first clean sheet for some time.

 

At the other end, Embleton and Captain Evans were maurading down the wings, a constant attacking threat though never shirking from their defensive duties either. Both players helped themselves to a goal in similar style, cutting in from the wings and letting fly.

 

Makamian was pulling the strings in centre midfield, constantly winning the ball and then playing simply and effectively. In this she was joined by PoM Pickford who continues to grow in confidence and has a rare football brain that produced play of the highest calibre today. These two were supplying the bullets for first Joseph to fire home in style for her first of the season before Hodges let fly like William Tell, this time skewering the opposition net rather than an apple.

 

There was still time for Harry-Brown to flash narrowly wide after enjoying her most effective performance to date and for Fordham to make a welcome and lively cameo. A great effort from the girls and we look forward to seeing more of this entertaining and effective play throughtout the season.