The Word In The Wood

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20/21 The Word in the Wood #19

Posted on 29th May, 2021

On a lovely sunny day, both our fab girls' sides completed their seasons today with the U18s away to Harpenden and the U10s home to LGDA.

Our U18 girls' staff - Susie, Charlie & Andy - faced a very difficult task this season, assimilating two teams of players & parents into one squad and fanbase. Their huge efforts and sacrifices paid off in spades and allowed a vibrant squad of 21 young women to get out after lockdown, keep fit and continue social contact. On the pitch, the girls gelled well and have performed admirably against many older sides, putting up a valiant effort today.

 

Joseph has been in sparkling form this year and finished off our top scorer for the season with another two excellent goals and PoM performance. The game ultimately ended in a 5-2 reverse, but, that's how it goes sometimes and much fun was had in any case.

 

Several of our existing squad are departing for pastures new or are too old for juniors' football now, however, the team is going forward for 21/22 and an old face is returning to the staff to replace our Susie following her retirement from the juniors' game.
Open training is scheduled from 18:00 to 19:30 on Monday 7th June at Pursley, so any Year 11, 12 or 13s (from September 21) that are interested in having some fun, well just mosey on down there!

 

 

At the other end of the age spectrum, our U10 Girls have again sparkled this term under the superb management of Dave & Sarah. This is a great squad of committed and fun seeking youngsters and their improvement this season has been truly amazing and testament to both their talent and the expert coaching they've received.

 

Today against local friends LGDA, they were rocked when star defensive partnership Mya & Ella were both unable to start due to feeling unwell. Try as she might, Mya was in no condition to play, but, Ella stuck around and somehow summoned the strength to come off the bench in the second quarter and put in her best performance of the year and one that saw her secure PoM. She was constantly stopping LGDA attacks while also adding a new dimension to her game by bursting down the wing al la Lucy Bronze! 

 

The girls scored four excellent goals on the day, with Hazel helping herself to a brace in a season's best performance from her as she fast develops into an incredible No9.
Lucy, our unstoppable midfield dynamo who has enjoyed an excellent debut season grabbed another with a netbuster that flew so fast several people in the crowd thought it was a passing UFO! The final goal was an oggy from a corner after some intense Wood pressure on the LGDA goal.


Kara (or Karadonna as coach Dave has named her) again showed many glimpses of her ever improving ball control and trickery when driving at the heart of LGDA’s defence from midfield and is rapidly blossoming into a dominant playmaker and No10!
While in goal, Emily dominated her area and grew in confidence as the game progressed, deploying as a sweeper keeper to collect the ball and pass to her defenders.


Kiella was again relentless in her efforts on the right and came up against an equally skilled opponent today, having an awesome battle of pace and skill.
While Florence - our midfield destroyer - was her usual tenacious self though playing the game with a beautiful simplicity.


Lottie was back to her very best breaking up LGDA attacks down the right and launching attacks to our very own Exocet missile - Lois - who was targeted to attack the opposition right hand side today, which she did nonchalantly as per usual, creating chance after chance for her teammates.


Theaya had another game for the ages today and is a coach's dream, always ready to sacrifice her game for the good of the team. Today she confidently marshalled the defence and is a stand out operator in whatever position she is asked to play.


Manager Dave summed up the season when he said, "It is my absolute pleasure to coach these footballers and they make me proud every time they pull on that white shirt! It’s a shame it’s the last game of 20/21 but, we will not stop working and will continue to train until next season starts!" Here, here!!

20/21 The Word in the Wood #18

Posted on 22nd May, 2021

Well, what a day Sunday turned out to be!

 

U11 Boys served up the appetiser with a tasty performance at home to a talented Maccabi London Orange. The boys were passing the ball well with Lennon, Josh & Stanley catching the eye and the energetic Julian playing very effectively as he covered the pitch with penetrating tackles and dribbles.

 

Our first goal came as the lively Zain fed Joel with a slick pass, before he produced a super mazy dribble and composed finish, and this talented young man won a penalty for the team a little later that he converted from the rebound after the keeper had saved his first effort.

 

MoM went to keeper Caed who enjoyed a typically excellent game in his last Wood appearance before moving up North with the family, including incidentally, Shenley legend and all round good guy, the Reverend Daniel. Everyone at the Wood wishes them all the best of luck; they will be certainly be sorely missed.

 

 

After this poignant event, the Wood faithful were just about managing to keep their feelings in check, but, little did they know our U12s were just beginning to crank up the emotion lever even more!

 

Winning promotion from the WFL Yellow division last weekend, the club received welcome news just Friday that they'd rightly won the points from an abandoned game last month. This threw the Championship wide open and meant a win against HMH Eagles today would seal victory for the boys.

 

The team showed a steely determination to seize the moment from the off and quickly took the lead through Captain Crucefix, top scorer, notching his 18th goal of what has been an excellent season. This was the cue for some outstanding football from the team as they passed the ball really well to score seven further goals with McGuinness and George grabbing two apiece, and Manning, Song and Ifeacho also finding the net in style.

 

Marshall, Hones, Makamian, Montgomery, Hobbs, Reed & Pop all enjoyed excellent games and there was still time for MoM Malcolm to make a welcome return from serious injury and bag himself a high class goal that flew into the onion bag!

 

The final whistle blew for a 9-1 Wood victory and our heroes entered the Pantheon of our legendary teams that have secured a League title, making themselves and their families proud as punch.

 

Manager Makamian was lost for words for a good seven seconds before his lips started to flap as normal. 'The boys deserve so much credit for sticking with this and never giving up on their dreams. They are now champions, understanding what it takes to push themselves to great things. We're going to soak up that awesome feeling tonight before setting ourselves fabulous new challenges in the future.'

 

With that kind of rabbit, you wouldn't want to get stuck in a lift with him but, you just can't argue with those sentiments. Huge congratulations to all our U12 Boys.

 

 

 

*

 

Our heroines in the U10s faced a good London Maccabi Lions away at Rowley Lane today.

The girls pieced together some lovely moves that thrilled the watching parents with Lucy grabbing herself a wonderful brace from the classic No8 position, with two shots of the highest quality busting the goal nets asunder!

 

Lois was in top form rampaging down the wing and setting up numerous chances for the team, while Kara was at her tricky best, bamboozling opposition defenders as she waltzed about gracefully with the ball. 

 

PoM went to Kiella who was in fantastic form and covered every blade of grass in doing so.

This young lady can shift and her speed today was particularly invaluable as she kept a tight defence when the Wood went to an offensive three up-front formation.

 

A great effort from everyone; well done!

 

*

 

Our U18 Girls were also in fine fettle this morning as they faced Garston Leopards, their old adversaries and friends for many seasons.

 

The team made an energetic start with Joseph and Makamian raiding down the right flank and Rodrigues & Turner keeping things tight at the back. Young was buzzing around brightly too and it was no surprise when she opened the scoring with a scorcher from distance, the ball flying through the air like Halley's Comet before dropping under the bar to the oohs and aahs of the capacity crowd!

 

The team continued to work hard with excellent spells from Trainis & Adesanya (sadly moving soon into Ladies football as a result of growing up!), while Luckhurst, Knight & Shaw all performing admirably too. A neat goal from the Leopards saw the match tied before PoM Embleton produced a sublime finish to flick a crossed ball into the net from an unlikely angle before disappearing under an avalanche of celebrating Wood players!

 

The girls saw out the rest of the match with vintage performances from Hyman, Branigan and Kennedy-Millar, and recorded a hard fought and well contested 2-1 victory. With excellent performances from both the ref and the parent bases of both teams, everyone ended up a winner.

 

At the end, Coach Murray cleared his throat, requested calm and gave a heartwarming tribute to Manager Branigan, soon to depart Juniors' football for a little piece and quiet after many seasons exacting 'duty'. The Wood faithful sighed their appreciation as the good ol' days were recalled, but, cleared off for cakes quickly when Murray whipped out his microphone and started crooning 'We'll meet again'!

 

All in all, a pretty wonderful day.

 

20/21 The Word in the Wood #17

Posted on 15th May, 2021

U12 Boys were at their very best today as they secured promotion from the WFL Yellow division in their first competitive season, with a sparkling performance away to Whetstone Wanderers Leopards.

 

After a slightly hesitant start from the team, Makamian settled the nerves with an imperious header from a corner delivered expertly by McGuinness, both players enjoying outstanding matches in the heart of the midfield.

 

In defence, Captain Reed, Pop, Montgomery, Hobbs & Ifeacho put in gutsy shifts full of character, with stopper Marshall dealing superbly with anything that slipped through them, making several saves throughout the match that were right out of the top drawer and vital in keeping the subsequent clean sheet.

 

George, Song and Crucefix were a constant handful up front with the latter two players producing excellent finishes for a goal apiece, while the outstanding Hones ran riot down the right wing, searing the net with his first goal of the season, then shredding it with his second! The final result was 0-5 and MoM was secured by Manning who played a very high calibre match on left wing, full of superb technique and hard running both defensively and offensively.

 

Manager Makamian, coincidentally celebrating his 32nd birthday, could not have been happier with his young charges. As he enjoyed some celebratory bumps, stalwart coaches Montgomery and Manning conducted a joint press conference with ITN News and said, "This time last year, the boys were an improving side trying to turn good performances into match winning efforts. A year later and after so much of the best advice and training from our good friend Frank, they have become a forged unit, playing for each other and never giving up. Our motto is that the 'minimum requirement is maximum effort' and that has taken us to a wonderful high of promotion in our first competitive season. We must also mention our dynamic winger Malcolm who suffered serious injury a few weeks back, but, has played a massive part in our season and though he is out of sight recovering just now, he is certainly not out of mind."

 

These guys talk a lot of sense and the Club is extremely proud of the staff and players bringing home our first competitive promotion for many years. The boys have one game left to play and should they secure the three points, may yet secure the Championship too? Fingers crossed but, either way, very well done to you all.

 

 

Coming to the closing matches of their season before themselves moving to competitive football from September, our tremendous U11 Boys put down another marker with an excellent performance against Croxley Green White.

 

The boys have been in rascal form this term, scoring goals freely and keeping things tight as two coats of paint at the back. They served up more of the same today while also showing grit and determination to come back from adversity. The team scored five fine goals on the day, one each from the deadly boots of both Julian and Leon, crack Wood sharp-shooters, and three more from Joel 'The Goal' as he secured MoM and recorded a blistering 30 goals for the season!   

 

*

 

Our U10 Girls were in fine form today at home against an excellent and physically advanced Hemel Reds. Missing key defensive players, the girls showed a tremendous attitude from the off, playing some really good football throughout.

 

In goal, Emily showed huge improvement stopping many certain goals and coming off her line noticeably quickly to fearlessly smother opposition attacks. Another founding sister - Kara - also showed how well her game has developed with an excellent technical display.

 

Theaya continues to impress and adapt and was a defensive stalwart during the game, as was PoM Florence, showing great determination to win the ball repeatedly, as did Lottie, who played simply and effectively all game despite taking a quick route down the house stairs earlier in the week!

 

The naturally gifted Kiella and Captain Lois mesmerized the watching hordes with spell binding dribbles, Lois firing in a vintage goal courtesy of her hammer like left foot. In a remarkable aside, both players' mothers provided a fascinating account of their own considerable sporting highlights to your blog author on the sidelines. Could the Wood have the basis for a thriving Ladies team going forward?!

 

Meanwhile, back in the present day, Lucy was enjoying another superb match in what has become a remarkable debut season for her, while Hazel again showed what a super player she is with a typically energetic and positive display.

 

All in all, this was a reference match for juniors' football, with excellent coaching, wonderfully supportive parents, and fantastic technique, attitude and spirit from the players. In our book, you just can't ask for any more!

 

 

U18 Girls also produced an excellent performance away to Garston Jags, playing with lots of energy and determination while keeping their focus well despite the flow of the game being somewhat affected by a succession of free kicks.

 

Young, Joseph and Swain attacked swiftly in sync with each other and created chances throughout the game but were blocked by a strong defence and good goalkeeping from the opposition. Embleton displayed her customary high energy in midfield, intercepting attacks from the opposition and creating opportunities for our strikers.

 

The defence coped well with everything that was thrown at them with Makamian showing versatility to play in an unfamiliar role and Hyman providing exceptional goal keeping between the sticks.

 

Sadly, after a very harsh first yellow card, Swain saw red for a second yellow in the second half, and, having gone down to ten players, the girls conceded despite battling gamely, losing the match 0-1. This was not the result their huge efforts deserved but, the team can be very proud of their performances on the day. PoM was secured by Kennedy-Millar for her determined and brave defending in a physical game.

20/21 The Word in the Wood #16

Posted on 8th May, 2021

U10 Boys were rocked early on Sunday as two of our lads were unable to play due to sickness; we wish them well soon. With no subs, the remaining squad worked really hard and did themselves and our club proud with their efforts.

 

Aiden played the whole match in goal pulling off numerous brilliant saves, with excellent defence from Matei, Yue and Cristian, Yue also supplying astute through balls for Bailey and William to fire high quality shots on target. Audley and Klawdjo ran their socks off and popped up everywhere.

 

A super effort from the boys in tough circumstances and such were both their performances, Aiden and Audley deservedly shared MoM.

 

U11 Boys faced a tricky fixture away to HMH Athletico and struggled to find their usual rhythm that has resulted in such an impressive debut season. Top scorer Joel did find the net once again with a fine strike that swerved viciously as it found the top corner and the rest of the team worked hard throughout, which is always well received.

MoM went to Julian who literally covered every single blade of grass in a reference performance on how to never give up.

 

 

U12 Boys went to their local neighbours with high hopes this morning, hoping to secure three more points as they contend the Yellow division championship.

 

However, with many friends in our opponents ranks the boys succumbed to that old trap - a lack of focus - and much credit must go to the opposition as they comprehensively outworked and outplayed us on the day. MoM went to Reed who played with heart and considerable technique in the left back position.

 

Understanding that you always learn the most when things don't go as planned, the boys will learn, re-group, and be right back on it next week as they near the end of what has already been an excellent season for them all.

 

***

 

Well, it was so cold and wet today that most the country's youngsters were tucked up warm and cosy at home, but, not the Wood's intrepid gals!

 

Pulling their sleeves up and tearing out on to the pitch were our U10s, hosting an outstanding Garston Wildcats side. Manager Hobbs had taken to sucking on a baccy free pipe while contemplating team formations in his greenhouse earlier in the week, and after a rousing pre match talk, the girls deployed into a radical 3-3 formation, much changed from the usual 2-3-1 system and designed to thwart the visitors' attacking riches while allowing quick Wood counters!

 

Only slightly dazed by the raft of diagrams and formulas, the girls instigated the plan admirably and created many chances from Lois’ raids down the left and Kara's on the right. In midfield, Lucy and Florence were their usual combative selves breaking up opposition play and shielding the defence.

 

Hazel again showed great maturity in the No9 position, using her body to shield the ball and lay it off to her teammates on numerous occasions whilst also winning many battles against opponents that were twice her size in some cases!

 

Theaya was immense and secured POM in her new position, quickly learning how to drop back from midfield to the left hand side of that new defensive three also consisting of the supreme Ella & Mya.

 

In goal, keeper Emily pulled off save after save behind her defence with Lois, Kara and Lucy fighting tooth and nail to gain an advantage in midfield, hitting our guests on the break and ably supported by the non-stop Kiella, who’s speed and skill dazzled the watching crowds. Meanwhile, Lottie showed great adaptability to play three different positions really well and to support her teammates on countless occasions, making attack stopping tackles throughout. For sure, the girls belied the awful conditions to make themselves, their coaching staff, their parents and our club very proud indeed.

 

 

Their older peers in our U18s ultimately carried on the good work away against Oaklands in a lengthy double header that left the Wood faithful with several cases of exposure and frostbite.

 

After a slightly chilly start from the girls in the first match, dominating play but, conceding cheap goals to lose 3-0, the squad erupted into form second match, producing play so hot the fans' frozen extremities thawed out instantly!

 

Makamian stung the home keeper's hands with a ferocious snapshot and Joseph was our fox in the box, hammering home the rebound. Swain then blocked an attempted clearance from the opposition defence with the hungry Joseph swooping down like a teenage Golden Eagle to find the net for our winner and a ludicrous 9th goal in two weekends of footie!

 

With Weston keeping things tight at the back and Embleton putting in yet more hard yards throughout, the Wood can be very pleased with their efforts. Keeper Hyman was also outstanding and secured PoM in the first game, while Joseph picked up this accolade for her heroics in the second match. All in all, a very good day's fun!

20/21 The Word in the Wood #15

Posted on 1st May, 2021

U11 boys were first out today and faced quality opposition in the form of APB Barnet Raiders in an eagerly anticipated match.

 

Despite missing influential players through injury, the boys fought like lions from the off and scored five fantastic goals on the day. Four of these came from the boots of the mega talented Joel who now has a mind boggling 26 goals in 13 matches. Needless to say, manager Craig had him sign a 30 year contract at the end of the game, widely viewed as good business for the club!

 

Zain continued his own excellent goalscoring run with a tremendous strike, with MoM rightly shared between Stanley and Will, two young men who worked tirelessly to repel opposition attacks throughout. A first class performance from this tremendous squad yet again.

 

 

U12 Boys faced Maccabi Yellow next and continued their good form with an 8-0 victory that saw a fast pace, good passages of play and some clinical finishing.

 

McGuinness was first of the mark, producing a virtuoso finish to find the bottom corner before drilling high into the net for his second. Pop helped himself to a brace shortly after with good anticipation for his first before producing a fine angled shot for his second. Montgomery was unlucky to see his penalty attempt fly narrowly wide after good work from Makamian to win it.

 

The second half saw George, gradually building up after injury, grab two smart goals before supplying a beautiful cross for Manning to finish with style at the back post. With the record crowd beginning to don their coats, Ifeacho thundered up from the back and produced a stunning clipped finish to round of the day's scoring.

 

With a clean sheet as well, manager Makamian was in good spirits post match and after gorging on not one, but two scrumptious bacon rolls courtesy of Mary in the tea hut, he spoke at length to the Sunday Telegraph. "Our mentor Frank usually wears a cunning disguise but, with all his costumes in the wash, the boys spotted him in attendance today and raised their games accordingly. MoM went to Montgomery after he produced a first class display at left back, with our right back Hobbs also excelling, particularly on the overlap. The boys are enjoying their football, improving all the time and we're all really proud of the lads as they make their way." What more could you ask for!

 

 

Last but, certainly not least, our U10s played with typical spirit and fortitude against a very strong London Colney Pumas.

 

Aiden & Shreyank putting the team first again shared keeper duties with distinction, pulling of a series of great saves between them. Bailey played very strongly in midfield with Luis and Audley running the wings with great energy and skill.

 

William broke through the defence with speed from an excellent pass, forcing a quality save from the opposition keeper, while Yue, Aiden, Matei and Klawdjo worked round the clock in defence. Shreyank hurt his hand in goal second half but displayed huge courage to play on; this incredible act securing him MoM.

 

A great effort from the lads and their upward curve continues.

 

 

**

 

Pursley was a buzz of vibrant noise, excitement and colour today as both our girls' teams kicked off together against excellent sides from Bedwell Rangers.

 

The U10s were rocked by injury news early morning and had to shuffle the pack to cover for defensive giant Mya and midfield maestro Lottie, both thankfully now on the mend.

Theaya ably stepped backwards into defence and gave an awesome display of composure and skill, aided by ever present Wood defensive wall Ella, who won PoM for her outstanding contribution at the back, the norm for this defensive dynamo. Between the sticks, Captain Emily kept the opposition at bay with numerous saves and launched quick Wood counters with her kicks from hand.

 

The Wood attack of No9 Hazel & goal machine Lois caused havoc aided by rampaging midfielders Kara and Kiella, who glided forward to attack with style. Hazel provided a great assist for Lois with stunning centre forward play, collecting the ball with her back to goal and holding off the defence before slide ruling a pass to the onrushing Lois to score what was a great team goal.

 

Lois, with Brazilian style trickery on the left was keeping the Bedwell defence fully occupied and she fed a lovely pass to the talented Kara to round the keeper and score another wonderful team goal.

 

Manager Dave said after the game, "I'm delighted with the girls' excellent play today. Kiella showed tireless energy in attack and defence to win the ball back, while midfield generals Lucy & Florence enjoyed splendid games, Flo showing great bravery after taking one for the team and having to retire early through injury." They certainly make 'em tough down the Wood!

 

 

On the big pitch, our U18s were in top form and started fast with Joseph finding the net quickly. Bedwell struck next to level the score before Makamian and Swain produced defence splitting passes for Joseph to fire home her first Wood hatrick. Shortly after she turned provider and whipped in a venomous cross that was finished in some style from an acute angle by the lively Shaw. Swain finished off the goals with a composed finish to make the score 5-1.

 

The girls carried on their outstanding form in the second match with Joseph going one better than the first match and burying the ball four times for a rare quadruple. With seven goals on the day, she very deservedly picked up PoM for an astonshing display of finishing. Makamian fancied getting in on the act too, scoring a tasty little brace for her first goals post lockdown. With good defence from Rodrigues and Hyman, the Wood saw the match out 6-1.

 

The girls from both sides served up a fantastic day's entertainment but, some unwelcome scenes from adults in attendance fell far below the standards the club and the FA expect and demand at juniors' football matches. Our club reiterates that only those that support those juniors to enjoy their football in an enjoyable and stress free environment are welcome at Wood games.

20/21 The Word in the Wood #14

Posted on 24th April, 2021

The Wood's boys put in three amazing performances on what proved to be a vintage day for the club.

 

Kicking off proceedings were our U10s, a smashing group of boys improving week by week. The Wood started with excellent passing, the lively Shreyank scoring a blistering goal after just 30 seconds! He then shared goalkeeping duties with Aidan, with both boys in top form and making several unbelievable saves.

 

Luis and Audley were causing the opposition all sorts of problems, as did Bailey, securing MoM with a rasping strike for the Wood's second goal. Aiden continued his good form outfield with Matei in defence, while Cristian and Klawdjo ran the wings ceaselessly.
Not to be forgotten, William and Yue enjoyed excellent performances through the middle and the team now head into next week's fixture feeling confident, sharp and loving their football.

 

 

Our U11s have been free-scoring this season and faced a talented Borehamwood Youth side in a massive derby game at Lyndhurst.

 

The boys were at it from the off, weaving mesmerizing passing plays that wowed the loyal Wood support. Joel certainly had his Weetabix as he pounced to score four splendid goals, while Zain & Leon drilled in one a piece, the latter deservedly picking up MoM after producing some typically flamboyant and spectacular skills on the day.

 

When the new season starts in September, these talented boys will be moving to competitive football and one suspects they will be having a very good time of it? Well done!


Finally, our U12s faced a crunch double header against title contenders Harrow Stars, a side having scored an incredible 85 goals in just 12 matches prior to today.

 

Against such attacking riches, the boys knew focus, a brisk start and a tight press would be vital to secure a foothold and went about their business in superb style, taking the game to their opponents with vigour and securing a quick free kick 25 yards out. To the disbelief of the watching hordes, Makamian strolled up to the ball and struck the top corner with a stunning shot, reminiscent of Gazza in the '91 FA Cup semi final.

 

This galvanised the boys further and they played with such desire, Hones and Manning running the soles off their boots in the process. However, as one might expect, Stars' quality saw them take a 2-1 lead with just five minutes of the game remaining. Cue Reed who struck another Wood free kick quite astonishingly, this time from 30 yards, which cannoned of the cross bar before the onrushing McGuinness crashed in the rebound.

 

Great joy enveloped the team but, MoM Song was not content with a draw and the ball fairly sung as he produced a blistering dribble before feeding Crucefix, who buried the ball unerringly and superbly for a historic 2-3 Wood win!

 

The second match proceeded much as the first with Montgomery, Hobbs, Ifeacho & Pop in outstanding form and Marshall producing a world class save to keep the score even. Stars continued to counter though and took the lead before Makamian was heavily fouled in the box, with the ice cool Crucefix dispatching the resulting penalty to hearty applause from the Wood faithful.

 

With just five minutes of the match remaining, Stars' players were inexplicably ordered from the pitch and both this and the unsavoury behaviour of adults that should've been setting an example are now the subject of a League investigation.

 

A really unwelcome end to a glorious occassion but, the Wood's boys and staff represented the club with pride and dignity throughout and can be so proud of themselves and their conduct. Amongst this feeling of pride, however, the boys thoughts were very much with team-mates George & Malcolm, George unable to play due to a freak injury the previous night and Malcolm who was in great form today before being forced to attend hospital with a suspected fractured wrist after suffering a very heavy challenge. Chin up young fellas and we look forward to having you back very soon.

 

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Our U18 Girls were in good form in their latest mini-league fixture against Harpenden Colts at Pursley today.

 

The team started fast with Joseph making flying runs down the wing and Young just failing to register after much good work. In defence, the Wood were tight with keeper Hyman again excellent in her reading of the game.

 

The girls scored an excellent goal to take the lead when Joseph whipped in a fierce cross that was met beautifully by the onrushing Embleton, who fired into the top bag with style. The team continued to perform well with Trainis proving effective with simple, accurate passing in midfield.

 

Second half saw a big drop in energy and focus from too many of the squad and Harpenden profited with two quick goals to take a lead they never relinquished. However, the Wood had many chances to score with Knight just drilling wide on one such occasion and Young, Jospeh & Coque working really good chances for themselves before striking tamely, when piledriver strength was ideally required!

 

There were many superb performances on the day, with Branigan quite outstanding at centre back and both Murray and Turner equally dominant at right and left back respectively. However, Embleton secured PoM after showing boundless energy & drive throughout the match, on the ball and off it too. Take a bow, young lady.

 

 

Our amazing U10 Girls have had an excellent season thus far, rapidly learning and developing their skills every passing week. Today, they faced a physically imposing and strong Chorleywood side away and gained further invaluable experience in the process.

 

After a somewhat tentative start, the girls rallied superbly with Captain Lois driving forward and PoM Lucy controlling the game and scoring a stunning solo effort, picking up the ball in midfield, beating players and running half the pitch before slotting home impressively.

In goal, Emily was in determined mood, pulling off countless fine saves while Mya and Ella formed a redoubtable defensive partnership at the back. Florence and Lottie battled hard in midfield throughout.

 

A good effort from the girls who never once gave up and that, my friends, is what it is all about. The club is very proud of them all indeed.

20/21 The Word in the Wood #13

Posted on 17th April, 2021

In their pursuit of promotion, U12 Boys faced Omonia Green in a double header at Pursley, with the Sun out again, making it feel like a hot, summer's day.

 

The boys started fast, working many good opportunities to score but, lacking the composure to finish these off. Hones was marshalling the centre of defence very well and good distribution from Captain Marshall continued to cause Omonia problems but, the Wood attack just couldn't find that priceless goal. With the fat lady clearing her throat, George won a corner and whipped in an excellent ball that was met by the onrushing Manning, securing a valuable three points for the team and the MoM award for himself.

 

The second game continued much as the first with the Wood dominating possession but, failing to slot chances away or convert good situations into shooting opportunities. Marshall made a vital save to keep Omonia from going ahead, while McGuinness was in excellent form in the centre and Montgomery outstanding at left back, enjoying his best performance to date.

 

In the end, the boys did really well to keep another clean sheet but, were unable to secure a win, the points being shared in a fair reflection of the match. George secured MoM for a very good morning's work, threatening the opposition throughout and unlucky not to grab a winner on several occasions. Next up’s a double header against Championship rivals Harrow Stars; they don’t get any bigger than that so tune in next week to discover how things go?!

 

Our rapidly progressing U10 Boys faced AC Finchley North away and put in a tremendous shift to secure a well deserved clean sheet. The entire squad played with pride and determination with young Bailey securing MoM after a special all round performance. Brilliant stuff!

 

 

Meanwhile, our U11s continued their excellent first season together with another outstanding display of attacking football. After knocking in fifteen last week, they helped themselves to a further six this time round, with Lennon, Julian, Jack Hayden, Ethan & Leon hammering the Pursley nets with abandon.

 

Josh picked up MoM after enjoying a faultless match at the back, tackling determinedly and keeping possession expertly. Well done young man!   

 

__

 

 

Our U10 Girls had no League fixture today, but, with the sun out boosting tans and vitamin D levels alike, our U18 Girls were in tremendous form, recording an excellent 0-1 away victory against Garston Leopards.

 

The girls came out the blocks fast, hassling the opposition to regain the ball and making intelligent decisions in all areas of the pitch. However, despite creating numerous chances, the Wood were unable to stick it in the goal first half.

 

Disaster seemed to strike second half after Garston were awarded not one, but two somewhat debatable penalties, but, after they skied the first of these, keeper Hyman somehow flung herself to the side in a passable impression of Wonder Woman 1984 to make a quite outstanding save. These heroics spurred the team on and their continued pressing paid off when Swain secured the points by calmly slotting the ball home for her third in two games. Branigan was named POM for excellent reading of the game combined with great energy and skill to provide an excellent midfield and then defensive performance.

 

After helping himself to some post-match hospitality in the Garston boardroom, co-manager Clarke spoke at length to BBC World Service. "The girls have been working really hard in training and that paid off today. Everyone performed really well with Makamian and Embleton consistently excellent in midfield, with some great link up play from Trainis too. Our strikers caused lots of issues to the opposition with runs and crosses, and our defence was solid, giving away very few chances. I'm simply delighted for and with them all."

Sage words indeed.

 

20/21 The Word in the Wood #12

Posted on 10th April, 2021

Grassroots football's well and truly back and so is the Wood's blog!

 

U12 Boys are vying for the title and promotion from the Yellow division and faced a massive double header today against Hinton & Finchley Stars, themselves going all out for the same rewards. If our place had any rafters, they would have been packed such was the anticipation after months of waiting patiently.

 

The first match was cagey as both teams sized each other up and it took some excellent defending from Captain Ifeacho to secure the back, while in attack, the team were beginning to get the ball out to the wings and start some promising attacks. Second half saw the introduction of Montgomery and Malcolm and the former picked out the latter with an excellent pass, before Malcolm curled a wonderful first time cross off the despairing head of the Hinton defender and into the goal. Two minutes later, Malcolm, Crucefix & Song combined wonderfully to feed Makamian and he sealed the game with a composed low strike that cannoned of the post and into the goal. After recovering from a recent high speed bike malfunction, young Makamian showed tenacity throughout and also secured MoM for himself.

 

With three points bagged, the second match started with greater energy from the Wood as they poured it on in search of another win. McGuinness and Pop were cranking up the pressure in midfield with Hobbs and Montgomery marshalling the rear-guard tightly. Despite this, it seemed all was lost as Hinton charged through on goal before MoM Marshall morphed remarkably into a human flea and leapt to keep out one and then two point blank shots. After springing on to the loose ball too, he fired it up field for George, galloping forward like yesterday's Grand National winner, to pull the trigger expertly and send the legions in attendance crazy, or in some cases, crazier than usual!

 

A complete performance from the boys in their first 'big' test with all 14 squad members contributing greatly and six valuable points bagged.

 

 

Meanwhile, just up the field, our rapidly improving U10 Boys were obviously inspired by their older peers as they produced vintage football against a game Harrow Stars team.

 

Talented and willing players play anywhere and both Aiden & Shreyank had great performances in goal and outfield, with the latter even managing to save a penalty that helped secure MoM!

Audley, Bailey and Luis were passing the ball really well and it was Bailey who burst through on the away goal, forcing a good save with a snap shot that was gobbled up by the onrushing Klaudjo, who finished in style. In defence, Matei & Yue enjoyed outstanding games, with numerous perfectly timed tackles and super distribution.

 

A great day's football from the boys who just can't wait for next week's match to begin.

 

 

In a late, late kick off, our U11 Boys played GFA Enfield Salamis and started back exactly where they left off with a devastating attacking display that saw an incredible 15 goal return! Joel helped himself to five in a sparkling MoM performance, Zain bagged three, Hayden, Julian & Jack settled for two a piece while Leon crashed in a beauty to round of the scoring.

 

An outstanding return to football for the boys and if this form carries on, the club will need to invest in a very large abacus. Super stuff!  

 

___

 

Our U18 Girls took on Garston Jags in their revised mini-league and made a fine start with great energy across the board & spirited runs from midfield; the impressive Joseph showing particularly in this respect. Our forwards pressed well too and this tactic saw Swain seize control of the ball and send it hurtling into the top bag for an early lead.

 

As they understandably regain sharpness and fitness, the team lost a little concentration & intensity for a spell afterwards and conceded three avoidable goals. However, they fought back strongly with Swain bagging her second of the day with an expertly taken finish. Unfortunately for the Wood, the next goal went to Garston making a final score of 2-4. Still, after all this time out, everyone was a winner and PoM went to Kennedy-Millar who defended with great determination throughout and enjoyed an outstanding match.

 

U10 Girls roared back into action with an excellent display against Garston Tigers. The whole squad defended and attacked with gusto and star striker Lois was very unlucky not to score after a great team move ended up with her crashing the ball off the post. 

 

20/21 The Word in the Wood #11

Posted on 19th December, 2020

The move to a new Tier 4 caused understandable confusion Saturday night as the WFL postponed all matches before the government later advised U18s grassroots football would be continuing.

 

Our U10s & U11s games were off anyway due to their opposition quarantining and as the year closes, the club sincerely thanks both Jamie and Greg, and Craig and Sam for the excellent job they have done and the time they've given up training and supporting their young players this year. The boys in both squads are getting an excellent footballing education and are being shaped by coaches that are very enthusiastic and talented. 2021 will be a great year for both sides!

 

With important League games imminent, our U12 Boys took on the runaway leaders of a higher division - Bushey Rangers - in a keenly contested match.

 

The boys started really well, continuing their recent passing improvement with Hones in outstanding form on the left. Makamian & Manning worked hard and effectively in centre midfield, making excellent decisions and passing the ball quickly to start rapid attacks. Malcolm struck a fine shot that cannoned off the crossbar after a slick team move while Song & George looked lively whenever on the ball. MoM went to Marshall who enjoyed a simply outstanding game which included a penalty save, a fine punched clearance, multiple saves pushed to the side away from danger and a plethora of excellent passes with his feet.

 

Ultimately, the boys were unable to find the finish their build up play deserved, while their opponents were able to do so, by slipping their markers from corners or capitalising from the Wood playing balls out the back too centrally. Despite this, manager Makamian was very pleased when he attended the post match press conference and spoke at length. 'The boys have really improved in all aspects of the game this year and we are very proud of them indeed. Great thanks go to their coaches Marcus and Paul, who have dedicated so much time to steer them forward, while our mentor and salt of the earth - Frank - has had an incredible impact on the boys' technique and approach to the game, something none of us will ever forget. Like all teams striving to succeed, we have big challenges in the New Year and look forward to these with relish.' I don't know about you, but, I just can't argue with that!

 

***

 

Our U18 Girls were due to play in the League today but, the game was postponed due to opposition players having to quarantine. Very good to see the squad training instead as we all know that practice makes perfect.

 

This time last year we had two very depleted squads at U15 & U16 with both teams looking likely to fold and morale at a real ebb. A year later and we have 21 young women with bundles of talent & potential signed at U18, greatly enjoying participating in an energetic and sociable sport, of particular poignance given the ramifications of Covid. None of this would have been possible without our management team of Susie, Charlie & Andy, who have given up so much of their time to right the ship and provide a fine environment for our girls to enjoy. As the squad heads into the New Year, the club places on record its thanks for the selfless support and hard work of these individuals.

 

Though it is many years, it seems only yesterday that our U18s were thrilling us as U10s, and, as they mature and those memories fade a little, how fabulous it is to see the next generation coming through so beautifully! Today, our current U10 girls faced a tough away fixture against a spirited London Girls Development Academy, suffering the loss of star winger Lois and defensive linchpin Mya just prior to the fixture!

 

However, the Wood banded together and got straight down to business, when forward Kiella made a fine solo break, beating several defenders before slotting calmly past the keeper. The gifted Lottie then applied a super finish to a perfectly worked corner routine, before Kara the canon unleashed an unstoppable drive unerringly into the goal for a hat-trick of fine Wood goals!

 

The Wood's intensity to tackle and close down was very evident today with PoM Lucy particularly brilliant in her continued attempts to win the ball and drive the team forward, while at the back Ella & Theaya were at their very best repelling well worked opposition attacks throughout.

 

A day of great football from the girls then, which is something we've seen countless times already from this tremendous group of young footballers. With a bubbling sense of excitement, enthusiasm and potential in the squad, huge credit goes to our management team of Dave and Sarah, who have taken a little idea and turned it into an unparalleled success story. We look forward to their next instalment in 2021 and thank them for what is a wonderful effort and reference in how to bring happiness to youngsters.

20/21 The Word in the Wood #10

Posted on 12th December, 2020

Our U11 Boys are the Wood's hottest side just now, on a terrific streak made all the more amazing by the fact the team was only formed in the summer! They faced a good Alexandra Park side today in their last home game of 2020; an action packed match in testing conditions followed.

 

The lads started a little slowly and were put under pressure from the first whistle with the Park scoring a fine opener. The Wood regained composure at the back with skipper Hayden leading by example and the brilliant Caed making a unbelievable save to stop what looked a certain goal. Minutes later a corner whipped in by Julian broke to the feet of Joel who smashed the ball into the top corner! 

 

In the 2nd half the Wood started to dominate possession and more goals were sensed to arrive soon. The first came when the amazing Zain went on a slalom like run down the wing before finishing from a tight angle. This spurred the Wood on and the football started to flow. After some quick thinking from keeper Caed, Mackenzie was released down the left, where he skipped past one and slipped in Zain, who again finished with composure.

The last goal was something to behold! Super work from Julian down the right saw him produce a phenomenal cross that fell to the feet of Mackenzie. He found Ethan who rolled it back for Zain to smash the ball home for an incredible hat trick.

 

The entire squad played really well today and several players pushed for MoM, but, after his goal scoring exploits and a lung busting effort that saw him cover every blade of grass, the irrepressible Zain secured the honour. Awesome!

 

After a flat showing last weekend, our U12 Boys trained very well in midweek and carried that into a lively game against Oakland Tigers today. The watchwords were hard graft and possession and the entire squad executed these to perfection, with the second half performance, in particular, easily the best seen from the boys thus far.

 

Marshall was excellent between the sticks and back to his best distributing the ball from the back, while Hones fitted into the left back position with consummate ease, keeping things tight at the back while bombing forward to great effect. McGuinness worked hard in centre midfield allowing his considerable technical skills to shine while George was in terrifying form on the right wing, slinging in a succession of quality crosses and shots.

 

MoM went to the electric Song who showed breathtaking speed and control to grab himself a very high quality hat trick, while Crucefix swivelled late on to find the stanchion unerringly. The squad displayed the full beauty and power of possession football today and the sodden Wood ultras in the stands chanted delightedly (but quite off tune) in appreciation before heading to the hut for a bacon roll bonanza!

 

Last but, certainly not least, our intrepid U10s tried their hearts out against a top Whetsone side today. The boys have the very best attitude to their football and performed with distinction in the nastiest weather, passing well and creating many fine chances. Luis bagged himself a terrific goal with a stunning shot and was also named MoM; well done young man. 

 

**

 

Our U10 Girls were at their very best today against a talented London Girls Development Academy side. The first half was played at a speedy pace with neither side able to find the net, but, the Wood faithful were thrilled with the quality of our possession football.

 

Second half saw Kara converting at the back post after fine dribbling and a cross from star winger Lois. The Wood's second came with an unstoppable rocket from the edge of the area after some Barcelonaesque interplay started in defence by Ella, played through Kara in the 10 position and popped off to Chloe, who struck like a cobra and also secured herself PoM. Wood pushed for a 3rd but were thwarted by stout defence from the opposition side despite many first class attempts.

 

Mya again showed off her full range of skill, pace and power today, breaking out of defence countless times and surging forward like a hot knife through butter. Ella was outstanding too, as was the adaptable Theaya, who replaced Emily in goal after she bravely gave it her best, despite not feeling 100%.

 

Manager Hobbs took time out of his busy schedule to speak briefly with Al Jazeera News immediately after the game. "The girls worked as a team allowing them to pressure effectively and make many opportunities. I'm delighted with their communication, attitude and progress and they make everyone at the club very proud." Here, here.

 

U18 Girls had high hopes going into their game against Garston Leopards but, a listless start saw the concession of three early goals that might have been kept out with a little more focus and energy. Despite this, the team were a constant threat going forward with Makamian in particularly good form, while Swain and Young had several excellent opportunities to score.

 

Second half saw Young stride through and show real composure before slotting simply into the net - a reference for the team going forward - while Kennedy-Millar showed determination and class to drive the ball into the top corner for our second.

 

Driven forward by the inexhaustible Embleton, the team came close to grabbing an equaliser whilst also trying to contain the opposition from adding a fourth; stand-in keeper Branigan making several outstanding saves throughout the half.

 

Despite a strong effort, the game finished 2-3, which was hard on the girls as they deserved more. However, there is great potential within this squad which will be unlocked fully once the finer details of positional play are absorbed. PoM went to Fernandez for her determined defending and the huge amount of energy she put in.