20/21 The Word in the Wood #5

Posted on 10th October, 2020

After our girls’ heroics on super Saturday, our boys followed things up brilliantly on a vintage Sunday, recording three fantastic performances at home.


Our U10s are going along very nicely indeed and faced a good Enfield Rangers today. The boys got straight into the goals, with Shreyank, in the midst of some extremely hot form, finding the net twice with calmly taken finishes. William was in sparkling form, dictating the play well, before Dragos banged in another goal soon after, striking firmly before scooping MoM after a wing clinic that saw countless dangerous crosses supplied. At the other end, our defence was strong and focused, with Aiden, Claudio & Matei producing excellent displays and fearlessly throwing themselves in front of the opposition players to thwart their goalscoring attempts.


In a massive Borehamwood derby, our U11s took on a handy Borehamwood Youth Crusaders side in a fantastic advert for football in the town. Our boys were in the very best of form with the mega talented Julian blasting in two excellent goals, matched by the equally impressive Zain, himself grabbing a beautifully constructed brace.

The entire squad revelled in the atmosphere and excelled with the energetic Josh in particular enjoying a fine match, while Hayden was named MoM after a consumate display that showed great leadership skills. A super job from all the boys and from Craig and Sam, their excellent management team.


With cup action up next weekend, our U12 Boys were looking to seal a good start to the League season with maximum points against Alexandra Park West. The teams faced each other just last Sunday but after losing that match, our opponents were very much up for it and took the lead midway through the first half after starting the game with more intent than the Wood could muster. However, as he often does, Manning came to the team’s rescue, robbing the away defence just before half time and despatching a rocket firmly into the top bag for his third of the season.

The momentum of the game swung and debutant Song enjoyed a fine cameo on the right of midfield before succumbing to injury. Thereafter, MoM Pop, coming right back into his best form won the ball in midfield and fed Manning. He turned provider and slipped in George, who, after enjoying an excellent game and causing all sorts of problems with his pace and direct running, slotted the ball home beautifully for our second and his third of the season also.

With the consistently excellent Hones marshalling the defence superbly at the back, the boys saw the match out and sit atop the division, with the challenge in future weeks being to stay there. Very well done.




After the rain last week, our U18 Girls played in the dry this weekend, but, faced a stiff challenge from a strong Harpenden Colts side at Pursley.


Despite playing some excellent football, the Wood were unable to score in the early parts of the match and went down by three goals, the last of which was a penalty rebound; Manning saving brilliantly first time round. Heads did not drop though and the squad fought for each other and encouraged themselves to greater things and this spirited attitude saw the team grab two goals back before half time, the outstanding Young proving too strong as she drilled the ball into the stanchion once, and then twice.


The team came out for the second half very buoyant and in a crazy half of football, Swain, raiding down the right like a Viking, scored an amazing, high quality hatrick, while Young grabbed a further two, testing breaking point in the newly installed 4mm nets, when the old 3mm models would surely have snapped! Joseph slalomed through calmly to cap the scoring at 8, with many of the Wood's mobile fanbase losing their false teeth as mouths hung open in wonder and awe.


The match ended a barmy 8-5, with the team's midfield and defensive players enjoying equally impressive performances. Branigan was back to her best, tenacious in the duels then imperious with her passing, while Kennedy-Millar enjoyed a truly outstanding game, refusing to be beaten and sticking her swede bravely and effectively on cross after cross. Hyman was superb on the pitch then sacrificed her own personal ambitions to replace the injured Manning in goal and play that position to a very high standard; the type of selfless act that often gets remembered when the votes are cast at the end of every season.

Not to be outdone, Embleton covered every blade of grass, showing an incredible level of commitment and fitness, while Luckhurst, Knight & Shaw all enjoyed very solid games as did captain Rodrigues. Though leaving the field through injury, Fordham also made a very telling contribution during an excellent spell at left back.


Managers' Clarke and Branigan made shrewd tactical moves throughout and were delighted with the squad's performance, the former quoted by BBC Sport afterwards as saying ' the girls done good.' Exactly. To cap proceedings off, Makamian was named PoM after passing the ball like the Wood's own Xavi and covering diligently too; well done that lady! What an amazing day for our senior side and one that won't be forgotten for many a year.


At the other end of the age scale and also against Harpenden Colts, our mini warriors in the U10 Girls gave a first class account of themselves, this against a very experienced and talented side.


The first stanza was competitive with the ball finding the midfield areas regularly, resulting in half chances for both teams in difficult conditions. As the game progressed, the Wood showed great resolve before twinkle toed Lois completed an amazing dribble that saw her beat three opposition defenders before calmly firing home our first. Thereafter, Kara showed tremendous determination to ram home a second, with Lois on hand to bury her second of the game.

At the other end, the Wood's defence was admirably marshalled by Ella, Mya, Theaya & Lottie, with Flo patrolling assuredly in front of them. Anything getting past this super bunch, was swallowed up expertly by birthday girl Emily, receiving PoM after flinging herself around like a human ping pong ball!


All in all, the girls played a wonderful match and manager Dave was delighted with their efforts. "The squad has trained so well over summer, I couldn't be happier with them. A special mention to Lola on her long awaited return from injury and for Florence who, in only her third ever game, was just so reliable in midfield." Words of wisdom indeed, and with that, he headed back to the car for a well deserved nap!