21/22 The Word in the Wood #25

Posted on 20th March, 2022

The weekend's matches for the U18 Girls and U13 Boys promised much with exciting and important Cup matches to play.


U18 Girls faced Div 2 opposition - LGCE - in the Shield knowing a win would secure them three valuable points in their mini-league. The girls came into the match in fine form, this  against the top Div1 sides too, thus the Wood faithful were salivating at the prospect of a vintage performance.


Unfortunately, the girls just couldn't match the focus, endeavour and desire of their lower ranked opponents who clearly wanted to progress in the competition. The result was 0-3 to LGCE and this really didn't flatter them. They worked their socks off, were very determined and just had the better approach from the off. PoM went to Harry-Brown who looked sharp and proactive throughout and can be proud of her efforts.


The Wood's girls' have two more matches to try and secure enough points to progress to the semi-final; these matches will be the last in juniors' football for many of them. There is absolutely no doubt they have the ability to progress, but, it won't happen by chance, just with lots of effort, togetherness and a real desire to improve and stay in the competition.



U13 Boys meanwhile were down to the last 4 of 32 teams that started the Junior League Cup and faced AC Finchley in a semi final at Pursley. The stands were packed for this blue ribband match and the boys were outstanding first half as they performed brillianly to a player.


Captained by the excellent Hones, the boys dealt comfortably with Finchley's offensive pressure while looking dangerous themselves going forward. McGuinness was lively up front and forced the away keeper into several saves while Crucefix in particular was poking quality passes through the lines which almost led to goals on several occasions.


The second half carried on in the same vein until a match turning sequence of events, sadly brought about by Wood ill discipline. After winning a free kick, a needless punch was thrown resulting in a yellow card and the free kick being reversed. Wood misery was compounded further when the resultant free kick somehow found the net after what looked like a deflection. Two minutes later and an inexplicable Wood challenge resulted in a cast iron penalty and despite Marshall's best efforts, that hit the net too.


From being in control to two down in a flash stunned the Wood who lost focus and ceded space all over the park. Finchley took advantage and put the match to bed with two further goals. At 0-4 it looked like it was only going to get worse but, with Ifeacho and Makamian reinforcing the defence superbly, the team rallied, finishing strongly with MoM Sunkara driving forward on a mission to score a goal and give the Wood the very least they deserved from the game. In the end, it didn't come but, in this lad the team has another talisman they can gather around going forward.


Reed & Hobbs deserve great credit for giving the shifts they did after only recently recovering from illness, however, it wasn't to be today and a lesson in discipline has been learned the hard way by everyone. However, the vast majority of the boys conducted themselves superbly and can be very proud of their efforts; the Club certainly applauds them for this and for having a real go.



Meanwhile, U12 Boys travelled to Enfield to take on Omonia Youth in the League, trying to gain an invaluable three away points in their super promotion push.


The Wood started off a little slowly and were rushing their passes which gave Omonia a chance to get into the game. Although there was a lack of attacking threat to start, the back 5 stayed switched on and did not allow Omonia to put any chances together, led by Captain Joyce and his deputy Adom.


Nearing the end of the half the Wood were knocking the ball around well and the chances started to arrive. Staszewski, Khan and Rocha combined to find Adoma in the box but a good save from the keeper denied the Wood opener. A long range free kick from Staszewski also went close but at half time it remained goalless.


The Wood were doing all the right things and were asked to keep playing the same way in the second half, stay patient and the goals would come. Hebblethwaite replaced Parratt at right back and from the very start of the half he found a great pass to Khan who played a 1/2 with Adoma and then released Staszewski who calmly slotted past the keeper but was denied by the post. The deadlock was finally deservedly broken when some great work down the right by Khan saw his cross fall at the feet of Rocha who waltzed round the keeper to tap home.


It was non-stop waves of attack from the Wood after this, the catalyst being the pressure Wood defenders and midfielders were putting on the Omonia midfielders and forwards. Adoma got the goal his hard work deserved when the ball broke to him and his quick feet gave him room to get his shot off into the bottom corner. Murphy came into midfield and Evans replaced Adoma up top. These two combined really well after coming on to finally wrap the game up. Murphy’s ball into the box dropped nicely for Evans who’s initial shot was saved by the keeper but sheer determination gave Evans another chance to smash home from 5 yards.


More goals were nearly added from Staszewski amd Murphy's long range efforts with the woodwork denying them. At the end of the game the Wood had won a well deserved 3 points and really seem to have something special going on in the squad. The title push is still on!