23/24 - The Word in the Wood #12

Posted on 25th November, 2023

Our U13 Boys staff and players have been grafting really hard to power up their season and today produced a tremendously hard-working display that showed they are undoubtedly on the right track.


Playing a Hendon United team liberally sprinkled with very good technical players, the boys were competing across the park from the very first whistle and it was just fabulous to witness! Returning from injury, Kingham-Patrick brought calm and quality to the defence; his desire to pass out the back an asset throughout the match and, no doubt, for the season to come. Next to him, Patel stood firm and tough, snuffing out danger and clearing the ball with distance, as did Lehouimel, also opening up nicely to his left side when receiving the ball. Ward continues to improve also, showing quick feet and a much greater willingness to compete; an irresistible combination in any young player. Between the sticks, Florin was a man-mountain, repeatedly making good decisions when coming out and also when making multiple flying saves throughout the game. Ciochina & Covasala entered the fray with the same mentality and got stuck in quickly thus the Wood defence was working together, working hard and getting success.


Ahead of them, the midfield were also far more determined with MoM Joyce back to his best, piling into the tackle as he is famed far and wide for; a delight for his manager to see! Wood stalwart Adom was doing much the same next to him and also displayed his passing range despite facing an excellent individual opponent on the day. Ellams and Patel were having a real go and making themselves more formidable opponents as a result, while Powell and Kurti were burning it up down the wings and looking a constant threat. Up front, O’ Rourke and Gopinath had something for everyone, the former with a bustling, powerful style causing migraines for the Hendon defence while the latter seemingly floated over the sodden Pursley turf, displaying technical play of the highest order.


As the game progressed, Hendon took the lead before Joyce whipped a terrific pass forward to Gopinath. He adjusted the site on his long-scope target finder before expertly dispatching a spectacular shot that flew over the keeper and lodged in the top bag! Hendon applied pressure again and took a 1-3 lead before Ellams detonated a tackle explosion in the middle of the park, the ball breaking to O’ Rouke whose first touch expertly moved him past his marker. He raced forward but, still had lots to do before the crispest strike from his right boot flew like Halley’s comet through the air, finding the net off the left hand post!


As the boys tired, the defending became a little static and Hendon finished up 2-6 winners, a difference of 4 goals, when the previous match against this opponent saw a 10 goal difference. As such, and without doubt, the boys tried really hard today and played excellent football for long periods with the game not settled until the final minutes. This is a huge step forward for the team and the staff can be rightly proud of them and indeed, of their own efforts in bringing the best out of their lads. This is just the start and from here the boys have created a springboard that will see them leap into the remaining games in 2023 and then into the second half of the season and the Spring Cup, a trophy they can now genuinely aspire to win!



Our U14 Boys were firmly in the driving seat away at Rap Aid and winning 1-3 in their top of the table clash before, amidst huge disappointment and bemusement, the match was abandoned by the combined ref/home manager for reasons that are totally unclear at this time. This decision and the result are now under an on-going investigation by the League and we hope to be able to share more on this soon. Much credit goes to the Wood’s players, staff and parents for keeping their cool in very challenging circumstances.



U15 Boys played the second round of the Challenge Cup away against HMH Eagles. The Eagles are at a different stage of development to the Wood, currently competing in the 4th division and the boys knew they would not present quite the same challenge as the Red division teams faced this season so far. However, the right approach would be crucial if the Wood were to enjoy a successful day and this message was drummed home in the pre-match discussions.


In a sign of the increased maturity of the squad, the boys played some wonderful football, winning the ball quickly and then moving it efficiently and selflessly, creating frequent openings and then finishing them with aplomb.


MoM Green was in fine form from the off, a live-wire in the box and bagging his first competitive Wood goal quickly. He then banged in another 4 to finish with 5 of the best and throw himself firmly into the top scorer mix! Makamian returned from illness to ram home a brace, as did Fan, McGuinness & Ifeacho. Montgomery and Song got on the score sheet also as did Silva, who produced some exhilarating football on the day.


At the back, the defence stood firm and focused, and Marshall was called on to make a smart double save to ensure the Wood recorded its first clean sheet of the season.


The boys progressed to the next round of the Cup but, more than that, they applied and conducted themselves in the outstanding manner one would hope to see from a top division side. No bragging or disrespect, just focused young men applying their football skills honestly and repeatedly, and in doing so producing a sublime performance to be proud of.


The boys return to the Red division next week looking to continue this style of football but, knowing they will need to out-work their opponent physically from the first whistle to the last; not one or two players, but, everyone on the pitch. Along with the glow from our excellent efforts today, we take that to bed with us tonight!




Our U13 girls had a free week due to players being away and were left scratching about for a friendly game for the available players to participate in. Our friends at Ware duly obliged after many others declined! We were without Emily who was injured in the week, long term injury Imani and also Abi who had a prior engagement.


Today was a great day to try players in different positions and play with different combinations and we did just this. The girls were tasked with staying on the ball, dominating possession whilst avoiding playing at 100mph and going full speed into every attack but, instead trying to assess each situation and recycle the ball if they didn’t see a good option.


Skipper Amie and Theaya in midfield did this perfectly all day with Annie stepping out from CB at half time to play the 2nd half at CM where she looked right at home! These 3 girls all excelled and were getting lots of shots off, which was also requested of them.

Lucy was asked to play RB this week and her dynamism was maybe muted a little in the role; today wasn’t the acid test for this fine young footballer though as that may come next week. Ava made her debut at CB replacing Annie and looked as assured and calm as normal. Ella finished our back 3 with Pola ably supporting her and having another fine game herself. Riss also put in a commanding display between the sticks and was calm and collected no matter what came her way. Our front 3 was Gabz, Karadonna and Elsinho.


Elsinho opened the scoring with another fine finish to add to her tally for the season. Then Kara reacted quickest for the second time in 3 weeks to make it 2-0; Kara was the quickest of mind and foot to bundle the ball over the line from a corner, the half finishing 2-0.


The second half started and the Wood’s girls went straight for the Ware jugular! Up stepped the magnificent Gabz who just can’t stop scoring. A drop of the shoulder and some more dazzling trickery from the right wing and she was gone, bang 3-0! This young lady has been making and scoring goals for fun since her multimillion pound transfer from London Maccabi! Gabz has settled into the team so well and is an absolute pleasure to work with and to watch work on the pitch.


Ware got one back from a Wood own goal where we were a little panicky in front of goal. Gabz second goal almost broke the net as she drove at the Ware keeper cut inside her marker and unleashed a powerful shot into the roof of the net! Gabby and Hazel where now causing Ware lots of problems from the left flank and through the center with Gabby looking particularly deadly today in a magnificent second performance for the Wood which included 2 goals and an assist, winning POM for her outstanding play and a magnificent second goal. Gabby’s first was through fine teamwork which released her through the middle and she calmly despatched the ball into the corner of the net for 5-1 Wood.


Gabby’s second came from a corner which Ware defended well, the return cross came back into the box and our striker smelt danger for Ware! She followed the flight of the ball then positioned herself in line and rose majestically to meet the cross with a deft turn of her neck to head the ball down and past the keeper into the bottom corner! Spark pandemonium as this is a goal not often seen at this age group of football and was a thing of beauty.


Well done Gabby and well done team. On to our sternest test of the season against the magnificent Harvesters’ girls next weekend.



Our U9 Girls made the trip to Chorleywood on a cold, crisp November morning determined to produce a big performance for their much loved team-mate Emily, temporarily out of action after a nasty training ground accident but, hearteningly already commencing on her recovery. Led by their Captain ‘Juniper’, the girls marched across the pitch to form their positions; you could tell they were in the mood to score goals.


The ref started the game and immediately the Chorleywood side got off to a great start. Using their superior size they pressed forward putting our defence under pressure. Luckily for us we had Sienna at centre back and she was not taking any prisoners. Crunching tackle after crunching tackle was made and at times you could not see the ball through the ferocity of tackles. Eventually the ball broke free and the quick thinking Elsie picked it up from her own half, took on one player, then another and made a pin point accurate pass to Emilia in the middle. Emilia zoned in on goal and, as seen in previous games, used her super quick feet to run straight through the opposition to slot home a blistering goal. The crowd went wild as the Wood Army scored a corker!


We were in a real battle. It was end to end stuff, never seen before in Chorleywood. It was now time for the home side to take advantage, and, to give credit to them, they played some great football. However, even the best team in the world would have struggled against PoM Gracie today. Gracie was making countless heroic saves, often seen pouncing on the ball and closing down gaps with lightning speed. With every great save you could see Gracie’s confidence growing.


Borehamwood were now playing like professionals. Each and every player had a job to do, and rest assured there’d be no P45s issued today! It was now the turn of Amber to take on the heavy task of midfield; despite being half the size of some of the opposition she never shirked from a challenge and on many occasions used her speed, skill and general football brain to wear Chorleywood down.


The Wood now had a rhythm to their play. The girls were linking up brilliantly and eventually this paid off with another a goal; this time a result of text book training. Gracie collected the ball and played it out wide to Elsie. Elsie made a quick turn and played the ball to Juniper, who took control of it and blasted it into the back of the net; it was a fantastic goal!


The girls were bursting with confidence and echoes of “we want 3” could be heard from the away fans, and who are Borehamwood to deny the fans! In came goal number 3 from Juniper. Like the earlier goal, the Wood showed their skill with sublime passing and moving, this allowed Juniper to find space and time to power home her 2nd goal of the game. Juniper was absolutely ecstatic and this was shown in her goal celebrations!


The girls were now in the final quarter and their trademark stamina was ever present, but so was Chorleywood’s. They really made the Borehamwood team work hard in the final 12 minutes, but like experts, the team kept their composure and batted away numerous shots, none more so than when Sienna had to make a heart stopping clearance off the line.

The final whistle blew and a roar of cheers came from both the home and away fans to show their appreciation for what had been a fantastic game, but also to show their admiration for the spirit in which Borehamwood played today.