23/24 - The Word in the Wood #19

Posted on 27th January, 2024

Our U13 Boys put in a much improved performance against HMH Eagles at home, narrowly losing a pulsating game 1-3. Powell was in top form and fired the Wood in front with a cracking shot after Gopinath had crashed a shot off the crossbar.

Lehouimel was in top form between the sticks, flinging himself around to make a succession of top saves, before the Eagles turned the game. However, the Wood's boys kept at it to ensure the result was in doubt until the final whistle, much to the appreciation of the home support.

MoM went to the outstanding Joyce, who played with huge purpose and desire all match and enjoyed a tremendous outing as a result.




U15 Boys endured a torrid day against Kings Langley. With only one sub, the boys were down to the bare 11 after Makamian limped off after going in hard and receiving a nasty injury.


Pre-match, the Wood focused much on stopping crosses and attacking those that did get through but, the boys just couldn't get it done, conceding two early goals from this very route. MoM Green was magnificent in attack, all endeavour and energy as he single-handedly pulled the Wood back into the game. He robbed Kings Langley of the ball and then fired in a sumptuous effort from way out to make the score 2-1. The Wood spurned this opportunity, however, with further calamitous defending seeing the opposition coast to a 1-4 half time lead.


The second half saw a more even match as the Wood tried to salvage some pride, but, the concession of another highly preventable goal made it 1-5. However, Green, displaying all the positive attributes one would hope to see in a young footballer, improvised very well to score another from a tight angle, taking him to 8 goals for the season and making the day a personal success for himself. Thereafter, Boshjaku and Crucefix weighed in with some huge challenges while Montgomery was spirited to the end and produced some quality play on the ball, the match finally ending 2-5.


The Wood has scored an incredible 47 goals this season already, many of which have been against the best players and teams around at this age; as an attacking force the boys are performing very highly and have exceeded all expectations. As a defensive unit, however, the very basic tasks of heading, tackling, marking, attacking a ball and clearing with distance, are escaping the lads at present. These aren’t hard things to master; all players in the squad can do them standing on their heads. However, it takes focus, determination, hunger and desire to do these things well on matchday and there is no doubt that many of the boys are lacking these qualities at this moment. This won’t last forever though and with reinforcements to the squad imminent, there are big opportunities coming to those that raise their games, show leadership and take on responsibility.




After yet another unexpected frost over-night, it seemed the weather would put paid to another of our U13 Girls’ games, however, it warmed up quickly and it was game on! Good job too as Pursley witnessed a cracking match against title challenger’s Hertford Town.


The game started at a frenetic pace with the more experienced Hertford team pinning our girls back into their own half. The defence completed an amazing job though, stopping any clear cut chances and efforts on the Wood goal. Annie, Abi, Pola & Ava working hard to protect Riss and deny space.


It was a battle in midfield with Theaya & Amie giving it all to wrest control and gain the advantage in the midfield battle against tough opponents. Lucy came into the fray for the second half after a break and showed glimpses of her dominant self. The midfield was trying to release our dangerous front line with wingers Gabz & Elsinho, who in turn were the supply line to No9 Gabby. The front three scared the life out of Hertford with their pace, power and trickery; their ability to create something out of nothing mesmerising their opponents.


Hertford managed to go into the break 1-0 up from a fluke goal but Wood heads never dropped. The second half began and the girls came out slowly; Hertford pounced from the kick off to make it 0-2 from some sloppy defending. However, this just galvanised the spirit of these young women who rolled their sleeves up and set to work overpowering an excellent Hertford team. Gabby chased a super through ball from Gabz and she beat her marker hands down, sliding the ball calmly past the onrushing keeper for 1-2!


The defensive unit was making strong challenges everywhere and putting their bodies on the line. Our midfield started to get a hold with skipper Amie spending more time on the ball with Theaya prompting her to drive forwards. This pushed Hertford back and the last 10-15 mins was one way traffic; the girls deserved a draw minimum from this fantastic advert for girls’ football but we go away with our heads held high knowing we just pushed an excellent Hertford side to the wire!




Having missed playing last week due to the arctic weather, our U9 Girls were raring to go against the Hemel Aces! Both teams started with determination and Juniper was soon flying down the wings and outpacing the opposition, whilst Daisy was firing shots at the goal as she outsmarted the defence only to be stopped by the woodwork.


The game was end to end with shots from both teams and Amber defended brilliantly, mostly stopping the opposition from getting past the half way line and even taking a shot herself at the other end after a blistering run up the field. The game saw fantastic defending and some amazing saves from Grace, which stunned the opposition managers, before the introduction of Emilia saw the first Wood goal after some fantastic tackling and dribbling, the Wood away support going ballistic as it screamed into the net!


The team was firing on all cylinders now and Juniper drilled home cooly for our second shortly after. Daisy returned to the field and was now on a mission, claiming four cracking goals including a world class strike from the half way line! Polly was instrumental in assisting many of these as she robbed the opposition of the ball, storming down the wing before making decisive passes to the strikers, whilst Juniper provided a steadfast defence and fantastic balls forward to start the attacks.


All the girls were amazing and it was really hard to choose just one as POM as they all deserved it, but the accolade went to Tippi who just edged it with her amazing work rate, running up the pitch to attack and shoot, working hard in midfield to intercept the ball, and running the length of the pitch to put in some amazing defensive tackles; her best performance of the season so far. The teamwork, attitude and skilful football all over the pitch was something to be truly proud of.