23/24 - The Word in the Wood #21

Posted on 11th February, 2024

With the rain lashing down all week, it was just our U15 Boys that managed to get out this weekend, playing the first game in a sequence of crucial matches which includes two quarter finals. First up was Berkhamsted Raiders in the League at home, a crucial relegation six pointer with the winner pulling away from the vanquished in the quest to retain Red division status next term. After a disappointing January, the boys trained well mid-week and there was a steely determination present pre-match that reflected a growing belief that they can achieve great things together when they really focus individually and support each other collectively.


The start that followed was outstanding with Berko under the cosh from the off. Silva & Makamian were out the blocks like whippets, crashing into the opposition and using the ball superbly thereafter. Green ran hard to panic the away defence with Fan supporting excellently and both players had the early share of goal-scoring attempts. Montgomery was sweeping up nicely while Boshjaku returned to centre back winning a series of massive tackles and his assured presence there seemed to fill Hobbs and Hones with confidence as they complimented him with their own tough tackling and a refreshing focus that was shared by keeper Marshall, enjoying a positive, assured outing. All that was missing from that first half was a goal but, with one of the most potent attacks in the League at present, complimented by the recent signing of Da Silva, a free-scoring attacker looking to challenge himself at higher levels, the boys looked confident as they set out second half.


With Crucefix slipping superbly into the holding role with a bite to his challenges that delighted the home support and Pop enjoying an excellent outing in midfield, the boys streamed forward producing an outstanding move that saw Pop and Manning combine skillfully to present Da Silva with an opening he calmly struck home! Da Silva added another moments later only to be denied by the offside flag, but, undaunted, he slipped in Wood legend Ifeacho shortly after as he ran through to bag his 14th goal of the season with aplomb, placing him tied joint top-scorer at the highest level this season so far. The Wood's famous press then saw Manning win the ball and produce the cross of the game from an acute angle; Green attacked it well and his effort fell to Da Silva who shimmied effectively before striking a lovely effort home again to secure the team’s 50th goal this term and the MoM award on what can only be described as an outstanding debut match.


The boys worked really hard today and were very motivated to perform well, secure a vital win and their first top division clean sheet. They achieved all three things and, crucially, this motivation came from within, from their own preparation and desire, and a realisation that if they want something badly enough, they are now good enough to go and grab it. They head into next week’s quarter final with a positive, hardening mindset that may propel their bodies to new heights, seemingly impossible at the start of the season but, now tantalisingly close to reality.