23/24 - The Word in the Wood #32

Posted on 4th May, 2024

U15 Boys signed off a highly successful season with a superb 2-3 victory away against high-flying AEK, denting the title dreams of a second opponent in three days and vaulting themselves away from the relegation places.


Armed with the experience and buzz of a tremendous victory on Friday, the lads went out again with a new mind-set, certain they could better a top opponent vying for the championship and in the finals of both the League and Challenge Cup. If you believe, you can achieve and that’s exactly what they did.


With Marshall still injured, Crucefix continued between the sticks and looked like he’d been doing it for years, playing a faultless match for the second game running and highlighting what a talented player he is, having covered so well in so many diverse positions this season. In front of him Hones, Pop & Boshjaku continued their excellent collective play, confident on the ball and tough in the tackle. Hones in particular has regained his very best form, also filling in effectively in midfield as the game wore on. Manning returned from holiday and played to a very high level given the lack of recent match play and training, typical of the solid season he has had.


Further forward, Silva and Green continued to impress in midfield with Montgomery doing the same holding behind them. McGuinness, Song and Makamian worked the energy sapping wings diligently while Fan, Da Silva and Ifeacho rotated effectively up front.


After a leggy start due to Friday’s exertions, the boys began to play their football and naturally started to exert influence as a result. Montgomery took possession of a clearance to stride forward and unleash an earth-shattering shot that forced the ball to glow red-hot as it flew over the home keeper and into his net! Now the Wood were purring and Da Silva made it 0-2 with a stinging drive that bust the net just after it had been patched up!


Always a threat, AEK had genuine pace and quality in their ranks and pulled one back with a fine volleyed finish but, the Wood went into the break 1-2 to the good.


The second half saw the Wood focus more on their football and there were many excellent passages of play as they moved the ball around with confidence. Ifeacho saw one smart effort from a Boshjaku free kick fly narrowly wide before Da Silva picked up possession in his own half from an excellent Wood counter. This human bag of tricks ran with the ball, dropping his shoulder here, faking to pass there and roasted the entire opposition defence before slotting past the keeper to make it 1-3! It really was a goal for the ages and saw him reach 10 goals in just 8 games since joining the club; a genuinely incredible effort from a hugely talented footballer.


AEK pulled one back near the end but, the boys have learnt not to collapse after such events and just managed the game out, despite the clock running on and on and on! Pop and Fan played particularly brilliant matches and shared MoM, but, it was another first class squad effort where every player played their part, all pulling in the same direction and doing whatever was necessary to secure the collective reward.


After the game, manager Makamian barely had time to sort out his make-up before Sky Sports were demanding a post match interview. After powdering his nose and combing his hair to perfection, he said, “The stars aligned this season as the Red division secured many of the best teams and players in local grassroots football. A privilege to play in it and through the hard times and the good, our players have learnt massively about themselves and each other, gaining priceless experience that is locked in and a part of their character for ever. We go forward now, setting new targets and focusing on fulfilling our destiny in the football world. Huge thanks go to our coaches - Manning and Montgomery, to our singular Club Secretary Mary, to our tremendously supportive parents and most importantly to our boys, who as the senior team at Borehamwood 2000 FC, have flown the flag for our club with pride and distinction all season, and in doing so, have made us all very proud indeed.”




As the season winds up for many teams, the U15 Red Division continues apace with many of its teams competing for cup honours. In the process, this has caused a backlog of league fixtures to determine the champions of what has been a very strong and competitive division. Even now, any of 5 teams can win this title and the division has already produced the Herts FA County Cup winners also, a side the Wood led 4-2 in normal time earlier this season. That day 3 conceded goals in the last 5 minutes of a 15 minute injury time period not seen before or after, showed the fine margins between success and failure at this level, with the ability to focus and concentrate as challenging as any technical shift upwards.


The Wood’s boys have shown an appetite to compete right from the start of this formidable challenge they’ve faced but, the second half of the season has seen a drop in performances as fatigue naturally set in from the constant demands required of them each week. Despite Song’s MoM performance, the boys went down 1-2 against Omonia White last Weds in a relegation 6 pointer and with just two away games to play against title contenders, the season seemed like it would end a little flat. However, an excellent training session mid-week with a renewed focus on composed, simple passing, and a deep-seated belief that they can compete with anyone, saw the lads head off to title leaders New Salamis, for an exciting Friday night match under the flood-lights.


Prior to the match, the Wood were rocked as stalwart keeper Marshall succumbed to a painful knee ligament injury that made playing an impossibility. Lots were drawn to replace him and the shortest straw went to Crucefix! In all truth, this founding member of the team and his family have Borehamwood 2000 running through them like Blackpool through a stick of rock and when the call was made, Crucefix volunteered to fill in for the greater cause, giving a huge boost to the side and being totally typical of the selfless nature of this Wood legend! With Marshall very commendably making the long journey over to provide expert support and warm-up, the Wood were back on an even keel, the team ethic as vibrant as ever.


The whistle for kick off blew and it was game on, with the Wood flying out the blocks like Linford Christie! A back three of Hones, Boshjaku and Pop were totally focused, attacking the ball before it bounced, pushing up high and sending their clearances afar. They were also composed on the ball, feeding it into the midfield with far greater consistency and accuracy. In front of them and protecting, Montgomery was producing trademark quality on the ball whilst also performing his defensive duties to a high standard, while Silva and Green completed the centre midfield triangle, exuding quality, cardio and tackling. Song, McGuinness and Makamian rotated on the wings very effectively providing an increased threat going forward but, as importantly, all having the fitness and drive to track back. Up front, Fan, Da Silva and Ifeacho shared attacking duties and were like a rash on the New Salamis defence, starting a fantastic press that this Wood team compete to the very highest standards.


Midway through the first half, the impressive Fan produced a sublime through ball that deadly sharp-shooter Da Silva latched on to. Having previously forced a quality save from the home keeper, this time he dispatched his shot into the bottom right corner for an incredible 8th goal in 7 matches to send the massed ranks of Wood fans delirious with joy! With a really solid performance for the rest of the half, the boys went in one up.


Second half saw the same excellent play continue with the 13 players rotating to keep energy levels and application high, providing the platform for a goal of the season contender shortly after. Wonderfully composed play from Crucefix and Hones at the back saw the ball reach Fan, who shimmied before producing a top quality pass for Silva to streak through from the left and send his low strike flying past the opposition keeper! It really was a stunning team goal and the Wood surged forward for more! Green released Song with a stunning, spinning, outside of the foot pass; Song’s shot was blocked but, he reacted fast to whip a beautiful ball across the face of goal, just evading the on-rushing Wood strikers. Ifeacho was giving nightmares to the New Salamis defence, moving the ball much faster than in previous weeks and had several excellent efforts narrowly wide as a result, while Da Silva was chopped down in the box for what seemed a certain penalty only for the ref to refuse it.


New Salamis were a constant threat but, inspired and composed Wood defending from the entire side kept the opposition at bay until a corner was headed home late on. However, this caused barely a ripple within the team who kept focus and comfortably saw out the rest of the game for a tremendous away victory. MoM went to Crucefix who was absolutely outstanding all game and stood up to be counted when his team needed him most. These valuable points see the boys leap up the table and have a big bearing on the title race too but, most importantly, the Wood’s mojo is back and we go again Sunday, and can’t wait for it!