OLD WOODS 2 v 0 Old Lyonians
Saturday 25 October 2020
Old Woodhouseians first cup game of the season saw the visit of Old Lyonians to Camdenians, prepared to battle for a place in the next round. While OW have started their league campaign in promising fashion the distraction of a cup match is always a welcome one. With a good squad assembled (again) this week, the main disappointment was the late withdrawal from the squad of Jermaine Arteetey failing a late fitness test as he desperately attempts to get his season started.
And while Arteetey’s presence on the side-lines has been a welcome boost to our support, coping without him on the pitch has been made easier by the weekly improvements of Marko Raspudic. Stepping into the team for the final friendly of preseason, time has been short for Raspudic but with every game his confidence appears to grow, and he was to prove very impressive against todays oppo. Ably supported by OW stalwart/veteran Michael Obeng they battled their way through 70 odd minutes against a midfield with a man’s advantage, never backing down and rarely giving up possession of the ball. And how vital their performances were, as the afternoon went on and injuries continued to mount OW biggest concern appeared to be how to get and keep eleven fit players on the pitch. Jud Walker lasted as long as he could before being forced to withdraw with a hamstring injury and Billy Gravett started the game with a knock but managed to battle on impressively, continually refusing to be withdrawn.
Ironically OWFC good start and confident football appeared to lead to the first of the day’s casualties. Ade Olowojoba broke quickly down the right, beating his man and crossing beautifully to the far post, where a sliding Aaron Flash could only make contact with the post. Both players having to go off as a result of their efforts to get the first goal. Que the first reshuffle. More chances were missed in the first half, as big headers from Umar Parkes and Obeng fizzed over the bar. The football was good, and chance were being created, but a large slice of luck was required to keep the scores level. OL appeared to take the lead in the first half when a strike from 10 yards flew in past King desperate dive, only to see the ref rule it out for offside, penalising the two oppo players stood in the six yard box hindering the keepers vision, not a decision you would normally expect to see a ref give.
So, 0-0 at the start of the second half and all outcomes looked possible. But as the rain fell and the injuries continue to rise, OWFC needed a touch of inspiration.
So, to the goals. When the first came, it was celebrated like a last-minute winner, when the horrible reality was there was a good third of the game still to go. Raspudic picking the ball up in the middle of the opposition’s half ran forward, shifted the ball left and hit it from what looked like a good 25 yards. Like Flash’s hit in a previous game, this was in the moment he hit it. The keeper reacted and at full stretch had no chance, the ball rifling in past his right hand, 1-0. And then relief of the second. Ade dragging himself back onto the pitch latched on to a hopefully (yet well directed) pass from his keeper, Flash gave up the chase fairly quickly and encouraged Ade to make it his. After a quick glance round at the keepers positioning, Olowojoba met this “through ball” approx. thirty yards out and connected beautifully, lifting the ball powerfully over the advancing keeper and into the net, 2-0 and an exhausted celebration.
In between the goals Nana Konandu was excellent, his ability (never in doubt) was matched by his enthusiasm, hard work and communication. Although all his teammates had to do a double take on seeing two Stuart Pearce like tackles from him, as legs got tired and warriors were required.
Pressure was applied but, OL never looked like getting back into it. Big, big challenges from Parkes on a couple of occasions, prevented the oppo getting shots away in dangerous positions. As did the dogged determination of Dejan Obradovic not to be out battled or out paced when balls where knocked over the top. And between them the ridiculous refusal of Darren Kinsella to let anyone regardless of how fast they were getting round him, using his undoubted quality as well as every trick in the book to stop his opponent. Just as important as the goals we’ve scored has been Wood’s defensive line. Communication between them has been outstanding, work rate and discipline phenomenal and they can all play, all are good with the ball at their feet and all can put a striker up in the air if that’s what’s required. They have allowed the rest of the team to play, score and for the most part (so far) win.
But the defence work is a team effort, summed up by Ray Sonde’s late efforts. Solid throughout Sonde had to dig deep on several occasions late on to foil OL breaks, chasing back to make the tackles or disrupt the play. Him being punished by the ref late on for a good tackle, almost suggested the ref couldn’t believe he could make yet another attacking stopping challenge, and one of these must be a foul. It wasn’t, but unfortunately Sonde’s frustration at the ref’s decision saw him sin binned in the closing minutes, by then the game was won.
And with Jeramine to return and Kyle Gillies and Tom Pitcher getting valuable minutes in the 2’s, OWFC 1’s squad certainly looks both strong and reliable.
Dejan Obradovic (Captain)
Marko Raspudic Goal
Ade Olowojoba Goal
Albanian 2XI 2 – 1 OLD WOODS
Saturday 10 October 2020
Mistakes, missed chances and much to ponder…
After two weeks to reflect of a very promising victory in their previous game, Old Woods First XI with confidence growing (and despite the return to the 14 of Kyle Gillies) and a pretty strong squad faced old foes. No sign of the rain of the previous week, clear blue skies and a fresh wind greeted the local rivals, both obviously in pursuit of all three points.
And to cut a not very long story even shorter, Woods lost.
But it was the manner in which we lost that will have hopefully left the entire squad disappointed but not disheartened. All good side will loss games, all good CB’s will make mistakes and all good strikers will miss chances. And in my opinion (for what it’s worth) Old Woodhouseians 1’s are becoming a very good side, with very good CB’s and frighteningly good front line.
Saturday’s match at Chase Lodge, against Albanians needs to be a match from which this side learns from it’s mistakes and moves on. Because mistakes were made, the side lost its shape in the second half as the sheer desperation to do well and get their side back in the game caused individuals to loss focus and discipline. That desperation led to a degree of panic, as long balls and even longer throws were overused, but ultimately chances were missed, enough good chances for the game to have been very comfortable for OWFC and provide their third win of the season.
While most match reports and newspaper back pages (Sky Sports news ticker tape these days I guess) are generally reserved for those goal scoring hero’s why not take this opportunity to remind everyone even strikers are human.
So, the match itself and those misses….
Early on a tame right footed first-time effort from Ade Olowojoba was easily saved, more should have been asked of the keeper on this occasion, especially after so much good work had been done to find the space and create the opportunity.
1-0, a decent counter attack, contributed to by a mess of a clearance, a cross along the edge of the 18 yard box and a first time finish beating a keeper good enough to know he could/should have done better, both hands to the ball but could only parry it inside the post.
Then almost immediately a sharp attack down the left, a ball into Eric Margjonaj was in turn played first time into Aaron Flash’s path, one touch finish and 1-1 should have been the outcome. instead a heavy touch from our electric forward and a quickly advancing keeper results in a golden opportunity blocked and ultimately missed.
An intelligent back heel from Olowojoba saw Michael Obeng and Ernie Didehvar converging on the ball 10 (ish) yards out, with the latter just putting his effort wide.
Obeng’s opportunity to turn provider, with a good flick on to Flash running on to it, brought a decent left-handed save from the keeper who impressively got up to put Olowojoba off the follow up.
Cue Obeng again applying the through ball, this time Margjonaj outpacing his man rounding the keeper impressively only to see his effort cleared off the line by a retreating opposition defender.
Then Eric Margjonaj turned provider as Obeng playing in a far more advanced now surged through on goal, in attempting to lift the ball over the advancing keeper, resulting in the best save of the game as the goalie stood up long enough to foil the attempt.
And while all this was going on very little happened at the other end, as in general and as much as they have in the previous two games the OWFC backline looked solid and composed, most of the time. However, one missed header, one moment of confusion, one headed through ball, one example of no communication and two CB’s hesitation lead to a one on one with the OWFC keeper which was slotted away far too easily and far too comfortably, 2-0.
Woods finally had the ball in the Albanians net and a tiny glimmer of hope late, late on, as another good long through was hurled into the oppo’s 18 yard box by Billy Gravett, Obeng (again) rose highest, this time flicking the ball past the keeper, 2-1. But too late. An even later FK went sailing over the bar from Gravett, who’s delivery up until that point had been incredibly impressive (and will result in plenty of goals being scored this season).
So lesson to learn, and an acceptance of an opposition keeper having a good day. No time for sulking, three points each week have now become something this side should be demanding.
Dejan Obradovic (Captain)
Billy Gravett Assist
Michael Obeng Goal
Kyle Gillies Sub
Ernie Didehvar Sub
Ozan Khan Sub
Latymer Old Boys 1 – 6 OLD WOODS
Saturday 26 September 2020
So, with the summer sun a distance memory, Old Woods First XI were met with light rain and strong winds, as Covid restrictions insured the pitch side kit changing was a rapid process. But with less time to sit around in changing rooms an option, it has resulted in more time to warm up and prepare. And today it showed.
OWFC came flying out of the blocks. Continuing with three at the back and deploying wingbacks in as an attacking a role as possible OW got on top early. The ball was moved around nicely at the back, easily finding midfield teammates. Obeng and Raspudic outstanding in their dominance of the middle of the pitch. But when the more direct, more probing ball was on OW weren’t shy in using it. And it worked well, throughout the first half.
OW were to score twice before half time, the first an own goal, after Eric Margional saw his initial shot parried (a cross along the 6 yard box arguably a better option) managed to chase down the loose ball and put in a dangerous cross to the far post which was inadvertently turned into his own net by LOB defender. The second, again a deep cross, this time from a corner was met by Dejan Obradovic’s head, shoulder, probably more accurately his back and crossed the line at the back post for 0-2. Two nil could/should be have been three, when Michael Obeng saw a lovely header ruled out for offside (?) as Woods took control.
But, with things going a little too well for an early season game, OWFC opted to make things a little more interesting. An unfortunate challenge from George Osadebay while trying to clear the ball resulted in a penalty for Latymer on the stroke of H/T, which was coolly and comfortably dispatched to the keepers left, 1-2 at half time. And yes, there was plenty of moaning as the teams walked off for, plenty of referee criticising and not much of anything particularly constructive really, at first anyway. A few choice words from players and coach alike was intended to calm heads and refocus minds. But playing slightly uphill, into a strong wind and with confidence and belief still a little fragile, why not turn the majority of the second half into a battle?
Latymer came out stronger in the second half than they started the first and Woods looked a little nervous, determined not to lose the lead they had built up, but perhaps fearing that weeks of hard work could be undone with a bad 45 minutes of football. The defence dropped a little deeper, the midfield wasn’t fining the time on the ball they had in the first half and chances (for a while) dried up. LOB had a number of chances but the majority of these were limited to attempts from the edge of the box. King made a handful of decent saves to maintain the lead, the highlight of which being a strong, full length right handed save from a close range header (so close that there is a decent argument the keeper could and should have come for the cross, thus preventing the header from being made).
But this season feels a little different, this Woods side plays a little different. Fifteen minutes to go, winning 2-1, but with substitutions required and an opposition getting more and more desperate to equalise previous Woods sides would have defended deeper and deeper, previous Woods sides would have started to panic and previous Woods sides would have been beaten, this Woods side attacked and attacked and attacked, scoring four late on to run riot and destroying their opponents. In Margional OW may have a striker who can kill off a team, on this occasion he made the very most of the counter attacks, scoring twice after being put through one on one. While simply frightening at times in the first half Ade Olowojoba chances to run at the opposition were somewhat limited in the second. But unlike the first half he was able to cap a brilliant display with a clinical finish as he and Eric turned the finial ten minutes into a masterclass of counter attacking and finishing. And all this before Darren Kinsella completed the scoring rout in injury time with a 20 (ish) yard freekick, straight at the keeper, who somehow managed waft at it as it gently past over his head into the net. But while the freekick wasn’t spectacular, Kinsella’s performance was. The leadership and communication currently being demonstrated by this OW stalwart is a huge reason behind the encouraging start to the season. Flanked by Obradovic and Umar Parkes, the three-man defence looks so well organised and each so very comfortable on the ball. These three individuals are a huge reason for the good defensive performances seen in the first two games of the season. But it hasn’t simply been a strong backline that have been responsible. We have seen improvements all over the pitch and a huge reason for this has been organising and planning, boringly!!
Ray Langely (OWFC 1’s manager/coach/kit washer/tactician) has organised this team, given them shape and a formation that at the moment its working, he’s kept roles and responsibilities simple and clear. He simply demands more from every member of the squad.
The only downside to the day appears to have been an injury to Zah Benrahal, on his OWFC debut. After looking potentially very promising in the first half (good feet and vision) Benrahal went over on his ankle midway through the second, having to be carried off. Hopes are high that his time out won’t be too long.
Next up, two wins from two Bealonians and what should be a good examination of this sides character as much as their ability. Can this squad maintain the standards they are currently setting? Do they believe they can have a successful season? Do they have the fight and the resilience in them?
And all this with some big players still to return to the squad. Injury and suspension have denied several important players from taking to the pitch yet. Good luck boss there could be some big decision to be made soon, what a lovely dilemma for Old Woodhouseians to have.
Dejan Obradovic (Captain) – Goal
Darren Kinsella Goal
Osy Okoli still no injury!!!
Ade Olowojoba Goal
Kak Benrahal Yellow card
Eric Margional 2x Goals
Ray Sonde Sub
George Osadebay Sub
Wilson Tschudin Sub
OLD WOODS 2 – 1 Old Salvatorians
Saturday 19 September 2020
Right so we’re back…
And in an attempt to make these reports a little more regular this season, we may see length, accuracy, humour (should be easy) and details sacrificed. But ultimately how regular these reports are and how good they are, will depend on the performances of those lining up for Old Woodhouseians First Eleven. Fingers Crossed lads, no pressure.
Camdenians looked resplendent in the mid-September sunshine, but just as impressive has been OWFC 1’s preparation for the opening game of a season, and with six months to prepare its just as well. No massive changes had been deemed necessary from the previous seasons campaign. The addition in midfield of the lively, quick feet of Marko Raspudic and (although early days) the impressive looking Eric Margional leading the attacking line, the only new faces, the return from a long time out of Jud Walker and last season 2’s player of the year Ray Sonde, were the only real difference from the squad that last played together in February (or March?) and early signs suggests the attitudes, commitment and dedication we saw filtering through to the team in early 2020 are now embedding into this team’s character.
OWFC now looking to set up with three at the back will benefit hugely from having four players with the required attributes to play as wing backs and from the first game it is already clear a lot will depend on these four individuals this season. Jud and Osy (hamstrings) Okoli started against Savlo’s and while the latter was asked to do a lot of defending down the right early on, the former looked incredibly impressive surging forward at every opportunity down the left, while crunching into defensive tackles when required. And with Sonde and Billy Gravett both coming on as half time replacements OWFC attacking threat went up a level.
The afore mentioned back three, appear to be taking to a new system well, but were undone during the first half by a swift counterattack, after OWFC cheaply lost possession (ADE!!!!!) in their opponent’s half. Our skipper then missed his kick allowing the move to develop and ultimately left the OSFC striker bearing down on goal. OWFC’s veteran keeping (still opting to play on without the aid of walking stick or guide dog) attempted to close the player down, who in truth got his shot away before the keeper could get anywhere near keeping it out. A good finish from the edge of the box into the top right corner, 0-1.
Que the inevitable, sagging of shoulders and wagging of fingers. But these reactions didn’t last. Okoli picking the ball up straight from the ko and out of pure frustration charged into the oppos half, past a couple of players and driving straight at their two Centre backs. The move didn’t result in levelling the scores but did see the start of a prolonged period of pressure from OWFC, limiting their opponents to counterattack for the rest of the half. Which they managed on a few occasions, but each time were foiled by C.King in goal. A strong left-hand tipping one shot wide, defying gravity to stay on his feet long enough to repel another one on one attempt, while the best save(s) of the lot went largely unnoticed (and unappreciated by his teammates!). A tricky shot from the edge of the box kicked up violently making handling tough and resulted in a follow up attempt requiring the alert keeper to pounce forward to deflect the second effort wide of goal, leaving the covering defender to clear and take the praise of his teammates.
But OWFC were very much in this game and the goals would come. And when they did, the most surprising aspect was that we scored with headers, two really good headers. Aaron Flash getting up highest and ahead of the onrushing keeper glanced in a cross from the left 1-1. And then soon after the sound of Umar Parkes forehead meeting a low whipped cross from Gravett reverberated around Old Camdenians, as the opposition keeper desperately tried to react, only managing to push the powerful attempt into the roof of the net, 2-1.
Flash continued to torment, running directly and running fast at the backline. One such surge resulted in an OWFC pen and with Gravett stepping up, surely would come the breathing space needed to confirm an opening day win. Alas, he missed, a smart save by the keeper diving to his left and with the shot at a “nice height” to be parried away. So, no breathing space. A flurry of late FK’s and corners saw both keepers in the OWFC 18-yard box, as the home side desperately tried to keep out the leveller. The most desperate of these moments saw Darren Kinsella’s goal line clearance from a fierce close-range effort, deflecting the ball over the bar.
So, a win and a very promising start.
Led today by their colossus of a man, Dejan Obradovic (who simply looks a better footballer with every game he plays) OWFC have plenty of reasons to be optimistic, but this is just one game and standards require meeting every week, by everyone.
To any OWFC players reading this and wondering why you weren’t mentioned, see it as an incentive to do better next week, or at least make sure you are available to boss CM for more than 60 mins.
And to those on the touchline, your efforts didn’t go unnoticed, it’s a massive boost to get your support and help, even when injury or suspension prevents you sticking a shirt on.
Dejan Obradovic (Captain)
Umar Parkes Goal – Man of the Match
Osy Okoli Didn’t pick up an injury!!!
Ade Olowojoba Assist
Aaron Flash Goal
Ray Sonde Sub
Sean D’Castro Sub
Billy Gravett Sub – Assist – Missed Pen
OLD WOODS 2 v 4 Albanian
Saturday 14 April 2018
The sun shone, the pitch was playable and fourteen names adorned the Old Woods team sheet as we welcomed the champions, to Donkey lane. Camdenians deemed unplayable earlier in the week had resulted in the venue being switched and home advantage surrendered, but spirits were high.
The invertible late arrivals hindered pre-match preparations, but a strong, organised and determined 1XI lined up to take on the worthy winners of Senior 2 North. Early possession was dominated by the away side, but as in recent games this was all in front of our well organised back four, ably protected by Jon and DC in CM. while Albanian prodded and probed it was Old Woods that looked the more threatening on the counter attack. Ola Olaofe had been asked to play through the middle was supported by Eugene and feed from the wings by Tom Rossdale and Michael Obeng. An early sighter proved the ideal preparation for Ola as he again beat the offside trap and bore down on goal. But whereas his first effort was dragged wide this time he delightfully lifted it over the stranded keeper from the edge of the box to give Woods a 1-0 lead.
But the team who started their preseason the previous June, were not about to celebrate a league title with a defeat. As such Albanians continued to push. Osy and Ray had handled their wide men brilliantly, limiting the chances coming from the wide areas and staring many of our attacks. The former was forced off (the result of playing at 100 mph, in only his first game back from lengthy injury) towards the end of the first half and a reshuffle was required.
Jeff came into partner Dejan at CB, pushing Alex to RB. Back alas it was here that the tide began to turn. Poor marking and a failure to properly clear a corner resulted the away side levelling, with a decent header at the far post. And within minutes the lead was held by Albanian. This time after cutting in from the left the oppo winger unleashed a powerful effort on goal, our keeper could only parry and Albanians striker reacted quickest to poke home.
Good chances came at both ends during the first half and both keepers did well to keep the score down.
The positivity that appears to be engulfing the 1XI squad of late continue into the half time team talk and then spilt over into the early exchanges of the second half. Dempsey came on for Ola, in an attempt to give us a target and a means of holding the ball up. Alex was forced off injured, Jon moved to RB, Obeng came into CM and Jay was brought on wide to provide much needed pace and directness. At this stage the game was still very much alive.
Jay brought the team’s level with twenty minutes to go, cutting in from the left and beating the keeper with an effort from just inside the box. And like previous weeks, Woods continued to push, keen for the win that would guarantee their position in the league for another season. But Albanians are worthy champs and were ruthless in the closing stages. The took the lead again following a quick break that saw their striker run straight at the heart of our defence, dragging the CB’s across goal before wrong footing our keeping with a nice finish. But before spirits could be raised and the fight back instigated, Albanian got a fourth. Again Woods defended poorly failing to clear a corner and losing their markers. The away side kept the ball alive and were first to a bouncing ball to make the game safe.
Disappointment was evident amongst our squad, but perfectly summed up by Jon Warner.
“The fact that we were disappointed not to get something out of a game against the team who’ve won the league convincingly shows how much we are improving as a team.”
Unfortunately six months too late for this season, but it bodes well for next year.
Line up: Christian King, Ray Sonde, Dejan Obradovic, Alex Day, Osy Okolie, Sean D’Castro, Jon Warner, Eugene Thomas, Michael Obeng, Tom Rossdale, Ola Olaofe, Jay Adebisi, Richie Dempsey, Jeff Boateng
Goals: Ola Olaofe, Jay Adebisi
OLD WOODS 3 v 1 Old Aloysians
31 March 2018
The second visit of the season to Highgate saw Old Woods once again come up against an impressive Aloysians attacking unit. Once again the early stages were dominated by OAFC. Moving the ball quickly and sharply keeping their wide men really wide and trying to overload on the edge of our area.
However this time it was all in front of our back four. The discipline and organisation that had worked for large parts of the previous game was stepped up a gear. While OAFC dominated possession early on chances were minimal.
Early injuries to DK (getting roast three times in opening ten minutes can apparently injury your hamstring) and Pitcher, saw Ray and Flash enter the fray. Jud switched to LB and immediately was able to get closer to his oppo winger, severely limiting his threat. Ray then tucked into RB with Flash in front of him. Both subs were to go on to have big games, but it was Flash’s initial introduction that seemed to turn the tide. Some good early link up play down the right looked promising, but it was when cutting inside and running at the heart of the defence that the deadlock was broken. Alex Day played his second beautiful ball through to Flash (via Eugene) who surged forward, an aggressive run was finished with a right footed shot from the edge of the area across the keeper 1-0.
1-0 became 2-0 soon after. A corner from the right was kept alive by Alex, his header back into the plenty area was stroked home by Michael Obeng. Woods also saw Pitcher put a header straight at the keeper from an Obeng corner. Woods’ third would come via a similar route, a corner early in the second half was met with the same dominance he routinely shows in his own eighteen yard box, this time Michael getting up and powering passed the keep with a strong header.
3-0 at this stage may have flattered OWFC, but arguably we did work harder, tackle stronger, get back that bit faster, finish better and defended better in our own box.
Aloysians threat was all down the wings. Jud and Ray did brilliantly throughout to slow down and foil these attacks. Ray was vocal, strong and good on the ball. Jud was determined and tenacious. Both constantly dispossessing their wingers and starting attacks of our own.
Jon and DC in the middle were happy and willing to see everything pushed in field, sucking the oppo in and then breaking up their attacks again and again. They had to commutate well and keep the work rate high, as Aloysians continue to push with their fast, one touch attacks.
Dejan and Alex were organised and solid at CB. Consistently pushing the back line up and the team forward, squeezing what space there was in front of them, not allowing OAFC to play.
But it was the attacking threat that this team offers that really shone through. Obeng strong on the left, always an option for team mates, Ola then Flash on the right looking to get beyond the defensive line, with Eugene pulling the strings in between them. Able to get involved with quick passing and moving or by beating his man and driving into the space. All that behind the best striker in the league without a league goal to his name this season. Up top Tom was usual busy pain in the arse to mark. After picking up an injury, Ola stepped into the role, and how hard he worked too. Always a willing runner in behind, and if not for a couple of really good saves would have got a couple of goals when latching on to through balls.
A little mention to the two keepers – while OWFC keeper made a couple of important one on one stops, a few near post scrambles and a series of decently held (in the conditions) long range efforts, the OAFC keeper made fine stops from Ola and Pitcher that goals written all over them.
While things at the back need tightening still further, great comfort can be taken form this performance. On another day we could have scored six or seven and all of this under the watchful eye of the “injured” Darren Kinsella. His passion, organisation, encouragement and nonsense from the side-lines kept tired legs going. And no doubt annoyed the fuck out of anyone else listening.
The standards set the previous week had been matched…and raised.
Line up: Christian King, Darren Kinsella (capt), Dejan Obradovic, Alex Day, Jud Walker, Sean D’Castro, Jon Warner, Ola Olaofe, Michael Obeng, Eugene Thomas, Tom Pitcher, Aaron Flash, Ray Sonde
Goals: Michael Obeng 2, Aaron Flash
OLD WOODS 0 v 4 Latymer Old Boys
24 February 2018
Forget any positivity that may been garnered out of the last defeat, also any encouragment gleaned from the last match report, we got beat and we were poor.
The line-up was decent (despite late withdrawals), a solid backline, a hard working and technically good midfield and an attacking threat.
I can’t even recall the detail. Only to say James Dunford performed better than most. In first call up to the 1XI he battled, looked to get involved, supported and encouraged those around him. Flash looked dangerous before getting injured. An injured Michael Obeng played despite only turning up as a spectator (due to the late withdrawals) and we missed chances.
The link up play up front never got going and as a team we never looked dangerous. Greg was subbed early on (feeling unwell) and Pearcy wasn’t given the support to worry their defence. While at the back we got pulled all over the place and looked incredibly vulnerable.
They scored four, we didn’t. End of match report.
Line up: Christian King, Darren Kinsella (capt), Dejan Obradovic, Billy May, Jeff Boateng, Eugene Thomas, Jon Warner, Aaron Flash, Michael Obeng, James Dunford, James Pearce, Greg Osadebay
OLD WOODS 1 v 4 Enfield Old Grammarians
Saturday 17 February 2018
On paper a very good 13 man squad awoke on Saturday morning ready to gain revenge on the youths of Enfield Old Grammarians.
However on grass ten amber and black shirts (well 9 and a keeper) lined up to kick off at 14:30. Unfortunately injury, traffic and Kyle Gillies meant that all plans and tactics went out the window and keeping things “tight” was the order of the day.
Ten men soon became eleven, regrettably by this stage Old Woods had conceded two and were staring at another defeat. Enfield moved the ball quickly, continually attempting to overload the right side of our defence, where Billy and Tom battled to keep them at bay. Both goals had come down the targeted right side. Firstly a good move resulted in the ball being pulled back in line with the penalty spot, the striker paused and stroked the ball back the way it had come beating our keeper to his right. The second came from a good ball over the top, the oppo wide man cutting in from their left took a touch to steady himself and then hammered it in at the near post beating our keeper above his head, while a lovely strike the Woods keeper will be disappointed to have been beaten from that angle and at his near post.
With eleven players working hard and Jeff organising things from CB the game settled down. Good football was played by both sides, with EOG moving it quickly through the middle of the pitch and continuing to target our right flank. However with Eugene, Jon and Obeng playing in CM, Old Woods began to turn the tide. Three in CM would normally result in our front man becoming isolated, on this occasion this was prevented by the dynamitic running of Aaron Flash. In only his second game for the 1XI, yet Aaron continued to impress. Strong in the challenge, dominant in the air and frighteningly effective when running with the ball at his feet. His link up play with Tom Pitcher provided Woods first real opportunity, only to see Tom put his shot wide when through on the keeper. A Woods goal was to follow shortly as a free kick was floated in from the left, only for Tom Rossdale to get a faint touch and put it past the keeper. A series of one on ones followed at both ends without a change to the score line and the teams went in at half time 1-2.
Buoyed and determined Woods came out for the second half…and were 1-3 down in a couple of minutes. A good move and an even better finish couldn’t take away from the fact we just went to sleep and hadn’t got going after half time before seeing the deficit doubled. But the game was still alive and the next goal vital. Heads hadn’t dropped by those in Amber and Black, despite the score line, despite the lack of subs and despite the knocks and mounting injuries up.
Then two decisions within five minutes that effectively ended the game as a contest. In typical Jon Warner fashion the wholehearted midfield tracking back into his own area made what looked (from 5 yards away) like an outstanding sliding challenge, clearing the ball as the striker prepared to shoot. Unfortunately from 50 yards away Jon must have appeared to foul the oppo forward and as a result the ref awarded a penalty. Much complaining ensued partly in disbelief but more in utter frustration that the wrong decision had been made from so far, far, far away. The taking of the pen was fairly routine, with the keeper going the wrong way and the ball being calmly stroked home. Almost straight from the KO Flash picked the ball up and again ran straight at the heart of the EOG backline, he surged into the box only to be beaten by what looked like a strong but fair challenge. The challenge resulted in Flash going to ground and cries from teammates for a penalty. As if expecting Old Woods to be wanted retribution for the poor decision moments earlier, the Ref seemed to have made up his mind it was a dive before Flash hit the ground, a yellow card followed for diving.
1-4 down and running on empty, the lack of subs and lack of football over the previous weeks was taking its toll. Legs got tired but heads didn’t drop. For a team who on occasions this season have not done themselves justice with either attitude or performance, the Old Woodhouseians squad are starting to show signs of turning things around.
Good football had been played and great heart had been shown. The score line massively flattered the visitors and on another day the result could have been very different. But it wasn’t and these defeats need to end soon.
Line up: Christian King, Darren Kinsella (capt), Dejan Obradovic, Billy May, Jeff Boateng, Eugene Thomas, Jon Warner, Aaron Flash, Michael Obeng, Tom Pitcher, Tom Rossdale
Hale End Athletic 0 v 4 OLD WOODS
13 January 2018
New Year, new fortunes?
We finished 2017 selecting two of our strongest squads of the season only to see both December fixtures postponed due to bad weather. Thankfully availability remained good and we took to a boggy pitch in Walthamstow full of confidence and keen to run off the excesses of the festive period.
Hale End had had an impressive victory the week before consigning OWFC 1XI to the bottom of the league for the second time this season. Games in hand gave us the knowledge that a decent run of victories would see us propelled up the league, but we knew the New Year had to begin with three points.
The home side started aggressively and determined, clearly buoyed by the previous weeks result. But all the good football in the early stages was being played by Woodhouseians. Jon Warner and Eugene Thomas in the middle clearly looked too good for their opposite numbers, despite being outnumbered. Jon, busy and passionate, Eugene all movement and quality of touch. But it was down the right where OWFC began to take control. With Osy Okolie at right-back and Tom Rossdale in front of him, their speed and tackling threatened to overrun Hale End, resulting in more players being pulled across to the right and in turn oceans of space being left for Mark Guildea and Michael Obeng to exploit down the left.
The early chances fell to Greg Osadaybe, as he bullied and pressed the opposition’s back line, a flowing move saw the first real chance of the game as he powered through on goal only to unlucky roll the ball beyond the far post with the keeper beaten. Greg was pivotal as the deadlock was broken, he fed Obeng cutting in from the left, who beat his man and fired a powerful shot past the keeper, 0-1.
One nil became 0-2 in similar fashion, this time an accurate finish into the far corner again from Obeng as once more he beat his fullback and cutting inside from the left. A third quickly followed as OWFC took complete control. Rossdale already impressive in the match normally so reliable with his right foot, had time to look up and pick his pass. He must have seen the keeper off his line as he sliced his cross and watched it fortuitously wrong foot the keeper and end up in the back of the net.
0-3 and relatively cruising Old Woods just had to see out the next five minutes until half time. Firstly the warrior-like Jon Warner quite literally through himself into another challenge attempting to break up an opposition attack, this time falling awkwardly. Clearly in some pain and while plans were made for his substitution Jon sat up and merely popped his shoulder back into place, refusing to be taken off. Moments later an incredibly generous lifeline was handed to Hale End as Osy was deemed to have handled the ball in the area. Up stepped the Hale End penalty taker (with the usual nonsense of various Woods players pointing in various different directions behind him, all claiming to know where the kick would go). Instead our keeper chose to use all his experience and guess left…the kick, in truth, was poor, but handling has to be assured as you could almost guarantee no Woods player would be following in to clear a potential rebound. Three nil up at the break and fully deserved.
So the scene was set for the second half. A comfortable lead, playing the better football, a quality striker on the bench itching to get on and add to the goals. The next 45 minutes should have been as relaxed as they come. Instead in the face of the inevitable aggression at the start of the second half, Old Woods decided to panic, drop deeper and give the ball away, failing to string three passes together for the first fifteen minutes of the second half.
But what we lacked in composure and confidence we made up for in heart and desire. Darren Kinsella and Kyle Gillies, while last ditch at times were solid and strong. Limiting Hale End to few efforts, throwing their bodies on the line when needed and mopping up danger when it presented itself.
As we settled and the chance began to come again, now it would be on the break, fast moving football whether it be down the flanks of straight through the middle become the pattern for the last half hour. James Pearce when not looking to get beyond the backline started dropping deeper picking the ball up, by now George Ghaffari had come on and was able to stretch their defence opening up the spaces for Pearcey to play. More chances were created as Obeng missed a glorious opportunity to complete his hatrick, Tom them decided not to finish a lovely move with a first time effort and the chance was gone. Then another golden chance for his third, feed by Pearcey, Obeng coming in at the back post lent back and sent an effort soaring yards (lots of yards) over the bar.
A debut was given to Kudzai Makopa (a genuine Woodhouse College Old Boy!) at CB, as we looked to sure things up. Quickly Kudz showed good communication skills and a confidence to help organise the backline, much needed at this stage of the game.
The fourth and final goal came after another good move from the away side. The ball was moved quickly through midfield and Obeng was again put in down the left he looked to have done everything right lifting the ball deftly over the keeper. Thankfully his shot floated onto the bar, rebounding perfectly for Pearcey to apply the finish.
The win was vital, the performance was really impressive at times and the clean sheet a confidence-building bonus. Lots of games ahead, but wins either side of the New Year, could be the start of a really good run…fingers crossed.
Squad: Christian King, Mark Guildea, Osy Okolie, Darren Kinsella (capt), Kyle Gillies, Jon Warner, Eugene Thomas, Tom Rossdale, Michael Obeng, Greg Osadebay, James Pearce, George Ghaffari, Kudzai Makopa
Scorers: Michael Obeng – 2, Tom Rossdale, James Pearce
IB Albion 1 v 2 OLD WOODS
November 25 2017
I don’t like playing on 3G, I don’t like playing in Leyton and recent seasons had convinced me I really didn’t like playing on 3G in Leyton.
Old Woodhouseians have played poorly in the shadows of Leyton Orient’s ground in the last few years and as a result have had poor results. So with more 1XI players missing than available to call on it was with a certain amount of trepidation that we headed east.
However, moods changed as we laid the kit out and got our boots on. Spirits where surprisingly high in the changing room as we were joined for the first time this season by the likes of Sean ‘DC, D’Castro, Jason Olaofe, Ronald Thompson and Aaron Flash. We were missing players, but we were fortunate enough to have real quality to call on.
That said we started with ten men, a few late arrivals forced us to be compact and solid early on. DC and Jon Warner in CM were at it straight away, busy and combative. Tom Rossdale down the right and Nana Konadu down the left helped our midfield take a certain amount of control, back up impressively by Osy Okolie and Ron in the fullback roles.
But it was Flash who caught the eye early on. Deployed through the middle, his energy and willingness to work for the team really put IB Albion on the back foot. He won every header he went for. He was able to drop deep and collect the ball, turning quickly and running at the home sides back line, but just as impressive was his link up play. He held it when he needed to, he played it first time when he needed to, attempting to play in Tom and James ‘Pearcey’ Pearce when possible.
While Flash impressed and probed in attack, Jason and Darren ‘DK’ Kinsella held things together at the back. Darren his usual aggressive determined self, was complimented perfectly by the sublime calmness and quality of Jason. Strong, fast and assured he kept quite a striker who in previous season has been a nightmare to handle.
Albion were unable to get into their stride, they will always attempt to be a physical side. Decent in possession but always strong and determined. This determination merely ran into a brick wall throughout the ninety minutes, as every Woods player stood up and gave as good as they got.
The goals came in the form of two gifts and a finish of either sheer class or absolute good fortune.
The opener scored by James Pearce came via some poor play in the Albion backline, a misplaced pass put James in, Pearcey just doesn’t miss chances like that, and it was never in doubt as he rolled it passed the keeper for 0-1. Their goal came after a hopeful long ball shortly before half time was casually chased down by the Woods keeper, venturing outside of his box he was beaten to it by the on rushing striker, a decent finish later and 1-1. While disappointed, heads didn’t drop going into half time. There seemed to be a quiet belief this game was there to be won.
The winner as it turned out to be was debated long afterwards. Initially the question was “did you mean it?” This was met with the typical Pearcy response of disbelief that anyone would ever dare doubt him. The follow up question was “did it actually go in?” Thirty yards out (allegedly seeing the keeper off his line) Pearcey with the outside of his right foot chopped down on a bouncing ball and watched as it appeared to loop over the keeper and over the bar into the fence beyond. Yet there he stood Cantona like, arms outstretched, as the ref turned and pointed to the centre circle. No complaints from the oppo, no complaints from the fella stood behind the goal. The Woods players, Subs and Co-Chairman looked on in stunned, but increasing delight. Seconds later James was mobbed by his teammates as the realisation quickly sank in (and before the ref had a chance to question the decision).
The rest of the match turned into a frantic battle. Greg Osadebaycame on and provided much needed rest bite as he battled and bullied their back line, chasing and harrying at every opportunity. Nerves continued to fray the closer we got the final whistle. Our keeper went some way to making up for his first half error, with a string of decent saves late on. But an equaliser would have been harsh. The win was hard fought for and totally deserved and the delight and relief audible at the final whistle.
Definitely something to build on…
Squad: Christian King, Osy Okolie, Jason Olaofe, Darren Kinsella (capt), Ronald Thompson, Sean D’Castro, Jon Warner, Tom Rossdale, Nana Agyemang, James Pearce, Aaron Flash, Greg Osadebay, George Osadebay
Scorer: James Pearce – 2
Queen Mary College Old Boys 3 – 2 OLD WOODS
Saturday 19 September 2015
Old Woodhouseians 1XI second game of the season looked a daunting one away to Queen Mary College, last season’s run-away league winners. However The Woods started the game well, seeming to have successfully shaken of last weekend’s result. The whole team’s work rate and endeavour was impressive, causing Queen Mary an endless amount of trouble going forward and defending resolutely, with players throwing themselves into blocks and putting a foot in at every opportunity.
This pressure culminated in the opening goal for Old Woods – Industrious ball-winning in the oppo’s half from N.Greywoode, released N.Fisher with time and space to cross for the on-coming M. Britton to finish the move off well. Deserved and devastating!
The rest of the first half played out with Queen Mary pushing to find the leveller, but being denied each time by Woods captain and keeper C.King, who pulled off a string of excellent saves to keep a slender 0-1 score line at the half.
The second half started in the same vein as first ended… Queen Mary now growing in confidence, started to find their playmaker No.10 in some dangerous positions, but the hard-working Woods side defiantly stuck to their guns. However 25 minutes or so into the second half, Queen Mary delivered a dangerous cross which was only half cleared to the edge of Old Woods’ box. Enter the QM’s left back, who stepped in to hit the sweetest ‘daisy-cutter’ into the bottom-right corner. 1-1, “You just don’t save those!”
Old Woods hit back almost immediately to take the lead again through T.Pitcher, who latched onto another N.Fisher ball to calmly slot in the away team’s second. 1-2. Clinical.
However the lead was short-lived… QM where now bombing forward at every opportunity, mixing up their attacks by playing through the middle finding their No.10 or pinning The Woods full backs back and whipping the ball into the box. The latter option, led to Queen Mary’s equaliser… a cross from their right side into the Old Woods box, found their No.10 who chested the ball down for an on-rushing teammate to dispatch, high into the net. 2-2. Heartbroken.
Old Wood’s tried to rally again, but energy levels had understandably dropped. With 5 minutes to go Queen Mary poured forward – A neat one-two just outside the box ended with the opposition’s left-back running directly into V.Greywoode and throwing himself to the ground. To the bemusement of the Old Woods players, the referee awarded a penalty, stating “I have to give what I think is right.”
Penalty rifled in. 3-2. Gutted!
A deflated Old Woods side tried hard to snatch an equaliser but it wasn’t to be and the game ended 3-2 to the home side.
Despite the result. there was again a lot of positives to take from the game – N.Fisher showing his ability and creating chances, T.Pitcher and N.Greywoode looking dangerous and causing the oppo’s defence relentless trouble, M.Britton – defending well from the front. I have no doubt that once everyone is fully match fit, games like these are ones we will win.
Squad: C.King (capt), A.Fisher, A.Norman, J.Chapman, M.Wloch, M.Taylor, M.Britton, V.Greywoode, N.Greywoode, N.Fisher, T.Pitcher, J.Courtney, Gareth Dray
Scorers: M.Britton, T.Pitcher
MOM: T.Pitcher, M.Wloch
OLD WOODS 3 – 3 Old Danes
Saturday 12 September 2015
New keeper ????????????
Old Woodhouseians 1XI took on Old Danes in the season opener and it was an eventful afternoon. Having effectively moved up a division this first game always looked tricky. However with the oppo down to 10 men (professional foul) in the 15th minute and Woods playing the ball around nicely maybe a memorable start to the season was on the cards. It was not to be.
A long nothing ball over the top saw the Danes striker reach the ball before our keeper, knocking it past him, leaving him stranded thirty yards from goal. The finish then was a simple one. Woods fought back, consistently creating openings and frequently getting into promising positions. The goals had to come and they did, strikes from Nat and Tom saw Woods take a 2-1 lead. Had it not been for a combination of poorly timed final balls and a series of questionable offside calls that lead would and should have been extended before half time. Instead the first half finished with a gift of a goal. A harmless shot come through ball should have been gathered by our keeper, as he slid out in front of the on rushing forward the ball inexplicably rebound off his (my) knee straight back to the forward who rounded our stricken keeper (me again) and made it 2-2.
Disappointment and deflation set in after what had been a generally very promising first half display. Woodhouseians couldn’t get going in the second half, looking tired and confused. As work levels dropped so did our control of the game. Old Danes rallied to their credit, taking the lead mid way through the half and begun to look the more dangerous side. But Woods continued to battle, The smart passing of the first half was replaced by more desperate rushed play in the second and as the game got more frantic Tom was bundled over in the box, plenty. Nat passed it home for 3-3, and a point a piece.
Individually DK looked solid after moving up from the 2′s. Rory was arguably our best player on the day and on his debut, passing and talking impressively. He and Andy played well as an emergency paring at CB. They started most moves, were always an option for midfielders and competed well against a decent attack. Ant showed he can play Left or Right back for us this season. Joe looked busy, tackling and passing well and confidently beating players. Obeng played the holding midfield role beautifully, especially in the first half, always an option for a pass and working hard (well in first half anyway). Nick looks more and more comfortable with every game, keeping moves going and picking out through balls. Nat went past oppo players for fun at times and will always score us goals. Mark and Mason showed they will be a threat all season when running at defenses. Tom continued to impress holding the ball up, chasing down, pressuring defenders and you’d always back him to get a goal. And our keeper………..well there’s always next Saturday.
Squad: C.King (capt), D.Kinsella, A.Fisher, R.Mason, A.Norman, J.Chapman, M.Obeng, M.Taylor, M.Britton, N.Greywoode, N.Fisher, T.Pitcher
Scorers: N Greywoode 2, Pitcher