Old Aloysians IV 1 – 2 OLD WOODS

Saturday 12 December 2020

After 5 weeks without a game Woods made the short journey down the A1 to Highgate to take on an in form Old Aloysians side who were unbeaten in their last 4 outings. Woods however did travel full of confidence with their own unbeaten record stretching back to the opening day of the season.

Woods started with Andrew Hill in goal, Jeff Boateng and Ross Burton in the centre of defence with Lee Houghton and Niik Ramezam taking up the full back roles. The midfield trio was made up of Jon Warner, Harry Gravett & Michael Obeng (the self proclaimed “Paul Pogba of the lower leagues”). This meant a front three of Toby Burton on the left, Jack Andrews on the right with James Dunford once again given the responsibility of leading the Woods attacking line.

Woods, playing against a stiff breeze and up a slight hill started the game like a side who had not played together in 5 weeks. Passing was sloppy & touches were poor with the home side looking to crowd the midfield to make things difficult for the visitors. Dunford was already beginning to cut an isolated figure up front but was already chasing everything down. Defensively the visitors were already setting out their stall and erecting the “thou shall not pass” sign despite the huge physical presence of the home sides attack. Despite the lacklustre start and after 10mins of shadow boxing Woods would be the side who would create the first meaningful attack which would result in the opening goal. The visitors quickly turned defence into  attack down the left with Ramezam powering forward before laying the ball into the feet of Dunford who showed clever feet to flick the ball into the patch of Toby Burton, Burton skipped through before firing a powerful strike from a tight angle which was parried away by the keeper into the path of Gravett who showed great composure to stroke the ball calmly into the net. 1-0 Woods.

Woods, now with the lead started to settle a bit more and the midfield trio of Warner, Gravett & Obeng started to string some passes together however they were under constant pressure form the home sides combative & spirited midfield. Woods were now beginning to get joy in the midfield area and in particular Gravett & Obeng were going in search of that killer ball to Toby Burton or Andrews but it just wasn’t coming off as Aloysians defence stood firm. Half chances came for Woods with Toby Burton volleying wide & Dunford’s effort well blocked by the home sides defender.  Woods would create another good chance when Andrews skipped free on the right and cut brilliantly inside his man before offloading his shot which was destined for the net however it was somehow blocked by an Aloysians defender. The home side who were enjoying lots of possession went in search of an equaliser but Woods defence stood firm, with the commanding CB pairing of Ross Burton and Boateng limiting the home side to long range efforts & set pieces. Hill was showing excellent hands and striking a commanding figure in goal dealing comfortably with everything that came his way. On the 35 minute mark Richie Dempsey would be brought on to replace Dunford in a tactical switch which meant Gravett playing the lone striker role. The final 10 mins of the first half would see the game become very scrappy once again but Woods would take the all important lead going into the half time break.

Woods talked at half time about upping performance levels. The effort was unquestionably on display however performance levels were not what they had been prior to the lockdown. The key however, from the Woods half time team talk was to ensue that the side left St Aloysius’ College Playing Fields with the all important 3 points. Behrang Agin would enter the fray during the half time break taking the place of the tireless & hard working Jack Andrews. The second half would start with Aloysians again enjoying plenty of possession but Woods, when in possession always looked dangerous on the break. Woods would create the first big chance of the second half when the ball fell to Toby Burton on the left hand side of the 6 yard box. Burton had very little time or space but managed to loft a shot which looped over the keeper and looked destined for the net however the effort just didn’t dip enough and clipped the crossbar before going out of play.

The game now started to become more open and Aloysians started to up the ante and pile on the pressure. Once again however they were restricted to long range efforts but came close on two occasions with both efforts from range hitting the crossbar. With the game opening up Woods looked to use the pace of Toby Burton to hit the home side on the counter attack and on the hour mark this tactic would pay dividends as Obeng sent Burton clear. Burton ran through before being clipped by the desperate Aloysians defender with the referee pointing straight to the spot. Richie Dempsey stepped up however his penalty was well saved by the home sides keeper, the rebound, falling straight to Dempsey looked certain to hit the net however the keeper produced another excellent stop to somehow keep the ball out and the score at 1-0.

Woods again shuffled the pack with Dunford replacing Obeng and Conor Higgins replacing Ramezam as the visitors looked to grab that all important second goal which would come on the 70 min mark. Woods had a goal kick which Hill booted up the pitch, Dunford looked to break the defence and run on to it however the home sides keeper came rushing out of his box and attempted to head the ball clear however in doing so he completely misjudged the flight of the ball missing his header and allowing Dunford to run through with the ball and fire into the open net from a tight angle. 2-0 Woods and relief. Credit to the clever Dunford for continuing his run.  The visitors would make further changes with Obeng and Andrew taking the places of Gravett and Toby Burton. Woods looked to see out the final 20mins and inevitably in doing so dropped deeper and deeper inviting further pressure from the home side however Woods defensive unit was standing firm and looked determined not to be breached. Aloysians were now throwing everything at Woods but the commanding Hill was barely tested.

Entering the final 10 mins Aloysians continued to probe and eventually their efforts would pay off when Woods were caught playing out for the back with the home side stealing the ball back, working their way into the box before drawing a foul and being awarded a penalty. The physical striker stepped up and sent Hill the wrong way. 2-1 with 5 mins remaining in the clock. The final 5 mins resulted in Aloysians throwing everything including the kitchen sink at Woods as they went in search of an equaliser.  The home side were awarded a number of free kicks in dangerous areas during the final minutes however as they had done all day Woods defence were to come out on top.  The final whistle came with an outburst of joy and relief from the Woods side who knew how valuable these 3 points were and even more so considering that they are more than capable of going up a couple of levels. Woods would prevail victorious in this battle stretching their impressive winning streak to six on the bounce.

CONOR HIGGINS

Squad: Andrew Hill, Niik Ramezam, Ross Burton, Jeff Boateng, Lee Houghton, Jon Warner, Harry Gravett, Michael Obeng, Toby Burton, Jack Andrews, James Dunford, Conor Higgins, Richie Dempsey, Behrang

Goals: Harry Gravett & James Dunford.

MoM: Jeff Boateng. A man mountain in the centre of defence. Dominated throughout. Dealt with everything thrown at him and led by example. Honourable mentions to Ross Burton & Lee Houghton who were also excellent throughout in what was a strong Woods defensive performance.

Southgate Olympic III 1 v 5 OLD WOODS

Saturday 31 October 2020

Woods returned to league action and made the journey to Winchmore Hill to face a struggling Southgate Olympic side.  The away side were coming into this game on the back of four straight victories and were expected to leave the Clowes Sports Ground with maximum points and extend their impressive run of victories to five.

The weather was horrible but credit to the hosts whose pitches were in good condition considering the torrential rain that had fallen in the hours leading up to kick off.  Woods started the game with Andrew Hill in goal, Dhev Mewawalla and Lee Houghton occupied the full back roles with Conor Higgins and Ross Burton at the centre of this solid defence.  The midfield trio consisted of Jon Warner, Eoghan Reidy and Behrang Agin with the in-form Toby Burton on the left and Jack Andrews on the right with James Dunford leading the line.

The home side, winning the toss opted to play with the help of a strong breeze but Woods would come out of the blocks quicker and make the dream start taking the lead within the first five minutes of the game.  The visitors were awarded a free kick some 30 yards from goal.  Reidy would step up and deliver an excellent ball into the box which evaded all outfield players and looked as if it was going to be comfortably collected by the home side’s keeper however as opposed to collecting the ball with his hands he panicked and attempted to fly kick the ball clear.  The attempted clearance turned into a calamity as the Southgate keeper completely missed the ball and watched helplessly as the ball ended up in his net.  1-0 Woods.  Woods, whilst looking like the better side struggled to get their normal game going which undoubtedly was partly due to the conditions.  It was sluggish from the visitors with Dunford becoming an isolated figure up top.  Andrews & Warner were brightest for Woods in the opening quarter of the game.  The home side now looking to get bodies forward started to attack with more purpose however defensively Woods stood firm.  Woods, despite not playing well, would double their lead on the 20 minute mark when an angled ball from left to right looked to pick out Dunford.  The ball looked as though it would be easily cut out by the home side’s defender however another defensive error left Dunford through one on one with the keeper.  Dunford steadied himself with an excellent first touch before clinically sliding the ball past the onrushing keeper and into the net.  2-0 Woods.  Credit to the Woods striker for gambling on the defensive error and ensuring the home side were punished.

The home side, now starting to realise they were in trouble started to come into the game more but were limited to a number of long-range efforts which never troubled Hill in Woods goal who showed good hands at all times.  Southgate’s main threat came down the right with their tricky and pacey winger looking to get involved at every given opportunity.  At the other end of the pitch Woods looked dangerous every time they got forward with Andrews in particular causing the home sides defence all kinds of problems.  Andrews on a number of occasions had beaten his full back and provided excellent deliveries from the right but Woods were unable to find a third goal.  At the half an hour mark Mewawalla was replaced by Niik Ramezam.  The home side now finding themselves on top went in search of a goal that would get them back into the game and after a sustained period of pressure which resulted in four corners in quick succession, they would find the goal.  The commanding Hill came to collect a corner which was floated in from the right and in doing so he appeared to be barged off the ball by the home side’s player meaning the ball was fumbled and landed at the feet of a Southgate player who just tapped it in.  Woods’ protests for the goal to be disallowed were in vain with the referee seeing nothing wrong with the challenge from the Southgate player on Hill.

With the away side now leading 2-1 they looked to go up a gear and went in search of the third goal.  Chances were created and none better than that which fell to Toby Burton.  Andrews, again excellent on the right, stood up his man before beating him and providing an excellent delivery finding the unmarked Burton at the back post who somehow directed his header wide.  Woods players looked on in amazement as Toby missed.  Given his recent form you would have put your house on him finding the net however the younger Burton has clearly been blessed with the same 50p head as his older brother Ross who had expertly demonstrated how to miss an open goal with your head the week before.  Toby Burton, being the confident character he is would not let this missed opportunity affect him and shortly after It was him who would find the net to restore the away sides two goal advantage.  The goal game after Woods probed down the left with the ball arriving at the feet of Reidy who arrowed a ball towards Dunford who chested it away from the defender and half volleyed a pass to release Toby who steadied himself before rifling an unstoppable shot past the keeper.  3-1 Woods.

The half time break would soon come, and Woods would take this opportunity to introduce Jeff Boateng for Higgins and Shaq Paul for Agin.  Woods would start the second half a much improved side and dominated possession from the off with Paul, Warner and Reidy really starting to influence the game as the home side started to become sloppy in possession.  The away side would continue to attack with Ramezam and Andrews linking up superbly down the left and Houghton and Toby continuing to provide an attacking threat from the right.  The introduction of Boateng provided a calmness to proceedings with his ability to play out from the back becoming vital as Woods controlled the game.  Woods would have to wait until the hour mark before finding the all important fourth goal that would put the result beyond doubt.  Again it was the link up between Toby Burton and Dunford which would unlock the home side’s defence as the impressive Dunford received the ball to feet before sliding a perfectly timed through ball into the path of Burton who once more provided an impressive finish to bag his second goal of the game.  From here on in Woods managed the game excellently whilst going in search of more goals.  The home side rarely troubled the Woods defence in the second period however on one occasion Hill was called into action when he got down low to get a strong left hand to a powerful shot from the opposition striker.  Woods began to play some lovely football, the highlight of which was a series of one twos between Reidy and Dunford on the edge of the opposition area which left Dunford in acres of space inside the Southgate penalty area however Dunford was unable to find the finish to match the build up play as he shanked his effort watching it fly over the bar.  Again, some incisive build up play would leave Reidy finding himself with space inside the box however just as he was setting himself to pull the trigger an excellent last ditch tackle from the home side defender thwarted his chance.

Woods, now with 15 minutes remaining reintroduced Mewawalla for Andrews, Higgins for Ross Burton and Agin for Reidy in order to freshen things up.  Soon after Woods would find the fifth goal as Ramezam went on one of his trademark lung busting runs down the left before eventually finding Dunford near the byline.  Dunford slalomed his way through 3 Southgate defenders before firing it past the keeper from a tight angle to make it 5-1 to Woods.  The home side, now becoming increasingly frustrated with seeing little of none of the ball resorted to more aggressive and illegal tactics as heavy tackles rained in on Woods players.  Agin, was on the end of the worst of these tackles when he was sent flying by the opposition’s midfielder who made absolutely no attempt to play the ball.  Things boiled over momentarily and resulted in one foolish Southgate player requesting to meet Boateng in the car park at full time.  Boateng, using all his experience, had clearly gotten under the skin of this player who continued to mouth off.  Credit to the home side captain at this point for realising how ridiculous it all was and telling his player to sort himself out.  The game would soon come to an end with Woods running out comfortable 5-1 winners without really playing to their full potential.

CONOR HIGGINS

Squad: Andrew Hill, Dhevesh Mewawalla, Conor Higgins, Ross Burton, Lee Houghton, Jon Warner, Eoghan Reidy, Behrang Agin, Toby Burton, James Dunford, Jack Andrews, Niik Ramezam, Shaq Paul, Jeff Boateng.

Goals: Eoghan Reidy, Toby Burton X 2, James Dunford X 2.

MOM: Jon Warner.  A dominating display from the CDM.  Brought a calmness to proceedings from the off and provided excellent protection for the back four.  Always available to get on the ball and never put a foot wrong all day.  Honourable mentions to Jack Andrews & James Dunford who both had a huge say in the result.

East Barnet Old Grammarians III 1 – 4 OLD WOODS

Saturday 24 October 2020

On what was a miserable and grey afternoon Woods made the relatively short journey to East Barnet Old Grammarians for a last sixteen Old Boys cup tie.  Predominantly not a great cup side, Woods went into this game full of confidence on the back of three impressive and commanding wins in the league with goals starting to flow.  The pressure was on however as lifelong Woods man and all round legend, Mick Kelly, turned up to watch and run his eye over this Woods side.

Woods, once again turned up with a strong squad and started with Andrew Hill in goal, a back four of captain Conor Higgins at left back, Lee Houghton at right back and the solid partnership of Jeff Boateng and Ross Burton in the middle.  A combative and technically astute midfield trio of Jon Warner, Eoghan Reidy and Shaq Paul were flanked by the pace and trickery of Toby Burton on the left and Jack Andrews on the right with Harry Gravett taking up the lone striker role.

The home side, who were physical and very direct from the off opted to play with the aid of a stiff breeze for the first half.  The opening 15mins of this cup tie was largely uneventful with both sides struggling to get a foothold in the game.  It was very much tit for tat with Woods trying harder to get the ball down and impose their passing game on the opposition.  The constant aerial assault from the home side in the opening stages was being dealt with comfortably by the Woods backline with Hill also commanding his area if anything went over the back four.  Woods also showed the ability to mix it up too when needed with Hill’s ability to launch his kickouts onto the chest or head of Gravett whose hold up play started to become more prominent for the away side.  With the game now into its second quarter Woods started to command the midfield third with the impressive trio of Warner, Paul and Reidy starting to dictate proceedings thus providing a platform for Woods to get up the pitch.  Woods were now the dominant side and Higgins and Houghton at full back started to get further up the pitch providing support for Toby Burton and Andrews.  Indeed, Toby Burton and Andrews were now starting to become more involved and became to beat the home sides full backs at ease.  Whilst Woods were most definitely in control of the game at this point they lacked composure and quality in the final third and never really tested the home sides keeper who did show good handling on a number of occasions with shots straight at him.  The away sides front three were now clearly causing problems however frustratingly were foolishly caught offside on a few occasions when better timed runs would have certainly unlocked the home sides defence.

On the 35min mark Woods looked to up the ante by introducing James Dunford for Warner as they looked to provide more of an attacking threat.  Shortly after this the chance of the first half would fall to the away side.  Andrews swung in a delightful corner from the right with Ross Burton rising highest however his header lacked direction and flew over the crossbar when it was surely easier to hit the target.  With the game approaching half time Woods decided to shuffle the pack again introducing Dhev Mewawalla for Higgins.  The half time whistle soon came with Woods on top albeit their dominance failed to translate to a lead.

The second half commenced in a similar fashion to the first half in that it once again became quite scrappy however Woods soon began to once again dominate the midfield third.  Defensively Woods were solid but in truth they were very rarely troubled and Hill in goal became somewhat of a spectator as Woods pushed for the opening goal.  With 10mins gone in the second period Woods introduced the mercurial Behrang Agin for Andrews and in a further tactical move switched Dunford with Gravett.  Both these changes would become crucial however shortly after they were made it did not appear that this would be the case.  Disaster struck for Woods on the hour mark as they got caught high up the pitch, the home side worked the ball down the left wing with the left winger cutting inside Houghton and firing a wicked shot into the net.  1-0 to the home side.  In previous years falling behind whilst being in control of a game would have seen Woods throw in the towel, panic and try to force things however this season feels very different and this Woods side would show once more that they are full of character and fight.

Woods would be hit with injuries at this point but showed strength in depth as Ross Burton picked up a knee injury and was replaced by Higgins.  With half an hour remaining on the clock Woods went up a couple of gears and would find the deserved equaliser when Reidy, showing great determination and fight won back the ball in midfield before laying it into the path of Gravett who completed a quick one two with Dunford before providing a perfectly timed through ball to release Dunford who raced onto the ball and found himself one of one with the home side keeper.  Dunford, who had been the butt of all jokes in the team’s Whatsapp group for the past few weeks given his inability to finish in previous games, composed himself before calmly slotting it past the keeper and into the net.   Dunford was delighted to open his account for the season while the rest of the side were relieved.  1-1 and we now had a real cup tie on our hands.  From here on Woods were relentless in the final third with Gravett and Paul (who was really superb at this point) linking up on several occasions with Dunford and Toby Burton.  With the game entering the final quarter Woods would take the lead when Paul battled and stole the ball back in midfield and slipped a ball into the feet of Gravett who found himself in a bit of space to the left of the home sides box.  Gravett, switched play nonchalantly to find Agin in acres of space on the right who ran on to the perfectly weighted pass from Gravett.  Agin, with still plenty to do, produced the perfect first touch before composing himself and guiding his left footed strike into the far bottom corner of the net giving the home side’s keeper absolutely no chance.  A finish to real class from the tricky Agin.

A third goal soon followed with Woods now looking to put the game to bed.  Dunford swung in a deep corner from the right which evaded everyone apart from the tireless Gravett at the back post who calmly stroked the ball home from the tightest of angles.  3-1 Woods.  Gravett, who had been excellent and worked his socks off throughout fully deserved his name on the scoresheet.  Houghton was replaced with Warner shortly after as Woods looked to tighten up and see the game out.  With 12mins remaining on the clock the home side came forward in a rare attack and once again the pacey left winger was central to anything good the home side produced going forward as he cut across the Woods backline and just as he was about to unleash his shot he was caught by Paul with the ref pointing straight to the spot.  The home side’s striker confidently stepped up however with the huge presence of Hill in the Woods goal he was clearly put off as his penalty struck the top cross bar and went out of play.  Wood almost immediately would make the home side pay the price as once again they attacked with pace with the ball falling to Dunford inside the box.  Dunford shaped to shoot from a tight angle however quickly changed his mind and slid the ball perfectly into the path of Toby Burton who fired home clinically for his fifth goal of the campaign.  4-1 to Woods.  Andrews re-entered the fray immediately replacing Toby Burton and Woods saw out the remaining 10 mins comfortably to record a most impressive result.

Woods march on to the quarter final stage of the Old Boys cup with undoubtedly tougher tests to come but no team will worry this Woods side who once again proved to be full of bottle and character.

CONOR HIGGINS

Squad: Andrew Hill, Conor Higgins, Jeff Boateng, Ross Burton, Lee Houghton, Jon Warner, Eoghan Reidy, Shaq Paul, Toby Burton, Harry Gravett, Jack Andrews, James Dunford, Dhev Mewawalla, Behrang Agin.

Goals: James Dunford, Behrang Agin, Harry Gravett & Toby Burton.

MOM: Harry Gravett.  A real classy display.  His work rate and calmness on the ball ensured Woods would progress.  Aerially and on the floor he gave the opposition a torrid time and got the goal his performance deserved.  Honourable mentions to Shaq Paul, James Dunford & Eoghan Reidy who all had huge impacts on the game.

OLD WOODS 6 – 1 Old Tollingtonians II

10 October 2020

Old Tollingtonians were the opposition on a blustery day at Camdenians. Following on from an impressive victory last time out Woods went into this fixture with confidence and belief that 3 points would be in the bag if they turned up and produced a similar performance.

Woods, without the influential Jon Warner & the impressive Lee Houghton but still managed to turn out a really strong squad. Woods lined up with the ever dependable Andrew Hill in goal (who was celebrating his birthday), a back four of Jeff Boateng and Conor Higgins in the middle, Niik Ramezam at left back & Ross Burton at right back. A midfield trio of Eoghan Reidy, Harry Gravett and James “cocktail” Dunford flanked by Toby Burton on the left and Jack Andrews on the right which left Jordan Williams playing the lone striker role.

Woods, with the aide of a strong breeze started on top and looked to dominate possession and take the game to the opposition from the off. Early chances came and went and only for some lacklustre finishing Woods would have been a couple of goals to the good inside the opening 10mins. Signs were promising however and the build up play was excellent. Woods were showing they could pass their way through the opposition but also that they had the guile to mix it up and go long when the opportunity presented itself. Williams, Andrews and Toby Burton were causing problems for the opposition defence while Dunford, Reidy and Gravett were starting really impose themselves on the game.

Woods were continuing to bang on the door and eventually the deserved breakthrough came on the 20 minute mark when Dunford picked up the ball in midfield, strode forward and played a delightful through ball into the path of Williams, who timed his run to perfection and provided a cool and clinical finish. 1-0 Woods. The goal seemed to wake up the visitors who started to find more space in midfield and looked to get their pacey striker in at every given opportunity but the defensive four of Higgins, Boateng, Ross Burton and Ramezam were dealing with everything quite comfortably. Despite the visitors coming more into the game the home side were still very much on top however, this Woods side seem to never make it easy for themselves and sure enough the visitors would find themselves level on the 25min mark when the referee awarded an extremely soft free kick on the edge of the Woods area. The Tollingtonians skipper confidently stepped up and struck a fantastic free kick which found the top right hand corner of the net leaving Hill with no chance.

The home side whilst momentarily rocked by the concession of an underserved equaliser continued to create chances going forward and guilt edge chances would fall to Dunford who spurned a couple of glorious opportunities to put the home side back in front. Toby Burton and Andrews continued to cause the opposition full backs untold trouble with Toby in particular having a couple of efforts on goal either blocked or saved. Woods would soon find themselves back in front when a through ball once again sent Williams clear, but on this occasion the keeper would get there first before somehow diving over the ball and leaving Williams through with an open net. 2-1 Woods. At this stage Richie Dempsey was introduced for Williams to provide some calmness to the midfield and Behrang Agin entered the fray shortly after to replace the hard working Andrews. A chance came for the home side to make it 3-1 when a delightful delivery from a Dunford corner was met with a bullet header from Ross Burton however his effort was well saved by the visiting keeper. The half time whistle soon came with the home side dominating the final exchanges of the half.

Woods, although in front and looking comfortable and in control knew that whilst the game remained at 2-1 the visitors were still very much in it. The half time advice was very simple in that if the home side remained patient and took our chances then the victory would be emphatic (privately the captain went round to players individually telling them to keep the ball away from “cocktail” Dunford in a bid to ensure goals were scored!!)

Woods, now playing against a stiff breeze started the second half like a side who really meant business. Reidy, Gravett & Dempsey in midfield were really dominating the battles & dictating the play. The half was only 5 mins old when the a rare attack from the visitors broke down and the ball fell into the hands of Hill in goal. Hill, looked up and fired an inch perfect kick from his hands into the path of Toby Burton on the left wing who strode forward before firing the ball across the edge of the box, the ball fell to Agin who shifted it onto his left and fired home from just inside the area to give the home side a 3-1 lead. Mehdi Khosravi was then introduced replacing Dunford as Woods looked to put the game to bed.

With the game now 60 minutes old and the opposition clearly tiring Woods went in search of further goals and were creating chances every time they went forward. Soon, a quick fire Woods double put the game beyond any doubt. The fourth goal was a Toby Burton trademark as he danced around defender after defender before unleashing an unstoppable strike from just outside the area. A real goal of quality to put the home side 4-1 up. The fifth goal game and was another of real quality as the ball fell to the ever reliable Reidy on the edge of the area. Reidy shifted the ball onto his left before firing a thunderous strike which flew past the hapless visiting keeper. Woods now 5-1 up and in cruise control decided to a shuffle the pack again and Boateng was replaced by Andrews and Toby Burton replaced by Williams. Despite the four goal cushion Woods continued to go in search of more goals and chances fell to Gravett, Agin, Khosravi and Andrews in quick succession.

As the game entered the final 15 minutes Woods would get their sixth and final goal as the ball broke to Andrews on the left who zig zagged his way through the opposition defence before firing low into the corner of the net. 6-1 Woods. After this further changes were made with Toby Burton and Dunford re entering the field to replace Ramezam and Gravett. Dunford proceeded to go on a lone mission of finding a goal and with the game entering the final stages was sent through one of one with the keeper, Dunford’s touch was excellent however once again his finish would let be his downfall as he tried to audaciously lob the 6ft 5 keeper. We all watched on in bemusement as the ball flew over the crossbar. The full time whistle soon came as Woods celebrated a convincing and comfortable 6-1 win.

Squad: Andrew Hill, Niik Ramezam, Conor Higgins, Jeff Boateng, Ross Burton, Eoghan Reidy, Harry Gravett, James Dunford, Toby Burton, Jack Andrews, Jordan Williams, Richie Dempsey, Behrang Agin, Mehdi Khosravi.

Goals: Jordan Williams X 2, Behrang Agin X 1, Toby Burton X 1, Eoghan Reidy X 1, Jack Andrews X 1, James Dunford X 0.

MoM: Eoghan Reidy. Excellent in the middle of the park. Dominated & dictated throughout and chipped in with a deserved goal. Honourable mention to Gravett who was also excellent.

OLD WOODS 2 – 0 Enfield Old Grammarians IV

26 September 2020

After a disappointing opening weekend defeat Woods went into their first home fixture of the new season V Enfield Old Grammarians buoyed by the return of the talismanic James Dunford along with welcome additions of Harry Gravett & Shaquille Paul.

Camdenians pitch looked as good as it ever has and Woods elected to play with the aide of a stiff breeze for the first half. Woods lined up with Andrew Hill in goal, a back four made up on Jeff Boateng & Ross Burton in the middle, Niik Ramezam on the left and Lee Houghton on the right. A midfield three of Jon Warner, Shaquille Paul & James Dunford with Dunford given the CAM role. Left wing was Toby Burton and right wing was Dhevesh Mewawalla with Harry Gravett playing the lone striker role.

Woods started strongly as they looked to dominate the ball and take the game to Enfield. Early signs showed that the Enfield defence were struggling to cope with the combination of Gravett & Dunford. Woods were creating chances aplenty in the opening quarter of the game however composure in front of goal meant the game remained at 0-0. Good chances were squandered by Dunford, Paul & Toby Burton with the Enfield keeper pulling off a couple of good saves. Woods however continued to knock at the door but were very nearly undone when a swift counter attack from Enfield seen them produce a good chance which they were unable to finish. Warner & Paul were dominating the midfield battle flying into everything that moved and providing a wonderful attacking platform, whilst Gravett continued to Bully Enfields CBs who were unable to come to terms with his physical presence, aerial ability and quick feet.

The deserved breakthrough came for Woods on the 35th minute mark. A wonderful corner from Dunford to the back post seen Gravett rise above everyone else and head into the net. 1-0 Woods. Soon after the breakthrough the hard working Mewawalla was replaced by Jack Dawson. The home side continued to press hard for a second before half time with their marauding full backs Ramezam & Houghton providing excellent support in the attacking third whilst defensively Ross Burton & Boateng were dealing comfortably with anything that came their way.

The second half commenced as the first had ended with the impressive midfield three of Warner, Paul & Dunford continuing to get on the ball to ensure we dominated possession. The second half was 10 mins old when Woods pounced for the second goal which was a thing of beauty. Warner won his battle in midfield and played a lovely lobbed pass into space behind the Enfield right back to which Toby Burton ran onto. Burton had only Dawson to aim at in the box and duly found him with the perfect cross to the back post which Dawson finished emphatically. 2-0 Woods.

The away side however were full of fight and with a change of formation and personnel after the home sides second goal they started to grow in confidence and get more of the ball. A sustained period of pressure led to Enfield having 4 corners in quick succession which were dealt with comfortably by the Woods defence.  Hill then produced a remarkable save to tip a super strike over the crossbar to ensure the home side remained 2-0 up. Gravett was still winning all his battles up top but was starting to become isolated as we started to drop deeper and deeper becoming under increased pressure from the away side. Behrang Agin was introduced in a bid to bring some calmness in possession and get us further up the pitch.

Woods, now under a sustained period of pressure always looked dangerous on the counter attack and should have put the game firmly out of side with a third on the 65th minute mark when Agin set Toby Burton off down the left with a perfectly timed through ball. Burton in acres of space raced clear and dinked the ball over the onrushing keeper however his effort somehow stayed out by hitting the inside of the post and rolling all the way along the goal line. Conor Higgins was introduced into the centre of the defence for the final 20 minutes & Mewawalla returned to the action replacing the knackered Dawson. Woods continued to dig in which enabled them to comfortably see out the remainder of the game and pick up the valuable 3 points.

CONOR HIGGINS

Squad: Andrew Hill, Niik Ramezan, Jeff Boateng, Ross Burton, Lee Houghton, Jon Warner, Shaquille Paul, Toby Burton, James Dunford, Dhevesh Mewawalla, Harry Gravett, Conor Higgins, Jack Dawson, Behrang Agin.

MOM: Lee Houghton. Fantastic display at full back. Didn’t put a foot wrong all day. Excellent going forward and solid in defence. Honourable mentions to Jon Warner & Shaquille Paul

OLD WOODS 3 – 0 Weirside Rangers III

21 October 2017

On a blustery day at Camdenians Woods played host to Weirside Rangers in a cup tie. Although Woods had made an excellent start to the league campaign their cup form had been relatively poor so a point needed to be proven.

Woods started with Andrew Hill in goal, a back four of Connor Nicolau on the left, Stu Cook on the right with Conor Higgins and James O’Neill in the middle. A middle trio of Owen Fern, James Dunford & Jonny Cuttter with Eoghan Reidy & Mason Taylor providing support on the wings for the lone frontman Ernest Didhevar. This meant places on the bench for Sean Crossan, Noel Brown & Cuong Mang.

The away side won the toss and opted to play with the aid of the strong breeze in the first half. Woods got kicked off and got off to the perfect start as straight from kick off and after 30 seconds went up the field and after some excellent footwork from Cutter & Reidy, Fern found himself one on one with the opposing keeper. Fern calmly slotted the ball home to make it 1-0 to Woods. Unsurprisingly given the conditions Woods were playing against, the away side soon dominated possession however were left frustrated in the final third as Woods central defence partnership of Higgins and O’Neill stood firm. The energetic Dunford was impressive as he broke up several promising Rangers attacks while Nicolau & Cook at full back were also defensively solid. Hill had very little to do in goal however when called upon he backed his defence up showing good hands and awareness to come off his line on several occasions and clear any danger as the away side mixed it up by trying balls over the top of the Woods defence. Didhevar was battling hard up top living off scraps while Fern and Cutter were battling hard in midfield as Woods looked to get on top in the midfield area. Reidy and Taylor looked dangerous on the wings anytime they were given time and space on the ball.

On the half hour mark Didhevar was replaced by Brown and Mang soon entered the fray to replace Taylor. These fresh legs seemed to give Woods a lift and the home side soon doubled their lead with a goal of real quality and certainly the goal of the game. A quick, flowing counter attacking move. As Rangers attacked Dunford tenaciously won the ball back on the edge of Woods area, he strode forward with purpose before releasing a perfectly timed ball to Reidy down the left, Reidy looked up and delivered a left footed pace to the edge of the area to find the onrushing Cutter, Cutter settled on the ball before driving it past the helpless keeper. 2-0 Woods. Woods saw out the remainder of the first half at ease.

At HT Cook was replaced by Crossan. The second half began with Woods now on top and beginning to get a foothold in midfield. As the away side naturally threw more bodies forward to try and get back in the game Woods found space and time to keep opening up the away sides defence however chances from Brown came and went after a couple of great saves from the Rangers keeper. Hill was called into action as he made a save diving to his left as the away side finally found a way through the Woods backline. On the hour mark Didhevar replaced Cutter and soon after Taylor replaced Reidy. Didhevar made an immediate impact as Crossan was released down the right and his wayward shot fell into the path of Didhevar who smashed the ball home to make it 3-0 to Woods. Cook was reintroduced for Nicolau as Woods mindset changed to preserving a first clean sheet of the season. After a lovely flowing move Brown was set free and looked certain to score however his perfectly struck half volley produced a fine save from the Rangers keeper. With 10 minutes remaining Reidy was reintroduced for Fern and Mang made way for Nicolau. The away side began to launch balls towards Woods defence however Higgins and O’Neill continued to dominate winning everything in the air and on the ground. Chances continued to come for the home side as Crossan blasted wide while in acres of space & some fine footwork on the byline from Taylor near the end nearly producing a fourth Woods goal however Woods saw out the final few minutes without much fuss to secure a fully deserved 3-0 victory and secured progression to the next round of the cup. It was an extremely impressive all round display from Woods who looked comfortable, composed & disciplined throughout despite not having the lions share of possession for long periods of the match.

MoM – Dunford. Another really impressive display from the holding midfielder who didn’t stop all day, he broke up countless promising attacks and provided a great platform for Woods counter attacks.

Southgate Olympic V 1 – 2 OLD WOODS

14 October 2017

Woods travelled to Southgate Olympic looking to maintain their unbeaten start to the league season.  Tarik Mesfun started in goal, a change in normal formation meant a back three of Conor Higgins, Liam Francis & James O’ Neill, wing backs of Connor Nicolau on the left & Stu Cook on the right. A diamond in midfield with James Dunford at the base, Owen Fern & Sam Sholli taking up the central midfield positions with Cuong Mang playing in the advanced role. Noel Brown played as the lone striker. This left Sean Crossan and Ernest Didhevar on the bench.

Woods looked to start by playing their natural fast passing game keeping the ball on the deck where possible however they were not helped by the long grass. As they looked for the early breakthrough Woods dominated early possession and created a number of half chances with the tricky and pacey Nicolau in particular causing Southgate various problems down the left. Cook was also getting into excellent positions down the right flank. Fern, Sholi and Mang were pulling the strings in midfield while Dunford was quickly turning defence into attack while covering space & breaking up any potential Southgate attack. A breakthrough looked imminent. Woods decent start however then was undone in the 20th minute when Southgate were awarded a throw in on the right, a long throw in was delivered and a clear push on Francis was ignored by the referee, the Southgate attacker swiveled on the ball and crashed a low right foot strike into the bottom right corner beating Tarik at his near post. 1-0 to the home side and a very much undeserved lead.

Woods to their credit reacted to going behind like a team full of confidence and began to mix it up by hitting long balls over the top to Brown as himself and Mang pressed the Southgate defence into various mistakes. Sholli then picked up an injury and was replaced by Didhevar who was sent to play up top off Brown. Five minutes later and on the half hour mark Woods swiftly turned defence into attack with a long ball with Brown chased and won back from a Southgate defender, Brown then proceeded to beat two, maybe three, Southgate defenders before taking it past the keeper, his goalbound effort however was blocked on the line however Didhevar was on cue to knock the ball home to make it 1-1. Crossan was then introduced for Brown. Woods continued to press and took a deserved lead five minutes before the break when a Southgate attack was broken down by the Woods defence. The ball was played to Mang in midfield who turned before producing a glorious through ball, splitting the Southgate defence to the onrushing Didhevar who took the ball in his stride before calmly slotting it past the Southgate keeper. 2-1 Woods. Woods looked relatively comfortable now and controlled the game until the HT whistle was blown.

The second half started with the hosts starting to take control however the Woods back three of Higgins, Francis and O’Neill stood firm and dealt with everything in the air and on the ground. Woods midfield battled hard to try and regain a foothold in midfield but Southgate continued to throw everything at Woods. Woods should have gone 3-1 up when Higgins broke out of defence with the ball and played a defence splitting pass in the direction of Crossan who ran clear and finished finely however the referee somehow decided to rule the goal out from offside much to Crossan’s disappointment!

Brown was then reintroduced for Cook. Southgate continued to dominate possession throughout the second half but Woods dug in and made sure very few chances were created from the hosts. Didhevar then picked up a knock which meant Sholli was reintroduced. The last 10 minutes saw Woods drop deeper and deeper however when an out ball was provided to Brown he held it up well and took the pressure off. Woods saw out the remainder of the match without too much fuss and the full time whistle was met with joy as Woods ground out a hard fought 2-1 win and remain unbeaten in the league.

In summary Woods are used to much better performances than this however it is also credit to the team that when not at our best we can still get a positive result.

 

Squad: Mesfun, Francis, Higgins, O’Neill, Cook, C Nicolaou, Dunford, Sholli, Fern, Mang, S. Crossan, Didhevar

Goals: Didhevar 2

MoM: Dunford. Tirelessly worked and broke up attacks while providing a good platform for Woods counter attacks. Covered every blade of grass on the pitch twice over! Honourable mentions to Didhevar with his two goals and Nicolou  who’s marauding runs down the left wing was a constant threat while being defensively solid.

Old Ignatian IV 2 – 3 OLD WOODS

Saturday 24 February 2017

Woods went into this match on the back of an unbeaten run stretching back to early December and knowing that only 3 points here would sustain their title challenge.

Jonny started in goal, with a back four of Conor and Ed in the centre with Cuong and Paddy taking up the full back positions. A midfield trio of Marvin, Liam and Wilson with Reidy and Tarik on the wings with Noel playing the role of lone striker.  This left Chase on the bench.  Not for the first time this season Woods started slowly and struggled early on to keep possession of the football. Ignatians certainly settled the better and found themselves 1-0 inside 10 minutes when the striker found himself with space to turn on the edge of the box before riffling a unstoppable right footed shot straight into the top corner giving Jonny in goal absolutely no chance. A wake up call that Woods needed!

After going behind Woods began to take control with Marvin, Liam and Wilson beginning to dominate the midfield battle while Tarik’s pace down the right wing was causing the Ignatians defence all kinds of trouble however Woods failed to turn the dominance into goals. Chances were being created regularly now with Reidy and Marvin beginning to unlock the Ignatians defence with through balls but Woods continued to be denied an equaliser. 40mins in and with Woods knowing three points was a must from this encounter Chase was brought on for Paddy and Woods went 442. Woods maintained control for the remainder of the first half however still someone managed to trail 1-0 at the break.

During the HT interval patience and the need not to panic was discussed and as the second half commenced Woods started in a very similar fashion to how the first half finished with Woods dominating throughout. The Woods defensive 5 were having very little to do while Noel and Chase up top began to click and link up well together. Woods continued to keep the pressure on and finally the equaliser they deserved came after 65mins when, after some good work down the left resulted in a low cross being drilled across the Ignatians box where Tarik arrived at the back post to calmly slot home. 1-1.

Woods now went in search of the lead and it came five minutes later when again they broke down the left. The ball was given to Chase who beat a man with some excellent footwork before audaciously floating the ball over the Ignatians keeper from the edge of the box to find the net. 2-1. Woods now looked as if they would go on and comfortably win the game and probably deserved to do so. Ignatians to their credit kept on plugging away without causing too much concern to the Woods defence.

With 7 minutes remaining disaster struck for Woods when an Ignatians free kick from the left was floated into the danger area and after some desperate last ditch defending the ball fell at the feet of the Ignatians striker who toe poked the ball into the net. 2-2. Woods rallied once more and began to go all out attack in search of the needed winner. Woods won several corners and free kicks in dangerous positions however the Ignatians defence and keeper were standing firm. Some excellent chances came and went most notably for Ed and Chase. With the game now in final minute Woods were awarded a free kick on the right hand side. The ball was floated in and after a scramble in the area the ball fell to Conor who swung a left leg at it, the goal bound shot was stopped by an Ignatians defenders arm and the referee immediately pointed to the spot for a penalty. Marvin was handed with both the ball and the responsibility of getting Woods out of jail at the death. A number of Woods players appeared worried and nervous that Marvin would try his normal ‘Panenka’ finish from the spot however on this occasion the midfield maestro smashed the ball to the left hand corner sending the Ignatians keeper the wrong way. As the ball hit the net the referee blew the full time whistle which was greeted with joyous celebrations from the Woods players.

A huge three points for Woods in dramatic circumstances.

Conor ‘Cassius’ Higgins

MoM – Tabi: Ran the show & pulled the strings in the middle of the park. The calmest man on the pitch when scoring the stoppage time winner from the spot.

Wood Green OB 3 – 5 OLD WOODS

Saturday 7 January 2017

Woods travelled to Wood Green Old Boys in their first outing of 2017 knowing that three points was a must to keep their promotion push alive.

Woods started with Fran in goal (who did his best Gabor Kiraly impression!), a back four of Cuong at left back, Conor & Ed in the middle and Simon at right back. The midfield was made up of Reidy on the left, a central midfield partnership of Liam and Marv with Charlie at right wing. Duggan played off Noel up front. This left Woods new recruits Paddy & Tarik on the bench.

Woods started the game sluggishly although the heavy, cutting up pitch was never going to suit Woods normal attractive passing game. The hosts settled the better with the front pairing in particular looking lively and keeping Conor & Ed occupied. It wasn’t long before the Woods defence was sliced open by a through ball and with a Wood Green striker closing down on goal and looking certain to score Ed appeared from nowhere to make a perfectly timed last ditch challenge. This seemed to give Woods the needed wake up call as they began to settle more on the ball. On the 10 minute mark the breakthrough came and it was Woods who got it. Some lovely football and a perfectly timed through ball sent Noel away however his effort was parried away by the Wood Green keeper but only as far as the unmarked Charlie who slammed the ball home from close range. 1-0 Woods. A second Woods goal came soon after when Noel charged down the left wing. His attempted cross looped over the Wood Green keeper and into the net. 2-0 Woods. Woods then seemed to drop their performance levels and Wood Green to their credit didn’t let the heads drop and continued to pick holes in the Woods defence and only for some great saves from Fran in goal Woods could’ve conceded a couple of goals. The pressure continued from the hosts and for a period of 5 mins they seemed to be camped inside Woods half winning 3 corners in quick succession. Eventually on the half hour mark the hosts pressure paid off when they broke down the left wing, the ball was squared to the unmarked striker who’s effort was again brilliantly saved by Fran however on this occasion the ball fell kindly at the feet of a Wood Green player who slotted it home. 2-1 and game very much on. After this Woods again started to take control of the ball and once again looked dangerous going forward. The hosts were punished once more when Reidy picked the ball up in midfield and played a perfectly timed through ball into the path of Charlie who didn’t even need to break stride as he controlled the ball and finished calmly to reinstate Woods 2 goal advantage. 3-1 Woods. Shortly after this Duggan was replaced by debutant Tarik as Woods saw out the remaining 5 or so minutes of the first half.

At HT, Paddy (another debutant) was introduced at full back to replace Simon. Woods started the second half in similar fashion to how they finished the first creating a number of chances and looking dangerous particularly down the left with Tarik’s pace and ability to beat a man causing Wood Greens defensive line problems however in the opening 10 minutes Woods squandered a number of opportunities. With the state of the pitch becoming progressively worse the standard of football became affected and Woods again started to lose their grip on the midfield battle with Noel becoming more and more isolated up top. With half an hour remaining Duggan was re introduced for Cuong which meant Charlie reverting to right back. The hosts again began to carve out chances and Fran once again made a couple of brilliant saves to maintain the 2 goal margin however Wood Greens goal did come with 20 mins remaining when the winger squared the ball to the edge of the 6 yard box to find an unmarked striker who stroked the ball home. 3-2 and once again it was very much game on. The hosts continued to dominate and with 15 mins remaining on the clock the referee awarded them a free kick on the edge of the area. The free kick smashed the top of the crossbar and the as the ball came back down it landed on the head of a Wood Green player after a goal line scramble and found its way into the net. 3-3. Woods were now seemingly rattled however calls were made for “calms heads” and “no need to panic”. The next 5 mins were extremely scrappy however Woods did create a great opportunity when some good work from Tarik down the left saw him through on goal however his effort whistled agonisingly past the far post. Woods had to dig in and battle and eventually it paid off when with 7 mins remaining Reidy again floated a ball over the top into the path of Noel who fended off a couple of defenders (in beast mode!) before smashing the ball past the Wood Green keeper into the net. 4-3 Woods and a mixture of joy and relief all around. Woods freshened it up again replacing Tarik with Cuong and Charlie with Simon and were then able to relax when they found the net for a fifth time with what was easily the goal of the day. Paddy who had been defensively impressive since his introduction broke forward and after some neat interplay with Marv he found himself on the edge of the area with the ball at his feet. He played the ball to Reidy who held it up well, waited for Paddy to continue his run into the box and then laid a perfectly weighted ball into his feet, Paddy took a lovely first touch before finishing calmly. 5-3 Woods. Game over, 3 points for Woods and although not the most impressive or dominating performance it was very much a feeling of job done.

MoM – Noel. A real powerhouse up front when provided with the service and two goals for his troubles. In truth it could’ve gone to a couple of players with notable mentions to Reidy (3 assists) & Charlie (2 goals).

OLD WOODS 5 – 3 Mill Hill Village II

Saturday 3 December 2016

Woods went into this game after two consecutive wins and knowing a further win here would add pressure to the teams at the top.

A starting 4-4-2 formation was deployed with Andrew in goals, a back four of Bryan at left full, Stu at right full and a centre back partnership of Conor and Deano. Reidy and Wilson took up the two central positions in midfield with Crossan and Ally on the wings leaving George Ghaffari and Duggan up top. This left Henry and George Osadebey on the bench.

Woods started the match in disastrous fashion and found themselves one down inside the opening 2 minutes after the visitors strolled through the Woods backline leaving the winger to calmly slot the ball past Andrew in goal. Woods struggled to find a rhythm and things went from bad to worse after 10 mins when a Mill Hill striker beat the offside trap and finished brilliantly. 0-2 to the visitors. Woods looked as though they were in all sorts of trouble and at one stage the temptation was to tell the onlooking Mick Kelly to get his boots on as his calming presence on the football pitch was exactly what Woods were missing! The temptation however was short lived! Deano picked up a knock and had to be subbed. This meant a reshuffle with Stu now partnering Conor in the heart of the defence and Crossan switched to his more natural right back role. Deano’s replacement Henry took up position on the left wing. Shortly after Duggan was replaced by Osadebey. Duggan provided a moment of absolute comedy before being hooked when he received the ball in acres of space in midfield and then somehow managed to fall over the ball! (Editor’s Note: This was soon followed by an equally hilarious moment  -  skipper Higgins running off the pitch and falling arse over tit after colliding with some kit bags. He was furious! How we laughed!)

Henry’s introduction seemed to give Woods the spark they were missing as his pace and direct running started to trouble the visitors defence. Woods now started to get into a rhythm and began to play with a lot more confidence. Chances were being created and the feeling was a goal was coming for the home side. Eventually the goal did come on the half hour mark when Woods played the ball out from the back and after some good work from Ghaffari led to the ball being played into the path of Ally who smashed it right into the top corner. A goal of real class but even better was to come from the winger. Woods were now dominant and enjoyed the lions share of possession however Andrew in goal did have to make two brilliant saves to keep the score line at 1-2. Woods pushed on and on the 40 min mark a slack back pass by the visitors was latched onto by Ghaffari who raced clear and finished superbly, 2-2. The HT whistle came with Woods now in the driving seat and with the momentum.

The second started very much how the first ended with Woods dominating all over the pitch. Woods were getting a lot of joy down both wings with Bryan and Henry linking up excellently on the left and Crossan and Ally doing similar on the right. Reidy and Osadebey were providing the attacking support from midfield while Wilson as usual provided the back 4 with great protection and was breaking everything up. A number of half chances were created by the hosts however a big chance came on the hour mark when Ally provided an on point delivery from a corner and Conor rose unmarked at the back post however his header was misplaced and ended up off target. Woods soon took a deserved lead after some excellent acceleration from Crossan on the right saw him beat the defender, make it to the byline and pull back a great ball which ended up at the feet of Reidy who’s deflected shot found the net. 3-2, comeback complete and relief all around. Woods continued to push on and on 75 mins got a fourth when another absolute wonder strike from the outstanding Ally flew past the keeper in the net.  4-2. With 10 minutes remaining Duggan was brought back on to replace Ghaffari and within a minute found himself one of one with the keeper after a superb ball in from Ally however he managed to hit the keeper with his shot when surely hitting the net was easier. Woods were now closing in on a big win however the visitors to their credit kept fighting and found the net for a third time to give Woods something to think about for the remaining 3 minutes. However the fightback was short lived as the hosts went up the field to win a free kick on the left wing. The free was delivered and headed clear by a Mill Hill defender however it fell to Ally who smashed a volley from the edge of the box right into the top corner, 5-3. An outrageous strike and a fitting way to seal his hat trick. The full time whistle came quickly after and Woods although giving the visitors a two goal head start found themselves taking the deserved 3 points. In truth they showed great character, teamwork and a fighting spirit to pull the win out of the fire and make it three league wins on the spin.

Conor ‘Cassius’ Higgins

Squad: A Hill, S Cook, D Docherty, C Higgins, B Macharia, S Crossan, M Duggan, E Reidy, A Duncan, G Ghaffari, W Tshundhi, H Albert, George Osadabye

Scorers: Duncan 3, Ghaffari, Reidy

MoM: Duncan. He was simply outstanding, A hat trick. All 3 goals fitting of winning any football match.

Old Manorians V 1 -7 OLD WOODS

Saturday 5 November 2016

After recent cup matches Woods were back in league action away to Old Manorians.  Having no goalkeeper available meant Ed started in goal. A somewhat makeshift back four of Conor and Stuart in the middle with Cuong at left back and Wilson at right back. The midfield was made up of Reidy & Liam in the middle with Ally playing right wing and Jack on the left. The lineup was complete with the big man combo up front of George Ghaffari & Noel, both returning after a number of weeks out. This left Sean and George Osadebay on the bench.

Woods started the game on the front foot and created a number of early chances however were unable to find the net. The breakthrough however did come after 10 mins when a mix up in the Manorians defence meant the ball falling kindly for Ghaffari who fired the ball home clinically. 1-0 Woods. Being in complete control of the game Woods created chance after chance and were 3-0 up after 20mins with goals from Jack and Noel. Jacks strike in particular really caught the eye. Woods were causing Manorians all kinds of problems particularly out wide where Ally and Jack were cutting them open at every given opportunity while the physicality and power of Woods front two was unsettling the Manorians defence. Liam and Reidy controlled the middle of the park while the Woods defence had very little to deal with. It was not long before Woods grabbed a forth goal and it was Noel whos goalbound strike took a wicked deflection off a Manorians defender and looped over the keeper. A fifth followed soon after and after some good battling in midfield Reidy found himself with the ball at his feet on the edge of the area and his finely struck shot evaded the Manorians keeper to hit the net. Woods kept the pressure on overpowering their opponents in every department. Woods were to go in at HT 6-0 up when Liam picked the ball up in midfield & cut Manorians defence open with a perfectly weighted through ball to which Ghaffari had timed his run perfectly to run onto, he calmly slotted the ball past the onrushing keeper to grab his second of the afternoon and his forth league goal of the season.

Woods made changes at halftime as Osadebay replaced Noel and Sean replaced Cuong. The second half started very slowly for Woods as they struggled to keep up the same performance levels shown in the first half however being 6-0 up this was somewhat understandable. An hour into the game Jack picked up a knock and was replaced on the wing by Cuong. Woods were still very much in control and had the majority of possession however they were finding it more difficult to cut open the Manorians defence. On 75 mins after some good work down the left wing Cuong cut in and hit a low shot which the Manorians keeper found too hot to handle and the ball trickled into the net. 7-0 Woods. Keeping a clean sheet was now the priority for Woods however with what was the final attack of the game a Manorians winger broke the Woods defensive line and finished superbly much to the disappointment of Ed in goal.

Conor Higgins

Squad: E McElduff, C Mang, C Higgins, S Cook, W Tshundi, A Duncan, L Lawler, J Pugh, A Duncan, G Ghaffari, N Brown, S Crossan, G Osedabaye

Scorers: Ghaffari 2, Brown 2, Mang, Pugh, Reidy

MoM: George Ghaffari – 2 goals and an all round super performance.

Old Parmiterians III 5 – 1 OLD WOODS

Saturday 29 October 2016

After defeats in cup competitions in the two previous weeks Woods went into this cup as massive underdogs and knowing a big performance was required to match up against a team who are 5 leagues above them.

Woods started with Fran in goals, a Centre back pairing of Conor & Tim while Stu and Craig took the full back positions. A Centre midfield trio of Cillian, Wilson & Henry while Ernie played the lone striker role supported by wingers Reidy and Cuong.

Although a gap of 5 leagues between the sides Woods started brightly and settled early frustrating the opposition and forcing them into mistakes by pressing them on the ball. The pace of Ernie up top was causing Parmiterians defenders problems while the midfield trio of Cillian, Wilson and Henry provided the platform to quickly turn defence into attack while the guile & trickery of Reidy and Cuong on both wings had the opposition defence backtracking on various occasions. Woods backline were dealing with everything that came at them with relative ease. Woods were now looking comfortable and nearly took a deserved lead when some great work down the right flank ended with Reidy getting his head brilliantly onto a cross but the goal bound header was somehow clawed away by the opposition keeper for a corner.

As Woods continued to push forward in search of the opener they were then caught high up the field and Parmiterians sprung on the counter attack to quickly move down the field and finish a well worked move to take a somewhat undeserved lead. 1-0 to the home side after 30mins. After going behind Woods then rallied superbly and showed great spirit to equalise on the 40min mark when a ball over the top was latched onto by debutant Henry who beat the onrushing keeper to the ball and calmly slotted the ball into the empty net, 1-1. Parity however was short lived for Woods and only 2 mins later the Parmiterians striker broke the offside trap down the right wing and his shot took a wicked deflection of a Woods defender to leave Fran in goal flat footed as he watched the ball nestle into the bottom right hand corner. 2-1 Parmiternians as the referee blew the HT whistle.

Woods came out at the start of the 2nd half with a determination to take this cup tie by the scruff of the neck however tired legs began to tell and with the opposition able to call on fresh legs from the bench Woods went 3-1 down after 55mins. This cup tie was then put beyond Woods with a quickfire double from the home side to make it 5-1. Both goals of real quality particularly the 4th which was an unstoppable strike from all of 30 yards which flew straight into the top corner. Woods created a number of late opportunities to narrow the deficit however it wasn’t to be. All in all a good battling performance from Woods and for the majority of the 90mins it was very hard to tell that 5 divisions separated these two teams.

Conor Higgins

Squad: F Carragher, C Bull, C Higgins, T Ross, S Cook, H Albert, C Quinn, E Reidy, C Mang, W Tshundhi, E Divendhar

Scorer: Albert

MoM: T Ross – Massive in the middle

OLD WOODS 2 – 0 Old Magdalenians II

Saturday 21 November 2015

Going into this game the Woods were still without a win in the league. They started with Ryan in goal, a back four of ed, Alex , dean and Crossan. With the five in the middle being jud, Obeng, DC, Bully and Brook leaving Noel in the lone striker role.
The woods started on the front foot scoring within the first minute. Jud played a nice through ball to Brook who (surprisingly) finished very calmly. 1-0 Woods!
The game was very even from then on with the woods trying to keep hold of the ball but always wary of a quick counter attack from Old Magdelanians.
At the half the woods brought on Liam, Langton and Bryan. Langton starts the half well by holding the ball up and bringing others into play.
The Woods continued to press and play some very good football throughout the second half.
The second goal came from a free kick. Having already missed a couple (when he should of crossed and not shot!) Obeng stepped up and hit a great free kick into the far corner.
The Woods looked comfortable from then on and saw the game out to get their first league win, 2-0.
Mom-Bully
Alex Day

OLD WOODS 2 – 7 Queen Mary College OB III

Saturday 24 October 2015

The 3s started the game with a new look back four and a makeshift keeper, along with a number of new faces throughout the squad. The lack of team cohesion was quickly exploited by decisive Queen Mary’s attacks that capitalized on poor marking at set pieces and in the box to give them a 3-0 lead within 15minutes.

However D’ Castro and his men regained their composure with an extended period of pressure that saw good ball retention and a number of chances created. The pressure paid off when Lawler put the game back in contention with his second goal of the season – resulting from a parried shot from Bully.

Despite possibly being the better team on the ball going forward two more defensive lapses at crosses put Queen Mary’s 5-1 up just before the half. A scoreline that was deserved due to the defensive lapses; but probably didn’t do the keeper, Whitworth, justice after a number of great saves.

A few decisive changes made at half time shored up defence with Whitworth coming in at defensive midfield, Crossan coming into central defence.

The second half was a better defensive display, with Crossan proving to be a revelation (watch your backs Day and “Lingerie” Lyne). Though this wasn’t enough to prevent McElduff scoring an own goal that would make any striker proud and Queen Mary’s from scoring a well worked goal to put them 7-1 up.

Having surrendered attacking possession in order to plug holes in the defence Old Woods attack did not look as dangerous in the second half. However Bully curled in a free kick from 25yds out to score a consolation goal.

The game finished Old Woods 2 – 7 Queen Mary’s.

Scott Bevan

OLD WOODS 3 – 1 Reigatians III

 Saturday 17 October 2015

Going into this cup game we started with Ryan in goal with a back four of Simon, Labey, Dan ‘lingerie’ Lynne and Alex. Then a midfield of Jud on the left, Reidy on the right and DC, Mason and Liam in the middle leaving Langton up top in the lone striker role. Badr, Crossan and Brook started on the bench.

The game started off quite scrappy as both teams were trying to take control of the game. It then became clear that Reigatians game plan was very direct and the Woods started to keep the ball well, especially out wide where they continuously found space.

Woods broke the deadlock from a free kick far out on the right side of the pitch. Reidy went to put in a cross and it ended up looping over the keepers head into the top corner. This goal meant the Woods went into half time with the lead.

There were a few changes at half time with Crossan, Brook and Badr all coming on.

With both Brook and Judd staying out wide the Woods managed to stretch the play and started to dominate possession. There was a few good patterns on play from the Woods, one in particular lead to Badr having to roll the ball in from 10 yards but somehow managed to clear the bar.

Then Reigatians managed to grab one back making it 1-1.

The new centre back pairing of ‘lingerie’ Lyne and Labey were looking strong all game and not giving Reigatians any chance of getting near the Woods goal.

The game went into extra time and with a few more substitutions the Woods really started to open up the opposition. It didn’t take long until a “well struck” volley from Liam went straight underneath the Reigatians Keeper. 2-1 Woods!

Then the Woods kept the ball really well and had the game under control. After some good play by Jud and Langton they found Mason all on his own to tap in the third with five minutes to go.

Reigatians had nothing left and the Woods saw the game out comfortably and progressed through to the next round.

A great team performance lead to finally breaking down a solid Reigatians side. A few mentions go out to Labey and Dan at the back who were solid all game and DC and Reidy who continuously ran their socks off.

Mom – Jud

Alex Day

OLD WOODS 1-4 Old Salvatorians III

Saturday 26 September 2015

 This cup game always looked tough on paper. Playing a team three divisions above them the Woods started with a line up of Jimmy Fowler in goal, a back four of Ed McElduff, Alex Day, Luuk  Baltuseen and Sean Crossan. In the midfield we had a couple of new players in Alex Labey and Gaz Dray playing alongside James ‘Bully’ Young, Jud Walker and James ‘Sweetcheeks’ O’Shea leaving Badr Radi in the lone striker role. Simon Goldring and Liam Lawler started on the bench.

The Woods started well, pressing the opposition and showing them they were going to be no pushovers. After a good solid 20 minutes of pressure Old Salvatorians got lucky as the Woods conceded their second penalty in as many games, despite Luuk getting elbowed in the face. 1-0 Old Salvo.

Despite the opposition being a lot taller than the woods, the equaliser came from a great headed goal by James ‘Sweetcheaks’ O’Shea from a corner. The Woods made a few changes in the second half bringing on Simon and Liam for Ed and Gaz.

Despite a good opening 10 minutes the Woods started to tire which opened up the pitch for the opposition. After a very lucky goal to make it 2-1 to Old Salvo, Jud was put through on goal and rounded off the keeper only to be kicked in the shins. No penalty given!?  Old Salvo got their their of the game from some good work out wide and then squaring it into the striker to finish.

Then a moment that Luuk would like to forget but I’m going to mention it anyway. After slowing the striker down and moving him out wide to where he wanted him, the striker squeezed the ball through Luuk’s legs and left him looking around for the ball much to many cheers from both sides. (Sorry Luuk)

The Woods were continuing to battle but the effects of closing down the opposition for a large part of the game was showing. Old Salvo got their fourth in the last couple of minutes of the game to make it 4-1.

It was a good performance for the first hour, proving that the 3XI can hold their own against higher teams but eventually the opposition managed to wear us down and get the win.

Alex Day 

Squad: J Fowler, E McElduff, A Day, L Baltuseen, S Crossan, A Labey, J Young, J Walker, G Dray, J O’Shea, B Radi, S Goldring, L Lawler

Scorer: J O’Shea

Mom: J Walker

OLD WOODS 6 – 1 University of Hertfordshire II

Saturday 19 September 2015

 

With the first game of the season an AFA cup match against a brand new side the 3XI decided to try out a new keeper and new formation.

We started with the new man Jimmy Fowler in goal, a back four of Simon Goldring, Alex Day, Dan Lyne and Captain Chris Achilles, a midfield five of Badr Radi, Sean ‘DC’ D’Castro, James ‘Sweetcheeks’ O’Shea (Editor’s note: I like this nickname how did he get it?!?), Eoghan Reidy and Jud Walker, leaving James Brook in the lone striker role. James ‘Bully’ Young and Sean Crossan started on the bench.

The game started at a high tempo with both teams keeping the ball well.  The Woods midfield were working hard and kept finding gaps in behind the Uni of Herts defence to play in Brook. After 20 minutes of resolute defending by Herts this proved the route to breaking the deadlock. A through ball to Brook lead to him rolling the ball through the keepers legs, 1-0.

The Woods grew stronger after, this creating lots of chances, and soon got a second through Eoghan’s fine half volley. From then on Badr and Jud had the beating of the full backs and kept breaking through on goal. About five minutes before the break Woods doubled their lead when Eoghan smashed in from 16 yards.

After half time, The Woods made a couple of changes bringing on Bully and Crossan. The first half possession proved to tire the Herts team with Eoghan grabbing his second and Badr also hitting the back of the net, 4-0.

Brook was reintroduced to the game and within a matter of seconds he too got his second goal of the game.Sweetcheeks was putting in some great set pieces all game and this lead to the 6th with DC getting his head on the end of a free kick.

Then came the highlight of the game. Badr was fouled in the box and a penalty was given. Both Brook and Eoghan were on a hat-trick and Eoghan finally got his way and got to take it. Up he stepped, while be filmed by James and put it wide, costing him his hat-trick and the MOM award. (For anyone that’s wants to see the video I’m sure James will be happy to show it)

Into the last five minutes, Herts Uni had their first opportunity to get a shot at goal after Dan Lyne clearly won the ball in the box but the ref saw it differently. Penalty scored which made it 6-1.

A mention has to go out to Jimmy for his great save in the last minute after being a spectator for most of the game.

Final score: 6-1

 

Alex Day

Squad: Fowler, S Goldring, Day, Lyne, Achilles, Radi, O’Shea, Reidy, D’Castro, Walker, Brook, Crossan, Young

Scorers: Brook 2, Reidy 2, Radi, D’Castro

MOM: James ‘Sweetcheeks’ O’Shea