Albanian V 4 – 5 OLD WOODS
Saturday 3 February 2018
After a humbling 5-0 defeat in the league the week previous, there was extra pressure on Woods IV XI to bring their A-game to the table to restore some pride, add some points to the table and move away from the bottom half.
The pitch was heavy and was on a steep slope, the woods stand in captain for the day Sam Kiely won the toss and turned the teams around leaving woods attacking up the hill for the first 45.
The Woods line up had a fresh look to it this week with a few returning faces.
John started his first league game of the season between the sticks, in front of him was the tried and tested partnership of Brad and Sean. Ryan started at left back while Sean Mitchell was the right sided counterpart.
The midfield pivot saw Kiely and Miller sitting deeper allowing Sholi space to roam. Andy, who had signed on a one week loan deal from Galway United started on the left, Lloyd-Davies returned to his usual right hand birth. The most surprising name on the sheet was McManus, as fans believed they wouldn’t be seeing him for three weeks after the previous week.
The bench consisted of Langley, Alan and David.
The game started at a slower pace with woods affording Albanians a lot of the ball, with the Camedanians based side happy to soak up some early pressure.
On the 5th minute the game sprung into life, a ball found its way through the heart of the woods side and left Albanians a 1V1 against keeper John.
I think it’s fair to say it’s lucky that John didn’t see red as the woods keeper took the man and not the ball, however the ref, making his first of many mistakes in the game, allowed play to go on. Much to Albanians disbelief.
On 15 mins Miller played a ball inside to Kiely, who got his head up early and played a ball from the centre circle over the defensive line , McManus had made a fantastic run and stabbed the ball home. 0-1.
Woods continued to soak up pressure for most of the half, Langley came on to replace Kinsella and Sholi took a break to introduce Alan in to the game.
Woods looked destined to concede after some sloppy defending on Albanian’s corners.
One of those corners lead to a David De Gea like double save from John, blocking a first effort and following it up with an outstanding beautifully crafted strong wrist action to tip the ball over the bar.
The Woods defence overall had a wonderful first half however. The back line remained disciplined at all times, choosing to stand up the attacking onslaught rather than go to ground, at one stage Mitchell looked as if he was re-in acting a scene from the film 300, he being Leonids outnumbered by the Persians but came out on top killing the Persian king.
The half ended 1-0, a dogged first half in some very very difficult circumstances.
The first half was tight, not to many clear chances. You’d been forgiven to have thought the second half would take a similar pattern, however as the teams tired due to the heavy pitch, chances came in leaps and bounds. Kiely was replaced by Sholi on the half.
Enter the main story of the game, the referee, or as the away team called him “Tom”….
50 minutes had gone, a small goalmouth scramble saw Miller swing a left leg, but rather than catching the ball cleanly, he caught the man, the ref got this correct and gave a penalty which was converted by the Albanian. 1-1
Woods good work was undone, tired legs began to set in, however a couple of minutes later a goal moth scramble in the opposite box saw the ball screw into McManus, whose toe poke found its way through and army of bodies to nestle into the bottom corner. 1-2
Kiely replaced Miller and David took the place of Lloyd Davies.
Up to now the game had been well managed, then a tackle by an Albanian saw Sholi hit the deck before the number 12 started to kick him, scratch him and insert his fingers into unwanted places (his mouth) – It was something you’d expect to see at the tail end of a swingers party after 10 pints rather than Saturday bottom tier football… Masochism.
There was a few minutes of heads gone and Woods quickly went on to concede a second as the Albanian right winger put a 20 yard effort into the top corner. 2-2.
The ref decided enough was enough, he wanted a piece of the action. O’Sullivan made a great challenge in his own box to take the ball from the feet of the tigerish striker, fantastic challenge, then the whistle. Why? The ref, who was on the edge of the opposing penalty area gave a penalty, after much shouting and appealing, again it was converted 3-2.
In a game that was becoming about goal mouth scrambles and penalties It wasn’t a surprise to see Woods go down the other end and score a third. McManus looked on for his hat-trick, bar some great last ditch defending, but when the ball fell to David he wasn’t messing around and found the goal. 3-3.
Woods were in the game, Alan was making some terrific challenges, 20 minutes to go, Andy, Tim and David were constantly running the lines!
The game had a moment of silence, at least 5 minutes passed by without controversy, without a goal, Langley, Brad, Kinsella, O’Sullivan and Mitchell ensured that the back door remained firmly shut.
Suddenly sparks flew on the half way line, the ball went out for a throw in and an Albanian punched David, out of nowhere.. Nasty. The punch was poor leaving David standing and out came the handbags, shop floor – Black Friday, rioting!
Manager Hill was going bananas on the side line, he had a few choice words for the ref who gave a free kick to Albanian… A very odd decision, but by now everyone was scratching their heads about the competence of TOM.
Unfortunately from that same free kick Albania created an opportunity to shoot from 30 yards, The ball bounced just before keeper John and the un even surface and wet ball escaped his grasp and the ball trickled over the line. A cruel way to concede, what looked on 85 minutes like the winner. 4-3
Andy didn’t think so, almost instantly the Irish winger took the ball on half way and beat the whole of the left hand side of Albanian before nestling the ball into the goal 4-4 with 5 minutes to go.
Queue drama. The match was there to be won. Both sides had given their all today, a couple of skirmishes and a questionable refereeing performance should not take a way what an even contest this was. Both teams would have felt they should have won, both teams would have felt they could have lost.
Albanian looked the most likely, in fairness they had created the most chances, John had made spectacular saves, and they all went forward at once to push for a winner.
Suddenly Woods broke as Andy played the ball forward to McManus, Sholi then had the ball before something happened, it’s a blur but, the keeper did something and Kiely, running forward noticed the ball break and he knew this was it, the keeper was out of the box, the centre back was on the edge of the box, Kiely heard the shouts “pass pass” but in the 91st minute with an open net at 4-4, what would you do?
The ball left the right foot and went over the keepers head, it was bound for the centre of the goal before the centre back jumped in the air in an attempt to save the ball, the ball did change course, but not enough to beat the post. 4-5.
After a final few minutes of backs to the wall defending, Mitchell booted the ball clear – the whistle followed. An enthralling game.
All the lads gave everything today! Should be proud! Great game, if we took that spirit into every game we could make top 4! Oi Oi.
M.O.M – John De Gea, world class save, strong licking and throwing thought. Gave the defence confidence to play the ball backwards. Great beard also.
Old Ignatian VI 6 – 9 OLD WOODS
11 November 2017
Woods lined up against Old Ignatian in what pundits were saying was bound to be a boring mid-table clash.
Having been on a spectacular five game unbeaten run, Woods were feeling confident going into the game. A win was crucial and would prove to be a solid confidence boost ahead of a much-anticipated cup quarter-final in a fortnight’s time
Ahead of the game there was an issue. Damien was left in utter despair after finding out one player (David) had only just woken up at 2pm despite kick off being mere minutes later.
This prompted a series of questions, which may have unsettled a more mentally-weak side. What time did he get to bed? What was he doing the night before? Does he possess an alarm clock?
The warm up continued despite the commotion and after a minute’s silence for Remembrance Day, the game was afoot.
The match was a lively affair. Woods got off to a flyer. Steve sprinted clear of the defence after a superb ball from Liam put him through on goal. He had a lot to do but managed to slot the ball into the far corner. A tidy finish!
However, despite the encouraging start, Woods were left flabbergasted by terrible defending as a mix up at the back allowed the opposition striker to place the ball into a vacated goal.
But Woods went down the other end and scored immediately. Tim scored an incredibly unattractive goal after fantastic composure by Steve to pick him out. Doing his best Nicklas Bendtner impression, Tim scuffed his shot home off-balance from four-yards out.
Woods then got another soon after. After a foul just outside the opposition box, Rob Miller smashed a free-kick underneath the goalkeeper. It was at this point that Woods realised that their GK was truly terrible and probably would have done better to join David for a 2pm lie-in.
Miller insists it was not terrible keeping that led to the goal, but that he spotted a gap under the keeper’s arms, which he duly exploited. Given Miller’s goal record in recent games, one may be inclined to believe him. Was this “hit and hope” actually a moment of world-class genius?
Woods then got another! Crossan got on the end of a cross to tuck the ball home after a wonderful counter attacking move.
Old Ignatian did get one before the break after Andrew palmed the ball into the path of their striker following a deadly shot from their winger.
In other first-half news, Liam should have conceded a penalty after bringing down their right-winger. He got none of the ball. I mean, he borderline assaulted the guy. The ref was having none of it though, as she insisted that the right-winger just needed to “toughen up”.
Being the incredible journalist that I am, I caught up with their right-winger after the game to discuss Liam’s challenge. He told me that a doctor had to remove his leg after the game and that he will never walk again. “How was that not a foul?” he exclaimed to me as I stood by his hospital bed. A tear rolled down his eye.
Yeah, so nice going Liam, you asshole!
Crossan then scored another goal! OH NO WAIT! HE DID NOT! BECAUSE TIM TAPPED IT IN ON THE LINE! HAHA UNLUCKY MATE! Everybody could see Tim got the final touch, apart from Crossan apparently. He even celebrated the goal as if it was his in a bid to convince people that he had got a brace. Instead it was Tim who was on a brace! Another shit goal from Tim. Has this man ever scored a goal from more than five-yards out? Tim only gets into these areas in the first place because he is too unfit to get into his proper position. In one sense, you can understand Crossan’s frustration. The goal could not have gone to a more undeserving person.
Anyway, we went into half-time 5-2 up.
The second half marked the beginning of THE SEAN SHOW (not Crossan).
After the ball came out to him, Sean began THE SEAN SHOW (not Crossan) by thumping the ball into the top corner. He was given a new central midfield birth before the game and eyebrows were raised. One fan before the game remarked: “Is Damien mad? Sean in centre-mid! WHAT!?”
But you know what they say? You have to be a little mad to be a manager!
6-2 up. Everything was plain sailing. Just a walk in the park from here, right?
Wrong! Obviously not. Apparently, instead of hearing Damien say “keep going lads!” at half-time, the team actually heard “lads let’s make this game as difficult for ourselves as possible, especially from set pieces. I literally do not want us to defend set pieces this half.”
Liam was clearly upset that he had nearly murdered a man and that made all the difference.
They scored a series of headers from set-pieces. To be honest, I cannot remember all of them. Their number 9 scored a few. That’s all I can recall.
The game was poised at 6-5. It was calling for a hero. Sholli obliged. After a cut back from Tim, he scored with his right-foot, silencing naysayers who say he is all left.
Afterwards, the ref gave a soft penalty against Sholli. So attempted murder by Liam gets a pass but slipping over gets a pen? Not sure about that one. Anyway, they scored it. The score was 7-6
THE SEAN SHOW then continued. He wriggled past around three defenders before dinking the keeper. To think that this man was considering becoming a regular in the vets side a few weeks ago! How is he 37 years-old? When I am 37 I will be probably be in a wheelchair (because of looking after myself poorly, not because of being on the end of a tackle by Liam).
Damien and Ryan both blazed shots wide from counter attacks. Crossan tested the keeper’s hands too. Woods were struggling to put the game to bed.
The team was tired. Steve looked isolated up front. Tim was drifting further to the left than a communist. It was a struggle.
However, a few neat passes from Woods eventually settled the game down. A foul on Sholli led to a free kick. The resulting free-kick hit Steve on the back and fell into the path of Tim for a tap in from, you guessed it, around five yards out. The worst hat-trick ever. The ref put the whistle to her lips. Initially it appeared as though she may blow to disallow Tim’s goal for being so crap. But it was actually the final whistle.
Final score 9-6. Happy days! Next is that cup quarter-final, the biggest game in the club’s history.
MOTM: Despite insulting him this entire match report, I will give it to Tim. He did score a hat-trick. Overall, he looked dangerous when the Woods broke. His composure on the ball was a joy to behold at times.
OLD WOODS 2 – 0 Old Minchendenians V
4 November 2017
The Woods 4XI sleepy heads awoke to a dismal grey sky on Saturday morning, however by 1pm the cloud had lifted and much like the mood of the team, the sun was shining.
Woods headed into the game unbeaten in their last four, a win at home last week in the cup against a team a few divisions above was enough to give the team the impetus to add to that run.
Hill has developed a knack in recent weeks for giving a team talk of 2 sides, last week’s pep talk was motivating, however he made sure the team was aware goalkeeper Day was not up to scratch and was most definitely “a ringer”. This week’s team talk again took the motivational line of lets carry on the run and let’s get to the top end of the table, before he broke into an anecdote of poor form last Christmas that ultimately led to relegation. Mixed messages from the skipper.
It was quiet at Cams this week, only one game gave the ground that Halloween feeling of desertedness, the attendance was 8, with Club Chairman Mick Kelly opting to take a birds eye view alone in the directors box at the top of the north stand rather than sit in the cheap seats at pitch level.
This week’s team saw a much changed line up to the cup hearos of the previous Saturday, Bagley came in for Day who was dropped after a string of errors. The back four consisted of a returning liam and Kensu playing wide, while Captain Hill partnered Tim Worboys; who made his season debut, played at centre half. Another season debutant saw the returning Tom Watson to partner Rob Miller in centre midfield who were complemented by Cantona Kiely who sat in the number 10 role. Kinsella and Lloyd-Davies brought the width, while lone forward McManus led the line after delivering children well into the night.
On the bench were David, Daniel and Haroon.
The first half started slowly, similar to last week.
Both teams tried to play football in central midfield and the first 20 minutes led to a very even tight game, the Minchendinians centre back had foreseen this, shouting at kick off “come on boys we all love a tight minge” I can only imagine that was a minge moniker for Minchendinians.
On 25 minutes Kiely played a ball out to Lloyd-Davies who’s ball across the box fell to Kinsella who fired straight at the Keeper from close range. Minutes later Hill played a ball from deep into the box, which McManus picked up, layed off to Kiely who’s effort from 20 yards was easily dealt with by the Keeper known to his friends as ‘Magic’.
Magic continued to be tested and pulled of some magical saves, however Woods best first half chance fell to Lloyd-Davies on 30 minutes when somehow a low drive from Kinsella across the box was put over from 6 yards, Magic was beaten, but his goal was definitely living a charmed life.
Liam and Kensu were supporting the wingers really well with their tireless effort and Miller and Tom started to link up really nicely as Woods began to take control of the general flow of the football.
The defence had a quiet half and there was not much to do, Minchendinans best effort came when an aerial ball was lofted into the box, only for the number 9’s header to find the eagerly awaiting arms of Bagley.
Half time was drawing nearer and neither team looked likely to break the deadlock going into the break, Woods did have one more chance when Tom played a beautiful ball behind the defence which Kiely sprinted onto, completely unmarked from 20 yards out chipped the goalkeeper, only to see the ball rest on the top of the net, Gutted.
The Half time whistle went, and unfortunately I was looking forward to writing at this point that missing Mitchell had missed a lot of drama, however, in reality that was not to be and he would have been relived that he had chosen to go to the theatre, and I think I speak on behalf of everyone when I say, I hope you enjoyed the Cinderella matinee, right up your street!
The second half started much livelier, within a minute McManus had a chance saved by magic only for Lloyd-Davies to miss from 6 yards again. It’s alright Tim.
Miller came close moments later when his left footed effort was tipped away by Magic only to lead to a corner. Kiely trotted over to the right hand side and his devilish ball found the feet of McManus who’s volley hit the right hand corner of the goal frame, at this point, I began to think ‘is it going to be one of those days’.
Tom quickly quashed that thought, Hill played a ball out of defence which found Miller and he played a quick pass inside to Kiely which was then laid into the path of Tom whose sumptuous strike from 25 yards found the top right hand corner of the goal. Magic had lost is wand. 1-0.
Within minutes, Woods doubled their lead, a corner was quickly cleared by Tim W, whose looping header found Kiely, he then played a lofted ball up the pitch to McManus who after some tough shielding found a ball across the box which found Haroon to smash home from close range. 2-0!
The game slowly petered out, a good performance that resulted in woods second win in as many games. We’ve got the same ref next week, who has the unbelievable ability to see off sides when he’s 40 yards behind the play, so seek counselling if you need it.
Well done boys.
International Tax Specialist
MOM: Liam, played like a man who was fighting for his place, could have knocked out Anthony Joshua with the level of his performance, determined, committed, composed. Great performance, Antonio Valencia (Best right back on earth) will be watching his back.
OLD WOODS IV 4 – 3 UCL Academicals VI
28 October 2017
After a hard fought 1-1 battle at Wembley last Saturday amid ‘Storm Brian’ and a couple of other positive results in the two preceding weeks, it’s safe to say that Woods 4XI had left behind their poor start to the 2017/18 season.
Today’s opposition UCL Academicals VI had already made an impression in the Cup this season, knocking out Woods 3XI after a 4-1 victory. Knowing that, Hill rallied the troops minutes before kick-off, the highlight of his motivational address was thanking stand in goalkeeper Alex Day, who Hill was keen to stress was “not a goalkeeper”.
The team lined up for a 2pm kick off with Day in goals, the back four was made up of skipper – Damien Hill, Sean O’Sulllivan, Brad Fitzpatrick and Sean Mitchell. Rob Miller and Sam Kiely were given the role of shielding the back four, while Timi Sobowale was allowed more freedom to support the attack. Ryan Kinsella and Tim Lloyd-Davies were ready and waiting to run the flanks, while Steve McManus was the lone target man – filling the boots of the injured (and possibly drunk), Mick Kelly. On the bench were Dan Lewis, Alex Drozd and Scott Bevan. Unfortunately Bevan injured his back before the warm up when bending over to read the team sheet and then entered the Guinness Book of Records for the shortest wait for an Uber to transport him back home.
Woods had a very slow start and within five minutes found themselves 1 down after a midfielder played a good through ball finding the Accies number 9 in space who’s shot from 20 yards found the bottom corner. 0-1.
Thankfully, going behind had a positive effect on Woods and the team was quickly galvanised and started to play some lovely football. After a nice spell of possession Woods grew into the game and a great Beckham-esque ball from Hill dropped perfectly for Lloyd -Davies, who had his back to goal, he sold their centre back a dummy, dropped his shoulder and rifled the ball into the back of the net from close range. 1-1!
A couple of minutes later Woods scored another after some great defensive work from O’Sullivan and Fitzpatrick saw the ball cleared to McManus who was able to run at the defenders before stroking the ball home into the stanchion of the top right corner. 2-1.
After a frenetic first 20 minutes Woods, who were oozing class at this point, took the sting out of the game and decided to slow the pace and play some lovely football, the midfield started to enjoy large pockets of space and the wider players were being brought into play to allow for balls into the box.
After 32 minutes a ball dropped nicely to Lloyd-Davies, who laid the ball off to Miller only for his left footed effort to slowly curl around the far post, you could tell from that moment that Miller had the hunger in his eyes for a goal .
Woods continued to impress, Kiely was given a boost when finding out Manchester United had beaten Spurs 1-0 and the sudden rush of adrenalin led to an inspired piece of play when Lloyd-Davies fed him the ball on the right wing only for him to flick it though the defenders legs back to Lloyd-Davies, it was no wonder he was smiling like Ronaldinho, something Mitchell did not like and quickly shouted at him “stop f@*!!£: smiling”. (Ed’s note: If like Mitchell you followed West Ham you’d swear a lot too….)
Day had started fairly well in goal and often looked assured when he was brought into play, however, a clanger after 40 minutes saw him kick the floor and almost fall over his own feet as the ball rolled to their poacher number 9, who from 70 yards out chipped the ailing Day. It was a piece of football that would have been better placed on Crime Watch than Match of the Day. 2-2.
Thankfully, to spare Day’s half time blushes, Woods gained a free kick with only seconds of the first half remaining, Sobowale placed the ball down around 25 yards out, after his shot hit the wall the ball ricocheted of a few players until it found the feet of the grateful Miller, who made no mistake on ensuring Woods ended the first half in the lead. 3-2!
The second half started tighter than the general flow of the previous 45 minutes, and on the 50 minutes a UCL corner was cleared, unfortunately finding their right back 35 yards out on the right touchline, who played a world class ball which found a UCL head, a goal I was very impressed with. 3-3.
As usual, Woods had made their job harder than it needed to be, the game became a bit niggly and bitty, fouls started to creep in and the referee became more involved in the game, dishing out a yellow card to a UCL player – I’m not sure why as I didn’t see it.
The game began to draw stale, and the dominance that Woods had imposed in the first 45 was gone. The home side did get a lucky break on the 70 minutes as a rare second half chance saw Sobowale’s 25 yard strike deflected of McManus’ ample arse and sneak past the sprawling goalkeeper. 4-3.!
In the final 20 minutes the weather changed, ‘Storm Bevan’ saw +60mph winds race against the direction of the Woods play. Day tried to wind the clock down, and in doing so wound up the UCL players in which he had a few choice words sent his way. Another howler for the Woods number one came on 80 minutes when he forgot the rules of goalkeeping and thought he could hold onto the ball for 10 minutes (Ed’s note: whilst the 6 second rule is there it’s rarely enforced). UCL were awarded an indirect free-kick, it was wasted.
As the full time whistle approached the game saw a lack of chances, McManus had the best of them as he went one-on-one with the goalkeeper only for his shot to be put wide by the UCL goalkeeper, the ref gave a goal kick, but I certainly wasn’t surprised, he was 60 yards away and doesn’t seem to see too much, other than off-sides.
Petering out, the game became flat, tired legs of both teams started to dream of the Hon. Secretary’s famous chilli-con-carne and beer, Day kept his mind on task though, with 1 minute remaining a stinging shot from the UCL forward looked destined to take the game the distance (extra time), Day’s heroics didn’t let that happen, he stuck out a big right hand and ensured Woods qualification to the Quarter Finals.
A promising performance against a team in a higher division, credit to the thirteen lads who stuck about and gave everything.
MOM: Alex Day – Recovered from his moment of madness before saving the team from having to endure extra time (Cheers mate), also made some good saves from someone who’s “not a goalkeeper”.
Old Manorians V 1 -1 OLD WOODS
21 October 2017
On a blustery day Old Woods travelled to play Old Manorians 5XI in Wembley – with the Wembley arch in sight that was all the inspiration they needed and also a pep talk from the skipper of course!
After a minutes silence for AFC stalwart Trevor Syms who had passed away the day before the team lined up ready and willing. Scott Bagley was in goal, we had a back 4 of skipper Damien Hill, Dean Docherty, Sean O’Sullivan and Sean Mitchell. In midfield were Rob Miller, Timi Sobowale, Scott Bevan, Ryan Kinsella and Ken Adewuyi and lone target man was Sam Kiely. Abs Olayia, Haroon and Mick Kelly started on the bench.
Manorians got the upper hand early on, scoring after 5 minutes in what can only be described as a catalogue of errors. This included 3 of the back 4 and keeper ending with a bundled goal which no one knew who scored. Undeterred Old Woods regrouped and put Manorians on the back foot with Adewuyi, Bevan and Kinsella all driving forward.
At the back Woods stood firm with Mitchell marshaling the dangerous number 6 well and Docherty and O’Sullivan winning every header – Hill did OK too…
In a scrappy game Woods started to boss the midfield as Miller and Sobwale started to win ball after ball and with Haroon and Olayia introduced to the mix that made things better. Although there were a few dangerous tackles flying in from both sides which the ref seemed to ignore?!
After 35 minutes Kelly was thrown into the fray, a gamble some might think but a gamble that paid off. Having only been on the pitch for 5 minutes Olayia played in Kelly down the left channel. Causing havoc he confused the defenders and keeper who lost the ball and Kelly smashed home from 25 yards! 1-1!
Woods continued to press after this goal but the halftime whistle soon blew and that was that. Hill’s halftime team-talk focused on keeping the ball and pressing high up the pitch.
Woods started well and soon won a corner – delivered into the 6 yard box by Kiely only for Miller to head over from two yards! Olayia and Kelly combined again with the latter finding space on the right – a delicious cross almost found the lumbering Kiely (sad as United were losing) but it was tipped away from his head by the keeper.
Manorians now started to press and were dominating in the final third but resolute defending from the back four kept them at bay and it wasn’t until the 75th minute that Bagley had to make a save who’s kicking against the wind was superb I might add – setting up attack after attack.
With both teams searching for a winner Olayia saw a 25 yard effort saved by the keeper. At the other end Bagley tipped a free-kick onto the bar and we staved off a couple of goalmouth scrambles. In the last minute Kiely was put through one on one but the Ref incorrectly called for offside – that was pretty much the last thing off note and the match finished 1-1.
A promising performance in difficult conditions – a few more like that and we will get our first win in the league. Cup action next week against UCL.
Squad: Bagley, D Hill, S O’Sullivan, Docherty, Mitchell, Bevan, Miller, Sobowale, R Kinsella, Adewuyi, Kiely, Haroon, Olayia, Kelly
MoM: O’Sullivan – dominant at the back
Latymer Old Boys IV 6 – 3 OLD WOODS
Saturday 31 January 2015
We faced a Latymer side who had been promoted with us the previous season at Donkey Lane, Enfield. A couple of forced changes meant we had few different players from the draw against Oak Hill Tigers. Mick Kelly was in goal and in the back four were Ed McElfuff, Chris Achilles, Oli Cooper and Scot McCarthy. In midfield were Liam Lawler, James O’Shea, Rob Miller and Scott Bevan. Up front were Eoghan Reidy and Noel Brown. We had John McErlean, Andrew Hill and David Goldring on the bench – a definite mixture of age and youth.
The pitch was muddy to start with by the end of the match it was like stig of the dump’s front room – I have only now (four days later) got all the mud out of my most treasured places. It might have been a tad unplayable – nonetheless we were there and wanted to play. Within 48 seconds Woods took the lead. A good through ball by O’Shea found Reidy in space on the right whose low cross was fumbled by the keeper into the path of Brown who slotted home. 1-0!
Woods looked dangerous going forward but Latymer equalised after 10 minutes. Their best player was allowed to run at goal from the halfway line unchallenged and when he got to the edge of the box smashed the ball in past the hapless keeper. Three minutes they took the lead when the same player crossed in from our right and the ball got stuck in the mud under Cooper’s feet. It fell to an unmarked player who scored from two yards. 1-2!
What a turnaround! Undeterred Woods pressed on with Bevan and Lawler getting involved more on the wings and Brown making a nuisance of himself. It was through this route we equalised. Brown chased a long ball down snatching it off the keeper and scoring – although Miller claims he got a touch. Latymer complained the keeper was fouled but the ref gave the goal. 2-2! Goldring brought on McErlean.
Ten minutes remained in the half when Woods regained the lead. Brown was involved again holding the ball up and laying off to McCarthy. McCarthy’s cross found Reidy at the back post who took one touch and lashed the ball in. 3-2! We wanted to get to half-time with the lead in tact but it wasn’t to be.
We conceded a free-kick on the left – which wasn’t a free-kick we thought but it was given. The ball was put in and cleared to the edge of the box and smashed back into the top corner giving the keeper no chance. 3-3! There was still time for Kelly to be smacked in the most holiest of holies by the ball – which trust me still brings a tear to my eye.
So, 3-3 at half-time and the Portly Chairman’s (trust me he’s proper portly now) words of wisdom revolved around using the wings and avoiding the mud puddle which ran through the centre of the pitch. We got off to a bad start when their number 10 found space in the box and smashed the ball into the top bin from 10 yards. 3-4! Things got worse when five minutes later their gangly midfielder saw his shot deflect of McElduff’s boot and over Kelly into the roof of the net. 3-5!
We didn’t look like scoring ourselves as we found it hard to move the ball around the boggy pitch. Hill came on with twenty minutes to go and was unlucky not to score with a dipping effort from 25 yards. At the back we looked more resolute and were defending well.
On 85 minutes the Portly Chairman replaced McElduff at right-back. With a minute left there were some handbags about 30 yards from goal with Achilles and a Latymer player. The ref couldn’t remember who committed the original foul and ended up giving it to Latymer when a drop ball might have been the better option. They swung it in and it was headed in at the far post despite a valiant effort from Kelly to keep the ball out. The match ended 6-3 to Latymer!
We played well in patches but didn’t deal well enough with their one outstanding player or get to grips with the pitch which was probably not playable in hindsight. But it was the same for both teams and Latymer did shade the match so probably deserved all three points.
Next up we are at home to Old Aloysians V – a big game as they are one place above us in the league! What will the portly Chairman pull out of his magic hat or shiny box for this game!?
Team: M Kelly, E McElduff, C Achilles, O Cooper, S McCarthy, L Lawler, J O’Shea, R Miller, S Bevan, E Reidy, N Brown, A Hill, J McErlean, D Goldring
Scorers: N Brown 2, Reidy
MoM: N Brown – two goals and an assist.
OLD WOODS 1 – 1 Oak Hill Tigers III
24 January 2015
The second game of the calendar year saw the 4XI take on Oak Hill Tigers 3XI a team that had only dropped four points all season. We knew it would be a tough game. We lined up with Mick Kelly begrudgingly playing in goal for his first appearance of the season. At the back were Ed McElduff, Chris Achilles, Oli Cooper and Scott McCarthy. In midfield we had Liam Lawler, James O’Shea, Richard Christenson and Scott Bevan. Up top were Eoghan Reidy and Danny Blackett. On the bench we had Carlos Howe, John McErlean and Karol Dziedzic. All overseen by David Goldring.
As expected Oak Hill started strongly but did not create any clear-cut chances. At the back Achilles had the measure of the large Oak Hill centre forward and was beating him for pace and strength on nearly every occasion. His partner at the heart of the defence, Cooper, was winning everything in the air too and Kelly was picking up any balls that were over-hit – there were a few.
Going forward we looked good too with our full-backs, McCarthy and McElduff, supporting Bevan and Lawler on the wings. Lawler had a chance with about 15 minutes gone but scuffed a shot from the edge of the area wide. O’Shea and Christenson were starting to get a hold of midfield and Blackett and Reidy were working hard up front. However, on 20 minutes Oak Hill took the lead. The otherwise excellent referee adjudged McElduff to have fouled and Oak Hill player about 40 yards from goal when he clearly won the ball! The free-kick was whipped in and was deflected off O’Shea’s head straight to an Oak Hill player who placed the ball into the corner of the goal, 0-1!
Shortly after this Goldring made some changes with all three subs coming on. McErlean in particular with his physical presence ruffled a few feathers in the Oak Hill midfield. For the rest of the half neither side created much and we went in 1-0 down. Goldring said we had played well but needed to try and get our wingers involved more.
Woods started the second half well but were still not creating many chances. A quick free-kick from Oak Hill almost caught Woods out but Kelly managed to grab the ball and was kicked on the wrist (it hurts to type) and we were awarded a free-kick. Goldring made more changes. On 65 minutes a ferocious shot from Lawler whistled past the wrong side of the post – unlucky! We’d still not tested the keeper!
On 70 minutes Woods deservedly drew level – a goal-kick from Kelly was flicked on by Howe to Reidy who played in O’Shea. The Oak Hill centre back ballooned the ball in the air and O’Shea leaped to win a header ran on to the loose ball himself and lifted the ball into the back of the net. 1-1! Five minutes later Woods should have taken the lead when Howe and Achilles found space in the box. Achilles left it to Howe and the usually composed striker lobbed the ball completely wide of the goal!
With five minutes to go Oak Hill were putting Woods under pressure at the back. Kelly was called into action twice. First diving full length to his right to tip a deflected shot around the post. Secondly, when a tame shot deflected off Bevan wrong footing the hapless keeper who managed to parry the ball and Achilles swept up clearing the ball off the line.
That was the last real incident of the match and we ground out a hard fought 1-1 draw against a good team who may go on to win the Division. Actually it wasn’t the last incident as there was the entirely comic moment when Goldring made a corner taker replace the corner flag which he had moved about a centimetre – if you’ve seen the Father Ted with Dougal and the corner flag it was a bit like that.
All in all it was a good performance and everyone played well, working hard as a team on a heavy pitch. O’Shea was singled out for special praise by Goldring who described his performance as ‘a man of the match performance’…others said Kelly should have got that accolade but they, and I, am biased.
Next week we are up against Latyer Old Boys 4XI another performance like this and we might win!?
Squad: M Kelly, E McElduff, O Cooper, C Achilles, S McCarthy, L Lawler, J O’Shea, R Christenson, S Bevan, E Reidy, D Blackett, J McErlean, K Dziedzic, C Howe
Manger: D Goldring
Scorer: J O’Shea
MoM: J O’Shea – a fine performance capped of with a goal