A busy but successful few days for the Academy, saw our under 19s beat Royston Town at Garden Walk in the Suburban Cup on Tuesday night 1-0. Then less then 24 hours later saw another clean sheet and another victory, this time away to a strong Brentwood Town side in the National League Cup 2-0.
Royston who fielded four first team players on the night, came up against a Wood side that contained thirteen 16 or 17 year olds in the squad, including Enson Kwok and Iliman Diaye, who were both making there debuts.
It was in fact one of the youngest teams Wood have ever fielded in this competition and it proved to be a breath of fresh air. Our desire to press and our quality in possession, may have taken Royston by surprise, as they never really tested Woods England College keeper and first year Fred Burbidge.
The winning goal though, came late in the game when Cheyce Grant broke down the right, he found Bradley Sach just outside the penalty area and he managed to turn smartly before smashing home with his left foot, to send the young side home with the win they came for.
Manager Cameron Mawer said, “it was fantastic night for myself and the our Academy, as we were so young and this was a huge test for them. Every player can be very proud of their performance and in truth, it was a very mature away day performance considering their limited match experience at this level
The next day saw another Academy challenge, when our more experienced U19 team, went to play Brentwood, who are the current league leaders in the National League senior section and were National Champions just two years ago.
This match brought a totally different challenge to the boys, as Brentwood are a very physical and talented side, who have an in your face approach. However young Wood held firm and a strong performance, a 2-0 away victory was achieved and, that has seen them progress to the quarter finals of this prestigious National competition. We now have a home tie against Brightlingsea Regent, to secure a place in the National Semi’s.
BRENTWOOD MATCH REPORT
WOOD were captained by our England College Captain, Ben Goodliffe and we set about our task in meaningful fashion. Though playing on the front foot, it was a bitty opening, on a testing pitch and the game was played in difficult conditions.
For the majority of the first half, Wood were just about on top, and as such, proceedings were mainly played in the Brentwood half, without us ever managing to create any real clear cut chances.
Timothy Obinsanya though, did prove to be a thorn in Brentwoods side throughout the contest, by using his body well and running in behind the defence on countless occasions. The second half saw Wood get the all important first goal, when a beautifully flighted ball into the Brentwood box, saw Quba Gordon get across his man and powerfully head home.
With time running out and Brentwood desperately trying to find a late equaliser. It allowed Woods third England College player Sorba Thomas, break away at speed and with Brentwood players now over committed, go clear, before cleverly rolling the ball across the area, to Frank Keita who finished well, to end an absorbing contest between two very good sides.
Coach Cameron Mawer commented on both games ” Our first years on Tuesday night were for their age different class, but the performance Wednesday of our second and third years, just shows the strength and quality throughout our Academy. We came to an unbeaten Brentwood Town side and left as worthy winners. This will I hope give us all great belief going forward and I hope we can make this a special season. We of course have so many games still to play, but this shows our strength in depth. We have coming through two very big games in just 36 hours, with a young talented squad and that is more than pleasing”..
Mawer added ” The National League and National League Cup, are something we have targeted this season and we felt we would be in a strong position to do well in both. We are trying to give as many of our youngsters game time, that continues their development and its now paying dividends. These games are all stepping stones up, as we enter the second half of the season and vital to the players, as the pressure builds. ”