Manager: Tony Griffiths
Assistants: Russell Cole, Oliver Beaumont and Brian Silver.
|P, W, D, L, F, A, D, P
|Oakhill Tigers U10 Tigers||18 13 3 2 64 9 +55 42|
|Nascot Wood Rangers U10 Falcons||18 13 3 2 46 15 +31 42|
|Panathinaikos Youth U10||18 10 3 5 38 16 +22 33|
|Alexandra Park U10 South||18 9 5 4 46 33 +13 32|
|Finchley Revolution U10 Orange||18 9 4 5 46 25 +21 31|
|Riverside Hibernian U10||18 9 3 6 39 33 +6 30|
|Edmonton Rangers U10 Elite||18 5 3 10 24 48 -24 18|
|Oxhey United U10 Raiders||18 5 1 12 26 51 -25 16|
|Harvesters U10 East||18 4 0 14 22 47 -25 12|
|Olympiacos U10 White||18 0 1 17 14 88 -74 1|
At a young age winning is not the most important thing... the important thing is to develop creative and skilled players with good confidence.
Of course, we also have the responsibility to win games and the difficulty in the job is to combine both.
At 9.15am on Sunday morning with the rain finally slowing down from the overnight downpour I arrived at Bushey Cricket Club, and after spending time forking the pitch (I spend less time on my own garden) to rid it of the small puddles that had formed, I called Alexandra Parks manager informing him the game could go ahead. In hindsight it may have been better to have postponed it.
I was so pleased with the way we took an early lead with a great shot from Stephen Griffin deflected into the goal by Charlie Griffiths. So at 1-0 things looked good, our new goalkeeper Gabbi Norton made a couple of good stops, and then we failed to clear the ball to safety it rolled across the line where an AP player said 'thank you' and slotted the ball home. At this point I made a triple substitution to bolster the midfield and AP scored again through a fantastic free-kick which gave Gabbi no chance. I don't think the boys responded too well to that goal and they looked a little deflated. Alexander Beaumont played a big part in the game today but I feel the pitch played a bigger part in helping AP it is becoming a leveler and I do not think we get much advantage from it, some may disagree but that's my opinion.
We tried various options to mix things up by using our squad of players, but we always seemed to be chasing the game. Then mid-way through the second-half we had a number of chances to get back in to the game through Charlie Cole and Jack Birch but the AP keeper saved both. It was good to see the boys fight back and even as we went 1-3 down we continued to battle. The likes of Jake England, Alex Withero, Sammy Ogunware all contributing to some hard work in defence. We had Jack Eaton and Jordan Ingles battling to get us back into the game. Louis Smart and Mathias Panayiotou came on and made a cameo appearance but as the weeks go on and hopefully we play more games they will get a longer time on the pitch.
So a 1-3 defeat by a team we had beaten convincingly earlier in the season, but that is football, you should never assume games will be easy and all you need to do to win a game is turn up, we possibly were guilty of that after the first goal. We need to keep up our hard work and help each other out more in defence but all in all I was proud of our late fight back.
Afterwards we held a parents meeting where the size of the squad was questioned and the direction I was taking the team. I then put the goals away locked up the clubhouse and gates with Brian Silver who travels from Stoke Newington to ref our games, while Russell headed back to sunny Essex and I got home at 1.45pm.
The weather tried its best to stop another game as the heavens opened during the night but we managed to play a game of football today even though the result was not particularly the one we wanted. I am a firm believer in respecting a referees decision but when you come up against a qualified ref who called the boys to the centre circle and preached about his red and yellow cards that he was not afraid to use, you know there could be problems. The biggest problem was, and most importantly he did not know the rules of mini-soccer. Referees come in for a lot of stick in the Watford Friendly League mainly because the home team provide a parent or the manager to ref the game, and to be fair we have not had many struggle with the rules, but when you actually have a qualified ref not knowing how far an opponent should be from a ball at a free-kick we might as well all go home. The second-half became littered with Riverside free-kicks and as the boys made their wall the ref started walking 10 yards which at one point looked like 15. To add insult to injury we played a 23 minute second-half (we played 19 minutes in the first) and for anyone reading this who was not there I will leave you all to guess when Hibs equalised.
I am not going to dwell too much on the game itself, the ref decided the outcome long before kick-off. The pitch was muddy from the heavy rain and to be honest we should have won the game handsomely but failed to finish off Riverside, who's keeper had far more to do than our new goalkeeper Gabbi Norton, well done to Gabbi and to Charlie Cole who put us into the lead early on in the first-half and was our man-of-the-match. Riverside came back at us and equalised after I had made a couple of substitutions and it went a bit down hill from there. Having 6 substitutes does not help your concentration and replacing one boy after another in the first-half certainly played into Riversides hands. We limited the subs in the second-half and were at times comfortable after Jordan Ingles had put us in front, and then Riverside equalised in the last minute of Alex Ferguson time. The game may have gone on a bit longer after that if Riverside had held onto the ball but it is all sour grapes, it just becomes difficult to explain to the boys that all referees are meant to be unbiased and know the rules.
All the boys did well today on a difficult pitch and it is to their credit I had no moaning from them when they were subbed. They are a great bunch of lads and we are looking forward to seeing them all develop into a good 11-a-side team.
Team: Gabbi Norton, Jake England, Alex Withero, Jack Birch, Jordan Ingles, Charlie Cole, Charlie Griffiths, Jack Eaton, Louis Smart, Mathias Panayiotou, Alexander Beaumont, Stephen Griffin.
It was nice to get a league fixture under our belt before Xmas. After two postponements and to play it at home was a bonus or at least I thought it was! Our pitch at Bushey CC seems to be turning into a Xmas pudding of a pitch and it can make life difficult for both teams so an early goal will always do you a power of good, and that is just what we got from Charlie Griffiths whose low drive went under the keeper's body. The Oakhill goalkeeper was superb today making saves from Jack Birch, Jordan Ingles and Charlie Cole. We could have had the game won in the first half and our own goalkeeper, man-of-the-match Mathias Panayiotou did very well in his first game for the Falcons.
We battled hard to keep things at 1-0 but we lost Jordan early in the second half to a knee injury and we only had one other substitute which meant there were some weary legs out there. Oakhill were given a couple of free kicks near our penalty area which got their tails up, and in the last 5 minutes we allowed them an opportunity to have a shot which spilled into the goal. When I think of the work rate the boys put in, and the chances we had, we deserved more than a point and were by far the better side, but it was not to be.
All the boys gave lots of effort, Alexander Beaumont always looked dangerous, Jake England and Alex Withero did a terrific job at the back, while Stephen Griffin had a brilliant first-half, but as I have said the pitch got the better of us on the day.
A good start to the season for the boys, which only leaves me to wish everybody a Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year.
After entering enemy territory in the wrong side of north London (that's the blue and white bit) on a cold and very wet day, it was good to see the football was better than the weather. The boys played on a very small pitch which was very muddy but we saw some good play. To start with we had a contender for the Falcons goal of the season from Alex Withero. It must have been 20 yards out and gave the keeper no chance, 1-0 and as so often we made heavy weather (no pun intended) of getting the second goal. It was to be man-of-the-match Louis Smart who got in amongst the defenders in the box and rifled home his shot to get our second. Louis had a good game today, he is still finding his true position in the team but he battles hard and puts in lots of effort. We had Stephen Griffin in goal for the first-half and although he did not have much to do he managed to hit a huge drop kick into the AP's penalty area where Jordan Ingles continued his goal scoring spree this season and neatly tucked the ball home, so it was an assist from Stephen who was unlucky not to have scored in the second half while Jordan was to go in goal later on where he saved a penalty. So we were 3-0 up and playing well, Jack Eaton worked hard making some lovely passes and doing a good job in defence towards the end. Jack Birch did well hassling the AP defenders as he led the line well and then went back into defence. Jake England was doing his usual excellent job of mopping up at the back and thwarting the AP attackers.
It was great to see Charlie Griffiths back in the team after his injury and a delight to see him score our fourth goal. Well done Charlie! We rounded off the day with the other Charlie, Charlie Cole, scoring our fifth goal as well as putting on a very impressive display in mid-field. Well done to him and all the boys!
A special mention for Sammy Ogunware who was unable to make the game today due to family commitments and to Alexander Beaumont who was caught up in the traffic and he missed most of the game but came on for the last 5 minutes. It is a shame he had to travel all that way to get stuck in London traffic - sorry have I mentioned this before but we play in the Watford Friendly League.
Harvesters East 1-4 NWR Falcons (Scorers: Alexander Beaumont, Charlie Cole, Jordan Ingles, O.G.)
On greeting Harvesters manager and doing all the pleasantries. I turned to call the boys over and was quite taken aback at the sight of 10 players plus one other I will be signing up soon who had come along to support the team - thank you Mathias. To try and give everyone a fair amount of pitch time is very difficult for both Russell and myself but at half-time today it does not matter how many boys we have in the team we are still having to ask the dreaded "who wants to go in goal "question, and trust me it is the only time I can guarantee silence from the whole team - mums and dads take note! So today I would like to give special praise for Alexander Beaumont, Charlie Cole and especially Jordan Ingles who not only volunteered to go in goal but done it with a smile. The most ironic thing today was that all three boys that went in goal were also our goal scorers (our fourth goal was an own goal). Well done boys!
Anyway, back to the game and we found ourselves one nil up within the first few minutes courtesy of Alexander Beaumont whose stunning shot gave the keeper no chance. How we only had one goal when we had so many chances (echoes of last week) is beyond me Stephen Griffin came close a couple of times and Jack Birch was denied a tap in when the defender beat him to the ball. Harvesters battled well and their keeper saved them a number of times but mostly we made hard work of the passing and so the team became impatient in the second-half for a second goal and began to shoot from distance. Jack Eaton who is our pass master managed a couple shots at goal before Charlie Cole was put through into the box and coolly placed the ball into the net to round off a good day for him and earning him the man-of-the-match. Shortly after Jordan Ingles tucked home our third and it was job done. Harvesters managed to pull one back as we went asleep for a bit at the back but that is not to take anything away from the excellent Alex Withero, Jake England and Sammy Ogunware who all seem to compliment one another and are surely turning into a terrific defence. As I mentioned there was an own goal which Jordan wanted to claim but even I could not be that generous as the Harvesters defender booted the ball into his own net. Louis Smart put in a solid performance today and is gradually getting accustomed to the team. There was a cameo appearance from Charlie Griffiths who I sent on in the 25th minute to remind the ref we only played 20 minutes each way. A good performance which took us to top spot in the Purple division and all the boys need to do is keep working hard for each other and we will stay there.
A game in Watford against another team from Watford - surely not I hear you cry! But it was true; and not only that, we were at home and we won.
The boys made heavy work on a heavy pitch which certainly saved Oxhey from a heavy defeat as twice the ball beat the keeper only to see the ball get stuck in the mud. We created enough chances to make the Oxhey manager shout to his team, "lucky this lot can't finish". He may have had a point but we kept going and it was beginning to look like one of those days as the second half seemed to whizz by, then, Alexander Beaumont went on a jinking run and hit a lovely shot into the bottom corner of the net and we got the win that we deserved.
Stephen Griffin should have scored today when his terrific shot hit the post, while hat-trick hero of last week Jordan Ingles came close to scoring on a couple of occasions, and on another day it could so easily have been 4-0. Sammy Ogunware has proved to be a great asset for us in defence and with Jake England taking no prisoners we were quite solid at the back which gave us the opportunity to push Alex Withero into midfield. All three boys were terrific today. Charlie Cole was the man-of-the-match with his dogged determination he was a driving force in the first half and then took his turn in goal for the second. Louis Smart, Jack Eaton and Jack Birch gave their all on a pitch which was having its second game of the day and which was slowly turning into the Somme, which brings me nicely onto the most important point of the day where a minutes silence was observed by both teams before kick-off in respect for those who gave their lives for this country.
Special mention for Charlie Griffiths who was told by the hospital it may be a few weeks before he will be able to play for the team again.
On a nice and bright warm November morning the well travelled Falcons journeyed into London for yet another potentially tricky away game. Again we were without Alexander Beaumont ( still on holiday ) but also the unfortunate Charlie Griffiths who suffered a finger injury in an accident during half term and was unable to play. Get well soon Charlie.
The first half started brightly for the Falcons and it only felt like a matter of time before the pressure we were putting on Edmonton paid off. Acting captain for the day Charlie Cole duly obliged with a smart turn direct from a throw in and hit a low show through the goalkeepers legs. 1-0 to the Falcons. We continued to pressure Edmonton and the hard working Louis Smart and Jordan Ingles were combining well to keep the opposition goalkeeper busy. Eventually we went 2-0 up after a shot from Jordan caused confusion in the defence and somehow it dribbled in at the far post.
Stephen Griffin our first half goalkeeper made some good saves when called upon and the Falcons defence stood firm with some timely clearances from Jack Birch and Jake England and some good tackling from Alex Withero and Sammy Ogunware.
The 2nd half began with the Falcons full of confidence and our build up play and slick passing from defence to attack was again a very positive sign and causing Edmonton a lot of problems. The influential Jack Eaton back from his holidays was noticeable with his clever and accurate passing which kept the pressure on. With Charlie Cole continuing to control the centre of midfield the speedy Jordan Ingles was pushing forward and soon made it 3-0 and the Falcons were now really enjoying their football. Soon afterwards however we gave away a free kick close to our own area which Edmonton fired into the top corner. Our 2nd half goalie Louis Smart stood no chance of getting to that one even if there was 2 of him!
The Falcons to their credit though didn't let their heads drop and continued to stay positive and pass the ball about. We then scored the goal of the game when some neat passing in midfield from Stephen Griffin released Jack Eaton to run in on goal and with a very cool finish scored his first goal of the season to make it 4-1 to the Falcons. Edmonton did try to force their way back into the game but our excellent defence kept shutting them out and eventually Jordan Ingles scored his 3rd goal of the game to make it 5-1. Well done Jordan a well deserved hat-trick.
The man of the match was Alex Withero for his tough tackling and excellent reading of the game. Well done Alex.
I'd like to thank all the team for their attitude, commitment and EFFORT in making my managerial debut a successful one but lets just try to make sure we do the same again next week.
Another trip into London to play our third Watford (ha-ha) Friendly League match on a rainy day where conditions were better than could be expected, and our opponents, Oakhill Tigers, would be a good test for us as we were without Alexander Beaumont and Jack Eaton (both on holiday) but we still went to the Walkers Stadium with 9 men and put on a very good performance - on another day we could and should have had at least 5 goals.
Stephen Griffin got our equaliser after his shot had hit the bar and while the Oakhill defenders were debating if the ball had crossed the line, Stephen stuck the ball in the net. Earlier we had gone asleep for Oakhill's goal, but it sparked us into life and with man-of-the-match Jordan Ingles always involved in the action it was his long range effort which confused the Oakhill defender who duly put the ball into his own net. At 2-1 we looked like the team of last season where we were passing the ball about and throughout the match the whole team were heroes. Charlie Griffiths, Charlie Cole and Stephen should all have made the score-line bigger for the Falcons and although Oakhill gave us a couple of scares, we looked the better team. Our defence of Alex Withero, Sammy Ogunware and Jake England stood up well to their attacks and we had Jack Birch and Louis Smart giving their all for the cause.
My final thoughts on the first three games are very positive - we have sorted our goalkeeping issues out and the squad is now bigger with everyone giving 100% for the team - if only we did not have to keep travelling into London.
The Falcons put up a good fight against the league leaders today, and for the first 10-15 minutes we looked quite comfortable with our 1-0 lead courtesy of a fine goal from Stephen Griffin. The boys put a lot of effort in the early stages and we were looking the better side as Charlie Cole, Jordan Ingles, Charlie Griffiths and Stephen all had chances to extend our lead but we just lacked composure when it came to finishing. We started to tire towards the end of the half but we managed keep it 1-0 at half-time thanks to a couple of great saves from Alexander Beaumont.
The second-half was more of a backs-to-the-wall performance from the Falcons as we desperately tried to get out our own half, we made changes on the field bringing players on and off to try and change things and mix it up a little, we pushed Jack Birch up front while new boy Louis Smart was very energetic and had a good debut.
Our brave defence of Jake England, Alex Withero and Sammy Ogunware, finally succumbed to the Finchley attack after leaving three red shirts queuing up for a shot against the excellent Jordan Ingles (in goal) who had made a superb save earlier tipping the ball over the bar. The Finchley goal seemed to spark us to life again and we could have snatched it towards the end but I think the scoreline was a fair result.
A solid performance from us and I don't think I have given Finchley enough credit for theirs, they are a very difficult team to play so maybe it was a point well won. Our man-of-the-match today was the superb Charlie Cole who was instrumental in our purple patch during the first-half.
Following on from last weeks fine display where we lost but played and battled hard, the Falcons gave another strong performance today as our league season got under way at home to Panathinaikos. Charlie Griffiths got the opener in the first-half for the Falcons and help set-up Stephen Griffin for a very good second goal. Alexander Beaumont got our third with a superb long range shot to finish 3-0 at half-time. Charlie got his second goal in the second-half but this game was not as one-sided as it sounds. We left ourselves open at the back a number of times in the first-half and if was not for some solid goalkeeping by Charlie Cole, some brilliant clearances from Jake England and great interceptions from Sammy Ogunware we may have seen a different score line. Having said all that Jordan Ingles was so unlucky not to have had a couple of goals today (I am sure he will make up for it in the coming weeks) while Jack Birch did some solid work for us.
A great team effort today as we only had 8 players - Jack Eaton was on holiday and Alex Withero was injured - and if I was to be picky we lacked quite a bit of discipline supporting the defence and a simple pass always seemed to be the difficult option for the boys but these are things we will work on. A special mention to Alex Withero who had to miss the game today through an injury at school but still came along to support the boys.
Man of the match Charlie Griffiths
After an unlucky first game against Enfield losing 4-1 but missing a hatful of chances, then getting beaten by AC Finchley 6-0 we returned to London for the third week running and beat Finchley Revolution 3-2.
The boys have struggled recently but we showed lots of commitment during the Finchley Revolution game and it was great to get the win, we have our goalkeeping issues (nobody wants to do it) but we hit the jackpot with two great performances from Charlie Cole in the first-half and Stephen Griffin in the second. Our goals came from Alexander Beaumont (his second of the season) Stephen Griffin (who's heroics in goal earned him the man-of-the-match) and Charlie Griffiths with a lovely curling free-kick to get the winner. With the absence of Alex Withero in defence (who came along to support the team) we relied upon Jack Eaton to partner Jake England in defence both players were really strong and defended superbly as did our new boy Sammy Ogunware who gave another fine performance. Jack Birch was given a forward role and did well, while Jordan Ingles provided plenty of exciting runs. A great result, plenty of optimism and then we played in the County Cup ...
County Cup: St Albans City 11-1 NWR Falcons. The only thing I will report on this game is the tremendous opening goal (yes we scored first) by the Falcons which involved some excellent passing between Charlie Griffiths and Stephen Griffin down the right hand side, a lovely ball played into the area by Stephen and a terrific finish from Jordan Ingles. The boys know how I feel about the rest of it. Enough said.
We went into our final game against a very good Omonia Green team, slightly apprehensive and a tad worried. We were missing three players so with no substitutes the boys would have to work harder than ever if they wanted to avoid another double figure defeat. Although we let two quick goals in the boys gave a gritty performance and we managed to go in at half-time 2-0 down. As the game went on we began to have a few chances and were looking the better side, but, Omonia got a third. The boys kept going and it was credit to them that they never gave up and kept it at 3-0. Make no mistake this was an excellent show of grit and determination from the boys every one of them kept tackling and running and if we can keep playing like this with a bit of luck we will have a fruitful season.
The team: Alexander Beaumont (man-of-the-match) Charlie Cole, Stephen Griffin, Charlie Griffiths, Jordan Ingles, Sammy Ogunware, Alex Withero.
Did not play: Jake England, Jack Eaton and Jack Birch.