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Watford Westfield Academy 2  Northwood U18 5 

Monday 4th January 2016




Team line-up


1 Charley McInerney
2 Runako Connell
3 Matt Parsons
4 Will Holland
5 Albie Shehan-Cozens
6 Dylan Noble
7 Dylan Louis
8 Mase Leung 
9 Freddie Buckley
10 Jack McDonnell ©  
11 Louis Moriarty  
12 Lewis Everett  
14 Connor Maher  
15 Hamzie Ali   
16 Pearse White  
17 Josh Thomas  
18 Elliot Wells  

It was a very cold night in Watford, down to three degrees when we reached the car park: “when will I see you again”!!  la la la  I hear you sing  ..  with a slight icy wind adding to the chilly conditions, with most games not even being attempted on the night, the Westfield 3G facility was in excellent playing condition. Once again, our gratitude to our hosts for a warm welcome.

In the away changing room Mark Fox had set up his tuck shop in the corner and Dylan Noble hosted the music in the luxury of his own private changing room facility. The music was awful but the banter was good, with the five new signings experiencing match day Northwood style… as it was a friendly the newbies were excused the customary formalities of the  Macarena in the changing rooms…..well…..until after the game that is…

It was a very young Northwood side, with over half the squad Under 17, with five new players making their debuts. The game set off at a really good pace, both teams finding their passing game early on, but for some tame early strikes, nothing really troubling either keeper. It was fast entertaining and skilful, both defences were solid, and the midfield a perfect mix of creation and huge work rate… Players were impressing on both sides in a very keen,  even, opening 20 minutes. Runako Connell, making his debut for Northwood settled in well at right back, good in possession and confident in his ability to take on players going forward; he saw a lot of the ball early on breaking together with Dylan Louis on the right. The hard working midfield duo Louis Moriarty and Will Holland easily had the top tackle count on the night: they broke up play, gave themselves  time on the ball, efficient quick distribution, keeping the game flowing, their work rate was excellent, the football on both sides was great to watch.

Mase Leung, who previously had been a key performer for Northwood Under 16 title winning team in 2014,  was now making his debut for the Northwood Under 18 team. He also impressed playing a few weeks ago, as did Simon Wielgorka, playing for the opposition in this game. Mase had a tremendous volley on 23 minutes equally saved by the Watford Westfield Academy keeper high to his right. Mase added pace to our attack linking well with Matt Parsons on the night.

On 25 minutes Charley McInerney was called into action, the former QPR academy keeper making a tremendous save down to his right, from a shot driven from just inside the area. Save number 2 came shortly after, a point blank save from the feet of the Westfield striker who had just evaded the presence of Albie Shehan-Cozens. On 35 minutes Hamzie came on for Dylan Louis and together with Ronaco broke on the right, Hamzie cut inside, played a one two with Jack McDonnell, stopped, played back again to Jack who fed him on his weaker left foot, Hamzie swept past the remaining defender and tucked the ball into corner to open the scoring. On the field 10 minutes and he scores a brilliant debut goal!

Watford Westfield academy scored within 3 minutes of the restart,  Dylan Noble who is always generally a tower of strength at the back, must have been dreaming about what music to play to the squad at half time when he got caught in possession by the six yard box. Charley managed to block the first attempt, but when it landed back at the strikers’ feet he was more composed second time and tucked it away. Half time 1-1. The pace never relented and the football was of a really good standard.

As it was a friendly, Woods made several more changes, handing 16 year old Lewis Everett his Northwood debut in goal. He had impressed playing against us the previous week and although he will learn a tremendous amount playing under Gifton Noel-Williams and Stephen Quinn, he will also learn from experienced youth keepers like Charley McInerney. I tip Lewis to be a star, hopefully for Northwood, he is a very confident, skilful and composed keeper, an old head on young shoulders, like a younger Charleu!! Hopefully Lewis will be playing in the FA Youth Cup for Northwood next season!!

Elliot Wells who impressed on his debut against Camberley, and Connor Maher came on for Will Holland and Mase Leung, both rested for 20 minutes. With Josh Thomas imminent, there were more U15, 16/17 year olds than 18 year olds now on the pitch.

Watford Westfield academy had the better of the opening 10 minutes of the second half, controlling possession with great movement off the ball. It was a tremendous workout for Northwood from 1-16, the defence held strong, as we pressed further forward we eventually forced a mistake just outside the Academy box, seized on by Dylan Louis, who found Freddie Buckley on the penalty spot; he turned and despatched the ball in to the net to make it 2-1 Northwood. Less than 10 minutes later, another equaliser, from a corner only cleared to just outside the box, a fantastic volley aiming for the top right hand corner of the net, Lewis still manage to get finger tips but could not prevent the ball hitting the back of the net.

Northwood took the lead again. From a defensive corner on 75 minutes, which was met by the head of Dylan Noble, this found Dylan Louis outside the Northwood box, at pace Dylan took the ball into the Academy half, fed Connor Maher out wide on the left, Connor slipped the ball back to the feet of Jack McDonnell, whose shot from 30 yards cannoned off the underside off the bar for a tremendous goal.  On 79 minutes Louis Moriarty broke up a promising Watford move, fed Josh Thomas, who skilfully dribbled between two defenders and slotted the ball into the far corner,  4-2 Northwood, another debut goal performance!

Elliot Wells, who had a great 45 minutes, had the final say in the game, after breaking through into the area after good work from Will Holland, he was taken down in the box. He got up to fire the ball into the back of the net to wrap up proceedings at 5-2  on the night.

The scoreline did not fairly reflect the game. It was close at times, some good second half saves by both keepers, end to end throughout, a very entertaining game. Northwood finished chances better, and it was a more vibrant and polished Northwood performance, the cutting edge was back.

Back to the pre match dance moves, slightly disappointing, it all petered out, too many newbies…, next time boys!!!

My MOTM goes to Albie Shehan-Cozens.