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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Powell

Woodford and Barkingside U10's play out a thriller

It's nearly May, but at a Baltic Wanstead Flats this morning, it felt more like January. However, a strong Barkingside squad braved the elements and set out to finish the season on a high. To do it though they would have to overcome a talented Woodford side.

Barkingside started the game strongly and it wasn't long before they were asking questions of the Woodford defence. The early pressure paid off when Alfie swung in a delicious corner. It was begging to be finished off and Josh duly delivered, slamming the loose ball into the roof of the net. Barkingside continued to probe after the opening goal and following some tidy work by Lucas down the left flank, he cut inside and fed Josh some 15 yards or so from the goal. he looked up and unleashed a tremendous effort which rattled the crossbar.

It wasn't long after this that Josh played out what proved to be the winning move. Receiving the ball in midfield from Savanyah, he turned out well and threaded through a lovely ball into Ben's path. Whilst it was traveling at some pace, it must have been Ben's presence that put the keeper off completely - was it something he said? Only Ben will know. Whatever it was, the keeper inexplicably air shot and the ball continued on its journey to the Woodford goal - followed by Ben, the Woodford centre back and what looked like the cavalry as well. Just before Ben got to the ball, it had crossed the line. Probably, Barkingside's longest ever goal.

Woodford then stepped up the gas a bit and started pressing the Barkingside defence. On one or two occasions, they broke through but Lewis was having another confident game 'in the cage'. The back two pairing of Savanyah and George G were once again magnificent and smothering all the danger up. However, just before half time, Woodford were finally successful and pulled a goal back.

Benji was on for the second half and he was leading the Woodford back line a merry dance. On two occasions he broke through the lines and the Woodford defenders had to put in magnificent last gasp tackles in order to prevent him scoring. From one of the ensuing corners, Alfie's effort struck the bar and George L was a little unlucky to see his effort saved. Ronnie came on for a cameo at left back and it was great to him duke it out with Woodford's own version of Maradona. Lucas meanwhile was bossing the midfield battle and driving forward in some brilliant runs but also battling hard and putting in some tough tackles. The Woodford coaching staff must have had a word with the referee about this thorn in their side as with 5 minutes to go, Lucas was cleaned out - by the ref! Lewis' distribution continued to impress in the second half but try as they might, Barkingside could not find a third goal. Last gasp tackling by the Barkingside back two together with some profligate finishing from Woodford saw the game finish at 2-1. The referee had a quiet word with Lewis who was playing down the clock beautifully. He's learnt well from Ramsdale.

A great finish to the season. And what a season it's been. The 10s really have come on this year under Reagan and Zak's coaching - huge thanks to them. There was the tremendous unbeaten run just before Christmas and whilst they have found the going a little harder in 2024 they have ground out some impressive performances. There's a great spirit about the team too, all of which bodes very well for next year. Next stop is the Buckhurst Hill tournament in June.

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