Reserves Battle Back to Beat Local Rivals
The Reserves made it back to back wins with a well fought 5-3 victory away to Eynsham, completing a double over their local rivals.
With the firsts not having a game, the management team were able to call on Davies & Strange to add a bit of quality in key areas. It was otherwise a very young squad continuing the under 23 policy implemented at the start of the season, now beginning to bear fruit. The first half started very evenly with neither side having any clear cut chances early on. Woodstock probed down the right side with Wartalski looking to get forward and beat his man. Eynsham content to go direct without really troubling the well drilled Woodstock back line. The first real chance of the game fell to Davies at the far post but a combination of a point blank save and brave defending kept the score to nil apiece. Woodstock never looked fluid and toiled and laboured, particularly in the middle of the park, not helped by a poorly prepared pitch. Woodstock were neatly the architects of their own downfall on more than one occasion, failing to clear their lines, overplaying in dangerous areas and underhitting passes. Thankfully, Cullen was sharp and on hand, making two fine first half saves. As the half wore on, Eynsham looked ever dangerous as the Woodstock lone striker Davies became isolated. Their pressure paid off on 35 minutes from the penalty spot after a coming together, Morgan Parker adjudged to have fouled inside the area. The spot kick was neatly dispatched past Cullen. Trailing 1-0 at the break, it was clear to all concerned that more endeavour and application was needed, as well as a shift to a 4-4-2 with Shirley joining Davies. From the restart, Woodstock were in the ascendency, closing down and pressing high and hard, not allowing Eynsham any time on the ball. On 53 minutes, Davies dropped his shoulder and burst through the desperate Eynsham defence to loft the ball over the advancing keeper to restore parity. Woodstock didn't let up and a troubling Kieran Strange ball into the box was diverted into the net by an Eynsham defender to put Woodstock a goal to the good. And 2-1 soon became 3-1 with Jacob Haynes firing in to convert a cross at the far post. Woodstock were then guilty of trying to force things too much and played with no much urgency as they sensed blood. A quick Woodstock throw in led to a change in possession and a ball over the top was dispatched in clinical fashion to reduce the lead to 3-2. Less than 3 minutes later, the scores were level after an Eynsham shot hit the bar and bounced on the line. The linesman on the near side (the Woodstock official!) flagged to award the goal, a piece of honesty that probably wouldn't have been reciprocated (there have been two other such incidents so far this season, neither went in the favour of Woodstock). Eynsham might have turned the game on its head if not for some great defending from Knight and Mundy and a fine one on one save from Cullen. Woodstock heads didn't drop and they continued to play their own game and press an ever more desperate Eynsham defence backwards. Knight was unlucky to be booked for a fine challenge when even the referee conceded that he won the ball! The resulting injury to an Eynsham player however forced a substitution. The real flash point of the half saw a knee high challenge on Kevin Davies result in a bit of handbags as well as a well deserved straight red and an early bath for the offending Eynsham player. More foul play gave Woodstock the lead 15 minutes from time, Kevin Davies converting from the spot after being fouled by the Eynsham keeper. At 4-3 up, Woodstock were never troubled again for the remainder of the match and increased their lead with 5 minutes left, again from he spot. Carl Shirley was taken out by the the last man and although inexplicably no red card followed, Shirley fired home into the bottom corner to make it Woodstock 5, Eynsham 3. Woodstock showed the value of hard work and attitude. It is clear that the team sees itself exactly as that, a team, and one which when the chips are down will pull together and get the job done. Next up is an away game against a very physical Zubry side, but buoyed by the last two games, Woodstock will be feeling confident, and rightly so. Goals: Davies (2), Haynes, Strange & Shirley Man of the Match: Davies Match Rating: 4/5