In what was the last game in Woodstock colours for Spain bound striker William, the Reds sent him back home with a hard fought victory over a battling Risborough side by four goals to one.
Town were without a number of players meaning the starting line up had an unfamiliar look to it. Wartalski, Spackman, Molloy, Ward & Collier were all missing giving youngsters Beckett and Cowles a call up to the senior side after starring for the Development Team.
With players having to play out of position, it took time for Woodstock to get going and they were pegged back in the opening stages with Rosbotoughs high press making things even more difficult of a wet and slippery pitch. The back line stood strong without Jeffrey needing to make a save.
As the half wore on, Woodstock found their feet and began to impose themselves on the game. Nathan Emmett went close when he seized on an Error by the Risborough keeper but couldn’t direct his header on target, seeing it creep agonisingly across the face of goal. Ethan Waite has a ferocious shot from 20 yards that was well saved by the keeper. However On 29 minutes the deadlock was broken. Nathan Emmett was taken down on the right wing. From the resulting free kick, Fisher found The fouled man, this time Emmett made no mistake with the header, powering the ball home to make it 1-0.
William had a chance to score on his final Woodstock game but delayed for too long before opting to pass to Ethan Waite who had his shot blacked well.
The hosts had a chance just before halftime but Sam Jeffrey got down well to his right to hold on to the ball and send Woodstock in one goal to the good at the break.
The second half started well for Town who were able to make their pressure count when on 55 minutes, a Risborough headed clearance fell to the chest of Charlie Collins on the edge of the box who smashed his 18 yard volley into the top left corner of the goal. Top bins indeed!
On the hour, William was subbed off for the final time in his Woodstock career and left the pitch to thunderous applause from the travelling aren’t of Woodstock supporters, all 8 of them! He was replaced by Tom Beckett who went out on the right allowing Nathan Emmett to move back to his more familiar role of striker.
Risborough threw caution to the wind and began to press Town back looking for a way back into the game. The unfamiliar Woodstock back line stood strong with the makeshift centre back partnership of Callum Emmett and Tom Butler very impressive, Risborough forward line no change whatsoever. A special mention for captain Kevin Pike who was asked to do a job at fullback and did so admirably.
The game was all but put to bed when Fishers speculative efforts proved too hot to handle on 75 minutes, the keeper only able to palm the ball into the roof of the net to give Town an unassailable 3-0 lead.
An injured Nathan Emmett made way for young Aiden Cowles, called up to the senior side for the first time. Normally a full back, the tactical mastery of the Woodstock management (you can tell who writes the match reports) saw him go up top to help se the game out. However he was to play a major role in the last 15 minutes of the game working tirelessly to unsettle the Risborough back line with his youthful energy and physicality beyond his years.
Cowles was rewarded for his endeavour on 89 minutes when he powered home Ethan Waite’s corner to grab himself a debut goal make it 4-0 and wrap up all three points for Town in the process.
There was still time for Risborough to get a deserved consolation when Plumridge faced into a long ball to lift over Jeffrey to make it 4-1 at the death.
The cobwebs have been blown off in what was a business like performance in difficult conditions. It was even more pleasing considering the players missing from the squad. A positive sign as the Townhouse Travel and Tours sponsored 1st Team start 2020 with a win that sees them leapfrog the still undefeated Adderbury into third on goals scored to keep the pressure on runaway leaders Southam United.
Next up, Town travel to Highworth on Wednesday evening for a Chairman’s Challenge Cup tie (kick off 7.45pm)