It’s been a long, long time since Walsall Wood FC got a home game – 8 weeks in fact – but yesterday, Oak Park resonated to a rollicking game of football which kept spectators in tense anticipation for the whole game.
Now the weather seems to be clearing, do get out and support the Woodmen – their gate take has been non existent so far this year, and with footy this great on your doorstep for such a small ticket price, you’d be mad not to go see them and experience the fantastic atmosphere at this historic club.
Walsall Wood are a good team and an excellent, community-spirited club. They need our support.
Bill Shaw submitted the following match report:
WalsallWood FC 4 v 4 Highgate United FC
We may have had to wait 8 weeks for a home game but it was sure worth waiting for…
Walsall Wood started the better with Harry Harris hitting the foot of the right hand post after just 8 minutes after a superb 6 man move had scythed open the long time leaders defence. 3 minutes later Joey Butlin set up Harris and his low drive brought a full length save from keeper Chris Jay. Another superb passing move on 13 minutes saw Wood deservedly take the lead with Craig Hancox firing into the roof of the net from 10 yards.
On 21 minutes a free kick from half way found hotshot Lei Brown who calmly slotted home the equaliser. It became worse for Wood just 4 minutes later, a right wing corner bounced across the face of the Wood 6 yard box and the ever alert Brown stooped to head home at the far post.
Wood deservedly equalised on 43 minutes, a right wing corner was played short by Andre Gonzales to Hancox, his pinpoint cross was headed home by Anthony Juxon.
A silly free kick right on half time wide on the visitor’s left was hit into the box by Joe Adams, the ball evaded everyone and bounced into the net off the far post.
The Woodmen came out at the start of the 2nd half looking for another equaliser, after just a minute a corner wqas only half cleared to Juxon, his ball back into the box flicked just wide by skipper Lee Stretton’s header. 3 minutes later a Jamie Hawkins rising drive beat the keeper but was headed away by a defender on the line. With Wood pushing for the equaliser a free kick on half way was played into Brown with his back to goal, he took the ball on his chest, let it drop, before swivelling and hitting a rocket into the top corner. This took his tally to 5 in 2 games against Wood this season.
Walsall Wood refused to lie down and pulled one back on 62 minutes, Andre Gonzales picking the ball up 25 yards out and hitting a low drive that competely fooled the keeper, to reduce the deficit. We had the scenario of every Highgate player on the goal line when a suicidal back pass was picked up by the keeper 5 minutes later. Hawkins rolling the ball to Hancox, his low drive was cleared off the line by Adams. Rikki Bains went close for Wood with an acrobatic header before on 75 minutes Brown won a right wing corner. The ball somehow found it’s way to him from the flag kick and amazingly from a yard out he failed to score.
The miss was crucial as Ahmet Bilgimer made space wide right, before releasing Hawkins down the line, he cut inside and his low cross was put behind for a corner. The ball was delivered into the centre of the box, keeper Jay weakly punched the ball out to the right edge. Hawkins raced in to make a brave header but was caught by a defenders swinging arm, the Referee harshly awarding a penalty. Hawkins got up to make no mistake from the spot, to take a deserved point for Wood.
An absolute cracker for the fans of both sides, neither side deserved to lose, but football was the winner as the first game of 2014 at Oak Park turned into an 8 goal thriller.
Sorry it’s so long everyone, but it was that good a game & I haven’t mentioned all of the near misses and great saves by both keepers.
As ever, thanks to Bill for the report – always appreciated – for The Good of the Wood!