What to do – a great charity football match yesterday at Oak Park in Walsall Wood; two fine match reports by local footy stalwarts Bill Shaw and the young David Evans, plus some great photos by the latter. Nothing for it but to run both.
The match has raised a stonking £600 for the Teenage Cancer Trust on behalf of Stephen Sutton – what a wonderful thing that is. There’s a true sign of the generosity and felicity of the folk of Brownhills and Walsall Wood, even if the elders do have a relaxed attitude to how many players should be in a football team…
To fid out more about Shire Oak Saints, contact them here:
Contact Paul Glover
Number: 07828 193542
Thanks to roving reporters Bill and David. Perhaps the Walsall Wood FC can make a donation of a new bag of Gray’s Herbal Tablets to David, for next season, as his current ones are getting a bit soft and furry…
Well, here I was looking forward to a few weeks rest and recuperation, then we are asked to help out at Oak Park on Sunday… We arrived at 9.00am for a cup final that saw Walsall Phoenix beat The Swan 3 – 2, a game that The Swan should have had sewn up comfortably well before the winning goal by Phoenix.
It was a strange game as it isn’t often that the man of the match is the winning keeper, but at times he was simply brilliant and somehow kept the Swan score to only 2.
Then we had the Shire Oak Saints Charity game in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust and the incredible Stephen Sutton, a young man who will inspire a generation on how to fight unbeatable odds – Stephen everyone at Walsall Wood FC salutes you, there aren’t words to describe your incredible bravery.
The game was a classic with the Under 18’s finally winning 7 – 3. The score only tells half the story, however as after just 30 minutes it was obvious that the Dads, Coaches, Has Beens & Never Will Be folks were in serious trouble at 3 – 0 down.
It was then that my years of experience came into play with me coming up with the great idea that they should make a substitution, taking 1 player off but putting 2 on in his place. It appeared to work as they held the youngsters until half time.
After the break the score steadily mounted to 4, 5 and then 6, then with 15 minutes to go the All Stars pulled a goal back, then 2 , then they made it 3 and everyone was amazed by the transformation. At this point we checked on their formation, they had 3 at the back, 3 up front and a TEN MAN midfield.
To their credit the Under 18 winners of the Bilston Charity Cup regrouped and had the last word scoring number 7 to quell the revival. The day was enjoyed by everyone, so much so that it may become an annual event, a fitting tribute to the amazing Stephen Sutton.
This was a special match in every way and I was delighted to be a spectator. It was an enjoyable game of soccer where both teams started with the same number of players, and as the game progressed a mathematical phenomenon was observed in one team, where, in true trailblazing endeavour, the whole was greater than the sum of its parts…
The team in blue – young, proficient, sprightly, and numbering eleven players, made good passes, accurate running moves and fine overhead kicks. Within the time it took me to finish my Teddy Gray’s herbal they had scored twice and brought rousing cheers from the myriad of spectators of mums, sisters, brothers, and all who thronged the stadium.
The Allstars (men of a certain age, matured like fine wine, faces becoming increasingly flushed as the minutes passed by) produced, as if my magic, some fine passes often when the ball happened to find itself within a reasonable stride.
The half-time whistle blew, not a moment too soon. We saw the blue team jog with all the joys of spring in their step, across the pitch to the club house, to a light refreshment, quick hair-gel check, and swift can of cola.
Meanwhile the Allstars took deep breaths, helped each other to open bottles of spa water, and took a reality check. Dammit, their youngsters meant business then! Time for plan B.
The second half saw shots at or in the compass point of goal by the fabulous Allstars (friends, parents, relatives et al) who brought on some of their extra friends, parents and reltives to swell the numbers and confuse the under eighteen year olds. ‘Overwhelming fire powe’ is a new tactic not seen at Oak Park before. Well, not in peace-time.
The crowd cheered when the under eighteens scored, and cheered all the louder when the Allstars (friends, relatives etc ) scored. Why, even their goalie was almost over the moon…
This was a football match played to the full in good spirit and good heart, and for a very good cause. The final score, 7 – 3 to the boys in blue, was immaterial. It was a highlight of the season for me.
The event has raised a huge amount of money for the Teenage Cancer Charity. There’s going to be a few sore joints tomorrow!