Yesterday (Saturday 6th September 2014) Walsall Wood FC travelled to Malvern Town to square off in the FA Vase Preliminary Round – Bill Shaw was, as ever, there to catch the action – and it clearly proved to be a gripping match.
Malvern Town 2 v 3 Walsall Wood
FA Vase Preliminary Round.
Good news as Walsall Wood went through to the next round with a home tie against Pershore Town on October 4th the prize for their gutsy performance.
Luke Adams set up the first goal after 13 minutes, collecting a ball at pace wide left from Joey Butlin and racing for goal, his low cross driven into the box was pushed away by keeper Charles Weaver straight to Daniel Holgate who gleefully accepted the gift to put Wood ahead.
The reply was instantaneous, Malvern Town putting Wood under pressure from the restart and forcing a series of corners, from the third of which Joe Leighton forced the ball home at the right hand post to equalise.
Wood probably had just the better of the play before on 42 minutes Holgate powered in from wide left along the byeline, going through 3 tackles before laying the ball back for debutant Ben Evans to put Wood back in front with a crisp finish. As with the first goal Town were stung into action & put Wood under considerable pressure.
Right on half time Matt Turner crossed from wide right to the far post and James Lush powered a header back across goal, Mario Kisiel keeping Wood ahead as he jack-knifed backwards to somehow push the ball away.
The second half started quitely with Wood containing the home side, until on 67 minutes Harry Harris (who had only been on the field for 27 minutes) picked up a straight red card. Wood continued to dominate however and 3 minutes later should have had a penalty, Tom Evans and Craig Deakin ripped open the home defence wide right, Deakin raced into the box along the byeline and was pushed over. The referee who was unsighted looked to his assistant on that side who inexplicably said it was a goal kick the ball was out of play.
I, together with the photographer had the best view in the ground and the ball was never within a foot of the line. Unlike last week when the assistant apologised for getting it wrong this chap insisted the ball had gone out of play, unbelievable.
Wood looked to have comfortably seen off the spirited resistance from Malvern, but Turner had other ideas, winning the ball wide right on 90 minutes and cutting inside, his pinpoint ball into the left of the box was collected at pace by Dave Reynolds who rounded the advancing Kisiel. From an almost impossible angle, Reynolds fired the ball into the far corner of the net.
A ten-man Wood not relishing 30 minutes of extra time went straight on the attack from the restart, Ben Evans releasing Deakin into the left of the box, a clumsy mistimed challenge sent him tumbling and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Danny Forrest picked up the ball and walked confidently towards the penalty spot, the defender stood up from were he’d fouled Deakin, walked three steps and sat down just outside the box saying he needed treatment.
Inexplicably the physio was called on and spent at least two minutes doing who knows what before leaving the field. If it was meant to unsettle ‘Iron Nerves Fozzy’, it didn’t work, as he calmly hammered the ball home to keep Wood firmly on the road to Wembley.
Sorry about the length everyone but it was a cracking cup tie, with Town doing the West Midland League proud, but it’s Wood who progress to the next round.
One phrase to sum up the game – WOW or Watch Our Wood.
It’s League action next Saturday when Walsall Wood are at home to Kirby Muxloe.
My thanks to Bill for a great report – and for all those he selflessly writes and send to me after every match. They really are popular, and a credit to Bill and the club. Walsall Wood have a reputation for being a great, community spirited group of people and these reports demonstrate that – it’s an honour and joy to feature them here.
For the good of the Wood!