Last Tuesday evening (18th November 2014), Walsall Wood FC were away to face Stafford Town – and after a long drawn out and somewhat tense match, they sadly crashed out of the Walsall Senior Cup.
One of the things I love about Bill Shaw’s reports is that he’s not afraid to tell it like he is. The brutal honesty of this report is refreshing.
Bill Shaw wrote:
Not the expected result, as a pumped up Alex Barnfather inspired Stafford Town who outfought and outlasted a strangely lethargic, albeit much changed and dare I say it complacent Walsall Wood.
Stafford Town 4 v 3 Walsall Wood
Walsall Senior Cup Round 2 (After extra time)
Wood started brightly, dominating the early exchanges with Max Black and Harry Harris bringing full length saves from keeper Richard Stone. In their first real attack on 7 minutes Town went ahead, sloppy defending on the right edge of the box saw Craig Hulme win the ball, cut back inside and his low drive came back off the foot of the far post, straight to Alex Barnfather who tapped home from 5 yards.
It was Hulme again creating problems on 14 minutes, cutting inside from wide left, Dale Faultless saving at the foot of the near post. 3 minutes later Hulme raced across the face of the Wood box from left to right, Scott Cooper got in a tackle but the ball went straight to Barnfather who took one touch and buried the ball in the corner of the net.
Hulme was causing the Wood defence all kinds of problems and just a minute later he raced clear on the left, his cross headed just wide by Steven Bennett.
Wood pulled a goal back on 32 minutes, Leon Taylor powering down the right before crossing into the centre, Lewis Taylor Boyce losing his marker and heading back across the keeper to reduce the deficit.
When 2 minutes into the second half Corey Currithers came in from wide left, went across the face of the Town box and neatly set up Black to score with a crisp low drive to bring the scores level, we sat back and waited for the Town collapse, but it never came, as Town rolled up their sleeves and worked even harder.
Both sides had chances but the closest to a goal came in the 83rd minute, Jamel Fuller racing clear on the Wood left, finding Ben Evans inside to hit a first time effort that bounced to safety off the foot of the left hand post with Stone beaten. No one could break the deadlock so the game entered extra time with Wood dominating the first half, Taylor Boyce, Evans and Currithers all going close, but it was all square at the break.
A minute into the second period a left wing corner was only half cleared to Chris Greaves on the left of the box, his cross to the far post picked out the unmarked Darryll Johns who calmly headed home. Wood went looking for the equaliser which duly arrived on 24 minutes when from a left wing corner Shawn Boothe bundled the ball home in a packed penalty area.
With 3 minutes remaining Fuller made space on the left, his square ball inside was hit first time by Evans, Stone making a great full length save. The reply was almost immediate, skipper James Cresswell crossing from wide on the right to the far post, Barnfather lost his marker before picking his spot to head home, completing his hat trcik and sending Wood crashing out of this season’s Walsall Senior Cup.
We kept expecting Town to run out of steam, but they were working just as hard at the end of 2 gruelling hours of enthralling football. Another thriller, full of goals but this time the wrong result as far as Wood were concerned, but all credit to Town for staying in there and progressing to the 3rd round.
It’s FA Vase action at Causeway on Saturday for Wood, so stay confident – no cause for alarm yet.
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!