Walsall Wood crash out of Midland League Cup


The Coppice Colliery Ground – home of Heath Hayes FC. Image from Wikimedia commons.

Walsall Wood FC snatched defeat from the jaws of victory last Tuesday evening (25th November 2014) at Heath Hayes, where a somewhat intemperate and distracted match clearly disappointed match reporter Bill Shaw…

(Sorry for the delay with this report: I could make loads of excuses, but in the deluge I just forgot it. My apologies to Bill and all at Walsall Wood FC).

Hiya Bob,

Another  cup exit for Wood on what is becoming Nightmare Tuesday, as far as they are concerned. It hadn’t been easy but goals from Ben Evans and Max Black had put them 2 up and in the driving seat after 64 minutes, but a controversial booking for scorer Black after his goal seemed to unsettle them (Incidentally the Referee’s interpretation of the rule was correct, it is an offence to take off or cover your head with your shirt – says the rule book [Blimey! – Bob]). The Wood players forgot about football however and just wanted to argue with the officials, paying the penalty when they conceded 3 goals in the last 15 minutes to exit their  second cup competition in a week.

Heath Hayes 3 v 2 Walsall Wood 
Midland League Cup Round 2.

The home side had the better of a dour, or should that be dire first 30 minutes with Wood keeper Dale Faultless first having to race from his area to kick clear from Joe Pickering on 17 minutes as the game briefly threatened to come to life. He then made a stunning block to deny Daniel Scragg 6 minutes later.

On 28 minutes Pickering collected the ball left of centre, ran at the Wood defence and hit a rising drive that Faultless clawed out of the top corner, the ball fell to Scragg who hit a first time effort high and wide.

Wood took the lead against the run of play on 37 minutes with an exquisitely crafted goal, Lee Stretton broke up an attack and came out of defence with the ball before hitting a pinpoint shot out wide left to find Drew Aiton, who completely bamboozled three defenders as he cut inside and played a slide rule pass across the face of the six yard box to Ben Evans, who scored with a low drive.

It was Aiton four minutes later crossing from the left, keeper Matt Cottrell fingertipping the ball off the head of Joey Butlin to beyond the far post, but into the path of Ben Evans. His first time drive was heroically blocked by Ryan Burgwin, who took the pace off the shot and Cotttrell was able to make a comfortable save.

At the start of the second half Wood took control, on 57 minutes Ben Evans came in from the right, laid the ball back into the path of Black whose first time shot bounced off the inside of the left hand post and into the grateful hands of the beaten Cottrell. Five minutes later Black turned provider, setting up Butlin right of the box to fire into the side netting.

The threatened second goal came on 64 minutes, with Tom Evans racing forward  wide right, his low ball inside to Butlin was laid back into the path of Black to score with a low drive. He went on a lap of honour pulling his shirt up to cover his head in the process and picked up a booking that was later proved to be correct.

Butlin was replaced at this juncture by Leon Taylor. It all started to go wrong for an argumentative Wood when on 76 minutes, Liam Degville won the ball on halfway and went on a diagonal right to left run at the Wood defence. He played a ball through to substitute Ryan Burns whose neat flick on was collected in his stride by Pickering who calmly lobbed the advancing Faultless to pull a goal back.

Five minutes later Scragg raced onto a ball into the left of the box and powered a rising drive into the roof of the net, to tie the game up. This momentarily woke Wood out of their lethargy with them winning a right wing corner on 84 minutes, the flag kick was half cleared out to Anthony Juxon 30 yards out, his rising drive bouncing to safety off the crossbar with Cottrell clutching thin air.

On 89 minutes Craig Deakin and Ben Evans carved open the left of the home defence, the ball was played into the centre of the box to Leon Taylor who tamely shot straight at Cottrell who couldn’t believe his luck. In injury time Scragg raced onto a ball right of the box, he was forced wide but cut back inside before scoring with a stunning cross shot into the roof of the net.

At  2 – 0 ahead Wood looked in total control, but good grief that last 15 minutes left a lot to be desired as they totally lost their composure and paid the ultimate price.

It’s leaders Long Eaton United with ex Blues striker Clinton Morrisson, in town on Saturday (weather permitting).

It’s then a few days off before the revenge mission to Wisbech Town on Saturday December 6th in the 3rd round of the FA Vase. Coach travel has been arranged from Oak Park, why not keep the faith with Swanny’s cygnets?

Bill Shaw.

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.

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