Last Tuesday (27th January 2015), Walsall Wood F.C. finally got their replay against Barnsley’s Shaw Lane Aquaforce, which took place at Worksop Town’s Sandy Lane ground. This was a very important match in the FA Vase competition; sadly, Walsall Wood were defeated 4-1, ending their FA Vase hopes for this season.
Bill Shaw was there for every shot and submitted the following match report:
The Saddlers completed their part of the dream Wembley double but Shaw Lane Aquaforce spoilt the party as far as Wood were concerned.
The twice postponed replay finally got under way at Worksop Town and it was Shaw Lane who settled first putting Wood under considerable pressure but not looking like scoring, in fact Wood had the best chance on 22 minutes, only to rue the miss when going behind a minuter later when a controversial decision went against them.
Did the Referee see Dale Faultless flattened in a collision with an attacker, if so he should have blown immediately for a head injury, before the glancing header from Matt Thornhill opened the scoring. It looks a comprehensive defeat but in 60 years of watching football I have never seen a side profit from deflections and loose balls like the Barnsley boys, just before half time Shawn Boothe broke up an attack, powered out of the box and hit a long ball into the right of the box, the ball bounced to the left straight to a defender, if it had gone right the direction it was travelling in, Ben Evans would have had a clear run at goal. That’s only one example but it continued to happen with hurried clearances falling to a team mate whereas with Wood it nearly always found the opposition.
It sounds churlish to moan about bad luck when you’ve been beaten by a better side and 4-1 at that, but people who know me well will know I only tell the truth, (my memory not being good enough to remember two stories) and Shaw Lane deserved the victory, but what a time for Lady Luck to totally desert a great bunch of lads who’ve done the Wood proud – Again.
Weather permitting it’s back to League action on Saturday with Alvechurch at Oak Park, followed on Tuesday by Dunkirk
I’ve re-scheduled all the postponed games but I’ve gone on enough so I’ll leave that for a future date.
If you’ve got this far, thanks for reading the diatribe, but honestly, we had no luck whatsoever until injury time and by then it really was too late.
Don’t despair, Swanny’s there.
F A Vase 4th Round Replay, played at Worksop Town.
Shaw Lane Aquaforce 4 v 1 Walsall Wood.
Wood’s Wembley dream is over for another year as an all round professional performance by Shaw Lane condemned them to their worst defeat of the season.
Wood were put under pressure from the off, the first opening coming on 10 minutes when Lee Morris charged down an attempted clearance, ran on and fired just too high. Four minutes later Joe Thornton’s through ball into the right of the box was collected at pace by Andrew Fox, his rising drive deflected over. Then on 15 minutes indecision in central midfield nearly cost Wood dear, Shane Kelsey hitting a low drive that was beaten away by keeper Dale Faultless. Wood’s first effort on goal came a minute later, a left wing free kick given for a foul on Corey Currithers was flicked on to beyond the far post and Jamie Sauntson’s header down was well held by keeper Ben Gathercole.
On 20 minutes Kelsey raced into the right of the box, cut back inside before Sauntson stopped him with a superbly timed challenge.
The best chance of the game two minutes later saw Andre Gonzales thread a ball through left of centre to find Ben Evans, his first time ball into the left of the box released Currithers in on goal, Gathercole racing from his line to smother the shot.
The turning point came on 23 minutes, Wood gave away a silly free kick wide right, the ball was delivered into the centre of the box, Faultless was quickly off his line but collided with an attacker and went down with blood streaming from a cut over his right eye, play was allowed to continue however and Matt Thornhill glanced a header into the far corner of the net. Faultless after treatment was replaced by Mario Kisiel.
The incident took the heat out of the game, but then on 36 minutes Anton Foster ran at the Wood defence and released Thornton into the box, he took the ball past the advancing Kisiel but was forced wide, scoring from a tight angle to put Shaw Lane firmly in charge.
From the restart Wood put the home defence under intense pressure, winning three corners but from the last a ball out of defence released Luke O’Brien wide left to race 60 yards before being stopped by a superb Craig Deakin challenge.
On 41 minutes Shawn Boothe powered through the middle, he was half stopped but Joey Butlin was first to the loose ball to hit a first time effort just wide. Right on half time from a left wing corner Boothe saw his diving header scrambled off the line with Gathercole beaten.
Wood came out at the start of the second half looking to reduce the deficit, Craig Deakin played an incisive ball to release Leon Taylor into the right of the box on 47 minutes, his low drive was deflected by Gathercole just the wrong side of the post. From the corner the ball was easily cleared and the ball found it’s way to Fox left of the box, he cut back inside and curled an exquisite shot into the far corner to put the game beyond Wood. It got worse on 55 minutes when from a right wing corner Stefan Holt headed home at the near post.
Back came Wood and a minute later Currithers cut in from the left, his vicious low drive pushed away by Gathercole at full stretch. The keeper’s charmed life continued when 4 minutes later Currithers set up Butlin, his first time effort again pushed away but this time straight to Tom Evans, (only on the field for three minutes) to fire over from 10 yards.
Wood had now realised it wasn’t going to be their night against the moneybags from Barnsley, but they kept going until a quick ball out of defence found substitute Danny South who nonchalantly released Thornton into the right of the box, Kisiel quickly off his line to make a superb save.
Wood still looking for at least a consolation put Lewis Taylor Boyce clear on the right of the box, his low drive was charged down by Gathercole, he was first to the rebound but his follow up effort was again deflected the wrong side of the post. In injury time Lady Luck finally changed her allegiance, Taylor Boyce made space for a shot on the right of the box, the ball deflecting off a defender over the stranded Gathercole to nestle in the far corner.
The tie was lost at Oak Park 10 days ago when Shaw Lane survived for 43 minutes with 10 men. Tonight they were really up for it and although Wood battled to the end it’s Shaw Lane who deservedly went through to a Round 5 home tie. Before the game they were an 8-1 shot, don’t bet against them winning it, especially if they continue to have the run of the ball as they did in this game.
For Wood it’s back to the bread and butter of the Midland League until they now play their glamour tie with Stoke City on Tuesday 17th February, weather permitting.
Walsall Wood F.C.
My commiserations to the team and supporters. Bad luck, folks.
As ever, thanks to Bill for the report – always appreciated – for The Good of the Wood!