Badgers cull Woodmen

Photos generously supplied by the young David Evans

Well, I suppose it had to happen – after all the euphoria of last Tuesday’s giant killing of Stoke City, Walsall Wood were back to maddeningly variable form yesterday (21st February 2015) losing to Brocton 3-1.

Bill shaw caught all the action, and as ever, doesn’t mince his words…

Hiya Bob,

A disappointing performance from Wood, whilst not ending their title aspirations it’s made things very difficult with Basford United now firmly in the driving seat and Long Eaton their closest challengers. Lye Town’s defeat at home in midweek by Brocton looks to have ended their chances.

Weather permitting Wood are due at Westfield on Tuesday night in a must win game before entertaining AFC Wulfrunians on Saturday to end a very eventful February.

The Stafordshire Senior Cup semi-final is earmarked for Tuesday 17th March away at Stafford Rangers. The other semi-final sees Leek Town take on Port Vale. It means that the away game at AFC Wulfrunians will now be played on Tuesday 31st March.

Let’s not throw the towel in yet, remember we still have to play Basford home and away, as well as Long Eaton away, so there is still everything to play for in the last 10 weeks of an interesting season – Keep the Faith.

Brocton 3 v 1 Walsall Wood

Arguably Wood’s worst performance of the season, with them conceding a goal after just four minutes. The Badgers kept up almost constant pressure and scored again on 19 minutes. Nothing was working for Wood, they pulled a goal back just before half time but the second half fightback never materialised and the game was sewn up on 65 minutes with a great goal from Jack Edwards.

Wood were penned back in their own half from the start and the Badgers wasted no time in opening the scoring, a right wing throw in was collected by Jack Edwards, his neat ball inside found Dave Berks who instantly made space, firing across the keeper and into the left corner of the net. Three minutes later it was Edwards again getting clear, pulling the ball back for Jamie Evans to fire a first time effort just too high.

Wood’s first effort on goal came on 10 minutes, Ben Evans cutting in from the right and feeding Anthony Juxon who ran at the defence only to be brought down, Harry Harris saw his 30 yard free kick balloon off the defensive wall to Corey Currithers left of the box, his low drive charged down by Callum Rudd.

On 15 minutes Edwards went on a right wing run, his ball inside hit first time wide by Sam Bell. Four minutes later Edwards again got clear wide right, lost the ball in a challenge, then won it back, his low cross swept home by the hard working Bell to put the Badgers 2 up. Next it was Berks firing in a free kick from the left edge of the box that was just wide of the far post.

Four minutes later a ball on halfway by Harry Harris found Evans, his ball down the right side of the box was collected at pace by Craig Deakin, the low cross cut out by keeper Calum Barrett. Wood then lost striker Leon Taylor to an injury, Daniel Holgate replacing him.

On 31 minutes Wood nearly went 3 down, from a free kick right of centre Rob Tomlinson came up from the back, wasn’t picked up at the far post and powered a header just over.
Tomlinson was in action in the other box just three minutes later, Harris released Evans into the right of the box, his first time rising drive deflected over his own bar the the defender with this time Barrett beaten. A clever move on 39 minutes involving Harris and Currithers saw Drew Aiton put in on goal before being fouled from behind. The 25 yard free kick from Harris well taken by Barrett. Three minutes later Evans raced into the right of the box, he pushed the ball past the advancing Barrett, going down under the keeper’s late challenge. Aiton saw his penalty pushed out by Barrett, but he followed up to reduce the arrears and give Wood a lifeline.

Matthew Hardiman fired over for the Badgers on 55 minutes, then three minutes later Aiton crossed from wide right, Tomlinson misjudged the bounce of the ball allowing Currithers to get in a header that was clawed away by Barrett only to drop to Evans to hit first time wide. Two minutes later Aiton hit a first time effort over after being found by an Andre Gonzales cross.

Back came the Badgers when two minutes later David Ablewhite collected the ball from a left wing throw, found Berks who put Bell in on goal, Shawn Boothe saving Wood with a superb tackle. It was sealed on 65 minutes when a long high ball forward was collected at pace by Edwards who raced into the right of the box, holding off a chasing defender and rocketing a rising drive home.

A great crossfield left to right run by Currithers on 69 minutes ended with him running out of space, from the goal kick Bell was released through the centre into the box, Gonzales making a timely last ditch challenge.

On 76 minutes Gonzales burst through from halfway, played a one-two at pace with Juxon and released Holgate into the left of the box, his fierce near post drive well held by Barrett. Wood were now trying to build some pressure but were almost caught out a minute later, when from a break out of defence Berks put Bell in on goal, his rising drive bringing a great full length save from keeper Dale Faultless. Four minutes later a pinpoint diagonal ball from Berks put Edwards in on the right of the box to fire a cross shot well wide. Two minutes later Berks made space in the left of the box, his shot taking a wicked deflection off a defender and looping under the bar, Faultless making a superb acrobatic save. The near post right wing corner was only cleared to Edwards whose first time low drive bounced off the post.

In injury time Holgate raced onto a ball in the centre of the box but was stopped by a great tackle by Tomlinson.

You could blame the defeat on the exertions of the victory over Stoke City on Tuesday night but only 4 members of that side started this game. Make no mistake, Brocton were sharper and fully deserved the three points.

Bill Shaw.
Walsall Wood F.C.

Oh dear – I hope things improve for the next match!

Thanks to Bill for the report, as ever. These longer format ones are much preferred by the readership, and Bill’s match write-ups are gaining more and more traffic with every one I post.

For The Good of the Wood!

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