Last Tuesday evening (17th March 2015) the Woodmen were away at Stafford angers, and after a promising first hour, slid into a defeat in extra time.
Bill Shaw submitted the following match report:
So near and yet so far, we were well worth the two goal lead after an hour, but we let a nasty incident on 70 minutes unsettle us and Rangers capitalised in a crazy three minute spell just afterwards. The players have to learn however that sometimes there aint no justice, but if an official or his assistant doesn’t see an incident he can’t act on it, no matter how much you get upset, rant and rave at him.
It’s a little easy game to recuperate with, with us away at Champions elect Basford United on Saturday before we entertain Alvechurch on Tuesday night.
As I mentioned in the match report, we moved up to seventh in the league and it also means we finish the season on Saturday April 25th, without having to play three games per week, weather permitting of course.
Staffs Senior Cup Semi-Final
Stafford Rangers 4 v 2 Walsall Wood (AET)
Another night of high drama as Wood came close to upset No. 3 in this competition, before going out in extra time heartbreak.
It was Rangers who put Wood under early pressure, after five minutes Alex Curtis hitting a first time effort that was well held by keeper Mario Kisiel. He turned provider three minutes later, his high bouncing cross from wide left fired high over by Christian Dacres. Next it was James Dance powering down the right on 12 minutes, cutting inside and his far post cross was headed goal-wards by Dacres, Kisiel saving comfortably.
Wood’s first effort on goal came after 20 minutes, Corey Currithers winning a corner, Shawn Boothe’s header was hacked off the line but was collected by Max Black 20 yards out to send a first time effort inches wide. After an end to end spell with neither defence unduly troubled it was Harry Harris with a 60 yard pinpoint crossfield ball into the right of the box to find Craig Deakin, who ran on and fired a rising drive just too high.
A minute later it was Dance racing clear wide right, his high ball inside found Curtis who under pressure fired high over.
Wood came out all guns blazing at the start of the second half and deservedly went ahead on 52 minutes, Currithers cutting inside from wide right, going through three tackles and crossing low into the centre to Joey Butlin to fire home to open the scoring. It was the on fire Currithers causing mayhem on 59 minutes, again he scythed inside from wide right, his powerful low cross deflecting into the net off a defender to put Wood in dreamland.
On 63 minutes Nathan Smith’s ball into the centre of the box put Dacres in on goal, Andre Gonzales saving Wood with a brilliantly timed last ditch challenge.
Five minutes later Wood nearly made it three, Ben Evans racing into the right of the box, his curling drive just wide of the left hand post with keeper Adam Whitehouse beaten. On 70 minutes a nasty incident on the left of the Wood box was missed by the official, or he would have sent the player off, but it seemed to unsettle the Wood defence. Two minutes later Rangers were back in the game, from a right wing corner the ball flew around the box and in a mad scramble was forced over the line. Three minutes later it was all square, Smith hit a long ball forward, Dance climbed highest to glance the ball down into the path of Dacres who ran on and calmly slotted the ball past the advancing Kisiel.
A lovely move by Wood on 81 minutes nearly put them back in front, Ben Evans coming inside from wide left, holding the ball up well before crossing to beyond the far post to Anthony Juxon, he returned the ball into the centre and Black skimmed the bar with an acrobatic overhead kick.
Kisiel raced from his area on 85 minutes to kick clear from Dance and right on time Harris had a shot charged down – so we went to extra time.
As so often happens within two minutes we had a goal, Ryan Edmunds racing clear wide right, cutting in along the byeline before crossing to the far post for Dance to put Rangers ahead for the first time. From a left wing corner on11 minutes Juxon put a header just wide, then two minutes later Deakin raced into the right of the box, made the bye line, crossed low into the box the ball agonisingly just behind Butlin and Taylor Boyce
On 20 minutes Gonzales played a neat one-two wide left with Steven Hayles and released Taylor-Boyce into the left of the box, he went outside his marker and fired into the side netting. From the goal kick the ball found it’s way upfield into the right of the box and a penalty was given, Levi Reid the first player to beat Kisiel from the spot this season.
With 3 minutes to go Lee Stretton found Harris 30 yards out, he took one touch and fired in a dipping 30 yard effort that beat Whitehouse but came back off the bar.
So heartbreak in the end for Wood, but an entertaining 2 hours of very different style football, with the rustic coming out on top in the Swanny versus Kitch saga. It wasn’t all bad news for Wood however, as they moved back up to seventh in the league on goal difference after Westfields were hammered 6-1 at Loughborough University.
Walsall Wood are a good team and an excellent, community-spirited club. They need our support.
As ever, thanks to Bill for the report – always appreciated – for The Good of the Wood!