Images and captions kindly supplied by the young David Evans
Last Tuesday evening (14th April 2015) Walsall Wood entertained Dunkirk at home, and despite playing well, lost to the the visitors.
Bill Shaw submitted the following match report:
Public enemy No. 1 Nick Hawkins came back to haunt us and once again he went home with all three points, courtesy of a 1-0 victory. The visitors worked hard for the win, to be brutally honest, they wanted it more than we did and they got what they deserved.
The much maligned Mr. Hawkins played in the heart of the defence and played well, but let’s face it, he didn’t have that
much to do.
It’s difficult not to become complacent when you look at the table and you are 5th, your opponents are 3rd bottom, but it’s something Wood will have to eradicate if they are going to mount a serious title challenge next season. Mario Kisiel again saved a penalty, but was finally beaten after a shut out of nearly 9 hours, oh well, with 4 games to go let’s start another run
going that will take us into next season.
Wood can still catch Long Eaton United in 3rd place but they must beat them on Saturday at their place, no easy task, but with 4 games to go we are still in contention for the minor places, a marked improvement on last season – that’s progress and a springboard for the future.
No home game until the visit of Heath Hayes on the final day of the season, Saturday 25th April.
Walsall Wood 0 v 1 Dunkirk
Wood struggled to break down a hard working Dunkirk defence, well marshalled by player manager Nick Hawkins who for the second time this season left Oak Park with all three points courtesy of a 1-0 win.
Wood weathered the early pressure then on six minutes Jamie Hawkins won the ball in the centre, swept the ball out wide left to Craig Deakin to hit a far post cross Daniel Holgate powering in a header that brought a good save from keeper Jake Want. The visitors were closing Wood down and trying to break out of defence and it nearly paid off when on 16 minutes Brendan Gwinnett hit a long diagonal ball to find Scott James on the right of the box, his low drive well held by Mario Kisiel.
A minute later a flowing left to right crossfield move by Wood ended with Ben Evans setting up Hawkins, his first time shot was half blocked by Courtney Pitt and Want had an easy pick up. Next it was Evans getting clear wide right, cutting into the box, his low drive blocked by Matt Ellis. Then on 20 minutes an incisive ball from Corey Currithers dissected the defence to put Max Black in on goal but he didn’t get enough height on his lob and Want saved at full stretch.
Back came the visitors, Kevin Hemagou coming in from wide right along the byeline, his low near post drive well held by Kisiel.
After 31 minutes a superb first time ball from Anthony Juxon on halfway picked out Deakin’s run into the left of the box, his cross cum shot bouncing off the top of the bar.
Two minutes later it was Hemagou coming in from wide right, playing the ball square to Pitt, who hesitated and was then shepherded away from goal before being dispossessed.
On 38 minutes Black right of Centre went through two tackles, played the ball right to Currithers whose first time low drive was well held by Want.
Three minutes later Pitt won the ball in right midfield and fed Hemagou on the right of the box to run on and fire into the side netting.
Next it was Holgate powering in along the byeline from the right, his far post cross headed onto the roof of the net by Steven Hayles.
Right on half time an untidy scramble developed in the Wood box, Hemagou went down under an innocuous challenge from Kisiel and was given a dubious penalty, justice was done when Kisiel saved Hemagou’s spot kick.
Two minutes into the second half Luke Adams went charging down the Wood right, his low cross hit first time low by Holgate, Gwinnett throwing himself in front to block the ball which was stabbed wide by an off balance Holgate as he collected the rebound.
The breakthrough came on 57 minutes, Gwinnett hit a hopeful long ball into the right of the box, Hemagou read the bounce better than the defender, who ended up the wrong side of him with the young striker racing clear to calmly slot the ball past the advancing Kisiel.
On 67 minutes Leon Taylor ran onto a ball right of the box, he was forced wide and then his shot was blocked as Wood went looking for the equaliser.
Eight minutes later Jarrod Westcarr raced for goal from left of centre, he made the box but was then stopped by a superb tackle from Adams.
Wood’s reply was immediate, Currithers racing between two defenders into the right of the box, his cross fired across the face of the six yard box without anyone able to apply the finishing touch.
Dunkirk easily saw out the last 15 minutes to record a well deserved victory.
Once again league positions counted for nothing as the strugglers battled for every ball and in the process kept alive their hopes of avoiding the dreaded drop. For Wood they can still finish third, but you know what? Complacency never helped anybody, but don’t tell Dunkirk that, they wanted this more than Wood and deserved to go home with the three points.
Walsall Wood are a good team and an excellent, community-spirited institution. They need our support.
As ever, thanks to Bill for the report – always appreciated – for The Good of the Wood!