Walsall Wood FC travelled to Hereford to play Westfields on Tuesday (21st April 2015) and returned victorious – but the start of the match saw some unsporting behaviour which annoyed Bill Shaw considerably, who doesn’t mince his words…
(Apologies for the late report, I had some issues with computer again.)
Three points, another clean sheet, but for a time last night football and fair play took a back seat. Westfields started with only 10 men, they had five named substitutes but their keeper Matt Gwynne hadn’t arrived by kick off, so skipper Jamie Cuss went in goal. The first trick came with the removal of a peg from the net, obviously noticed by an assistant, but it took them five minutes to eventually find a replacement, so we kicked off at 7.50 pm. I think the kindest word you could use about the next 10-15 minutes was pedantic, as they used every trick in the book to waste time, culminating in a message from the bench to Cuss to go down when he had the chance. This he duly did, lying seemingly poleaxed after an innocuous challenge by Joey Butlin. By the time he had been treated, Gwynne was ready and miracle of miracles, Cuss got up, changed his keeper’s top for his No. 8 shirt and ran to the centre, absolutely farcical.
Gwynne was beaten twice in the next 15 minutes, Wood came away with the victory but did we really need all that at the start, they reckoned it had been done on them twice this season – my answer was, ‘That doesn’t make it right though.’
Do we really need this sort of thing in football, in my opinion there can be no justification for this in any way, shape or form, or am I just an old fashioned dinosaur who still believes in doing what’s right and in fair play?
I’m now off my soapbox, still all to play for with the trip to Coleshill Town on Thursday night before we entertain relegated Heath Hayes on Saturday.
Westfields 0 v 2 Walsall Wood
Sportsmanship triumphed over gamesmanship in the end, for various reasons the game didn’t kick off until 7.50 and the home side then blatantly wasted time as they played the clock down waiting for keeper Matt Gwynne to finally arrive at 8.00 pm.
It was a quiet start with Wood probably just shading the early exchanges, on 14 minutes Joey Butlin played a quick-fire one-two with Corey Currithers wide left, he fired in a cross to the far post that was headed just over by Luke Adams. Five minutes later a delightful chip inside from Currithers wide left was superbly controlled by Butlin on the penalty spot, who flicked the ball up and over his marker before powering a low drive through keeper Matt Gwynne to give Wood the lead.
On 30 minutes a right wing free kick was hit first time by skipper Jamie Cuss deflecting over the bar off Shawn Boothe for a corner that was easily cleared by a well organised Wood defence.
Three minutes later Adams profited from a bad pass in the centre midfield, swept the ball left to Currithers who raced into the box, was forced wide by Gwynne but stayed composed as the keeper raced back into his goal, Currithers cleverly beat two players, fired the ball into the centre, Craig Deakin took the ball left, away from the keeper and from beyond the left hand post fired into the net from an acute angle to put Wood firmly in control.
After 39 minutes Dean Lee got clear wide left, his far post cross headed inches too high by Marcus Palmer under intense pressure from Boothe. A minute later Palmer played a neat one-two with Lee to open up the Wood defence only to roll the ball into the grateful hands of Wood keeper Mario Kisiel.
A quickly taken left wing throw on 43 minutes found Butlin who released Currithers into the left of the box to hit a low drive into the side netting.
Straight to the other end and a slice of good fortune for Wood, a lovely through ball from Lee put Luke Corbett clear on the right of the box, his shot beat the advancing Kisiel, rebounded off the inside of the far post and straight to the prostrate keeper.
Five minutes into the second half, Currithers collected a ball from Harry Harris wide left, was strong as he went through three tackles, his far post drive acrobatically touched over by Gwynne, the corner ball was only half cleared out to Jamie Hawkins on 25 yards, his first time low drive inches wide. On 58 minutes Butlin intercepted a crossfield pass, found Currithers on the left of the box, Gwynne out quickly and bravely to save at his feet. Nine minutes later, a high ball out wide by Hawkins found Butlin right of the box, he made the byeline, pulled the ball back into the path of Adams whose first time low drive went into the side netting. 77 minutes gone, Butlin strong wide right cut inside and hit a lovely crossfield ball to pick out Steven Hayles left of the box, his cross shot just wide.
With 10 minutes remaining Wood eased up and nearly got caught out, first it was Zac Sirrell racing onto a ball just outside the box, Deakin deflecting his rising drive over the bar. Two minutes later Craig Jones collected the ball wide right, went on a mazy crossfield run, made space for a shot but was just too high. 86 minutes saw Sirrell collect a ball right of the box, fire in a low cross that Jones over-ran and the danger was cleared. There was still time for Boothe to break up an attack right of the box, handbags were exchanged on the floor but it was Boothe who collected the red card.
The tactics employed at the start by Westfields would have no place in a Sunday morning pub league, never mind level five, but justice was done, Wood are still in with a shout of third and the defence recorded their sixth clean sheet in eight games, as well as recording the double over the Herefordshire outfit.
As ever, thanks to Bill for the report – always appreciated – for The Good of the Wood!