Photos and captions kindly supplied by David Evans
Yesterday afternoon (25th April 2015) saw Walsall Wood face Heath Hayes at Oak Park for the last game of the season – and the Woodmen didn’t disappoint, demolishing their opponents.
Bill Shaw was there to catch the action:
A comfortable 3–0 win brought the curtain down on Season 2014–15. In the end a creditable 4th place finish and eight more points than last time. Obviously it would have been good to have finished higher but the three teams above us, Champions Basford United, Coleshill Town and Long Eaton United have been paying out serious money this term. Next season it looks as if we will have Hereford (rumoured to have already sold 500 season tickets for next season), my old mate Ian Rowe with his Sporting Khalsa side, Highgate United and Bardon Hill Sports will be in the mix. Relegated were Heath Hayes, Tipton Town and the Wembley pitch of non-league football Loughborough University. For the Wood travelling faithful it will be more expensive next season with Coleshill Town talking about raising their entrance fee to £6.50 and Hereford are said to be charging a staggering £8.00.
Everyone here at Oak Park is already looking optimistically forward to the start of the 2015–16 season, unbelievably Swanny’s fifth season at the helm, which goes to prove that time really does fly when you are enjoying yourself, let’s face it we have certainly done that in his record breaking reign.
Thanks to you and everyone out there for the fantastic support this season, it has been appreciated by all of us at The Wood
Take care all of you, enjoy the Summer, I’ll be back in less than three months, once again thanks for everything.
Walsall Wood 3 v 0 Heath Hayes
Wood completed the league double over relegated Heath Hayes, who to their credit kept battling away, even when they went 3-0 down within 10 minutes of the start of the second half.
It was a lively start by both sides, but it was Wood who threatened first when after only two minutes Corey Currithers made space wide left before cutting back into the box and attempting to fire across keeper Mark Wiggins who got a hand to the shot and pushed the ball away.
A neat left to right move across the face of the box on eight minutes by the visitors ended with Matty Barnett firing in a first time low drive, Mario Kisiel saving at the foot of the right hand post (his left).
The reply was almost immediate, Joey Butlin finding Currithers to flick the ball through a static defence, Wiggins quickly off his line to take the bouncing ball away from Max Black. On 16 minutes Craig Deakin went on a marauding run wide left, his far post cross inches away from Butlin as he raced into the six yard box.
It was Charlie Ware getting clear of the Wood defence on 26 minutes and racing into the box, Shawn Boothe getting back to get in an important, albeit untidy challenge, the ball found its way out to Deakin who put Currithers away wide left, he cut inside, rolled the ball across the 6 yard box for Harry Harris to calmly open the scoring.
Defences were on top for the rest of the half which quietly came to an end.
Wood had the better of the early exchanges in the second half, increasing their lead on 51 minutes, Currithers ran at the defence from halfway before playing a long ball forward into the left of the box, keeper Wiggins at full stretch caught the ball but couldn’t hold it and it dropped behind him, Black in instantly to run on to calmly slot into an empty net to end his four month goal drought. It got worse for the visitors when two minutes later Jamie Hawkins won the ball in midfield, played the ball forward to Harris who cleverly released Butlin into the right of the box and the Wood leading scorer fired the ball beyond the stranded Wiggins. On 62 minutes Currithers was strong on the right of the box before cutting back inside and firing in a vicious low drive that brought a great save from Wiggins. Seven minutes later Currithers was fouled 30 yards out, just right of centre, Harris firing in the free kick. Wiggins making a full length save at the foot of the right hand post.
We had an interesting last 20 minutes, without either keeper being troubled.
Wood finished fourth on 79 points, two places and eight points better than last season, Long Eaton’s draw at Kirby Muxloe saw them finish a point ahead in third place, with the Leicestershire outfit finishing in fifth, three points adrift.
An entertaining season for the Woodmen, improvement on last season but it’s all to play for next season with it starting on the first Saturday in August, just over three months away. Enjoy the Summer.
Thanks to Bill for the report – always appreciated, and for all he does for the club, community and blog. It’s been a great season and I look forward to more great match reports and news next season.
For the good of the wood!