Heroes and Villans

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Pelsall Villa: the only way is up. Image from the club website on Pitchero.

Well, you can’t keep a good man down, and never was the adage more true than with Bill Shaw, when this surprise match report plopped in to my inbox last night.

Bill has strong historical links with Pelsall Villa, a team in a bit of a fix at the moment; now the season has finished for the Wood, Bill popped down to Studley yesterday to check out the Pelsallian’s away fixture.

What Bill saw was a great match… He submitted the following report:

Hiya Bob,

Change of allegiance this week with a journey to Studley to see Pelsall Villa, for what could be the last time for a while at least, at level six. The game was a cracker, an eight goal thriller with the Villains going out on a high and moving above Alvis (who still have two games left to play) to finally vacate the bottom spot.

I had two spells at The Bush and obviously still have a soft spot for the team, seeing them struggling as they are really hurts. I would so much have liked to get involved with this seasons battle to keep the club afloat but have had to honour my commitments to The Wood, of course living so far away doesn’t help either…

Anyway, can I wish Chairman Mark Bentley and his team, together with Manager Scott Cooksey and assistant Barry Dedman all the best for the future, rest assured guys I’m always with you in spirit and I’ll try to see you play as often as possible.

Thanks again Bob for the soap box, this should be the last match report until the first Saturday in August, but who knows, we might have some interesting July friendlies to write about…

Studley 3 v 5 Pelsall Villa

Pelsall Villa won’t know their fate until next week but if they are to drop down to level seven next season they went out in a blaze of glory, courtesy of a three goal salvo from Spencer Blackham that gives them a chance of finishing off the bottom.

It took only three minutes for Studley to go ahead, a powerful right wing run by Sam Gorrie saw his low ball into the box collected at pace and slotted home by Shane Brassington. A neat move through the centre two minutes later ended with Clarke twisting and turning on the edge of the box before firing in a low drive that brought a full length save from home keeper James Watson. Villa equalised on 10 minutes, Jake Gough turned away from his marker in the D and was brought down, Spencer Blackham firing the resulting free kick into the left hand corner of the net.

On 20 minutes a ball out of the home half was headed on by Jordan Smart to put Leon Thomas racing into the right of the box, only for his cross shot to go narrowly wide.

Villas reply was immediate, a ball over the top saw Jonathan Letford race between two defenders, bring the ball under control, turn and lay the ball back into the path of Blackham, skipper Michael Murray making a superb interception. On 28 minutes Harry Rogers delivered a long left wing throw into the box, the ball half cleared to Clarke 25 yards out, his first time rising drive inches too high. Villa kept up the pressure before deservedly going ahead on 40 minutes, Letford charged into the right of the box, his low drive was blocked, a poor clearance was intercepted by Clarke who scored into the far corner, the goal ruled out because Luke Holmes had strayed offside. The relief was short lived as the clearance was delivered by Villa central defender Jamie Aiton straight back into the danger zone to find Clarke, his first time low drive putting Villa ahead.

On 43 minutes Villa gave away a right wing free kick, the ball delivered to the far post Thomas seeing the ball glance off the top of his head, two inches taller and he’d have scored.

Right on half time a Gough header out wide right was collected at pace by Clarke who raced through three tackles, crossed low into the box to Blackham who fired in a vicious first time low drive that was saved at full stretch by Watson, Blackham pouncing on the loose ball to increase Villas lead as we went into the break.

Two minutes into the second half Villa went three goals ahead, Gough 25 yards out again turning cleverly inside his marker only to be pulled back, Blackham firing home the free kick to complete his hat-trick.

Villa tried to keep the game tight in midfield but on 65 minutes a ball over the top was collected wide right by Giovanne Shaw, his ball inside found Brassington who ran on to slot the ball past the advancing Tom Burns.

Six minutes later Villa substitute Ryan Wood put Letford away wide left, his ball inside hit first time just over the bar by Clarke. The game was wrapped up when two minutes later Letford raced clear wide left, cut inside and found Clarke on the right of the box, his shot pushed away by Watson, only for Clarke from an acute angle to bounce a cross shot off the foot of the far post, Letford tapping home from close range. On 78 minutes a clever right wing move ended with Jonathan Walker chipping the ball over keeper Burns, Gough calmly chesting the ball down on the line before firing clear.

From the goal kick Clarke flicked the ball into the centre of the box, keeper Watson racing out bravely to save at the feet of the ever more dangerous Letford.

On 82 minutes a long ball forward wide right flicked off the head of a Villa defender to put youth team layer Corey Lloyd-Derek clear, he raced into the right of the box to calmly slot the ball past the stranded Burns in the Villa goal.

Whatever happens in the next few weeks Villa finished a season they want to forget on a high, coming out on top in an eight goal thriller, to go forwards into next season, possibly at a new home with renewed optimism.

Bill Shaw.

Bill, I thank you wholeheartedly for your thorough, entertaining and popular match reports – I’ll always have a soapbox waiting for you here!

In the meantime, best of luck to Pelsall Villa – and to Walsall Wood. For the good of… community, sportsmanship and great local football.

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