Images and captions kindly supplied by David Evans
With the commencement of the 2015/16 season and his return to good health, I’m happy to welcome back regular match reports from top Walsall Wood footy correspondent Bill Shaw here on the Brownhills Blog.
Saturday (8th August 2015) saw Walsall Wood entertain newcomers Bardon Hill at home, and the Woodmen bravely battled to hold the visitors to a one-all draw. Ah well, it’s a start…
I know many of you lot love the match reports and news from Oak Park, and it’s great to be able to share them: I thank Bill Shaw profusely – he’s a top bloke.
Not the start we wanted, an early goal, some lovely flowing football for the first 20 minutes until the injury to LTB curtailed the attacking flair and in the end we had the irrepressible Mario to thank for keeping the one point.
With 10 wins and just the one draw in the Premier division on the opening day we find ourselves mid table but facing a daunting trip to big spending Highgate United on Tuesday, with an already injury depleted squad life isn’t easy. Throw in a potential banana skin of an FA cup tie at Hinckley on Saturday and you see why following the Wood isn’t for the faint hearted – but Semper Sursum – Onwards and Upwards.
On Monday night (10th August 2015) on Extra Time at 9.30 pm (Freeview Channel 8) there is a 30 minute interview with Wood President Andy Roper and Commercial Manager Graham Collins, should be interesting, don’t miss it.
Walsall Wood 1 v 1 Bardon Hill Sports
For the third season running Wood failed to get the better of Leicestershire opposition on the opening day of the season, they went ahead courtesy of a seventh minute Drew Aiton volley, but could have been behind but for two world class saves from keeper Mario Kisiel before Richard Hanslow tucked home the equaliser in the 75th minute.
Wood put the visitors under intense pressure from the start, going ahead after just seven minutes, Corey Currithers was released into the centre of the box, he went to the right, through two tackles before playing a lovely reverse ball to beyond the far post that was volleyed back across the keeper and into the net by Drew Aiton.
On 12 minutes Richard Hanslow capitalised on a defensive mistake on the right of the box and raced for goal, his low drive pushed away by keeper Mario Kisiel, but only into the path of Sam Moore, the keeper up quickly and bravely to block his shot. Then on 19 minutes a right wing corner eluded everyone as it flashed across the face of the Wood goal.
Two minutes later Harry Harris released Lewis Taylor Boyce in the inside right channel, he ran clear, lobbed the advancing keeper Josh O’Brien and agonisingly the bar, before falling to the ground clutching his hamstring, before being replaced by Daniel Holgate.
On 29 minutes Leon Fray powered forward out of defence and his pinpoint ball into the right of the box was collected at pace by Hanslow, who rolled his cross shot inches wide.
Three minutes later a left wing free kick to the far post was headed back across goal by Josh O’Garra, it was only half cleared to Aiton on the left of the box, his low cross unceremoniously hacked clear. Wood were now cranking up the pressure, Currithers won a corner on the left on 37 minutes, O’Brien slapping the ball off the head of Joey Butlin but only to Aiton 20 yards out, his first time low drive deflected inches wide. A minute before the break Butlin cut back inside from wide right only to be brought down on the edge of the box, he fell in the box but the challenge was judged outside. Harris firing the free kick into the wall.
Three minutes into the second half Wood went close to making it 2-0, Holgate cleverly holding the ball up on the right of the box before crossing to the far post. Butlin’s header back across O’Brien was clawed out of the top corner by the keeper. From the resulting corner Currithers put a far post header narrowly wide.
The visitors thought they’d equalised on 51 minutes, the ever dangerous Moore was released into the left of the box by a superb ball forward by skipper Louis Kennan, he cut inside and crossed to the far post for Hanslow to rocket a header goalwards, Kisiel making an amazing one handed save to deny him.
Wood then replaced a struggling Currithers with new young signing Toumani Sidibe, with both wide players off they struggled to make inroads into a resolute visitors defence until on 67 minutes Craig Deakin went on a marauding right wing run, beat Keenan with a delightful nutmeg, crossed to the far post and Sidibe was inches too high with a powerful header. Three minutes later Holgate’s flick on released Butlin into the right of the box, his low cross missed by everyone. Sidibe won a left wing free kick two
minutes later, O’Brien only pushing the ball out to Holgate and then making a brave block from the rising first time shot. With Wood pressing for the second goal they got caught out on 75 minutes, Keenan broke up an attack, came forward and found Moore wide left, he played the ball to Jamie Disney in the box who laid the ball into the path of Dean Withers, his first time effort was blocked at point blank range by Kisiel, but Hanslow pounced to fire home the loose ball to equalise. Moore was again foiled by Kisiel on 82 minutes as he again raced into the left of the box, the keeper making a full length save.
Wood nearly nicked it at the death, Steven Hayles finding Sidibe wide left, his low cross was hit first time by Aiton but was blocked by a defender, Butlin was first to the loose ball but his low drive was again bravely charged down by a defender.
An interesting start to the season, once again Wood’s frailty in front of goal was there for all to see, but it could have been worse, keeper Mario Kisiel made sure of at least a point with another great display. Early season injuries giving Wood some concern, but that’s why you have a squad of players in the first place.
Walsall Wood Football Club are a top local side with a big-hearted faithful who know how to have a great time supporting their lads, and welcome all comers to come enjoy great local soccer. The boys from The Wood have been at the heart of the local community for a century or more, so please do go check out a match or two if you’re curious.
I guarantee you’ll have more fun cheering on the local chaps than you ever will watching the over-priced prima donnas on TV…
For the good of The Wood!