Bill Shaw can’t leave the football alone, and since Walsall Wood had the day off yesterday, and since Bill lives in Leicestershire, it was a no-brainer for him to pop to Nuneaton to watch his other love, Pelsall Villa in action against Nuneaton Griff.
Bill has strong historical links with Pelsall Villa, a team who had a rough season last year.
Bill was pleased with what he saw:
Change of allegiance and hats as I drop down a division and pop down the road to the Pingles Stadium in Nuneaton. Almost the whole of Midland League division 1 separates the teams, but you would have been hard pushed to say which team was which.
Heartbreak in the end for Villa, but manager Scott Cooksey can take some real positives from the game, that being totally unbiased they could have come away with at least a point, if not all three. Don’t despair guys, keep doing things right and the rewards will come.
Nuneaton Griff 3 v 1 Pelsall Villa.
This win took Griff up to second behind early runaway leaders Coventry United, but the lowly visitors made them work hard for the victory, coming roaring back in the last 15 minutes, having a penalty saved, missing a close range chance but just couldn’t get the all-important goal that would have really put the Heartlanders under even greater pressure.
The first 20 minutes was played mainly in the Villa half, debutant keeper Dale Faultless had to be alert on a couple of occasions but the away defence looked solid.
After 23 minutes as so often happens, Aaron Sylvester raced at the home defence wide right, his low cross was blocked but rebounded back to him, his first time cross ballooned into the air causing confusion in the home defence, the ball eventually cleared to James Walker 25 yards out, his fierce low drive through a crowded area saved at the second attempt by keeper George Woodward.
Thirteen minutes later Griff went ahead, Lee Hildeth playing a lovely diagonal ball into the left of the box to find Ryan Slinn who turned his marker inside out before firing a cross along the edge of the six yard box to find Keiron Brehon who gave the keeper no chance as he opened the scoring. But Villa were level within five minutes, a neat interchange wide left released Spencer Blackham down the line, his cross into the centre met by Mitchell Clarke to power in a downward header that Woodward got to but couldn’t prevent going over the line. Griff almost went in at halftime ahead, as two minutes later Brehon raced onto a ball into the left of the box, rounded the stranded keeper and rolled the ball towards an empty net, Daniel Cresswell racing back to calmly collect the ball and clear up field.
The first action of the second half came after just two minutes, a long ball over the top of the Villa defence saw Faultless race from his box, calmly sidestep the onrushing Luke Shorthouse before finding Luke Holmes to start a Villa attack.
Three minutes later a ball down the Villa right by John Phillips was collected at pace by Sylvester who cut inside and hit a rising drive that keeper Woodward pushed round the near post.
On 55 minutes Mark Williams launched a long right wing throw into the Villa box, the ball was flying around and Faultless unsighted was down late to push away a goalbound effort but the ball went straight to Brehon beyond the far post and he again scored from close range. Faultless was alert eight minutes later again racing from his area to kick clear from Shorthouse. The killer blow came on 67 minutes, Shorthouse collected a ball forward in the centre and played a slide rule ball through the Villa defence for Danny Edmond (looking at least a yard offside) to run on to, before calmly slotting the ball past the advancing Faultless.
On 79 minutes a run and cross from Sylvester caused confusion between Woodward and one of his defenders, the ball falling to Dean Williams who, totally wrong-footed could only stab the ball the wrong side of the left hand post. Two minutes later an 80 yard left wing run by Phillips saw his low near post cross smuggled away by a relieved defence. Villa were given a lifeline on 83 minutes, the ever dangerous Sylvester racing into the left of the box only to be brought down. After missing a penalty in midweek Villa changed their penalty taker, but Blackham saw his spot kick kept out by Woodward diving low to his right.
Right on time a lovely diagonal ball by Edmond found fellow substitute Aden Moore in acres of space, he ran into the right of the box, Faultless standing tall to keep out his rising drive.
Griff took the victory to keep them in contention at the top, Villa stay 3rd bottom but it could have been a tense last few minutes, if those two chances had been put away in those four second half minutes with the home defence looking very stretched and nervous.
Next up at home for Villa are Bolehall Swifts visiting the Bush on Saturday 5th September, let’s hope for a change of fortune.
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.