Walsall Wood FC were away to Coventry Sphinx this afternoon (Saturday, 5th September 2015), and were on form for the first half, then apparently lost the plot…
Bill Shaw has submitted an excellent match report, as he always does, and as ever he hasn’t minced his words.
Three points literally thrown away after a superb 45 minutes of scintillating football from the Woodmen. Luke Delaney started a game for the first time after his substitute appearance at Boldmere on Bank Holiday Monday, Daniel Griffiths made his debut and both of them opened their goal accounts. We sat back waiting for the second half blitz, but to their credit it was Sphinx who came out pumped up. To be brutally honest did they really need that outside assistance, but sometimes you don’t always get what you deserve.
On the injury front Max Black is back in contention after making the bench at Sphinx, but we’ve lost another two favourites, with keeper Dale Faultless signing for Pelsall Villa and great prospect Mario Kisiel moving to Manchester with his girlfriend, he says he probably won’t play again this season – what an absolute waste of an outstanding talent. Manager Mark Swann moved quickly to bring in popular and very experienced Lee Evans as first choice keeper.
In the Walsall Senior Cup Wood have been drawn away at Shifnal Town, a game to be played on Tuesday 4th October. Next Saturday sees Wood visiting bogey side Brocton looking for a change of fortune.
Coventry Sphinx 3 v 2 Walsall Wood
Wood went in at half time two goals ahead after probably one of the best 45 minutes in Mark Swann’s reign. Sphinx pulled a goal back after just two minutes of the restart, Wood then imploded finishing the game with nine men and somehow no points.
Wood opened brightly putting the home defence under pressure but couldn’t make the all important breakthrough.
In their first attack Sphinx nearly took the lead Lewis McBride collected the ball wide right before racing clear, his cross beyond the far post was hit first time back across keeper Lee Evans and wide of the far post by Tom Bates.
Wood took the lead on eight minutes, Harry Harris winning the ball in the centre circle and releasing Joey Butlin to run at the defence, his inch perfect through ball released Luke Delaney to race into the box and calmly slot the ball past the advancing keeper Carl O’Neill. Five minutes later it was 2-0, Anthony Juxon intercepted a long ball forward and found Butlin, his ball dissected the Sphinx back line Daniel Griffiths racing into the right of the box to coolly beat the stranded O’Neill. Two minutes later Corey Currithers got away wide left, his low cross found Butlin whose first time drive was deflected agonisingly wide.
On 25 minutes a long ball forward was collected at pace by Jack Jeyes, he went through one tackle only to be stopped by a superb Juxon challenge.
Three minutes later Butlin found Griffiths on the right of the box, only for him to be brought down from behind. Butlin’s free kick beat the wall only to bounce to safety off the outside of the right hand post with the keeper beaten. Then on 31 minutes Juxon met a left wing corner, his header bouncing away off the bar.
On 41 minutes Jackson Downie won the ball right of midfield and fed McBride out wide, he cut inside at pace going through three tackles as he went across the face of the box, his rising drive swinging well wide of the left hand post.
Wood had the last word of the half, Butlin playing the ball out wide right to find Craig Deakin, he went through one tackle and his cross landed on the roof of the net.
The home team needed to make a good start to the second half and they did just that, after just two minutes the Wood defence stood off Rich Blythe on the right of the box, he calmly slotted the ball into the right of the box, Mitch Piggon reducing the deficit with a crisp low cross shot. Three minutes later Piggon raced into the left of the box, Deakin with a superbly timed challenge bringing his run to an end. On 60 minutes McBride was released wide right, he went through one tackle and his cross right under the bar was touched over by keeper Evans.
A long ball out of defence flew over the Sphinx back line, O’Neill racing from his box to kick clear from Butlin on 69 minutes. O’Neill kept the home side in the game when seven minutes later Griffiths was onto a ball into the centre of the box, his rising drive brilliantly pushed wide by the keeper. Wood then lost Deakin after an altercation with an assistant.
On 78 minutes Piggon wide left raced into the box, his low cross cut out by Luke Wright. A minute later Piggon raced into the left of the box again, his low driven cross touched home by substitute Luke Downes. It got worse for Wood when a minute later McBride raced into the right of the box, Grant Beckett’s challenge was adjudged a foul and a penalty was given. Piggon making no mistake from the spot to put Sphinx ahead for the first time.
Wood then lost Currithers to another red card and together with the concussion suffered by Butlin this took the sting out of the Wood attack.
The last action of the eventful game saw a long clearance collected at pace by substitute Ash Cain, his rising drive well held by Evans at full stretch.
How did Wood lose this one? They’d cruised into a 2-0 lead, it could have been five but credit Sphinx (helped by some bizarre decisions) for a fighting second half display.
For Wood its bogey team Brocton at Stafford next Saturday, time for a change of fortune.
Walsall Wood F.C.
Thanks to Bill, for an honest, entertaining and very fan-focussed match report, as ever. Really an honour to feature them here.
Check out Walsall Wood FC’s website here.