Badgers bait Woodmen, hold them down

Photos an captions generously supplied by the young David Evans

Yesterday (Saturday 12th September 2015) saw Walsall Wood take a scenic trip over Cannock Chase to Brocton, where despite a good fight, the Badgers held the lads to a one-all draw.

Before we get to Bill Shaw’s report though, there’s an important announcement from the club about next Saturday’s match against The Mikes: it’ll be Shire Oak day at Oak Park, to celebrate the new football partnership:

The Walsall Wood home game against local rivals Boldmere St. Michaels on Saturday 19th September; kick off 3.00 pm will be Shire Oak day at Oak Park.

Anyone under 16 in a Shire Oak shirt will be admitted free together with each accompanying adult charged £6, which will include membership to Walsall Wood F.C. on the correct completion of an application form.

The game is to launch the partnership between the two clubs, giving Shire Oak an outlet for their talented young players whilst increasing the Wood’s supply line of good players.

Through the partnership there will be future options for Shire Oak teams to act as ball boys on match days and also the opportunity for family fun days.

So come on all you Shire Oak players, show your support for your local club and get down to Oak Park on Saturday 19th

I wish everyone involved – both at Shire Oak and Walsall Wood FC – the best in their new venture.

Now back to Brocton, where Bill Shaw caught all the action…

Hiya Bob,

Well, we came within 30 seconds of breaking the hoodoo that the Badgers seem to have over us since that League Cup defeat at the Bescot Stadium in season 2012-13. Another patched up side turning in a vastly improved performance shooting wise, but keeper Calum Barrett turned in a five star performance to keep them in the game. The equaliser two minutes into time added on was a sickener, but credit to the struggling home side who kept weathering the storm and fighting back.

What a surprise for us to encounter Louis Garfield Robinson again, that’s four times he’s played against us in three seasons, all for different clubs, Spalding United, Hednesford Town, Continental Star and the Badgers. He’s obviously a young man who believes variety is the spice of life, or does he like playing against us?

Boldmere at Oak Park next Saturday, followed on Tuesday 22nd by Alvechurch, don’t be square, be there, come and get behind your local side!

Brocton 1 v 1 Walsall Wood

A goal from Harry Harris volleyed home after 65 minutes to open his account for the season looked to have given Wood victory over jinx side Brocton. But the never say die Badgers equalised well into injury time with Dominic Bell crossing from wide right for substitute Ben Farrall to power a header home to salvage a point.

Wood started confidently and after just five minutes Drew Aiton held the ball up on the right of the box and released Corey Currithers in on goal, his vicious rising drive well taken by Calum Barrett. On 13 minutes a long ball out of defence put Craig Deakin clear wide right, his low driven cross deflected wide, Harry Harris delivered the corner right under the bar, Barrett slapping the ball away from a horde of Wood attackers. three minutes later a Grant Beckett throw in found Aiton who cleverly flicked the ball inside to Harris who hit a first time effort swinging high and wide.

On 18 minutes a long ball forward was headed on by Dominic Bell, he raced onto the loose ball right of the Wood box, fired in a low cross that went through the legs of colleague Dave Berks. Three minutes later a Badgers right wing free kick was delivered into the centre of the Wood box, Edward Booth took the ball on his chest before volleying the ball goalwards, Wood keeper Lee Evans making a great save.

Two minutes later Booth nearly scored at the other end, Currithers collected a ball wide right, cut inside and his driven low cross was scythed over his own bar by Booth. It was Wood who were cranking up the pressure now and a lovely turn and snap shot from Harris 30 yards out was superbly pushed away to his right by a full length diving save by Barrett. The ball went straight to Currithers who hit a first time effort goalwards, Barrett up quickly to make a brave block.

Having weathered the storm, again, back came the Badgers, on 33 minutes neat close control on the left of the box by Garfield Robinson saw his clever reverse ball put Craig Holland racing clear, his low cross superbly cut out by Josh O’Garra to deny Bell and Berks.

The wood reply was immediate; a neat left wing move ended with Toumani Sidibe crossing to the near post, Aiton’s first time effort deflected just the wrong side of the post. On 41 minutes it was Deakin getting forward wide right, playing the ball inside to Currithers who played Aiton into the right of the box, keeper Barrett standing tall to make another great save. Right on half time Aiton powered in from the right, his ball inside found Currithers whose through ball dissected the defence, Barrett racing from his line to save bravely at the feet of Harris.

Wood continued to threaten in the second half, within 2 minutes of the restart Lady Luck was with the Badgers, yet another right wing run and near post cross by Currithers was met this time by Sidibe, again the ball deflecting off a desperate defender and inches wide of the post with Barrett beaten. Seven minutes later Sidibe released Currithers wide left, his ball into the left of the box was collected at pace by Aiton, another great save by Barrett to keep out his rising drive. 61 minutes gone Aiton was set up by Harris on the left of the box, brave last ditch defending charging down his two goalbound efforts.

Once again having weathered the storm the Badgers nearly went ahead, Bell charged down an attempted clearance, the ball bounced kindly for him, he raced into the right of the box, this time it was Evans saving bravely at his feet. A minute later a right wing free kick was delivered into the centre of the Wood box, Berks climbing highest to power a header just too high.

From the goal kick the ball was collected at pace by Currithers wide left, his far post cross flew over everyone, Robinson inexplicably headed the ball back across his own goal area to beyond the far post, Harris pouncing to bury a vicious volley into the net to give Wood the lead their pressure deserved. On 75 minutes a lovely ball in the centre from Harris was collected at pace by Max Black wide right, his ball into the box was flicked on by Currithers, Barrett making another stunning save, from Sidibe’s low drive. Two minutes later a powerful forward header by Jamie Hawkins put Harris racing clear, his far post cross headed just over by Currithers. On 83 minutes a great challenge by Hawkins on half way saw him come forward with the ball, he found Currithers on the right, he raced across the face of the box, his rising drive well held by Barrett.

To their credit the Badgers wouldn’t give up and nearly grabbed the equaliser on 84 minutes, a long ball forward was taken in his stride by substitute Matt Hardman, he ran away from his marker and his rising drive was held at the second attempt by Evans. Deep into injury time intelligent play by Bell saw him find acres of space wide right, he steadied himself and delivered a cross into the centre of the box Ben Farrall powering a header into the roof of the net to rob Wood of all three points.

There was no doubt about the man of the match, with skipper of the Badgers Calum Barrett making a string of fine saves to deny Wood a hatful of goals, he was powerless on three occasions when shots were deflected inches wide, but his luck held out. Wood deserved all three points but their shooting was a vast improvement on recent games and but for Barrett’s super show could have seen them out of sight before that last gasp equaliser.

It’s Boldmere St. Michaels next Saturday for Shire Oak Day at Oak Park, after a 3-0 win to either side, two

goal-less draws and a 2-2 stalemate on August Bank Holiday, will either side get an advantage, an intriguing contest in prospect.

Bill Shaw
Walsall Wood F.C.

Thanks to Bill for the report, as ever. These longer format ones are much preferred by the readership, and Bill’s match write-ups are gaining more and more traffic with every one I post.

For The Good of the Wood!

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