Another remarkable performance on Tuesday evening (15th September 2015) saw Walsall Wood Under 21s make mincemeat of Oak Park visitors Whittington, who were beaten six nil.
Bill Shaw was impressed:
Walsall Wood 6 v 0 Whittington
Staffordshire FA Challenge Cup
Six of the best from Wood as they finally comprehensively saw off some spirited resistance from the Burton League side who, to their credit, kept going to the end, but if it hadn’t been for keeper Chad Hatton they could have faced an embarrassing scoreline.
For the first few minutes it was the visitors who’d flown out of the blocks penning Wood back in their own half, but a quick counter attack on three minutes saw Ryan Sappleton-Williams racing into the right of the box, his low drive pushed out by keeper Chad Hatton ricocheting off a defender and behind for a corner.
From the flag kick Tom Essex powered a header just over. On 15 minutes Jamie Hawkins hit a lovely long ball forward that put Sappleton-Williams in on, goal keeper Hatton with another great full length save. A minute later Ricardo Ricketts won the ball right of centre and went on a scything crossfield run that ended with him setting up Marlon Hill on the left of the box to fire in a low drive that was well taken by Hatton.
On 24 minutes Josh Mansell fired in a cross beyond the far post for Hawkins to volley goalwards, Hatton again to the rescue, standing tall. A minute later it was Kenny Roberts bursting onto a ball through the centre, his rising drive touched over by Hatton. The pressure was really mounting on the visiting defence with wave after wave of Wood attacks coming thick and fast. On 29 minutes a series of corners were somehow kept out but a hurried clearance only went as far as Hawkins 30 yards out, his rising drive arrowed into the top left hand corner, Hatton making a stunning full length save to push the ball round the post.
The breakthrough came a minute later, a free kick on the left of the box driven low through the defensive wall by Roberts to finally beat Hatton. 8 minutes later Roberts made it 2-0 ending a flowing move through the centre, holding off two defenders and even though Hatton got a hand to his low drive he couldn’t prevent the ball crossing the line. On 42 minutes Mansell raced clear wide right, crossed into the middle and Hill put a first time shot just too high.
To stand any chance the visitors had to make an early impact but within a minute they were three down, Roberts won the ball left of centre before going on an amazing crossfield run, he played a couple of clever 1-2’s went through four challenges before playing the ball out wide right to Mansell, his driven low cross bounced off a defender to Sappleton-Williams whose crisp, low drive flew past Hatton.
It was certainly all over on 52 minutes when a David Beckham/Charlie Adam moment (well almost) made it 4-0. Hatton took a free kick on the edge of his box, the ball went straight to Hawkins 45 yards out, seeing Hatton stranded on the edge of the box he hit an exquisite ball goalwards, it bounced off the inside of the right hand post and flew into the net. When a minute later Hill pounced to fire home from a right wing corner it looked bleak for the visitors.
To their credit they still tried to take the game to Wood, then on 73 minutes Sappleton-Williams charged down the right, cut into the box and hit a low cross that was hit first time by Luke Henry, a desperate block deflecting the shot just wide. Two minutes later Roberts ran at the defence before finding Sappleton-Williams racing into the right of the box, keeper Hatton racing out to meet him, he managed to hold him up enough for defenders to get back and he retreated into the goal. Sappleton-Williams stayed calm, burst past the two flat footed defenders and beat Hatton at the near post with a crisp low finish.
He nearly had his third of the night when seven minutes later Hill’s clever turn and ball over the top put him in on goal, he chipped the ball over the advancing Hatton, Stephen Harris racing back to clear the ball off the line. Five minutes later Ruaidhri (Rory) Bennett won the ball in the centre before running at the defence and laying the ball into the path of Ricketts whose first time drive was blocked. With time running out Hill released Sappleton-Williams into the right of the box, the beleaguered Hatton came racing out to meet him, only to be lobbed, the ball again cleared off the line, to deny him his hat trick.
An exhilarating display by the Wood youngsters, credit to the visitors for not giving up, but in the end they had no answer to the swift power play of an impressive young side. I see now what my understudy The Young David Evans means, I was suitably impressed.
Walsall Wood FC.
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!