Photos generously supplied by the young David Evans
After last season’s earth-shattering home win against Stoke City, it was really a bit too much to expect Walsall Wood to do the double when they faced them again last Tuesday evening (3rd November 2015), when indeed, Stoke won with a resounding 3-0 victory.
The Woodmen played well, though, and can hold their heads high.
Bill Shaw submitted the following match report:
Apart from the first 15 minutes, there was only going to be one winner in last night’s encounter. The exalted visitors were up to the task from the off and there was no sign of last season’s cocky complacency. In Mohammed El Ouriachi they appear to have found a gem, he was at times almost unplayable and looks to have a very bright future in the game.
For Wood it’s back to league duty on Saturday with a visit to Dunkirk who were hammered 10-0 at home last night by leaders Heanor Town. We then have five home games on the trot, that includes our first entry into this seasons FA Vase when we entertain high flying third placed United Counties League side Holbeach United in the Round Two encounter. It’s great being seeded this far into the competition but the club doesn’t earn any money from it, so it’s a real double edged sword so to speak, but you can’t have it all ways as they say.
Staffs Senior Cup
Walsall Wood 0 v 3 Stoke City
The game was better than the weather, Wood didn’t play badly but a Stoke under 21 side gained revenge for last seasons shock defeat, this time there was no complacency and they thoroughly deserved the victory.
In spite of the tricky conditions both sides adapted well, Wood had the first goal-scoring opportunity on seven minutes; Corey Currithers crossing from wide left for Grant Beckett to hit a first time effort that brought a great full length save from visiting keeper Daniel Gyollai.
Stoke had the better of the next few minutes and on 17 minutes went ahead, Bobby Moseley came out of defence with the ball before playing a ball down the left to find Mohammed El Ouriachi, he raced into the box took out two defenders played the ball across the face of the 6 yard box to find Dominic Telford who calmly opened the scoring. A couple of minutes later a neat right wing move involving Lewis Banks and Thibaud Verlinden presented Ollie Shenton with the chance to fire in a first time rising drive that was pushed over by Wood keeper Lee Evans. On 24 minutes a right wing free kick was half cleared to Verlinden whose quick through ball found Telford in the centre of the box, only for him to roll a shot wide of the right hand post. two minutes later Ollie Roberts powered through 3 challenges as he made the right of the box, his vicious low drive well held by the alert Evans. Wood were trying to get a foot-hold in the game but were restricted to long range efforts, then on 38 minutes kamikaze defending on the edge of the Wood box saw Roberts win the ball, thread a ball through to Telford lurking on the penalty spot, his lovely turn took him away from his marker and he fired a low drive just inside the left hand post to put the Potters firmly in the driving seat.
Wood put the visitors under pressure at the start of the second half but the nearest they came to halving the deficit was on 53 minutes, Drew Aiton racing into the left of the box to hit a low drive that was deflected by a last ditch defensive challenge, just the wrong side of the post.
Telford completed his hat-trick on 64 minutes, wrapping the game up in the process, but once again it was Ouriachi’s pace and power down the left taking him into the box, before his low cross was tucked home by the striker, again from the edge of the six yard box. Telford nearly made it 4-9 when seven minutes later Verlinden wide right tried to emulate his left wing counterpart by cutting inside and finding Telford who hit a first time effort narrowly wide.
Then on 83 minutes Joey Butlin and Lewis Taylor Boyce combined cleverly on the left of the box before releasing Harry Harris into the danger zone, keeper Gyollai out quickly and bravely to block the low drive and deny Wood even a consolation goal.
Wood were really made to work hard to stay with the professionals, but they kept battling away. They had no answer to the pace and power of Mohammed El Ouriachi who was as difficult to mark as his name was to pronounce. A problem some of our players reckon Match of the Day commentators will be facing soon, time will tell. Last night belonged to Stoke City, as they turned in a thoroughly professional performance to progress to Round 2 and deservedly so.
Bad luck lads – but you played well… And of course, thanks to Bill for the report, as ever.
For The Good of the Wood!