Pictures and captions generously supplied by the young David Evans, who’s clearly still smarting over the astroturf episode a couple of weeks ago…
Walsall Wood FC travelled to the wonderfully named Dunkirk FC at Nottingham last Saturday (7th November 2015) for an away match that if following recent encounters should have been an easy victory – but wasn’t.
Bill Shaw was there, and submitted the following match report:
The general consensus seemed to be a win is a win, but lowly Dunkirk, hammered at home in midweek by leaders Heanor, turned in a spirited rear-guard performance with keeper Jake Want joining an ever growing list of custodians to turn in a great 90 minutes against us this season.
For three seasons it’s been stop the opposition scoring and you are sure of at least one point, but with only one clean sheet this season (and that at Division One Hinckley) that adage has gone out the window. It makes for exciting games but doesn’t help the management team, when you see him look how grey Swanny’s hair is going! A coincidence? I think not – but then central defenders of the class of Lee Stretton and Shawn Boothe don’t grow on trees and they did know each other’s game inside out, after three seasons together – extremely hard to replace, but we will get there, so keep the faith.
It’s five home games on the trot now, including high flying United Counties League Holbeach United in the FA Vase Round Two on Saturday 21st, the other four aren’t easy with bogey sides Coleshill Town on Tuesday next, Brocton on Saturday, Sporting Khalsa on Tuesday 17th and Long Eaton United on Saturday 28th, happy days, but no-one said it was going to be easy!
Dunkirk 2 v 3 Walsall Wood
How Wood only won by the odd goal only they will know, comfortably ahead 3-1 at the break they conceded a goal four minutes after the restart, then missed a third consecutive penalty, survived a torrid 10 minute spell afterwards before wasting a host of chances and being relieved to hear the final whistle to record win number three on the trot at Dunkirk.
After just two minutes Wood carved open the home defence, Craig Deakin bringing the ball out of defence and finding Joey Butlin to release Dan Griffiths into the right of the box, his first time effort hit well wide.
From the goal kick Wood gave away a free kick on the left edge of their box, the ball played into the centre, two shots were charged down, the ball finding its way out to skipper Lee Stevenson 20 yards out to fire a first time effort high over the bar.
On 10 minutes Corey Currithers broke out of defence wide left, his ball inside collected at pace by Griffiths who set up Harry Harris to fire in a low drive that brought a full length save from keeper Jake Want.
Seven minutes later Sam Osborne got clear wide left, his clever ball inside to Phil Massingham saw the striker sidestep his marker and fire a low drive inches wide.
On 24 minutes Wood laid siege to the home goal, forcing three right wing corners in quick succession, the third one was half cleared to Ben Birch 20 yards out, his shot giving keeper Want no chance as it flew low into the net to open his goalscoring account.
Within six minutes it was all square, from a left wing corner Tom Hannigan (who’d ambled 70 yards forward) totally unmarked picked his spot and headed the equaliser.
Parity only lasted two minutes, a howitzer clearance from Wood keeper Lee Evans went backwards off the head of a defender, Griffiths racing onto the loose ball into the left of the box and firing an unstoppable rising drive to put Wood back in front. Three minutes later Deakin crossed from wide right to beyond the far post to pick out Griffiths, Want making a superb save to keep out his volleyed effort. The relief was short-lived, on 38 minutes Corey Currithers intercepted a ball right of centre, appeared to be crowded out in the right hand corner but played the ball back to Deakin, the perfect far post cross powerfully headed home by Griffiths.
Within four minutes of the restart the home side were back in the game when from a right wing free kick the ball was delivered to the far post, substitute Oliver Clark heading home.
As in the first half the home side shot themselves in the foot six minutes later, but this time Wood failed to capitalise, from a right wing cross Osborne under no pressure at all jumped and pushed the ball away. Griffiths stepped up to complete his hat-trick only to be thwarted by Want with a superb full length save.
The let off inspired the home side, two minutes later Evans saved bravely at the feet of Massingham. A minute later Osborne went on a 60 yard run through the centre, laid the ball off to Massingham, Evans again denying him with a great save from his first time effort. Two minutes later another long clearance, this time from Want dropped for Massingham to hit a first time effort high over.
Wood having weathered the storm went looking for a fourth goal that would surely kill off lowly Dunkirk, Butlin rolled a cross shot wide of the right hand post on 63 minutes after a clever interchange between Max Black and Drew Aiton had put him clear into the left of the box. 68 minutes gone and Aiton was denied when Want saved his low drive. A minute later Black released Griffiths into the left of the box, his cross shot beating Want and the far post. Two minutes later Black put Butlin in on goal, Want making another brave block as he raced from his line.
On 77 minutes just to keep Wood on their toes skipper Stevenson fired in a 50 yard left wing free kick that the alert Evans pushed over his left angle.
Lewis Taylor Boyce rolled a cross shot wide of the left hand post on 80 minutes, Steven Hayles then raced 60 yards only to fire his cross shot wide, before right on time Want made another brave save at the feet of Black.
Wood somehow were left holding on, in a game that they almost totally dominated but couldn’t finish off, the defence that has been almost impregnable for 3 seasons still looks suspect.
Two little easy games to come for Wood with bogey sides Coleshill and Brocton at home on Tuesday and Saturday.
As ever, thanks to Bill for the report – always appreciated – for The Good of the Wood!