The Woodmen last Tuesday (8th December 2015) faced Wolverhampton Casuals at the Brinsford Stadium, and fought hard for their decisive win.
Bill Shaw was at Wolverhampton to witness the mach, and submitted the following report:
An entertaining display by both sides as Wood ran out worthy winners in the end. Another one of the under 21 side making his first start for the Wood with Ricardo Ricketts making his debut at right back and looking at home, even though he’s a midfield player usually.
So it’s Wood first into the semi-finals but there are a few games to be played before our opponents are known.
It’s the big one on Saturday in the FA Vase against Alvechurch who after last night’s win at Westfields moved to within six points of leaders Hereford, but still with three games in hand. Throw in the fact they have the meanest defence in the league and you see advancement in the Vase won’t be easy.
Walsall Senior Cup
Wolverhampton Casuals 2 v 4 Walsall Wood
Wood became the first team to make the semi-final of this seasons Walsall Senior Cup with this entertaining 4-2 win over West Midland League Premier opposition, Wolverhampton Casuals Ben Birch put Wood ahead just before the break only for Casuals to equalise through Liam Hughes on 53 minutes. Goals from Drew Aiton, Corey Currithers and Louis Harris put Wood through before Hughes scored his second on 83 minutes.
Wood put Casuals under pressure from the start, keeper James Scarrett pushing away a low drive from skipper Harry Harris on two minutes, then a minute later making a full length save from a Dan Griffiths first time daisy cutter, he could only watch on five minutes when Lewis Taylor Boyce wide on the right found Drew Aiton on the right edge of the box, he turned away from goal before swivelling and firing inches wide of the near post. On 15 minutes debutant Ricardo Ricketts and Taylor Boyce combined cleverly wide on the right to set up Harry Harris to fire in a 20 yard drive that was well held by Scarrett at full stretch.
Having weathered the storm Brad Lewis came out of defence with the ball for Casuals and raced 40 yards just right of centre, his ball into the right of the box was headed down by Liam Hughes to Mark Habbershaw to fire a first time effort over the bar.
Six minutes later Taylor Boyce crossed from wide right, Griffiths heading just too high.
Controversy on 30 minutes with Lewis Cooper racing clear wide on Casuals left, his ball into the box was hit first time by Habbershaw, the ball crashing down off the underside of the bar before being cleared away, loud goal shouts ignored.
After a quiet spell Wood went ahead on 43 minutes, a free kick right of centre was delivered by Louis Harris into the box, Ben Birch timed his run to perfection and looped a header back across the keeper to put Wood ahead.
A minute later Lewis raced away wide right, his ball inside hit first time by Hughes, keeper Lee Evans making a good save from the low drive.
A quiet start to the second half but Wood nearly increased their lead on 52 minutes when Ben Evans and Steven Hayles combined wide on the left to set up Louis Harris 30 yards out, his curling shot into the left hand corner bringing a superb save from Scarrett.
It proved pivotal as a minute later a flowing move through the centre ended with Habbershaw setting up Hughes to hammer the ball home from the centre of the box to make it all square.
Wood weathered a few minutes of pressure but took back control when on 62 minutes Corey Currithers powered into the right of the box, his far post cross was just touched away by Scarrett to the left of the box, Aiton collected the ball, kept calm, cut inside before hitting an unstoppable drive into the far corner to put Wood back ahead.
Three minutes later Jack Corns fired in a free kick, Evans saving at the foot of his left hand post, Giles Harvey was first to the loose ball, Evans making a brave block. On 74 minutes a ball through the centre found Hughes in the D, his first time low drive well held by Evans.
Wood sealed things on 76 minutes, Currithers won a right wing corner and then timed his run to perfection to power home a header from the flag kick. Then a move that would have had TV pundits drooling into their microphones, when on 82 minutes Wood played one touch football across the middle of the park, after about 30 passes Louis Harris picked the ball up 25 yards out and curled in a pinpoint effort into the top left hand corner, giving Scarrett no chance this time.
A minute later Hughes was found in the centre of the D and he rocketed the ball past keeper Evans to cut the deficit to 2-4.
Any thoughts of a grandstand finish however were thwarted by Wood who finished on top, first it was Scarrett pushing away a low drive from Aiton after he’d been put through by Currithers on 86 minutes. Two minutes later Currithers fed Toumani Sidibe wide left, he cut inside, his low drive well held by Scarrett.
For the first 40 minutes it looked as if the first goal would settle the game, but an exhilarating attacking second half display by both sides warmed up the crowd. Wood were well worth the win in the end but all credit to Casuals for trying to take the game to them.
Wolverhampton Casuals: Scarrett, Corns, Cooper, Harvey, Perry, Radford, Lewis, Cresswell, Hughes, Habbershaw (Captain), Wright, Lampitt, Draisey, Holcroft, Forward, McCalla.
Walsall Wood: L. Evans, Ricketts, Hayles, Birch, Juxon, L. Harris, Taylor Boyce, H. Harris (Captain), Griffiths, Aiton, B. Evans, Wright, Black, Currithers, Sidibe, Hughes.
Walsall Wood are a good team and an excellent, community-spirited club. They need our support – please do attend the coming games if you can. The lads are battling hard and deserve as much support as we can give them.
As ever, thanks to Bill for the report – always appreciated – for The Good of the Wood!