Battling Woodmen hold Rocester to a draw

Images and captions kindly supplied by David Evans

Last Thursday, 31st March 2016 Walsall Wood FC entertained Rocester at Oak Park, and the Woodmen drew with the visitors, continuing the current decent run for the Woodmen.

There was (somewhat unusually) no match last Saturday (2nd April 2016), but the Woodmen are away at Hereford this Tuesday 5th April 2016, which should be quite a match.

Simon Evans was there, and sent the following match report:

Hi Bob

Walsall Wood 1 v 1 Rocester

Rocester got the game underway. Within the first few minutes, the Rocester keeper made a wonderful save to deny Wood. A minute later a Lee Hildreth pass to Joey Butlin, whose lay off to Lewis Taylor Boyce saw his shot go just past the post. A subsequent Joey Butlin free kick went straight into the keepers arms. Wood were now piling on the pressure, some nice play involving Ricardo Ricketts, his ball to Joey Butlin who saw his shot well blocked by the Rocester defenders for a corner. Lewis Taylor Boyce also saw his shot well saved by the Rocester keeper.

Corey Currithers then saw his shot well saved after another  great run. After 25 minutes the first goal arrived. A Wood free kick was cleared out the box and the ball found Rocesters Callum Riddell whose great defence splitting pass was finished off by Troy Carty.

Wood immediately went searching for the equaliser, great play between Harry Harris and Louis Harris but the final ball was well defended, Rocester then went on a counter attack which the Wood defenders cleared. A Lewis Taylor Boyce run and pass back to Corey Currithers who’s first time shot was just over the bar. A Rocester free kick saw Liam Sowters effort meet the same fate.

Just before half time Rocester’s Liam Shaw ran through the Wood defence but saw his shot slipped beyond the far post

Half time:  Walsall Wood 0-1 Rocester

Wood started the second half and straight from the kickoff a great run by Louis Harris was repelled, straight after another foray by Ricardo Rickettes, his pass picked up by Louis Harris, who was upended by a combination of two Rocester players. From the resulting free kick, Joey Butlin curled a brilliant equaliser in via the far post.

Immediately after, a surging run saw Harry Harris’s shot go just over the bar.

Rocester then made a substitution, Danny Martin replaced by Aaron Kendrick. Soon after from a Rocester corner, a free header was well saved by by Adam Jenkins in the Wood goal, he then got up and saved the rebound.

A Wood corner was cleared as far as Louis Harris, his curling shot was well saved by the Rocester keeper. Louis Harris then had a shot just over the bar.

Wood then made substitutions, Lewis Taylor Boyce and Harry Harris being replaced by Dan Griffiths and Max Black. Both teams then went in search of a deciding goal but good defending from both teams stopped that. Dan Griffiths had a shot well held by the Rocester keeper in the final few seconds. The last action saw the Wood keeper Adam Jenkins claim a Rocester free kick.

Full time:Walsall Wood 1-1 Rocester

Simon Evans

Cheers to Simon for yet another great match report – but not only that, Simon has secured the following match report via the Bardon Hill club who Walsall Wood travelled to on Thursday 24th March, where they beat the home side 4-2. I’m not sure where exactly the report came from, but I’m asked to thank James…

Bardon Hill 2 (Chaplin 16, L. Edwards 29)
Walsall Wood 4 (Bulin (pen) 14, Griffiths 18, 76, Hayles 66)

Walsall Wood saw off a resilient Bardon Hill side in an exciting six-goal encounter at Bardon Close. The visitors took the lead twice in the first half, only to be pegged back on both occasions with the teams deadlocked at 2-2 going into half-time. Walsall Wood forced their way over the finish line however thanks to two second half goals, with Bardon Hill looking rather leggy towards the end due to the fact they were playing their third game in six days.

Bardon Hill produced the game’s first couple of chances inside the opening ten minutes. Jack Green headed over from a corner, and Ben Pearce shot over after Walsall Wood failed to clear their lines from a corner. The opening goal came from the visiting team, who closed down the opposition with great intent in the early stages. With Bardon Hill under pressure, a stray backpass enabled No. 6 to seize the initiative within the box, and in turn drew a foul from Bardon goalkeeper, Ryan Swift, with the referee pointing to the spot. Joey Butlin stepped up to score the resulting penalty to give Walsall Wood a 14th minute lead.

The lead lasted only two minutes as Bardon Hill immediately drew level. A cross from the left towards the far post was converted by Stephen Chaplin, with the visiting goalkeeper, Adam Jenkins, in no man’s land as the cross was delivered. Despite a valiant attempt by a Walsall Wood defender, Chaplin’s effort inched over the line to restore parity.

Then it was Walsall Wood’s turn to find the net once again to make it 2-1 with only 18 minutes on the clock. A pass (No. 8) looped up into the path of Daniel Griffiths, who showed great composure to slot into the far corner after he beat the offside trap. Griffiths was allowed plenty of time to pick his place in the net, as the visitors regained their advantage almost straight away.

Walsall Wood attempted to extend their advantage minutes later, with No. 6 almost capitilising on a rebound, after Swift failed to keep hold of a shot from range courtesy of Butlin. Bardon Hill also had their chances in an exciting opening period, as Alex Cooper saw his effort caught from the edge of the box after he cut inside, whilst Luke Edwards also produced a shot on target which was easily saved.

Luke Edwards built upon his previous effort to grab another equaliser for Bardon Hill in the 29th minute. He gathered the ball from a loose pass on the halfway line to then power forward into the area, before he slotted the ball into the far corner past Jenkins. It was an impressive piece of play considering the heavy surface the players had to play on after a fair amount of rainfall earlier in the day.

The chances dried up in the final fifteen minutes of the half, though Walsall Wood were able to generate a couple of sighters on goal. No 6 saw an effort fly over the bar, and Griffiths twisted and turned in the area, but could only shoot straight at Swift. Down the other end, Edwards headed goal-wards, but the Walsall Wood goalkeeper was equal to it to save as the first half drew to a close.

The visitors offered the first chance of note in the second half, with Butlin shooting wide of the near post from the edge of the box, but after that, Bardon Hill looked like the team more likely to score next. Edwards saw a powerful strike go narrowly wide of the near post, and Cooper also shot from a tight angle, but Jenkins saved at his near post. Chaplin also came close with a looping header which found the roof of the Walsall Wood net.

Walsall Wood were always a threat on the break in the second half, an element which allowed them to win a free-kick in the lead up to their third goal. Bardon Hill blocked the set piece, but the ball fell to Steven Hayles, who fired a magnificent strike into the corner of the net from 25 yards out with 66 minutes on the clock.

Bardon Hill were now chasing the game, which allowed for Walsall Wood to break as well as impose their authority on the contest. They almost added a third with twenty minutes to go, with Swift fortunate to see his side keep the deficit down, as he parried a shot into the danger zone from No. 11, but the goal never materialised. Walsall Wood duly doubled their lead in the 76th minute however, as Griffiths grabbed his second of the game. A delightful through ball by Butlin split the Bardon Hill defence apart, much to the delight of Griffiths, who rounded the keeper before placing the ball home.

The hosts struggled to formulate any real chances of their own in the latter stages with the fourth goal pretty much knocking the stuffing out of them. It was in fact the visitors who produced the best opportunity, but Griffiths wasted a golden chance to complete a hat-trick, as he dragged a shot wide when in space in the centre of the Bardon Hill area.

Walsall Wood can regard this result as an excellent one considering the tricky playing conditions under foot. Their passing a joy to watch at times, especially in the second half as they controlled the game suitably to secure the victory. Bardon Hill could have done with at least a point here, as they now have to travel to high-flying Hereford for their next encounter. Walsal Wood will host Shepshed Dynamo next up as they look to continue an impressive season.

Remember folks, it’s all For the good of the Wood!

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