Lichfield City end Walsall Wood’s cup dreams

Photos and captions courtesy David Evans

It was bad news for Walsall Wood on Tuesday evening (19th April 2016) when they were away against Lichfield City, who knocked them out of the Walsall Senior Cup after some very strong soccer.

Bill Shaw was at Brownsfield Lane to watch the Woodmen in action against Lichfield City in an entertaining score draw.

Bill wrote:

Hiya Bob,

Semi-final disappointment again for Wood, losing out last night to route one Lichfield City by two goals to one.

Already without Joey Butlin, Dan Griffiths and Drew Aiton their three leading scorers, Walsall Wood had been dealt another blow after Saturday’s two goal hero Ashley Jackson was found to have fractured his patella (kneecap) in the first half of that game.

So with five games between tomorrow night and Saturday 30th it looks like crisis time as the injury list grows.

A good time for someone to step up to the plate.

Sorry folks, I’m too old and anyway I was a defender, not a striker. [Don’t look at me either, I couldn’t hit a barn door with a football at 10 paces – Bob]

Walsall Senior Cup Semi-final
Lichfield City 2 v 1 Walsall Wood

Lichfield progressed through to next month’s final as once again long ball triumphed over football. Wood played the neat approach game but couldn’t penetrate the Keena Richards/Peter Folkes central defensive partnership, whilst at the other end the howitzer kicks from keeper Connor McCarthy caused the Wood defence no end of trouble.

Notice was served on the Wood defence after just two minutes, a long ball over the top took out the defence, keeper Adam Jenkins racing from his box to head clear from Tyrone Smith. Three minutes later keeper Connor McCarthy launched the first of many howitzer balls forward to find Lewis Bourne, who raced into the box, Jenkins saving bravely at his feet.

Woods first effort saw Louis Harris released into the left of the box but under pressure from two defenders and the keeper he pushed his shot wide.

Three minutes later a high right to left diagonal ball saw Tony Clarke flick the ball past the keeper but off balance he blazed over an open goal.  13 minutes and disaster for Wood as route one paid dividends, McCarthy launched the ball forward, Clarke read the bounce of the ball perfectly, ran on to score past the stranded keeper.

On 20 minutes a quickly taken left wing throw saw Harry Harris play the ball inside to Corey Currithers in the D, he turned inside but Peter Folkes blocked his low drive.

Four minutes later a central free kick 35 yards out by Bourne was pushed round his left hand post by Jenkins at full stretch.  Five minutes later yet another long ball forward was collected at pace by Clarke, Grant Beckett this time saving Wood with a superbly timed challenge.

From a right wing Wood corner on 32 minutes Ben birch got in a downward header that was scrambled away off the line.

The last goalmouth action of the half came on 38 minutes, McCarthy launching the fall forward, Clarke again first to react, this time turning away from his marker to fire high and wide.

On 51 minutes a lovely chip over the defence by Louis Harris was collected at pace by Currithers, his first time flick deflected inches wide with McCarthy beaten.

City put the Wood defence under pressure six minutes later, the ball found its way out to Jack Allen right of the box, Jenkins standing tall to push away his near post rising drive.

Frustration for Wood when on 60 minutes Currithers got clear wide on the left, his ball across the face of the box found Max Black, his low drive bouncing off the foot of the left hand post, Ben Evans was first to the loose ball, his rising drive bouncing off the underside of the bar and then being hacked to safety.  10 minutes later Ricardo Ricketts collected a ball down the line from Craig Deakin wide right, he played a clever one-two with Black, raced into the box, lost his balance and fired wide of the near post,

It proved costly, as three minutes later an intricate City left wing move ended with Smith flicking the ball across the keeper to make it 2-0 to the home side.  Three

minutes later Clarke won the ball wide right, ran away from a defender, cut inside and hit a vicious cross shot just wide.

It was a case of what we have we hold with City defending high up the field, Wood winning free kicks that were delivered into the box, but easily cleared, until on 81 minutes Harry Harris fired in a free kick from wide left, the ball half cleared to Black on the edge of the box, his first time low drive nestling in the bottom right hand corner of the net.

City used the lines out wide to run down the clock, stopping Wood making a do or die finish.

Wood end the season with a striker crisis, neat approach play ending on the edge of the opposition box.  City make the final to meet either Rushall Olympic or Sporting Khalsa.

Bill Shaw

The Teams:

Lichfield City: McCarthy, Robinson, Hawes, Richards, Folkes, Hurren, Allen, Bourne, Clarke, Smith, McKardy, Crawford, Bertie, Arrowsmith, Birch, Clough.

Walsall Wood: Jenkins, Deakin, Hayles, Beckett, Birch, Black, Ricketts, H. Harris (c), Currithers, L. Harris, Evans, Wright, Juxon, Griffiths, Sappleton-Williams.

Thanks to Bill for the report, and commiserations to the team and supporters.

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.

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