Images and captions by David Evans.
Last Thursday evening (21st April 2016), Walsall Wood entertained Heanor at Oak Park – and the Woodmen returned to form with a respectable win.
Bill Shaw kindly submitted the following report:
A good win to take us right back into the race to finish in the top Six.
After the recent spate of injuries, last night it was a case of a sickness bug hitting the squad with Louis Harris, Craig Deakin and Luke Wright all side-lined because of it. We had Drew Aiton and Dan Griffiths returning after injury, Griff scored the opening goal picking up a shoulder injury in the process. His replacement Under 21 skipper Kenny Roberts was impressive, team mates Mario Strazzanti and Ryan Thomas also made an appearance in the first team for the first time.
The second goal from skipper Harry Harris (a 35 yard screamer) was my pick for goal of the season, Corey Currithers wrapping the game up with a goal his all action performance deserved.
It’s Highgate United on Saturday, KICK OFF 1-00 pm.
Then Stourport Swifts away on Monday.
Walsall Wood 3 v 0 Heanor Town
A superb second half performance by Wood kept them still in with a chance of a top six finish. The visitors had dominated the first half, hitting the woodwork twice as Wood lived dangerously, but three points moved them up above Lye.
The visitors started like a house on fire, putting Wood under intense pressure, after only three minutes Nathan Benger powered through the centre, keeper Andy Hughes bravely blocking his powerful low drive. Two minutes later Jack Warner forced a defender into a mistake on the left edge of the box, his rolled cross shot beat Hughes, bounced off the foot of the far post, Greg Marriott first to the loose ball somehow putting the ball the wrong side of the post.
It took Wood until the 19th minute to threaten the away goal, Harry Harris won the ball on halfway before threading a slide rule ball through to find Ben Evans on the right edge of the box, he went through one tackle, was then flattened, Harris saw his 20 yard free kick comfortably cleared. On 30 minutes Max Black played the ball out wide left to find Dan Griffiths, his low first time cross hit first time high and wide by Corey Currithers.
A five minute spell of sustained pressure kept Wood penned in their own half, but Grant Beckett broke up an attack and fed Griffiths left of centre, his diagonal run took him through three challenges before he was brought down on the right edge of the box, Harris saw his free kick half cleared to Drew Aiton, his first time drive blocked by a brave defender.
On 40 minutes Warner came inside from wide left and was fouled on the edge of the box, the resultant free kick fired in low to the near post by Arash Abdollahi, Beckett putting the ball over the bar to deny Benger. Three minutes later a free kick on the right edge of the box was fired in low by Gerry Moran, Hughes pushed the ball away but straight to Abdollahi whose first time shot bounced away to safety off the foot of the left hand post.
Wood looked a totally different team after the break, on 51 minutes Aiton made ground wide left, his near post cross bulleted inches wide off the head of Griffiths. A minute later a peach of a ball by Harris into the left of the box to put Griffiths in on goal was calmly slotted home. Griffiths picking up a shoulder injury as he collided with the keeper and being replaced by Kenny Roberts. Three minutes later Currithers raced into the right of the box, laid the ball back into the path of Evans to hit a first time effort high over. 60 minutes gone and Evans went on a right to left crossfield run, his threaded ball through to the right of the six yard box hit first time by Roberts but blocked by keeper Joe McCormack. Two minutes later Roberts got clear wide left, played the ball into the box to find Currithers whose shot was blocked. Next on 65 mi
nutes a lovely through ball into the box from Black saw McCormack save bravely at the feet of Currithers. Then on 72 minutes Ricardo Ricketts was on the end of a clever right wing move, his cross cleared to Harris 35 yards out, he hit an absolute screamer into the top right hand corner to put Wood two ahead. The game was put to bed when a minute later Ricketts won the ball on halfway, ran at the defence before putting Currithers clear into the right of the box, he calmly beat the advancing keeper to put Wood in dreamland.
The last goalmouth action of the game came on 85 minutes when from a central free kick Currithers collected the ball wide right, crossed into the area and an acrobatic effort by Ben Birch flew just wide. Heanor with eyes on the Hereford game on Saturday jut faded away in the second half.
It was certainly a game of two halves, with Wood totally dominating the second period and well worth their victory. It was an introduction to Midland League football for youngsters Mario Strazzanti and Ryan Thomas as Wood look to build for the future.
The win closed the gap on Heanor to just one point with three games to play as a top six finish still remains a possibility.
Walsall Wood: Hughes, Ricketts, Hayles, Beckett, Birch, Black, Griffiths, H. Harris (c), Currithers, Aiton, Evans, Roberts, Chaouki, Strazzanti, Thomas, Butlin.
Heanor Town: McCormack, Marriott, Seale, Moran, Hall (c), Saxton, Abdollahi, Naylor, Benger, Harris, Warner, Ashoboke, Naylor, Brown, Chadburn, Beardsley.
Walsall Wood are a good team and an excellent, community-spirited club. They need our support – please do attend their games if you can.
As ever, thanks to Bill for the report – always appreciated – for The Good of the Wood!