Disappointing defeat for Woodmen as Highgate triumph

Photos and captions very kindly supplied by the young David Evans

Yesterday afternoon (Saturday, 23rd April 2016) Walsall Wood were visited by Highgate United, who sadly went back home with a one-nil win thanks to a penalty.

Bill Shaw was there, and sent the following report:

Hiya Bob,

The Jekyll and Hyde season continues, an encouraging performance on Thursday night followed just 48 hours later by a lacklustre one.

This defeat was a better game than the early season encounter with Alvechurch but only just, with Woods neat approach play lacking a killer touch.

One plus was the return of Luke Adams after almost a seasons long injury, but Dan Griffiths had the bad news that the Thursday evening injury is a broken elbow, see you next season sunshine.

In some ways the injuries sum up the season, unforeseen but unfortunate, one week to go, season 2016-2017 has to be kinder to all of us at the Wood – surely.

Walsall Wood 0 v 1 Highgate United

A Levi Brown penalty six minutes from time gave the visitors all three points from this disappointing niggly encounter that only occasionally got out of second gear. Two big decisions, both horribly wrong, but fortunately the right result.

The tale of the first 25 minutes is summed up in one word – stalemate. It took until the 27th minute for an effort on goal when from a right wing free kick the ball fell to Wood skipper Harry Harris whose first time effort bounced off the crossbar.

Straight to the other end, Lei Brown in the centre of the D turned cleverly only to finish weakly, keeper Andy Hughes making an easy save.

Three minutes later Luke Adams broke up a left wing attack and put Lewis Taylor Boyce away wide right, his low cross half cleared to Anthony Juxon to hit a first time rising drive just too high.

On 35 minutes Wood gave away a free kick on the right edge of the box, Brown firing the ball through the wall to bring a full length save from Hughes. A minute later a back pass fell short, Hughes racing from his line to just reach the ball before James Loney, calmly sidestep the forward and clear upfield.

A minute later a Juxon crossfield ball found Taylor Boyce right of centre, he cut inside one challenge, his rising drive deflected the wrong side of the post.

With 40 minutes gone a mistake let in Tom Lacey to race for goal, Lee Hildreth saving Wood with a superbly timed challenge. Brown had the last word of the first half, racing into the right of the box only to again finish weakly right on the half time whistle.

Five minutes into the second half Drew Aiton got away wide left before being brought down, Harry Harris delivered the free kick into the area, a scramble developed, Grant Beckett seeing his goalbound header headed off the line. Four minutes later Harris won the ball in midfield, powered forward and released Corey Currithers in on goal, he chipped the ball over keeper Bradley Catlow who got the lightest of touches on the ball and two defenders finished the clearance. three minutes later a clever right wing move saw Louis Harris feed Taylor Boyce, who released Currithers into the centre of the box, Catlow with a full length brave block.

On 61 minutes Danny Rolfe crossed to the far post from wide right, Brown bulleting in a header to bring a superb save from Hughes.

Two minutes later Currithers won a left wing corner, the flag kick played short to Taylor Boyce who went across the face of the box, his low drive bouncing to safety off the foot of the left hand post.

To the other end, Loney in the centre of the box laid the ball back to Rolfe to hit a rising drive just too high. The first poor decision came on 67 minutes, Brown (two yards inside the box was brought down) the decision a free kick in the D, Brown’s free kick deflecting off the wall for a corner. Three minutes later Karl King flicked on a right wing cross that bounced just in front of Brown at the far post. A neat move left of centre five minutes later opened up the Wood defence, Brown scoring from King’s low cross only for an offside flag to cancel out the goal. Five minutes later it was King collecting the ball from a right wing throw in, turning and firing over the near angle. 84 minutes Brown collected a ball right of the D, his clever ball to the left of the box was collected at pace by Loney who went down very easily to con a penalty. Brown firing in the spot kick that just beat Hughes.

Wood tried hard for the equaliser, Black finding Currithers on 88 minutes, keeper Catlow kicking clear. A minute later Louis Harris powered into the right of the box, cut inside showing good close control and feeding Black, his first time shot deflected wide.

Two wrongs in this case made a right, the first penalty shout wasn’t given, it should have been, the second one was a laughable decision. Highgate deserved the win as Wood followed up a good performance with a disappointing one, the story regrettably of their season.

It’s Stourport away on Monday night before the second leg of the league cup semi-final at home to Lye Town on Thursday night, 2-2 from the first leg, so still all to play for.

Bill Shaw

The Teams:

Walsall Wood: Hughes, Adams, Hayles, Hildreth, Beckett, Juxon, L. Harris, H. Harris (c), Currithers, Aiton, Taylor Boyce, Wright, Birch, Roberts, Sappleton-Williams, Black.

Highgate United: Catlow, Edwards (c), N. Pulisciano, Cole, Turner, King, Corry, Rolfe, Loney, Brown, A. Pulisciano, Hayward, Frain.

I know many of you lot love the match reports and news from Oak Park, and it’s great to be able to share them: I thank Bill Shaw profusely – he’s a top bloke.

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.

I guarantee you’ll have more fun cheering on the local chaps than you ever will watching the over-priced prima donnas on TV…

For the good of The Wood!

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