Back last Monday evening(25th April 2016), Walsall Wood played the latest of their recent marathon match run, when they visited Stourport Swifts at Walshes Meadow, and came home with a respectable draw.
Bill Shaw was there for all the action and submitted the following match report:
The calendar might say it’s Summer time but last night on the banks of the Severn, with a biting wind blowing it was bloody freezing. The football went some way to keeping us warm as the two sides served up a sporting, competitive encounter.
Max Black scored the goal, Woods 100th of the season in all competitions. On January 2015 against Stourport Swifts his life was turned upside down as he spent six months in limbo, because he reacted as 95% of the population would to a cowardly act. Then later that year he was diagnosed with heart problems. The way he has fought back shows he has the heart of a lion and it was quite emotional last night when the goal showed just how brave he is. Max, the club is so proud of you, to come through everything you’ve faced makes you very special.
Semi-final action on Thursday night, in a game that is tied at two all, nothing is certain but come along and roar the lads into the May 10th Final.
Stourport Swifts 1 v 1 Walsall Wood
Understandably both sides had one eye on Thursday night’s league cup semi-final but nevertheless it was an interesting contest with a point apiece a fair reflection of a hard fought 90 minutes.
On three minutes Corey Currithers raced clear wide left, cut inside and went through three tackles before firing in a rising drive that was blocked by a defender, the ball looping into the air, Anthony Juxon getting in an acrobatic overhead kick that was well taken by home keeper Dominic Richards.
To the other end, Reece Shilvock powering into the right of the box, laying the ball back into the path of Jack Bailey, Craig Deakin with a brave block from his first time shot.
On 11 minutes an intricate right wing Wood move involving Ricardo Ricketts and Max Black ended with Louis Harris crossing into the centre for Corey Currithers to get in a header that was well held by Richards.
A poor defensive clearance on 20 minutes went straight to Shilvock, he raced into the right of the Wood box only to fire wide of the near post.
Eight minutes later Black was fouled in the centre circle, Deakin’s free kick headed onto the roof of the net by Ben Birch. Four minutes later a pinpoint crossfield ball from Black found Ben Evans wide right, his clever ball inside the full back was collected at pace by Harry Harris to fire a cross shot narrowly wide. The opening goal came on 35 minutes from a lovely flowing Wood move, Louis Harris ran at the defence and played the ball inside to Black who swept the ball out wide left to Currithers, whilst continuing his run into the box, Currithers crossed low into the box and Black powered in a diving header to score Wood’s 100th goal of the season. Wood nearly made it two-nil when three minutes later Harry Harris twisted and turned on the left apex of the box before firing in a low far post cross that was inches in front of Black.
Right on halftime Ben Maund held the ball up in the centre of the Wood box, before turning and firing a rising drive high and wide.
Three minutes into the second half Shilvock won a right wing corner, the flag kick delivered to the far post Ryan Woollacott powering a header just over. A minute later Liam Williams fired a 25 yard free kick just wide. On 60 minutes substitute Thomas Garratt raced into the right of the box, his vicious low cross calmly cut out by Grant Beckett to deny Williams.
Three minutes later a lovely reverse ball by Black released Evans into the left of the box, a trio of defenders quickly closing him down before he could get his shot away. A minute later a left to right crossfield run by Currithers ended when he laid the ball into the path of Louis Harris to fire a rising drive just too high. Then on 75 minutes a ball into the centre of the box was headed down by Black to find Drew Aiton who turned and fired narrowly wide.
Having weathered the mini storm Swifts came roaring back, or to be more precise Liam Williams took on the Wood defence single handed when on 80 minutes he raced onto a ball into the left of the box and went down under a clumsy challenge, a penalty was given. He took the spot kick himself, but was foiled by Wood custodian Adam Jenkins pushing the ball round his right hand post. Williams was found from the short left wing corner in acres of space, he took one touch and curled a cracker into the right hand top corner of the net from the left edge of the box. A tiring Wood were put under intense pressure by a now rampant Swifts but they defended heroically to win a well deserved point.
For Wood it’s two games left, the most important game of the season against Lye Town on Thursday night before Continental Star bring the curtain down on the league season as they play their last game in the Midland League at level five on Saturday. Ironically Star pipped Southam United to the Midland Combination title in season 2011-2012 and they have been relegated from division 1 this season, proving football is a funny old game.
Stourport Swifts: Richards, Hanson, Beaumont, Robinson, Woollacott, Hurrell, Wager, Shilvock, Maund, Liam Williams, Bailey, Luke Williams, Garratt, Myers.
Walsall Wood: Jenkins, Ricketts, Deakin, Beckett, Birch, Black, L. Harris, H. Harris (c), Currithers, Juxon, Evans, Wright, Hayles, Aiton.
As ever, thanks to Bill for the report – always appreciated – for The Good of the Wood!