Woodmen refuse to Lye down

P1000595

As the end of the season nears, Walsall Wood are standing their ground.

Last Thursday evening (28th April 2016) Walsall Wood were at home entertaining Lye Town, and a goalless match was the result – but unusually for a goalless match it was a great game and entertained Bill Shaw despite the late of goal action.

Bill submitted the following report:

Hiya Bob,

One of those rarities, an entertaining goal-less draw, the only thing missing was a goal or three. It was Wood courtesy of their two goals in the first leg two weeks ago who thoroughly deserved to go through to the final on Tuesday 10th May against Hereford at Solihull Moors ground at Damson Parkway on the opposite side of the A45 to Birmingham Airport.

We’ll probably be outnumbered fifty to one, but sometimes a large partisan crowd can put pressure on their own side, (I’m hoping here but stranger things have happened, being a Wolves supporter I remember unfancied Wolves beating Joe Mercer and Malcolm Allison’s moneybags Manchester City in the 1974 League Cup Final, are you listening Mr. Chairman?) So where there’s hope there’s always a chance of an upset, remember it’s not the size of the dog in the fight that counts but the size of the fight in the dog.

Polymac Packaging League Cup Semi-final second leg
Walsall Wood 0 v 0 Lye Town. (Aggregate 2-2)

Wood progressed through to the League Cup Final on the away goals rule to face League Champions Hereford at Solihull Moors ground on Tuesday 10th May. Another night of high drama at The Wood with both sides going for the outright victory with Wood having the better of the chances. The only thing missing was a goal but in the end it was Wood winning the tie courtesy of the two goals scored in the away leg.

It was an even opening without either keeper being put under pressure, but then on 10 minutes Ben Billingham collected a ball on halfway and ran at the centre of the Wood defence and into the box, Steven Hayles across to stop him with a superbly timed challenge. 2 minutes later and it was Joey Butlin returning from injury attacking down the right, he played a quick-fire one-two with Ricardo Ricketts then fired in a low near post cross that Corey Currithers hit inches wide of the post.

Four minutes later an incisive run wide right for Lye by Scott Gennard saw his clever chip into the box find Ryan Rowe to hit a first time rising drive just over.

Back came Wood, Currithers crossed from the left, Butlin on the penalty spot headed the ball down into the path of Louis Harris who screwed his cross shot well wide. Two minutes gone and Max Black won the ball on halfway and raced for goal but was fouled 40 yards out, Butlin took the free kick, his low drive beat the wall and the left hand post. It was Wood now asking all the questions, on 24 minutes Currithers came in from wide left, his driven low cross missed by everyone. It was Currithers again wide left four minutes later, his cross found Black in the centre of the box, he turned and fired in a low drive, keeper Jake Bedford making a full length save but not able to hold the ball, Lewis Taylor Boyce first to the loose ball but under intense pressure poking the ball agonisingly wide. On 36 minutes Hayles cross from wide left found Taylor Boyce in the centre with his back to goal, he turned cleverly but dragged his shot wide.

Four minutes later Wood gave away a silly free kick on the left of the box, Billingham’s far post cross pushed back across goal by keeper Adam Jenkins, Dreniz Bala sparing his blushes by putting the ball over the bar.

Wood lost influential midfield dynamo Harris to illness and Craig Deakin replaced him at the start of the second half. A similar start to the half as to the first with both sides working hard to fashion an opening. On 60 minutes a Town right wing corner flashed across the face of the six yard box, somehow avoiding everyone in a packed area and going out for a goal kick near the left corner flag. Two minutes later Hayles ball into the left hand corner saw Matt Johnson hold off Butlin but his back pass put Bedford under pressure and he sliced the clearance out of play 5 yards up the line. Three minutes later a Wood left wing attack saw Ricketts and Taylor Boyce carve open the away defence with a quick-fire one-two, Ricketts racing into the box only to fire wide of the near post.

Two minutes later Gennard raced onto a ball on the left edge of the Wood box, his first time low drive was bravely blocked by Luke Wright, Gennard first to the loose ball to fire a first time shot too high. Just a little later a free kick on halfway was flicked on by Gennard, Jenkins denying Rowe in the six yard box. It was Gennard again on 72 minutes collecting a ball through the centre, running into the area but firing wide of the right hand post.

Three minutes later Currithers collected the ball from a right wing throw, his delightful chip over a tiring defence found Black, who took one touch but fell foul of the infamous Wood bobble and put his shot just too high. Then on 84 minutes substitute Craig Deakin won the ball right of centre before playing the ball down the right to find Butlin, who cleverly turned his marker and fired a cross shot over the far angle.

Wood sat deep for the last few minutes, denying Town any space in the last third of the pitch. The final whistle saw Wood reach their first final since season 2012-2013.

OK, it’s against Hereford on Tuesday May 10th but who would have given Albion a prayer at Spurs on Monday night. At the end of the day its 11 against 11 and in football funny things sometimes happen.

Bill Shaw

The Teams:

Walsall Wood: Jenkins, Ricketts, Hayles, Beckett (c), Wright, Black, L. Harris, Juxon, Butlin , Taylor Boyce, Currithers, Deakin, Aiton, Evans, Roberts, Adams.

Lye Town: Bedford, Johnson, McFarlane, Meacham, Dallison, Tye, Bala, Gennard, Rowe, Billingham, Evitts (c), Guy, Beasley, Wilkins, Williams, Price.

My thanks to Bill for a great report – and for all those he selflessly writes and send to me after every match. They really are popular, and a credit to Bill and the club. Walsall Wood have a reputation for being a great, community spirited group of people and these reports demonstrate that – it’s an honour and joy to feature them here.

For the good of the Wood!

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