Images kindly supplied by Simon Evans
The agony and the ecstasy were felt this week in the Oak Park clubhouse, as Walsall Wood FC triumphed over Shawbury United away on Wednesday evening (17th August 2016), but were remarkably hammered by a resurgent Quorn yesterday afternoon (20th August 2016).
Bill Shaw caught both matches, and I run both reports here now. Sorry for not posting the Shawbury report in the week, but I just wasn’t able to get time.
Bill, as usual, doesn’t mince his words and his reports are below:
Oh dear, this wasn’t very good, I’m not going to single anyone out, but when you sink to your knees, drop your head in your hands and you break your nose because you missed, you realise it isn’t your day.
We had lost Ashley Jackson and Louis Harris as they both picked up injuries at Shawbury on Wednesday night, Ash finding himself in plaster after chipping a bone in his left ankle. It certainly affected the balance of the side losing the two of them and we really struggled to make inroads into a well organised Quorn defence, but as their Chairman pointed out to me at the end, ‘It’s the first time we’ve beaten you in 7 attempts.’ So this was a game we didn’t expect to lose.
So we dust ourselves down and go again On Tuesday night, looking for revenge against Brocton for the opening day FA Cup defeat.
One swallow doesn’t make a Summer, by the same token one league defeat isn’t a disaster, so let’s stay positive and keep the faith.
Walsall Wood 0 v 3 Quorn
After two wins on the road Wood opened their home league programme with this horror show against a useful Quorn side who worked hard throughout and thoroughly deserved to go home with all three points against a misfiring Wood.
Quorn had the better of the opening exchanges and went ahead on 10 minutes, a left wing throw found Joe Hopewell who made the byeline, pulled the ball back across the box to find Reece Fyfe who scored with a low drive just inside the right hand post. It got worse two minutes later, the ball was delivered into the box, pinging around the area but Nathan Dale took charge and fired in a rising drive to put Quorn two nil ahead and firmly in the driving seat. Five minutes later Fyfe crossed from wide right to pick out Jevin Seaton, his first time ball back across the face of the box to set up Leavi Oshungbure to fire first time over.
Woods first chance came on 19 minutes, from a long clearance a weak defensive header was collected at pace by Karl Edwards who raced for goal, three defenders getting back to snuff out the danger. A minute later Edwards turned provider, cutting inside from wide left and finding Drew Aiton, he calmly stepped inside his marker but his low drive was bravely stopped by a last ditch defensive block.
On 34 minutes two Wood defenders stood looking at each other in the centre of the D, Fyfe raced through the middle of them to take the ball at pace and feed Dominic Brennan on the right of the box, he ran into the six yard box, keeper Conor McCarthy saving his low drive with his feet.
Wood’s reply was immediate, Lewis Taylor Boyce put clear wide left by Steven Hayles, he cut back inside and from the left edge of the box fired a rising drive over the far angle.
Four minutes into the second half a neat right wing move opened up the right of the Quorn defence, Aiton released Craig Deakin to race clear, he crossed into the box to find Joey Butlin whose volley was pushed away at full stretch by keeper Miljan Grubac. Eight minutes later Butlin put Aiton away wide left, his cross into the centre hit first time just too high by Sam Williams.
Back came the visitors when three minutes later Callum Thompson won the ball in the right corner, his near post cross found Liam Turner who under pressure finished weakly, McCarthy saving at the second attempt. Three minutes later Seaton got clear on the left, his ball inside collected at pace by Brennan, Hayles saving Wood with a superbly timed challenge.
Woods immediate reply saw Butlin release newcomer Nick Wright to race into the box to send a low drive just the wrong side of the left hand post. Then on 71 minutes a right wing free kick was met first time by Wright, loud hand ball appeals waved away as his goal bound effort was charged down. A minute later Butlin released Corey Currithers left of the box, his low near post cross deflecting behind for a corner off a desperate defender.
Quorn wrapped the game up on 88 minutes, with Thompson cutting inside from wide on the right, his vicious low cross deflecting off a defender and inside the near post to complete Woods miserable afternoon.
Three changes from their impressive performance against Shawbury on Wednesday night really changed the balance of the Wood side, Ashley Jackson finds himself in plaster after chipping a bone in his left ankle, a blow, as he’d started the season really well.
There’s no relief for Wood however as Brocton (shipping an alarming number of goals since beating Wood on the opening day) visit on Tuesday and then well fancied Coleshill Town are there on Saturday before Wood travel to Sporting Khalsa on Bank Holiday Monday.
Walsall Wood – McCarthy, Deakin, Hayles, Boothe, Birch, Williams, Edwards, H. Harris (captain), Butlin, Aiton, Taylor Boyce, Beckett, Parsons, Adams, Currithers, Wright.
Quorn– Grubac, Carlin, Hopewell, Alcott, Brooks, Dale, Fyfe, Oshungbure (captain), Brennan, Turner, Seaton, Thompson, Medway, Kenny, Cunningham, Duncan.
Another win, this time with some lovely one touch football that should have brought more than just the two goals. Nevertheless it’s the best start of Swanny’s reign as Wood are one of four teams on six points from two games.
It’s three home games now, Quorn Saturday [review above – Bob], Brocton Tuesday followed by Coleshill Town on Saturday week.
Shawbury United 1 v 2 Walsall Wood
Wood kept their 100% record with an impressive performance against the Shropshire newcomers. They had to withstand a late barrage after ending the game with 10 men for the last 10 minutes after using all their substitutes and then losing Louis Harris getting injured.
It was an all action start for the visitors who had almost camped in the Shawbury half and it was no surprise when they went ahead in the 13th minute. A lovely one touch move on the right of the box ended with Joey Butlin releasing Drew Aiton to power in on goal before calmly hammering the ball past the advancing keeper Nick Ashley. It was virtually all Wood for the rest of the half with the newcomers with skipper Steven Faux prominent making the occasional foray forward. But it was Wood calling the shots, Craig Deakin twice firing over the bar. Ashley Jackson having a rasping low drive that was pushed away by Ashley and Ben Birch putting a far post header the wrong side of the post. The half-finished with Wood somehow only one goal ahead.
The second half started with Wood again in almost total control, on 51 minutes Aiton hit a rising drive from 25 yards that brought a great save from Ashley. Four minutes later Birch climbed highest at a right wing corner but powered a header wide. Four minutes later another intricate move carved open the home defence, Ashley this time pushing over a rising drive from Louis Harris. On 62 minutes Harry Harris delivered a central free kick into the box, Deakin cleverly flicked the ball on but just too far in front of Joey Butlin. Five minutes later a long ball forward was nodded down by Butlin to Harry Harris who was left thumping the ground in frustration as his goalbound effort was blocked. The home side put the Wood under a little pressure but an attack broke down and from a long ball forward into the home half under pressure a defender headed the ball back towards his keeper, Louis Harris chased the ball down reaching the ball just before keeper Ashley who made a brave block, with both players lying on the floor Harris swung a boot at the ball which bounced off the inside of the right hand post, Butlin beating a defender on the line to force the ball home in the 71st minute.
On 78 minutes from a left wing corner Paul McMullen powered a far post header back across the Wood goal and beyond the post.
Back came Wood to win a right wing corner five minutes later, a bout of head tennis ensued in the box ending with a diving header from Louis Harris pushed away by Ashley. Harris was injured shortly afterwards and left the field with Wood having used all their substitutes, now down to 10.
The home side pressed home their man advantage, but had no luck against a resolute Wood defence.
Two minutes into injury time a defensive mistake wide left saw Kieron Dovey race in along the byeline, pull the ball back across goal for Faux to score from close range.
Another injury stoppage saw the game go on until 9.50 but Wood held out to record a well-deserved victory.
Wood’s football at times was sublime bringing applause from the home supporters, but they shouldn’t have been holding on in the end. It’s now three home games in eight days as they look to consolidate on their best start in a long time.
Shawbury Utd. – Ashley, Hughes, Ballard, Hicks, Jones, Haynes, Dovey, Faux (captain), Cooper, Ellis, Armstrong, Loannoo.
Walsall Wood – Rock, Deakin, Hayles, Boothe, Birch, L. Harris, Williams, H. Harris (captain), Butlin, Aiton, Jackson, Adams, Beckett, Taylor Boyce, Currithers, Edwards.
Thanks to Bill for the reports and Simon for the photos – much appreciated.
For The Good of the Wood!