Images and captions kindly supplied by David Evans
Walsall Wood FC were away at Rocester yesterday afternoon (Saturday, 1st October 2016), and again, they recovered late in the game but just couldn’t equalise – Bill Shaw was there and enjoyed a great game of football in awful conditions.
Bill sent this report:
An entertaining game of football played in almost continuous rain with us regrettably on the wrong side of the rub of the green, This outcome today coming after Monday’s FA Vase draw that gave us an away tie at unbeaten Westfields makes you think someone up there doesn’t like us much.
But we dust ourselves down and come back fighting, who knows, the injury crisis might improve and then it’s look out Midland League, here come the Wood.
Rocester 3 v 2 Walsall Wood
When Rocester went three nil ahead in the 72nd minute it looked all over for Wood, but they came roaring back and had the Romans hanging on at the end but couldn’t find the equaliser their overall performance at least deserved.
An enterprising start from both teams, the home side first to threaten on eight minutes, Sam Griffiths racing onto a ball wide right, his ball inside driven across the face of the box to find skipper Callum Riddell who saw his first time effort blocked.
Wood almost went ahead three minutes later, Joe Haines put Karl Edwards clear wide left, he pulled the ball back for Lewis Taylor Boyce to set up Haines 20 yards out, his rising drive headed off the line by full back Carl Allen. 14 minutes and from a right wing corner Shawn Boothe powered a header inside the near post, keeper Richard Froggatt acrobatically tipping the ball over. A minute later Drew Aiton’s 30 yard free kick was pushed away by Froggatt at full stretch.
On 21 minutes Tom Land raced onto a ball left of centre, crossed into the box Boothe heading clear to deny Karl Ashton. From the throw in the ball was played across the face of the box to find Rob Ritchie-Smith, his first time low drive saved at full stretch by Wood keeper Adam Jenkins.
Back came Wood when on 26 minutes Taylor Boyce got away wide right, his cross touched off the head of Nick Wright by the flying Froggatt. A minute later Ben Birch played a ball forward, Aiton flicked on a header only for Froggatt to race from his line to deny Edwards.
On 35 minutes Riddell raced into the left of the box, his low drive deflected for a corner. From the corner Ashton powered in a header that had just too much power for the defender on the post to put the Romans a little fortuitously ahead. Craig Deakin went close with a cross shot for Wood before on 43 minutes Ritchie-Smith raced through one challenge and into the right of the box, Haines saving Wood with a superbly timed challenge.
Wood put the home goal under pressure at the start of the second half but on 49 minutes they went two behind, Ritchie-Smith getting away wide right, crossing low into the box to find Ashton who fired home off the underside of the bar.
A quiet spell followed until on 63 minutes Nick Wright powered into the box, his low drive well saved. The reply was instant, Riddell leaving his marker for dead, making the box his shot saved by the legs of keeper Jenkins.
On 69 minutes a long clearance was flicked on to substitute Leon Taylor, Froggatt saving bravely at his feet. It was Froggatt again a minute later clawing away a rising drive from Edwards. It looked to be all over when on 72 minutes Riddell challenged for a long ball forward, the ball breaking kindly for him as he ran into the left of the box, curling the ball past the advancing Jenkins and into the far corner to make it three-nil. Two minutes later Riddell made the left byeline, his cross headed away by Boothe straight to Sebastian Szondi to fire a first time effort over the right angle.
On 78 minutes Luke Adams fired in a right wing cross to beyond the far post, Birch powering a header that went in off a defender on the post. Four minutes later when from another right wing cross Taylor fired in a rising drive from the left edge of the box to set Rocester nerves jangling with the score at three-two.
But it was the home side who had the last word, Riddell beating the offside trap, racing into the left of the box his low drive well saved by keeper Jenkins low to his left.
It was so near yet so far for Wood, they hadn’t played badly and were unlucky to actually not be ahead never mind three down after 72 minutes. They did however mount a spirited late fight back that deserved at least a point, if not all three.
It’s Loughborough University up next for the Wood at home on Saturday 8th October.
Rocester – Froggatt, Frost, Allen, Land, Bullock, Chatfield, Ritchie-Smith, Szondi, Ashton, Riddell (c), Griffiths, Brockley, Shaw, Roome, Wood.
Walsall Wood – Jenkins, Deakin, Haines, Boothe, Birch, Adams, Wright, Williams, Edwards (c), Aiton, Taylor Boyce, Hayles, Taylor, Roberts, Graham, Faultless.
Thanks to Bill, for an honest, entertaining and very fan-focussed match report, as ever. Really an honour to feature them here.
Check out Walsall Wood FC’s website here.