Images and captions kindly supplied by David Evans.
Yesterday afternoon (Saturday, 9th October 2016), Walsall Wood FC entertained Loughborough University at Oak Park, and despite a very closely fought battle, neither side could quite pull ahead.
Bill Shaw was there, and submitted the following match report:
Another disappointing performance in front of a good crowd, it was like watching a car stuck in third gear, promising up to a point but struggling to kick on.
I know I go on about injuries but last seasons leading scorer Joey Butlin has now missed nine games on the trot and he’s a hard act to follow. Ashley Jackson is back in training after the chipped bone in his ankle and it was great to welcome Anthony Juxon back from his journey down the road to Boldmere St. Michaels. ‘Iron Man’ Lee Hildreth was also back for his first game of the season as Swanny called the changes to try and find a winning combination.
He’ll get there, don’t despair – just keep the faith.
Walsall Wood 1 v 1 Loughborough University
Another two points dropped at home by Wood as they struggled to come to terms with their lively visitors, one nil down from the 53rd minute supersub player coach Leon Taylor capitalised on an 81st minute defence mistake to score a composed equaliser.
The game started at a hundred miles per hour but without either keeper being troubled. On 16 minutes Wood’s Nick Wright powered in along the right byeline, his vicious low cross blocked at his near post by keeper James Stallan. A free kick on the right of the box a minute later was driven in low by Harry Harris, Wrights first time effort blocked on the line. On 25 minutes Luke Adams released Drew Aiton into the right of the box, George Carpenter saving the visitors at the expense of a corner. Three minutes later Aiton crossed from wide right, Wright headed the ball beyond the far post only for Harry Cullum to try and head the ball back to his keeper who had to make a full length save.
With their first real attack on 35 minutes the students should have gone ahead, Alex Read raced clear wide right, his ball low across the face of the Wood box hit first time by Matthew Crookes, debutant keeper Charlie Price with a superb brave block. Six minutes later Elliott Legg’s ball into the centre of the box saw Craig Deakin race back to deny Crookes.
On 43 minutes Harris delivered in a right wing free kick, Wright’s powerful header well held by Stallan.
A minute into the second half a poor back pass was intercepted by Karl Edwards, he went past Stallan but was held up by a defender, the keeper racing back to push his shot away.
Two minutes later Jerimiah Dasaolu raced into the Wood box, but under pressure fired high over. On 53 minutes Wood were penned in their goal area, the ball was played into the near post and Elliott Legg forced the ball home from close range. Three minutes later a 25 yard free kick left of centre was fired into the bottom right hand corner by Jack Poxon, Price flying to his left to make a superb save. It was Poxon again two minutes later collecting a ball from wide left, taking one touch and rolling an effort inches wide of the right hand post. On 71 minutes great play in the right hand corner by Read saw him beat two defenders, he pulled the ball back to Poxon to fire first time wide.
On 77 minutes Adams played a ball into the right of the box, Aiton firing in a rising drive that Stallan finger-tipped onto the bar. Four minutes later Deakin played the ball into the left of the box, a defender miskicked allowing substitute Leon Taylor to run through on goal to calmly slot the ball into the far corner. A further four minutes after Wright won the ball wide left, his superb crossfield ball picked out Aiton who raced into the right of the box but was stopped by a great tackle from Cullum.
On 90 minutes Read hit a right wing cross to the far post, Daniel Brenan heading back across goal and wide of the far post.
The game simmered but never quite came to the boil. Wood had the better of the first half but struggled to get out of second gear.
With Shepshed Dynamo losing three-two at leaders Westfield Wood stay in eighth place but really do need to win these sort of games if they want to be thought of as serious title contenders.
Its Staffs Senior Cup action at Stafford Town on Tuesday night before Coventry Sphinx are the visitors next Saturday.
Walsall Wood – Price, Adams, Deakin, Hildreth, Juxon, Williams, H. Harris (Captain), Edwards, Aiton, Wright, Haines, Birch, L. Harris, Taylor Boyce, Taylor.
Loughborough University – Stallan, Cullum, Carpenter, Brenan, Jackson, Rankin, Read, Legg (Captain), Crookes, Dasaolu, Bridge, Davis, Welch, Hill, Poxon, Wright.
Oh well! Thanks to Bill and David for the report. Onwards and upwards… For the good of the Wood!