Pictures and captions kindly supplied by David Evans.
Saturday afternoon (3rd December 2016), Walsall Wood F.C. faced Loughborough University away, and they came home with a respectable draw after some entertaining football.
Bill Shaw was there to witnesss the action, after Mark Swann’s shock resignation last week:
Some superb approach play by both teams on the Wembley of non-league football. Both keepers played well, but confidence in front of goal was missing from both teams.
With reserve team manager David Carns following Swanny out of the club, popular veteran Grant Beckett has taken over the reins to move the ‘Stiffs’ forward.
Still difficult times ahead at the Wood with the Board’s first job to appoint a successor to the popular Mark Swann, whose near five year reign came to an end last Saturday. Thanks for the ride boss, I wouldn’t have missed it for the World. Good Luck mate, take care.
Loughborough University 1 v 1 Walsall Wood
Just like the earlier fixture at the Wood the home side went behind but found an equaliser. Both sides played some neat approach play but keepers James Stallan and Sam Arnold both almost kept clean sheets, with Arnold very unlucky not to succeed.
The Scholars started the better with Alex Read prominent, after only two minutes he collected a ball wide right, fired in a low cross that Shawn Boothe put behind for a corner. He made the byeline from wide right, another cross put behind by Boothe five minutes later.
On 13 minutes a misplaced Scholars clearance went straight to Ashley Jackson left of centre to run on and fire just over the right angle.
Four minutes later a long ball forward found Alex Johnson whose clever ball inside set up Jason Davis to fire a first time drive wide for the Scholars.
A neat right wing move on 19 minutes saw Karl Edwards lay the ball back to Desean Martin, his first time rising drive superbly pushed over by keeper James Stallan. A minute later Nick Wright released Ashley Jackson into the left of the box, Stallan saving bravely at his feet. Two minutes later Craig Deakin powered down the left, crossed into the box to find Edwards who rode a clumsy challenge, loud penalty shouts ignored, and his low drive was charged down. Then on 28 minutes Wright went on a right to left crossfield run across the face of the box only to be stopped on the left edge before he could get a shot away.
Having weathered the storm on 30 minutes Johnson’s ball across the face of the box was hit first time low by Read to bring a full length save from Arnold. Five minutes later a long ball wide right saw Arnold race from his area to kick clear from Luke Trotman.
Two minutes later Josh Mansell went on a powerful right wing run, cut inside and his near post low drive was well taken by Stallan at the foot of the post.
Back came Read, cutting in from wide right, his vicious low drive pushed away by Arnold.
Wood finished the half on top, Jackson’s rising drive pushed wide by Stallan and then from the second of two corners Martin fired a first time effort just wide from 40 yards.
The second half followed the pattern of the first with both keepers equal to anything that was thrown at them on the rare occasion when defences where breached. Wood were put under pressure for 20 minutes from the 65th and then Deakin broke up an attack and played a ball wide left that was collected at pace by Wright, he held off his marker, raced into the box and beat Stallan with a low drive to put Wood ahead.
On 89 minutes substitute Joe Boachie raced onto a ball into the right of the box, his low drive beat Arnold but came back off the near post flying into the net off the so unlucky keeper, whose pull back was adjudged to have crossed the line.
So the League’s under achievers shared the points which was probably a fair reflection of the 90 minutes, but interim manager Harry Harris came so close to recording his first win.
It’s Wolves Sporting at the Wood on Tuesday night before they visit Coventry United next Saturday.
Loughborough University – Stallan, Trotman, Rankin, Jackson, Cullum, Midveld, Johnson, Legg (captain), Davis, Ward-Cochrane, Read, Hill, Welch, Bridge, Boachie, O’Keefe.
Walsall Wood – Arnold, Mansell, Deakin, L. Harris, Ricketts, Boothe (captain), Wright, Martin, Edwards, Jackson, Steane, H. Harris, Manase, Taylor, Juxon, Aiton.
Thanks to Bill for the report and David for the photos – always appreciated.
For The Good of the Wood!