Images generously supplied by the young David Evans
Yesterday afternoon (Saturday 17th December 2016) Walsall Wood FC entertained Sporting Khalsa at home – and the result was a reassuring victory for the Woodmen, much to the delight of the home fans.
I’d like to particularly welcome back Bill Shaw, who had the cataracts in one eye fixed just last wee – dedication, right there.
Also, don’t forget it’s the Walsall Wood Christmas Fair at Oak Park today – details here!
Bill Shaw reports:
A pre-Christmas cracker after the minutes silence for former player Brian Bottomer.
It was the type of game that Bottie relished with no quarter asked and both sides going for the win. Wood’s new management team recording their second win in four days with a victory over fifth placed Sporting Khalsa.
It’s a few days off for Wood now until they entertain St. Andrews on Boxing Day with an early kick off time of 12.30pm, don’t be late.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all readers of the blog from everyone at The Wood.
Walsall Wood 2 v 1 Sporting Khalsa
This win for Wood gave the new Management team their second win in four days, but more importantly gave them the first double of the season to move back into the top half of the table.
An entertaining opening few minutes with the visitors just having the edge, on seven minutes Mensah Kinch got clear wide left, his cross hit first time wide by Deqwon Ebanks. Two minutes later Josh McKenzie crossed from the right to the near post, Marvin Nisbett saw his shot blocked, Ebanks fired the rebound goalwards but it deflected off Craig Deakin on the line and beyond the left hand post. On 16 minutes a long ball into the right of the box saw keeper Sam Arnold out to save bravely at the feet of Ebanks.
On 20 minutes a Steven Hayles cross from wide left was headed skywards by Tesfa Robinson, Drew Aiton on the right edge waited for the ball to drop, his volley deflected off a defender, keeper Tom Turner changed direction to make a great full length save.
On 26 minutes Nisbett got clear wide left, his cross beyond the far post headed behind by Rikki Bains to deny Ebanks. The near post right wing corner saw Arnold fail to hold the ball under intense pressure, Mensah Kinch forcing the ball home from close range. Six minutes later Kinch took the ball past a stranded Arnold on the left of the box, only to hit his cross too high for anyone to capitalise.
On 39 minutes Hayles cut inside from wide left, his low cross bouncing off Joey Butlin and into the grateful arms of keeper Turner. Four minutes later debutant Charlie Shaw played a pinpoint ball through the defence to find Aiton on the right edge of the box, he turned his marker neatly, but his shot lacked power and Turner saved comfortably.
Wood put Khalsa under pressure at the start of the second half and after just three minutes were back on terms, Butlin’s strong run inside from wide right saw him go through three challenges before laying the ball back to Aiton, his goalbound effort partially blocked by Turner, Deakin pouncing to force the loose ball home from close range.
On 52 minutes from a free kick left of centre Robinson got in a header that Arnold saved easily. Five minutes later Kinch crossed from the left to beyond the far post, the ball was delivered back inside to Dave Meese, his first time drive bouncing to safety off the inside of the right hand post. On 70 minutes McKenzie raced onto a ball into the right of the box, his rising drive deflecting off a defender, Arnold with a great full length save.
The ridiculous off side rule presented Wood with the winner after 74 minutes, Aiton played a high ball forward wide left, Butlin 10 yards beyond the last player was judged to be not interfering with play until a defender went up for the ball, it skimmed off the top of his head, through to Butlin on the left edge of the box to run on and calmly curl the ball past the stranded Turner and into the far corner of the net. 6 minutes later a flowing move left of centre ended with Nick Wright’s cross headed out to Shaw to hit first time inches too high. Four minutes later a powerful defensive header forward by Anthony Juxon put Aiton away wide left, he cut inside, his cross shot rolling the wrong side of the post. Proving that attack is the best form of defence on 90 minutes Drew Ricketts broke up an attack, hit a ball over the top of a tiring defence, keeper Turner racing out to head clear from the tireless Butlin.
A cracking encounter for the pre–Christmas crowd, but a performance of real character by Wood who fought back from a goal down to just shade a fascinating encounter. Just a pity the rules of the game saw the extremely controversial third goal of the game decide the outcome of a match that could have gone either way.
Christmas greetings from all at The Wood, see you all on Boxing Day when we entertain Leicestershire newcomers St. Andrews to the ML Safety Stadium, KICK OFF 12.30pm NOTE.
Walsall Wood – Arnold, Deakin, Hayles, Bains, Ricketts, L. Harris, Shaw, Juxon, Butlin (captain) Aiton, Mansell, Wright, Jackson, Ricketts, Taylor, Hutton.
Sporting Khalsa – T. Turner, Rogers, Jackson, Boothe, Robinson (captain), E. Turner, McKenzie, Meese, Ebanks, Nisbett, Kinch, Bannister, Kasiama, Taylor Boyce, Cooper, Nelson.
Thanks, as ever to Bill, and apologies for the cockup – For The Good Of The Wood!
Walsall Wood Football Club are a top local side with a big-hearted faithful who know how to have a great time supporting their lads, and welcome all comers to come enjoy great local soccer. The boys from The Wood have been at the heart of the local community for a century or more, so please do go check out a match or two if you’re curious.