Images and captions kindly supplied by the young David Evans
Boxing Day afternoon (26th December 2016), Walsall Wood F.C. played Leicester newcomers St. Andrews at Oak Park, an entertaining ad good-natured match from which the Wood emerged victorious.
My best wishes to all the football folk who help and support the reports here – Bill Shaw for the excellent writing and humour, Andy Roper for all he does, and to David Evans for photos and help when I can’t work out what’s happening – but especially to the team and supporters, who time and time again prove themselves and their club a credit to the community. Happy new year, and thanks to you all.
Bill Shaw submitted the following match report:
Compliments of the season to you and all your readers from everyone at the Wood, as we enter an exciting new era.
There was no controversy about this win, although the visitors would say otherwise, but hey, what do they know, they couldn’t even find Walsall Wood!
I have some news to impart, but it can wait until after the Stourport Swifts game, which don’t forget is on New Year’s Eve with a 1-00 pm kick off.
Enjoy what’s left of the festive period, all the best from The Wood.
Walsall Wood 2 v 1 St. Andrews
The new Feelgood Factor saw the new management duo of Harry Harris and Scott Rickards combine to record their third two-one win on the bounce, moving Wood back into ninth place.
Both sides went for it from the start, so it came as no surprise when Wood went ahead in the ninth minute, Craig Deakin was brought down wide right for what proved the first of many times, Drew Aiton from wide right swung in the free kick, Joey Butlin glancing a header away from his namesake keeper Warren Butlin. It was end to end stuff without an end product, when on 18 minutes Shay Brennan ran onto a ball left of the box, pushed the ball past Deakin before throwing himself on the floor, somehow he escaped the yellow card his blatant dive deserved. Three minutes later Mason Hurst played a ball over the top of the Wood defence, keeper Sam Arnold racing from his box to fly kick clear from Sam Preston. On 23 minutes a ball into the left of the box was covered by Arnold and Louis Harris but they decided to enter into the Christmas spirit with a Chuckle Bros rendition of to me – no to you, Rob Morgan nipped between them to steal the ball, before calmly sliding the ball into the centre of the box for Brennan to tap home from 5 yards.
On 35 minutes Aiton wide right cut inside and crossed to the far post, keeper Warren making a superb full length save from Joey’s powerful downward header. Six minutes later a slide rule ball from Josh Mansell into the left of the box saw Warren racing off his line to save bravely at the feet of Joey.
Ten minutes into the second half a clever reverse ball from Mansell released Steven Hayles into the left of the box; he left his marker in his wake and fired over the near angle.
Two minutes later Hurst played the ball up to Leon Doughty on the right edge of the box, he turned cleverly and drilled a low drive inches wide.
Back came Wood when a minute later Aiton was fouled 25 yards out just right of centre, Butlin took the free kick, Warren couldn’t hold the shot but was first to react diving on the loose ball. Two minutes late a superb through ball by Joey released Hayles into the left of the box, before he could get his shot away Preston made a superb tackle, getting injured in the process. He was able to continue after lengthy treatment. The left wing corner was delivered into the centre of the box, Anthony Juxon powered in a header that Keaton Towers stopped but the ball was adjudged to have crossed the line, Butlin forcing the ball home to make doubly sure.
The reply was immediate, Hurst crossed from the left to find Brennan, Arnold out quickly and bravely to save at his feet, loud penalty appeals ignored.
Both sides went looking for the next goal but it was Wood who should have wrapped the game up on 87 minutes, Romeao Hutton was released into the centre of the box, keeper Butlin making a superb, brave fingertip save at his feet.
Wood held out to record their third two-one victory on the bounce, but unlike the fortuitous win over Sporting Khalsa this was thoroughly deserved.
Wood end the eventful year of 2016 with an away trip to Stourport Swifts on New Year’s Eve, please note the 1-00 pm kick off.
The first game of 2017 sees AFC Wulfrunians visit the Wood on Monday January 2nd, kick off 3-00 pm.
Walsall Wood – Arnold, Deakin, Hayles, L. Harris, Ricketts, Baines, Palmer, Juxon, Butlin (captain) Aiton, Mansell, H. Harris, Hutton, Molesworth, Jackson, Rickards.
St. Andrews – Butlin, Hodkinson, Putman, Johnson, Towers, Orton, Morgan, Hurst, Brennan, Doughty, Preston (captain), Kitchen, Fairhurst.
Thanks to Bill and David for the report – always appreciated – for The Good of the Wood!