Yesterday afternoon (Saturday, 8th January 2017), Walsall Wood were away at Lye Town, and after a match played on a very poor quality pitch, Wood were beaten two nil.
Bill submitted the following report:
A defeat, but you would have been hard pushed to say who was second in the league, it really was that close. The pitch was playable – just, but could cause a load of problems for Lye in the next six to eight weeks.
For Wood it’s Staffs Senior Cup action on Tuesday night when Wolves Sporting are the visitors. Saturday sees lowly Tividale the who come a calling. It’s six home games in the next three weeks, so save your pennies.
Lye Town 2 v 0 Walsall Wood
Lye stayed in touch with leaders Alvechurch with this hard fought victory over resurgent Wood. Both sides battled to come to terms with the far from ideal surface, that was almost devoid of grass and was an endorsement of 3G pitches.
An interesting hundred mile an hour start by both sides but it was Wood who threatened first, Joey Butlin on halfway released Liam Molesworth on the right, his whipped cross was hit first time by Butlin, Alex Dallison making a brave block.
On seven minutes Jack Pearlman delivered a left wing free kick to the far post, Ben Billingham powering in a downward header that bounced up and was touched over by keeper Lewis Gwilliams. Five minutes later Billingham raced into the right of the box only to fire a cross shot well wide. Three minutes later Scott Gennard went on a powerful run from halfway into the right of the box, firing a low drive into the side netting. On 25 minutes a right wing free kick was delivered to the far post going over everyone, Pearlman getting in a header just inside the post to open the scoring.
On 32 minutes Stephen Palmer delivered a right wing free kick to beyond the far post, Adam Wood headed the ball back across goal, Dallison heading the ball out, but only finding Louis Harris whose first time effort bounced off the top of the bar. On 43 minutes Palmers right wing free kick was headed back across goal again by Wood, Molesworth slipping as he shot giving keeper Dean Coleman an easy save.
Wood came out for the second half all guns blazing and within a minute Joey Butlin raced onto a ball into the right of the box, keeper Coleman saving bravely at his feet.
Both sides were trying to get the better of the slick surface with Town putting Wood under pressure and winning a right wing corner on 52 minutes, Dallison heading home at the far post to double the home sides lead.
A minute later Molesworth powered inside from wide right, his driven low cross cut out by Pearlman to deny Butlin. On 78 minutes a right wing cross was headed on to the far post by Drew Aiton, Joey Butlin flashing a volley inches over the angle. two minutes later Charlie Shaw threaded a ball into the right of the box, Ashley Jackson firing a cross shot the wrong side of the post.
Wood having used all their substitutes then lost Drew Ricketts to an injury but still kept trying to take the game to high flying Town, but just couldn’t make the all important breakthrough, giving the home side all the points from a game that could have gone either way.
It was certainly the worst playing surface of the season, the argument that it’s the same for both sides doesn’t hold up however, Lye are used to it, the ML Safety Stadium has grass on it, but that’s football. It’s now Tuesday, Saturday for three weeks for Wood, that’s six home games on the trot before they travel to St. Andrews on Saturday 28th January to hopefully complete the January fixture list without too many postponements for bad weather.
Lye Town – Coleman, Jones, Meacham, Pearlman, Dallison, Paskin, Griffiths, Gennard, Spray, Billingham, Jeavons (captain), Johnston, Tye, Mills, Danks, Till.
Walsall Wood – Gwilliams, Ricketts, Hayles, L. Harris, Wood, Bains, Molesworth, Shaw, Butlin (captain), Palmer, Aiton, Mansell, Wright, Juxon, Taylor, Jackson.
There’s a bonus this week as David and Simon were unable to attend Lye, and so checked out the Wood Reserve team’s game at Oak Park.
Walsall Wood Reserves 3 v 3 Rocester Reserves
I wanted to see how this season’s Wood’s reserve team were shaping up. Conclusion;- Very well, indeed!
Both teams played with boundless enthusiasm , increasing confidence and skill as they delighted spectators with the quality of football, helped by the quality of the forgiving and compliant real grass playing surface.
A sporting, good natured yet meaningful game played out before appreciative spectators.
Images and captions by David Evans
My thanks to Bill and David for great reports – and for all those they selflessly write and send to me after every match. They really are popular, and a credit to the club. Walsall Wood have a reputation for being a great, community spirited group of people and these reports demonstrate that – it’s an honour and joy to feature them here.
For the good of the Wood!