Pictures and captions kindly supplied by David Evans
Walsall Wood FC hosted Tividale yesterday afternoon (Saturday, 14th January 2017) and despite a hard fought match, emerged the losers.
Bill Shaw was there as ever:
It’s now three defeats in a row, all by two goal margins, but this could have been a different story, keeper Luke Kriskinans was man of the match with a string of fine saves to deny Drew Aiton, Joey Butlin and Liam Molesworth in particular.
Wood made five changes from the game on Tuesday night and with just a little more composure in front of goal could have taken at least one, if not all three points.
We aren’t going to win the league, or get relegated, so it’s now a learning curve for all concerned, but rest assured things will get better between now and the 29th April as the squad gets to know each other’s play.
Walsall Wood 1 v 3 Tividale
A performance by Dale that belied their lowly league position, Wood again carved out chances but a combination of keeper Luke Kriskinans and the woodwork saw them go down to a third consecutive defeat.
The visitors had the better of the opening few minutes, on 10 Craig Stevens played a ball over the Wood defence, keeper Lewis Gwilliams quickly to the edge of the area to take the ball a split second before Chris Bladen. Three minutes later Lewis McPike fed Jacob Wedderburn wide right, he raced into the box, his low cross put behind by Adam Wood to deny Bladen.
Wood’s first effort came on 15 minutes, Drew Aiton made the left of the box and pulled the ball back into the path of Joey Butlin, he unselfishly set up Stephen Palmer, his rising drive fingertipped onto the bar and over by keeper Luke Kriskinans. From the left wing corner Louis Harris planted a header just too high. Two minutes later Anthony Juxon collected the ball from a left wing throw, he found Drew Aiton whose low drive was pushed away by the keeper.
On 26 minutes a left wing corner to the far post was forced home by Dan Smith. On 34 minutes a superb 60 yard crossfield ball by Darragh Bustin found Wedderburn wide right, his first time cross was bulleted home by the head of Bladen.
Wood’s reply two minutes later saw a long ball into the right of the box find Butlin who held the ball up before turning and floating a cross shot just over the far angle. A minute later a central free kick by Wood was headed down by Butlin, Harris firing first time over.
Five minutes into the second half a long ball over the top of the visitors defence was collected at pace by Liam Molesworth to hit first time too high.
Disaster for Wood on 58 minutes, Luke Wright under pressure played the ball across his own box, the wide awake Bladen intercepted the ball and gleefully made it three-nil. Seven minutes later a right wing near post free kick was headed over the angle by the impressive Wedderburn.
On 69 minutes Harris raced into the right of the box, his low drive deflected for a corner. The corner delivered beyond the far post for Wood to power a header wide. A minute later a low drive from Molesworth was touched around the post by Kriskinans. The resulting corner again headed wide by Wood. 73 minutes saw a central free kick collected by Aiton, his rising drive touched over by the keeper. From the corner the ball dropped for Harris to stab the ball wide. On 75 minutes Aiton cut inside from wide left, his far post cross just missed by Butlin and defenders sliding in to give Wood a lifeline, as the ball nestled in the corner of the net.
On 84 minutes Lewis Probert fired in a 25 yard central free kick that was dropped by Gwilliams, substitute Harvey Walker first to the ball only to hit the right hand post from six yards. Two minutes later Gwilliams mis-kicked a back pass straight to Bladen, but the keeper then redeemed himself with a brave full length save at the striker’s feet.
On 90 minutes Steven Hayles with a left wing run and cross set up Molesworth to plant a header just too high.
Wood’s frailties in front of goal were again exposed, but striker Chris Bladen showed them how it was done, throw in a superb goal-keeping performance by Luke Kriskinans and Wood were really up against it, because at the end of the day it’s goals that count.
Weather permitting its AFC Wulfrunians at the Wood on Tuesday night, (17th) followed on Saturday by Boldmere St. Michaels.
Walsall Wood – Gwilliams, Molesworth, Jackson, Bains, Wright, Wood, Palmer, Juxon, Butlin (captain), Aiton, Harris, Rickards, Hayles, Ricketts, Mansell, Shaw.
Tividale – Kriskinans, Wedderburn, Hill, Gardner (captain), Watts, Stevens, McPike, Probert, Bladen, Bustin, Smith, Hurdman, Grainger, Sebbah, Oliver, Walker.
As ever, thanks to Bill and David for the report – always appreciated – for The Good of the Wood!