Tuesday last (17th January 2016), the Woodmen faced AFC Wulfrunians at Oak Park, and sadly, were met with another resounding defeat.
Bill Shaw witnessed the calamity, and doesn’t mince his words:
Another disastrous night for Wood, the team looked full of goals, but the defence was full of holes making for a good night for anyone who wasn’t a Wood supporter. At times like this it’s hard to keep the faith I know, but bear with us guys, we’ve faced worse than this in the last 17 years.
As they say – this too shall pass, don’t despair, at least not yet anyway.
Walsall Wood 3 v 5 AFC Wulfrunians
AFC Wulfrunians went home with the points, but alarmingly for Wood, also scored five goals, to increase their goal tally to 31 for the season, as Wood went down to their fourth consecutive defeat.
As in last Tuesdays game the team who kicked off lost the ball, Wood immediately countered, Steven Hayles crossing from wide left, a touch by Joey Butlin set up player/manager Harry Harris and his low drive was just inside the right hand post. The lead lasted just three minutes, Jake Webb sweeping the ball out wide right to put Craig Grigg clear, his cross fired home by Tom Grainger.
On nine minutes a long clearance by keeper Lewis Gwilliams was collected by Scott Rickards wide right, he cut inside and fired a cross shot wide.
A minute later Webb chased a lost cause into the right hand corner, cut inside and crossed to the far post, Gwilliams taking the ball off the head of Grainger. Next on 14 minutes Webb again raced clear wide right, his cross hit first time by Grainger and deflecting off Luke Wright for a corner that was easily cleared. Seven minutes later Wood lost the ball on halfway, Webb put Grainger away through the centre, Adam Wood making a crucial challenge to save his teams blushes.
On 24 minutes Charlie Shaw picked up a ball right of centre, raced into the box, keeper John Bateman out quickly and bravely to save at his feet. A long ball forward by Wood six minutes later found Butlin in the centre of the box, Matthew Hunt making a great challenge. A minute later a lovely reverse ball from Butlin wide right released Ashley Jackson into the right of the box, his rising cross shot high and wide.
On 33 minutes a pinpoint crossfield ball picked out Grigg right of centre, he immediately released Jacob Barnes down the line, his low cross half cleared to Mark Ganderton 25 yards out to hit a first time drive through a packed area and into the net. They should have increased their lead on 43 minutes, Webb collected a long ball over the top of the defence, raced into the box only to fire high and wide of the advancing Gwilliams and the net.
On 52 minutes Harris hit a crossfield ball to pick out Butlin on the right of the box, his low drive deflected for a corner, from which Wood planted a far post header just too high. On 66 minutes Drew Aiton powered into the left of the box, he went down under a challenge from behind, half-hearted penalty appeals ignored.
Four minutes later a quick counter attack by Wulfs wide right, the ball crossed into the middle to find Grainger to run on and calmly score goal number three.
Within three minutes Wood were back in contention, a ball over the top of the defence was collected at pace by Aiton, he entered the left of the box, keeper Bateman saving bravely at his feet, the ball squirming loose, Liam Molesworth first to react firing the loose ball home.
Wood then committed suicide a minute later, a sloppy back pass was intercepted by Webb to easily score goal number four. With 79 minutes on the clock, Wulfs sewed the three points up, a long ball forward found Dimitri Brown just outside the D, he held off two players before cheekily lobbing the stranded Gwilliams.
The Wood kept trying to get back into the game and on 84 minutes Louis Harris was brought down as he raced into the centre of the box, he took the penalty himself to bring the deficit back to two, but there was to be no reprieve as the loss became number four out of four.
Wood had the perfect start but things went downhill from then on, and not for the first time this season they lost their way, ending up being turned over by a side in the bottom six.
It’s Boldmere St. Michaels at home for Wood on Saturday 21st, followed by the league cup quarter final on Tuesday night against visitors Highgate United. With Alvechurch and Westfields due to play each other, with Lye Town waiting for the winners, this seasons competition is wide open, so all to play for.
Walsall Wood – Gwilliams, Shaw, Hayles, Bains, Wright, Wood, L. Harris, Rickards, Butlin (captain), H. Harris, Jackson, Molesworth, Deakin, Aiton, Taylor, Mansell.
AFC Wulfrunians – Bateman, Grigg, McDonald, Sedgwick (captain), Hill, Barnes, Ganderton, Colley, Grainger, Webb, Hunt, Ray, Palmer, Rose-Laing, Brown, Stevenson.
Walsall Wood are a good team and an excellent, community-spirited club. They need our support – please do attend the coming games if you can.
For The Good of the Wood!