Tuesday evening (24th January 2017) saw Walsall Wood face Solihull’s Highgate United at Oak Park where sadly, the Woodmen lost – it’s fair to say Bill Shaw was not amused.
Another night of heartache for Wood, yet again a much changed side because of new signings unable to play because of being cup-tied. The opposition as usual incorporating wind up as a 12th man had literally got away with murder, but a referee can’t send someone off for an elbow in the face if he doesn’t see the incident.
Anyway Bob, I didn’t want my last game to be at the Bescot Stadium.
The forecast here is for sub-zero temperatures over the next few days, so Saturday looks doubtful, but who knows.
Walsall Wood 1 v 2 Highgate United
Wood down to 10 men battled back from a goal behind suffered 82nd minute heartbreak when skipper Josh Hawker hammered home a header down from Wood’s nemesis Lei Brown. Already without five of Saturdays starting line up because of ineligibility Wood had battled and looked to be taking the tie to at least extra time but then up stepped that man Brown – Browned off? you bet.
Lei Brown was involved after just three minutes when he was fouled wide left, the free kick delivered to the far post, Brown putting a header inches wide.
On 11 minutes a misplaced clearance by keeper Brendan Bunn went out to Joey Butlin wide right, his cheeky effort from 45 yards going just wide. Four minutes later a clever ball on halfway by Louis Harris put Liam Molesworth into the right of the box, his rising cross shot fired over the far post. On half an hour a central free kick fell for Drew Aiton in the box, his snap shot bringing a full length save from Bunn. Two minutes later Butlin released Aiton wide left, his far post cross picked out Molesworth who planted a header straight into the grateful arms of keeper Bunn.
A minute later skipper Josh Hawker delivered a right wing free kick to the far post, keeper Andy Hughes taking the ball under intense pressure from Trevor Edwards. Three minutes later McCauley Manning crossed from wide right, Edwards powering a header over. Right on half time a free kick on the left edge of the box was taken by Edwards, flying off the outside of the left hand post.
The first action of the second half came on 52 minutes; a long clearance was headed on by Manning to put Lei Brown into the right of the box, keeper Hughes with a brave save. A quick counter attack four minutes later saw Ricardo Ricketts outnumbered three-one as Lei Brown raced through the middle into the D and was pulled back by the defender, who was harshly red carded. Hawker fired in the central 20 yard free kick, Hughes making a superb save to push the ball over the top. The left wing flag kick delivered to the far post for Lei Brown to force a header home.
On 60 minutes an intercept on halfway by Rikki Bains saw him release Butlin wide right, his whipped low cross put behind by Scott Turner to deny Aiton. With 72 minutes gone Craig Deakin raced forward and fed Aiton wide right, he cut inside and set up Butlin to race for goal only for him to fire wide under pressure from three defenders. A minute later Aiton ran at the defence and set up Mansell, Bunn saving bravely at his feet. Three minutes later Butlin put Aiton racing clear wide right, his low driven cross hammered home by the tireless Butlin to put Wood deservedly level. Five minutes later Aiton raced inside from wide left, his low cross shot well held by Bunn.
On 82 minutes Lei Brown won a left wing free kick (sound familiar), the free kick delivered beyond the far post, Lei Brown nodded the ball down for Hawker to sweep the ball home from close range.
Wood at least deserved to take the tie into extra time but they can now concentrate on building a competitive team. Weather permitting, Minus five degrees in the daytime forecast in Leicestershire tomorrow it’s St. Andrews next on Saturday before February starts with an away day to Alvechurch on Saturday 4th.
Walsall Wood – Hughes, Mansell, Deakin, Juxon, Bains, Adams, Molesworth, L. Harris, Butlin (captain), Taylor, Aiton, Ricketts, Henry Harris, Hayles, Okojie, Harry Harris.
Highgate Utd. – Bunn, Pendley, Pulisciano, Cole, Turner, T. Edwards, A. Brown, Hawker (captain), Adaggio, Manning, L. Brown, Loney, Hayward, D. Edwards, Knight.
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.
I guarantee you’ll have more fun cheering on the local chaps than you ever will watching the over-priced prima donnas on TV…
For the good of The Wood!