Pictures and captions kindly supplied by the young David Evans, who now has a spring in his step. Word has it Bill smiled a couple of times yesterday.
Walsall Wood FC entertained Long Eaton United yesterday afternoon (Saturday, 8th April 2017), and the Woodmen were clearly getting back to form, beating the visitors in a great match.
Bill Shaw was there for all the action, and sent the following match report:
Everyone at the Wood will sleep easier this weekend, but we are not home and dry yet. It’s another big game on Tuesday night against Rocester and a win will almost make us safe.
However this season 50 points could see a team relegated it’s that tight down the bottom with eight teams still in the dogfight for that last relegation spot.
Walsall Wood 1 v 0 Long Eaton United
A priceless win for Wood, Josh Mansell’s goal on 30 minutes enough to give them all three points and drag the visitors back into the relegation dogfight. The win took Wood to 17th place but still only three points above third bottom AFC Wulfrunians.
A tentative opening with neither side wanting to make a mistake until on seven minutes a Louis Harris free kick wide left found Josh Mansell, his first time shot deflected wide of the right hand post. The flag kick was only half cleared to Mansell who fired a low drive through a packed penalty area, keeper James Mitchison at full stretch to push the ball away.
On 12 minutes Romaine Graham raced clear wide right, his ball inside hit well wide by Matthew Savage from the centre of the box.
Two minutes later James Spray threaded a ball through into the right of the box, Butlin’s first time low effort pushed away by the keeper. The ball was played through the centre of the Wood defence and a chip over the top saw keeper Adam Jenkins race from his area, superbly sidestep the advancing Blair Anderson before clearing the ball downfield.
On 24 minutes Graham powered inside from wide left, his powerful low drive deflected over the bar by a brave challenge from Rikki Bains.
A minute later a long ball forward was collected by Paolo Piliero on the edge of his box, he was forced back into the box by Drew Aiton who stole the ball, but was forced wide right by two covering defenders and was eventually crowded out. The goal came on 30 minutes, Spray in the centre circle played the ball wide right to find Liam Molesworth, he ran at the defence before crossing beyond the far post to find Butlin, who cut back inside only to see his shot blocked, Mansell was first to the loose ball to fire home through a crowded penalty area. Right on the stroke of half time a right wing corner was met by Bains, his powerful header somehow kept out by keeper Mitchison with a brilliant save.
On 56 minutes Butlin found Aiton wide left, he cut inside and sent a low drive just wide of the near post. Two minutes later a lovely ball wide left by Craig Deakin found Spray, he cut inside and hit a pinpoint crossfield ball to find Butlin, his first time shot deflected just wide.
From the goal kick the ball was collected in the centre by Alderson who ran on and fired a 25 yard drive that swung away from the right hand post.
Wood closed the game down at this point giving the visitors no time or space on the ball before a minute from the end of normal time they laid siege to the visitors box, with countless shots charged down, the ball eventually falling to Aiton 25 yards out, his first time effort skimming the top of the crossbar.
The referee had indicated three minutes of added time, but somehow found five, Wood with seconds to go brought on Adam Wood as they defended a right wing corner but the ball was hit tamely wide and when Jenkins took the goal kick the full time whistle went.
A win over Rocester at home on Tuesday night will see Wood level on points with their North Staffs counterparts. A victory that would see them almost safe, but as results keep proving in every game, nothing in this division is certain this season.
Walsall Wood – Jenkins, Adams, Deakin, L. Harris, Williams, Bains, Molesworth, Mansell, Butlin (captain), Spray, Aiton, Brooks, Henry Harris, Ricketts, Wood, Taylor.
Long Eaton Utd. – Mitchison, Brain, Wholley, Lister, Keane, Piliero (captain), Todd, Hancock, Savage, Graham, Anderson, Haynes, Staniland, Daykin, Walker, Campell.
Thanks to Bill and David, as ever, for checking in with us – and good luck to the Woodmen.
What more can I add, but For The Good of the Wood!