Images and captions kindly supplied by the young David Evans
Yesterday afternoon (Saturday, 22nd April 2017), Walsall Wood FC were visited by Heanor Town, and the home crowd needed a win – sadly it wasn’t to be, and the Derbyshire team left the Wood faithful reeling.
I particularly felt for Bill Shaw, for this is is last home match report (more on that later), and as usual, he’s not holding back.
It wasn’t meant to end like this, now and again we remembered that you could play football on the floor instead of the hit and hope variety that kept coming to the fore.
My 17 seasons can’t end in the heartbreak of relegation – can they? Over the years Westfields had been a happy hunting ground until this seasons FA Vase game, let’s hope that was a one off.
So folks, it’s everything crossed for what promises to be a very, very tense encounter next Saturday in Hereford.
Walsall Wood 1 v 3 Heanor Town
Wood needing just a point for safety went down to an Elliott Reeves hat-trick. With Alvechurch stuttering to a draw to take the title at lowly Shawbury United it means that if the Shropshire side win at relegated Brocton next Saturday and Wood lose at Westfields it will be Wood who are relegated on goal difference.
It was Wood who had the better of the early exchanges but it was the visitors who threatened first, Sean Roulston breaking up a Wood attack and finding Dominic Wilkinson wide right to run on and release Man of the Match Elliott Reeves into the right of the box, his low drive was half stopped by keeper Adam Jenkins and Drew Ricketts calmly completed the clearance. It was Reeves on 17 minutes, riding a challenge as he raced into the right of the box, there was no appeal but inexplicably the referee blew for a penalty. Reeves calmly slotted the spot kick home.
Two minutes later from a right wing corner a Drew Ricketts goal-bound effort bounced away from goal off skipper Joey Butlin and was cleared.
On 23 minutes Reeves powered into the right of the box, he made the near post and keeper Jenkins made a brave block at his feet.
Two minutes later Butlin raced onto a ball into the centre of the box, loud penalty appeals waived away as he appeared to be dragged down from behind. Josh Mansell crossed from wide left, Liam Molesworth glancing a header just wide of the far post just 2 minutes later.
Match highlights as filmed by Heanor Town and posted on YouTube.
On 39 minutes Reeves went on a forceful run from wide right, cutting inside but being crowded out at the near post by keeper Jenkins and two defenders. Right on the stroke of half time a left wing corner found hot shot Reeves who swept home number two.
The first real chance of the second half fell to the visitors, Jay Cooper cutting inside from wide right before being crowded out as he made the box.
Wood suddenly found that the ball could be played along the floor instead of just booted aimlessly forwards when on 61 minutes a lovely move through the centre ended with Leon Taylor finding Lewis Taylor Boyce on the right of the box, he ran on played a neat one-two with Molesworth before beating the advancing Joe McCormack as he raced from his line. On 72 minutes a flick on by Taylor was collected by Taylor Boyce with his back to goal he cleverly turned his marker only to roll his cross shot agonisingly wide.
Two minutes later Cooper ran at the Wood defence from wide right, his low driven cross hit first time by substitute Jack Warner, keeper Jenkins pushing the ball away with a superb save. A further two minutes later Reeves ran through from halfway left of centre, he went through a strong challenge, the ball bouncing kindly for him to run on into the box to calmly slide home number three, completing his hat-trick in the process.
The goal knocked the stuffing out of Wood, but on 90 minutes a long ball forward into the centre of the box found Taylor, he was strong to hold the ball up but was crowded out by a posse of defenders. Well into injury time a ball over the top of the Town defence saw keeper McCormack race out of his area to head clear from Henry Harris.
Wood had no answer to hotshot Elliott Reeves, he was the difference between the two teams with his clinical finishing. So after 41 games it all comes down to No. 42.
If Wood get at least a point at Westfields they will be safe no matter what Shawbury do at Brocton.
Walsall Wood – Jenkins, Adams, Okojie, L. Harris, Ricketts, Bains, Molesworth, Mansell, Butlin (captain), Aiton, Taylor Boyce, Brooks, Henry Harris, Ricketts, Harry Harris, Taylor.
Heanor Town – McCormack, Marriott, Layton, Craddock, Roulston (captain) Hall, Wilkinson, Brown, Benger, Cooper, Reeves, Warner, Sismey, Walker, Clarke.
As ever, thanks to Bill for the report – always appreciated – for The Good of the Wood!