Images kindly supplied by Simon Evans.
Yesterday afternoon (29th October 2017), Walsall Wood F.C. travelled to Allpay Park at Hereford to face Westfields, who sadly beat the Woodmen 4-0 – this match was a last ditch hope for Walsall Wood to defy relegation, but it wasn’t to be.
Adding to the prevailing air of sadness enveloping the match was the fact that this is Bill Shaw’s last report for the Wood, as he tucks away his notebook for the last time. I paid tribute to Bill in this post here last week, and I and the readers shall miss Bill’s reports and candour greatly.
Bill was kind enough to send me a lovely message last week, which I shall cherish: It has been an honour and a privilege to have him here and if ever he changes his mind, there’s always space for a match report on the Brownhills Blog.
Anyway, on with the horror!
Bill was at the somewhat daftly named allpay.park to witness the match, and submitted the following report:
Oh dear Bob,
As I completed the match report, ‘It wasn’t meant to end like this.’
I didn’t cry, but the tears were close to the surface as after 42 games we dropped into the bottom three for the first time this season, so have to face the heartbreak of relegation back to Division One of the Midland League, (it was the Midland Combination when we won it in 2012-2013). At the end of the day let’s not forget that Wood are going down with 47 points, the teams that finished in 20th and 21st places last season were both on 30 points, it’s a freak result but it doesn’t help Wood.
Lots of news to come out of the Wood in the next few weeks, one way or another I’ll keep you posted.
Take care everyone, thanks for the support and appreciation, it’s made all the hard work worthwhile.
Lastly to you Bob, thanks for the platform, good luck mate.
Westfields 4 v 0 Walsall Wood
For only the second time in four seasons Wood found themselves in the bottom three of the Midland League Premier division, but this time saw them relegated into Division One for the season 2017-2018.
Wood had the better of a bright opening and should have gone ahead after just five minutes, Lee Hildreth racing clear wide right, crossing into the centre to find Drew Aiton who scooped a close range effort over the bar. Two minutes later Joey Butlin was fouled on the left edge of the box, Aiton delivered the free kick beyond the far post, Louis Harris ghosting in to head the ball to keeper Kieron Blackburn for an easy save.
On 10 minutes a long ball out by the home defence was read superbly by Chris Ham, his 30 yard rising drive well held by keeper Adam Jenkins. On 25 minutes Sirdic Grant collected the ball from a counter attack wide right, he cut inside made the edge of the six yard box, his near post rising drive bringing a great save from Jenkins standing tall. A minute later Craig Jones powered into the right of the box, his cross to the far post found Aidan Thomas who took one touch and buried the ball past Jenkins. Four minutes later Richard Greaves collected a ball through the centre raced into the box, keeper Jenkins holding him up and then forcing him wide. A minute later up popped Grant, he wriggled into the centre from the right, cleverly set up Ham to his right who fired a rising drive into the top right hand corner to give Wood a mountain to climb as the news filtered through that Shawbury were leading two-nil at Brocton.
A minute later Aiton cut in from wide left, his cross cum shot bounced off the top of the bar and away to safety. On 40 minutes a free kick left of centre was delivered to the far post Harris getting in a header that was comfortably saved.
Two minutes into the second half Harris ran through the centre, touched the ball right to Butlin to hit a low drive inches wide.
On 55 minutes Grant was found wide right, he slalomed inside, chased by Josh Mansell who brought him down, another harsh decision for Wood as he was red carded. From the resulting free kick 25 yards out by Jones, Jenkins making a superb full length save. Five minutes later it was Grant cutting in from the left, his cross finding Thomas to fire a first time effort too high. A minute later a pinpoint crossfield ball by Jones found Thomas on the left of the box, his sublime calm finish making it three-nil and taking Wood’s survival hopes out of their hands.
On 76 minutes from a right wing Wood corner Rikki Bains powered a header just over. Six minutes later a ball inside from wide right was hit first time just wide by Drew Ricketts.
Three minutes later that man Grant cut inside from wide right and set up Thomas to fire first time wide. On 87 minutes Butlin in the centre of the box touched the ball right to Leon Taylor who was forced wide but played the ball back inside to Butlin, his low drive bouncing off the foot of the left hand post with Blackburn beaten.
It had to be Grant with the final word, he cut inside again from wide left, made the box only to be pulled back. Up stepped Thomas to complete his hat-trick from the penalty spot.
As in the four-three home defeat last September Wood just had no answer to the quicksilver feet and pace of Sirdic Grant who just frightened the defence to death every time he got the ball.
The end of Wood’s four years reign at Level Three, as I say goodbye to match reporting can I say it wasn’t meant to end this way, thanks everyone, it’s been a blast.
Westfields – Blackburn, Cordell, Plane, Glover (captain), Kahari, Hainault, Jones, Ham, Greaves, Thomas, Grant, Jackson, Hayes, Sauntson, Miller, Rawlings.
Walsall Wood – Jenkins, Ricketts, Adams, Hildreth, Williams, Bains, Taylor Boyce, L. Harris, Butlin (captain), Aiton, Mansell Taylor, Henry Harris, Harry Harris, Okojie, Birch.
While the first team were taking a bit of a drubbing, the young David Evans was again catching some great football back at Oak Park, where he watched WalsalL Wood Reserves play Tipton, Wood beating the visitors 2-0.
Wwfc 2 Tipton 0 final score
Another fine performance and a credit to both teams.
Can’t help thinking we should be shoving these lads up front – what could get worse?
Images and captions of Walsall Wood Reserves against Tipton at Oak Park kindly supplied by the young David Evans, who wisely swerved the Westfields wipeout.
Cheers to Bill, Simon and David, and my best wishes to Bill, who will be sorely missed. Take care old chap, and keep out of the oss road, pal.