I was surprised and delighted when yesterday this match report from last Saturday’s (29th July 2017) Walsall Wood away friendly against Aylestone Park FC dropped into my mailbox from the theoretically retired football correspondent Bill Shaw.
Sadly, it wasn’t the match result the faithful were hoping for, but you can’t win them all… And as ever, Bill’s observations are compelling and forthright.
Sorry about the delay in getting this to you but we had a breakdown in communication, something like what happened to Wood in the second half of this game.
I’m just keeping my hand in but will be there Saturday for the FA Cup game.
Aylestone Park 3 v 1 Walsall Wood
A first ever Wood goal by Daniel Okojie had put them ahead at the break but it should have been five or six. Two absolutely super strikes by Santos in the 46th and 64th minutes put the home side ahead before Joel Porter wrapped things up with the third goal in the 85th minute.
After only five minutes Santos popped up in the centre of the D, his rising first time effort bringing a great save from Wood keeper Lloyd Ransome.
Wood started to put the home defence under a bit of pressure but it took until 20 minutes for a Craig Deakin effort to bring a superb save from home keeper Conor Middleton. Five minutes later Daniel Okojie wide left crossed to the far post, the ball evaded everyone and nestled in the far corner of the net. On 35 minutes a right wing corner by Peter Till was delivered beyond the far post, Louis Harris powering a header back across goal, Middleton making a superb acrobatic stop. A great crossfield ball into the right of the box by Deakin put Tony Clarke in on goal only for Middleton to deny him with a brave block. Then Till fired in a rising drive from 30 yards that Middleton finger-tipped onto the bar, Joey Butlin and Clarke running in to put the loose ball away, only for it to fly over their heads.
Within a minute of the restart the hosts were level, a ball inside from Nick Coleford found Santos 25 yards out, he took one touch and his sweet strike flew into the top right hand corner with Ransome rooted to the spot.
On 55 minutes an intricate Wood move ended with Butlin fouled on the edge of the D, Tills free kick beat Middleton but bounced to safety off the bar.
A carbon copy of their first goal put the home side ahead on 64 minutes, Santos again with another peach of an effort.
Two minutes later from a right wing corner Chris Slater powered in a header that was blocked on the line with Middleton again beaten. A further three minutes later from another right wing corner Callum Macfarlane saw his header comfortably held by Middleton. Wood kept going forward but couldn’t break down a resolute defence.
With five minutes left Joel Porter got on the end of a right wing cross to power a header home. On 89 minutes a ball over the top into the left of the box was collected at pace by Santos, Ransome denying him his hat-trick with a great save.
It wasn’t the end to the friendly programme Wood would have wanted but they’d had chances to put the game beyond the home side before Santos took a hand with his two superb strikes.
It’s the magic of the F.A. Cup next Saturday at home as the season starts for real. The league season starts on Saturday 12th August, with a visit to Cadbury Athletic, never an easy place to go to.
Aylestone Park – Middleton, Batson, Holmes, Neat, Hulley, Tyres, Daley, Coleford, Yusef, Haycock, Santos, Armsden, Donehy, Porter, Conkay.
Walsall Wood – Ransome, Okojie, Deakin, Tolley, Campion (c), Craddock, Till, L. Harris, Butlin, Clarke, Westwood, Macfarlane, H. Harris, Slater.
Thanks so much to Bill for the report, alway appreciated – for the good of The Wood!