Images and captions Kindly supplied by the young David Evans.
Well, a resurgent Walsall Wood, undimmed by their recent defeat by Aylestone triumphed over Whitchurch yesterday afternoon (Saturday, 5th August 2017) to kickstart their FA Cup run for this season – Bill Shaw was there for the action, and submitted the following report.
A cracking game played in the right spirit and Wood, or should I say Gary Birch opening his account with a win.
A great atmosphere generated by the good natured visiting fans reminded me what I’m going to miss, but my reports will be spasmodic this season, I won’t be at Cadbury Athletic on Saturday for instance, but will be at the Hinckley game away on Tuesday 15th, just down the road from me here.
Anyway, a great start to the season for everyone at the Wood.
F. A. Cup Extra Preliminary Round
Walsall Wood 3 v 1 Whitchurch Alport
The magic of the F.A. Cup came to the ML Safety Stadium and the two teams served up a typical blood and thunder encounter with a Paul Sullivan inspired Wood deservedly in the end going through to the next round.
The visitors with experienced striker Simon Everall involved in everything pushed Wood back from the start and after just six minutes Stephen McNichol came over halfway before feeding Everall wide right, he made the bye-line before cutting back and firing a vicious cross shot that gave keeper Lloyd Ransome no chance to put the visitors deservedly ahead, much to the delight of their vocal supporters.
Two minutes later a neat turn in midfield by Paul Sullivan saw him release Jordan Fitzpatrick into the left of the box, Nicholas Marley with a great saving tackle.
It was the visitors asking all the questions but nothing to show at this point.
Wood rode the storm and on 23 minutes Andrew Westwood crossed from the right, the ball fell to Louis Harris to hit first time, keeper Daniel Read with a great full length save. Two minutes later Everall reminded everyone how dangerous he could be, lovely close control on the left of the box saw him work a shooting chance, Ransome pushing away his rising drive.
Back came Wood, Sullivan crossed from wide left, Read pushed the ball off the head of Joey Butlin, Sullivan collected the loose ball on the left of the box but was crowded out by a posse of defenders. On 32 minutes Harris played the ball out wide right to Sullivan, he crossed to the near post, Butlin powering in a header that Read saved at the second attempt. Three minutes later a left wing corner was met by the head of Mitch Tolley, Read pushing the ball away at full stretch. A central free kick was collected by Sullivan, his flick deflected wide. Wood deservedly got back on terms on 43 minutes, Harris won the ball on halfway and fed Sullivan who ran on before releasing Tony Clarke into the left of the box, he went down under a clumsy challenge, penalty. Sullivan making no mistake from the spot. It was all Wood now and right on the break a scramble developed in the box, Harris pounced to fire in a low drive, Butlin touching the ball home from close range.
Wood controlled the game at the start of the second half and on 56 minutes Read made another great save to deny Butlin. Three minutes later a clever chip over the Wood defence released substitute Ben Mill into the centre of the box, as Ransome came to meet him he lobbed the ball wide.
On 67 minutes McNichol powered through the centre and set up Luke Goddard, Ransome out quickly and bravely to save at his feet. Four minutes later Sullivan collected the ball on the left of the box, his superb close control saw him cut inside past 2 defenders and calmly put Wood into the next round.
A further four minutes on Michael Blundell delivered a left wing corner that landed on the roof of the net, giving Ransome kittens in the process. On 85 minutes a long high ball into the box was read superbly by Lewis Taylor Boyce, Read saving bravely at his feet.
The visitors had the last word, a superb crossfield ball by Mills found Luke Walley who fired a first time effort just wide.
A cracking cup tie, a good crowd and a great atmosphere. Wood deserved the win but they could never relax as skipper Simon Everall was always dangerous.
Wood open their league account on Saturday with a visit to Cadbury Athletic before travelling away to Hinckley on Tuesday 15th, not easy games by any means.
Walsall Wood – Ransome, Taylor, Campion (captain), Slater, L. Harris, Tolley, Westwood, Butlin, Clarke, Sullivan, Fitzpatrick, Okojie, Birch, McFarlane, Taylor Boyce.
Whitchurch Alport – Read, Marley, Edwards, McNichol, Thomas Goddard, Twigg, C. Everall, S. Everall (captain), Walley, James, Mills, Blundell, Minshall, Jackson, Prince, Smith, Phelps.
Thanks to Bill – all the best old chap. Any match reports welcome, but don’t overdo it – your faithful are appreciative but understanding!
For the Good of the Wood!