Pictures and captions kindly supplied by David Evans
Down at Oak Park on Saturday afternoon (26th August 2017), the Woodmen’s generally upwards trajectory continued unhindered by their unceremonious ejection from the FA Cup the week before, this time by trouncing visiting Atherstone.
Bill Shaw was there and enjoyed a great match:
Another three points on the road to the title, as once again Wood served up an Oak Park cracker. The team decimated by injury showed it’s character and strength in depth to record an important victory.
It’s another challenge next with Chelmsley Town on the Coleshill carpet on Monday, with five wins from their six league games so far they lead the table so it won’t be easy.
Walsall wood 4 v 1 Atherstone
Four league wins out of four for Wood as two late, late goals gave the scoreline a flattering look as the Adders had kept the game alive until the 89th and 90th minutes made certain of the points.
It was Wood on the attack from the off, after just a minute Lewis Hayden raced into the right of the box, his low cross found Tony Clarke whose cheeky back heel was blocked. It was constant Wood pressure at this point and it came as no surprise when on four minutes Peter Till picked up a ball left of centre, faded across the face of the box, seeing the keeper off his line he scored with a perfect lob into the left hand corner. Four minutes later a long ball forward was collected at pace by Hayden, his low drive well held at full stretch by keeper Tom McNulty.
In their first real attack on 15 minutes Adders Mitch Thompson made space on the left of the box for a cross but fell awkwardly, dislocating his left elbow in the process, after lengthy treatment by both physios he was replaced by Aaron O’Neill. Within 5 minutes it was all square, a poor ball out of defence was intercepted by Ash Gray in midfield, his clever ball forward was flicked nonchalantly into the right of the box by Luke Shorthouse to put Alex Naughton in on goal and he calmly slid the ball past the advancing Lloyd Ransome. Seven minutes later an intricate right wing move ended with Ransome blocking Naughton’s low drive from the apex of the six yard box.
High quality footage of the match shot and edited for Wood TV by the remarkably professional Russell Smith, and used with his permission – Thanks mate!
On 29 minutes Joey Butlin was fouled wide right, skipper Darren Campion delivered the free kick to the far post, Butlin powering a header home back across the keeper. Eleven minutes later another wide right free kick by Campion was met by Callum McFarlane, McNulty making a brave point blank save.
The Adders spent the last few minutes of the half camped in the Wood box, but couldn’t break down a resolute, well organised Wood defence.
The second half started at a slower pace as the heat started to take its toll. Till’s low cross on 50 minutes inches in front of Butlin.
Ten minutes later Naughton collected a ball wide right, seeing Ransome off his line he hit an audacious 60 yard lob that was just over the far angle. On 72 minutes a free kick on the left of the box was delivered beyond the far post, Danny Douglas ghosting in to plant a header wide. Wood just content to contain the Adders until on 83 minutes O’Neill went through one tackle as he made the left byeline before being robbed by skipper Campion.
The game erupted into life in the last five minutes, a long ball down the right of the box saw McNulty race from his area but under pressure from the tireless Butlin could only scuff his attempted clearance up the line to find Wood substitute Jordan Fitzpatrick 30 yards out, McNulty scampering back to slap his goalbound effort off the line. McNulty wasn’t so lucky 3 minutes later, a long ball forward was collected by O’Neill, his back pass to the left of the box put McNulty under pressure, his clearance went to Paul Sullivan wide left, he ran into the box and calmness personified slotted a low drive inside the near post to put the result beyond doubt. When Sully is on the field however exciting things tend to happen and right on full time he got clear wide left, (Adders defenders waiting for an offside flag that never came,) cut inside, his low cross fired home by a joyous Butlin.
Three well deserved points as Wood bounced back with the second of two four-one wins in four days after last Saturday’s frustrating 90 minutes against Tividale.
It’s league leaders Chelmsley Town on Monday, who incidentally lost their one and only game of six to the Adders, now how is the form book going to stack up on this one?
Walsall Wood – Ransome, Deakin, Okojie, Westwood, Campion (captain), McFarlane, Till, Hayden, Clarke, Taylor Boyce, Butlin, Sullivan, Birch, Fitzpatrick, Jones, Faultless.
Atherstone United – McNulty, Egginton, Gray, Holmes, Douglas, Williams, Walker-Donovan, Baxter, Naughton, Shorthouse, Thompson, Green, Miller, O’Neill, Williss
As ever, thanks to Bill, David and Russell for the report – always appreciated – for The Good of the Wood!