Walsall Wood FC yesterday ventured out to Leicester Road FC, hopefully to continue their 100% league run – but the Leicester lads had other ideas.
Bill Shaw was there, and wasn’t amused with the Woodmen’s performance:
A frustrating 90 minutes for Wood as they surrendered their 100% league record to a hardworking, well organised Leicester Road, as they failed to score in the league for the first time this season.
A test of character now as they look to bounce back on Tuesday night with a visit by Chelmsley Town in the League Cup.
Leicester Road 2 v 0 Walsall Wood
Wood were beaten for the first time in the league as they turned in a strangely lacklustre performance. Leicester Road halted a run of defeats that had seen them drop to 12th in the table but in the end they won comfortably as Wood failed to score in the league for the first time this season.
After just a minute Wood gave away a right wing free kick that was flicked on to Matt Langham to turn and shoot, Lloyd Ransome with an easy save. Two minutes later Nuno Gomes raced into the left of the box, checked back inside, his low drive well held by Ransome.
On seven minutes skipper Darren Campion broke up a home attack, played the ball up the left to find Joey Butlin, his ball inside found Paul Sullivan in the left of the box, Callum Rudd making a superbly timed tackle.
A minute later Gomes got clear on the left, went across the face of the box to find Jake Holt on the right, his cross headed just over by skipper Greg Downes.
On 12 minutes a Wood right wing corner was headed out to Andy Westwood to fire first time just over.
With 27 minutes gone a long ball forward wide left found Langham, he cut inside and hit a cross beyond the far post that was met with a Downes diving header that was held at full stretch by Ransome.
Three minutes later a right wing throw found Sullivan in the box, his touch back found Peter Till who fired in a low drive to bring a full length save from keeper Will Highland. On 38 minutes Craig Deakin combined cleverly with Till wide right before crossing into the centre, Rudd cutting out the ball to deny Sullivan. Two minutes later a right wing corner was headed back across goal by Mitch Tolley, Sullivan putting a header fractionally over.
On 41 minutes a loose ball forward was collected by Gomes right of the box, his rising first time effort cannoning off the bar.
Wood carved open the home defence a minute into the second half, a right wing throw found Butlin who played Lewis Taylor Boyce into the box, his through ball found Sullivan in the centre of the box but under intense pressure he fired wide of the left hand post. Five minutes later Deakin delivered a right wing corner, the ball came back to him on the apex of the box, his vicious cross shot pushed away from under his bar by Highland. The turning point of the game came on 61 minutes, a measured through ball by Jordan Fitzpatrick saw Sullivan reach the ball a split second before Highland who dived at his feet, Sullivan running on to score into the empty net, only for the goal to be ruled out for a foul on the keeper, an appalling decision.
After lengthy treatment to the keeper the game continued, the ball was launched up the other end, Holt racing into the left of the box only to be stopped by a superbly timed tackle by Deakin. The breakthrough came on 74 minutes, a right wing free kick was half cleared to Downes 25 yards out, his low drive through a packed area just inside the left hand post. Two minutes later Langham was strong in centre midfield, cleverly fed Sam Munton wide right who cut inside, hit a low drive that was pushed away by Ransome at full stretch.
Three minutes later Sullivan played a one-two wide left with Till, his cross headed goalwards by Tony Clarke but Highland saved comfortably.
Wood chasing the equaliser were caught out on 86 minutes, a ball out of defence was played over the top of the Wood back line, Gomes first to react, racing for goal and calmly slotting home to condemn Wood to their first league defeat of the season.
A minute from time Fitzpatrick found Sullivan on the left edge of the box, he turned cleverly and his rising drive was tipped over by Highland.
Wood huffed and puffed but were frustrated by a hard working defence who creaked alarmingly at times but held out to record the victory that puts their season back on track.
Wood are at home to Chelmsley Town in the League Cup on Tuesday 19th, travel to Cradley Town in the FA Vase on Saturday before returning to league action with a trip to Racing Club Warwick on Saturday 30th.
Leicester Road – Highland, Acton, Kingsley-Smith, Downes (captain), Rudd, Earls, Munton, Lyne, Langham, Holt, Gomes, Kennedy, Burrows, Grady, Unsworth, Blewitt.
Walsall Wood – Ransome, Deakin, Campion (captain), Slater, McFarlane, Tolley, Till, Westwood, Sullivan, Butlin, Taylor Boyce, Clarke, Okojie, Hayden, Fitzpatrick, Faultless.
Thanks to Bill for an excellent report, and let’s hope this was just an off match.
Remember, it’s all For the Good of The Wood!