Pictures and captions kindly supplied by David Evans
Atherstone Town visited Oak Park on Saturday (21st October 2017) for a tense encounter that resulted in the home side snatching a win.
I’d just point out the obvious here: Match reports here written by Bill are his own opinion, and his own words. And long may that be so.
Bill Shaw was there:
It certainly wasn’t pretty but a striker shortage didn’t help with Paul Sullivan still out injured and new signing Sam Agar cup-tied, so ineligible. This was never going to be easy for Wood but the Adders can feel hard done to not to at least getting to extra time, but it’s goals that count and Tony Clarke got the only one.
I probably won’t be at Tuesday nights’ game, still struggling health-wise, but will be there Saturday.
F. A. Vase 1st Round Proper
Walsall Wood 1 v 0 Atherstone Town
A goal by Tony Clarke a minute from the end of stoppage time saw Wood progress into Mondays’ 2nd Round draw. The game needed a strong official as X rated tackles flew in, one particular Adders player made three first half tackles that deserved a red card, he didn’t even get a yellow from the inept guy with the whistle.
The Adders had the better of the early exchanges, on six minutes after a period of pressure Harry Walker-Donovan collected a ball right of the box his low cross shot deflected behind. On 18 minutes a long ball forward by keeper Tom McNulty was collected at pace by Alan Miller who raced into the centre of the box, only for Wood skipper Mitch Tolley to stop him with a superbly timed challenge.
On 22 minutes Lewis Hayden cut inside from wide right his cross to the far post inches in front of Tony Clarke. Three minutes later a ball over the top was collected by Clarke who laid the ball off to Jordan Fitzpatrick who ran at the defence before firing just too high. Two minutes later Keenan Meakin-Richards wide left played a ball low inside to find Fitzpatrick on the centre of the D, only for him to fire a first time effort wide. On 33 minutes a long ball forward from McNulty was cleverly flicked on by Miller to Luke Shorthouse to fire a first time effort well wide. On 43 minutes a left wing free kick was delivered to the right of the box, Callum McFarlane blocking a low drive from Walker-Donovan. Right on half time a left wing corner was hit first time by Murray to bring a full length save from keeper Lloyd Ransome – the first save by either keeper in the first half.
The one-goal match highlight as featured on Russell Smith’s excellent The WoodTV channel – check out the WoodTV website here.
Wood manager Gary Birch came on to replace the injured Fitzpatrick at the start of the second half, but it was the Adders who threatened first. Walker-Donovan crossed from wide right, Shorthouse headed the ball down, Ransome smothering the ball at the feet of the extremely lucky still to be on the field Kyle Baxter. On 61 minutes Murray played the ball out wide right to Walker-Donovan, his low cross put behind by Tolley to deny Murray. Four minutes later Walker-Donovan fired a ball across the box to find Shorthouse wide left, his clever ball back inside found Mitch Thomson on the edge of the six yard box who off balance stabbed his effort wide. On 66 minutes another long clearance by McNulty was collected at pace by Shorthouse but under pressure from McFarlane his toe poke was easily saved by Ransome.
On 71 minutes a lovely move through the centre saw Peter Till run at the defence before he found Clarke, his ball immediately out right found Birch, he went by one player and his ball into the right of the box was intercepted by Ash Gray to stop Clarke racing in on goal. A free kick from wide left was headed out to the right of the box, Meakin-Richards hitting a first time snap shot wide. A minute later Till picked the ball up right of centre and ran at the defence, his low drive from just outside the box bringing a superb full length save from McNulty. With full time signalled by the inept official we were left looking at extra time until in time added on Hayden intercepted a ball on halfway, ran on until he hit a brilliant crossfield ball to pick out Clarke 60 yards away wide left. He left his marker for dead, raced into the box to hit a superb low drive just inside the near post to put Wood in dreamland and break Adders hearts.
This time the Adders can complain they were robbed, but to win games you have to score goals and they only had one shot on target.
Wood are at Sheepy Lane in five weeks’ time in league action, a strong official needed for this one. As all hell broke out at the final whistle, the referees comment ‘I didn’t see anything’, priceless.
Wood are in League Cup action at home to Highgate United on Tuesday night before they face another test on Saturday 28th when they face currently 3rd placed Hinckley.
Walsall Wood – Ransome, Hayden, Deakin, Meakin-Richards, McFarlane, Tolley, Westwood, Slater, Clarke, Till, Fitzpatrick, Gould, Birch, Taylor Boyce, Okojie, Jones.
Atherstone Town – McNulty, Eggleton, Gray, Haines, Rowe, Williams, Walker-Donovan, Baxter, Miller, Thomson, Shorthouse, Douglas, Harris, Green, Goodby, Bilic.
As ever, thanks to Bill, David and Russell for the report – always appreciated, and Bill – do get well soon mate. Best wishes. For The Good of the Wood!