Pictures and captions generously supplied by the young David Evans
Walsall Wood FC continued their steady and assertive rise yesterday afternoon (Saturday 13th January 2018) by beating visitors Study and Oak Park a whopping 7-0.
Bill Shaw was there, and left smiling:
A superb win by the lads, but it could have been so, so different, Studley in front of goal were abysmal, not making the goalkeeper make a save from less than 10 yards is diabolical and they did that on three or four occasions. Wood to their credit took full advantage to open up a three point gap at the top over Leicester Road with Atherstone Town a further point behind with Ilkeston Town who’ve played a game more and visit next Saturday now seven points adrift.
It should be a cracker, because if nothing else they make a hell of a lot of noise.
Keep the faith. For the Good of the Wood.
Walsall Wood 7 v 0 Studley
Wood already 2-0 ahead from a competitive first half came out all guns blazing after the break and just blew the Bees away to consolidate top spot. Worryingly for the other clubs at the top all done without strikers Paul Sullivan and Sam Agar.
Wood dominated possession from the off putting the Bees under almost constant pressure but a break out of defence saw Josh Westwood power in from wide right, his near post rising drive well held by debutant Wood keeper Ryan Price.
On 12 minutes Peter Till wide on the right released Tony Clarke into the right of the box, he found Lei Brown who laid the ball back into the path of Jordan Fitzpatrick to hit a first time effort just over.
Two minutes later a break through the centre of the Wood defence with Karl King and Luke Dugmore cleverly releasing Chris Cowley into the box only for him to fire weakly wide.
With 22 minutes gone Cowley took advantage of indecision in the Wood defence, raced to the left byeline, crossed low into the centre, Price parried Kings first time effort and skipper Mitch Tolley completed the clearance.
Great, professional match footage as created by the superlative Russell Smith at The-Wood.tv
It proved important as two minutes later Wood took the lead, a lovely through ball from Fitzpatrick put Tony Clarke into the left of the box, he calmly chipped the ball over the advancing keeper Ryan Young. It took just five minutes for Wood to double their lead, an intricate left wing move ending with Till releasing Clarke into the box, he went down under a desperate challenge – penalty – Lei Brown 2-0.
Straight from the re-start the Bees won a free kick on the left of the D, Eddie Wynne-Wilson firing in a rising drive that was comfortably pushed over by Price. The last action of the half saw Westwood cross from wide right, King firing hopelessly wide.
Wood made it three a minute into the second half, Till crossed low from the left, keeper and defender left it for each other and Brown pounced to score from close range. On 49 minutes Ben Lund collected a ball wide right, cut inside and fired into the far corner to open his Wood account. A minute later a ball over the top of the Bees defence saw Young race out to fly kick clear from Clarke. Wood were content to play the ball around in midfield for a few minutes until they ripped the Bees apart on 72 minutes, from a left wing throw Till played the ball inside to Clarke, he carried the ball across the face of the box and set up Fitzpatrick to roll a 20 yard low effort just inside the right hand post to make it 5-0.
To their credit the visitors kept trying to take the game to the Wood and on 74 minutes hard-working Westwood cut inside from the right of the box, swapped passes with Cowley, his low drive well held by Price at full stretch.
Two minutes later a clever right wing move ended with Lewis Hayden crossing to the far post, Brown pressuring a defender into putting the ball into his own net. With three minutes left Mitch Tolley played the ball into the left of the box keeper Young fly kicked clear from Clarke, the ball collect by Hayden just right of centre 40 yards out, he took one touch and put the ball into the top left hand corner giving the poor fast retreating keeper no chance as the score reached seven without reply.
A superb all round performance as Wood ended Bees title challenge with this demolition job.
It’s Ilkeston next at the Wood when they visit next Saturday, should be a cracker, don’t be late.
Walsall Wood – Price, Hayden, Deakin, Walker, McFarlane, Tolley (captain), Till, Fitzpatrick, Clarke, Lund, Brown, Agar, Westwood, Rowley, Sullivan Ransome.
Studley – Young, English, Wicketts, Clarke, Dineen, Ludlow (captain), J. Westwood, Wynne-Wilson, King, Dugmore, Cowley, A. Westwood, McCalla, Garvey, Casey, Oldfield.
Thanks to Bill and David for the report – and good luck to the lads for the rest of the season. This really is quite gripping to watch!