Yesterday afternoon (Saturday, 10th November 2018), Walsall Wood F.C. entertained Derbyshire club Normanton Town Athletic at Oak Park, and in an entertaining, gripping match the Woodmen sent the visitors home defeated one nil – but the Woodmen really had to work for this one.
David Evans was there to enjoy the match, and wrote:
Images and captions kindly supplied by David Evans
Walsall Wood 1 v 0 South Normanton Athletic
This has been a bitter-sweet afternoon for all the many spectators today. A sea of red – junior ‘Saints’ started the afternoon in a wonderful, moving and sincere tribute as they gathered on the pitch with the two teams, to listen to the Last Post being played by an excellent bugler, and then to pause, heads, bowed, in two minutes’ silence; to stand, quiet and still, in humble reflection on lost souls, distant and recent.
The match that followed was played with determination throughout the entire ninety minutes. Spectators enjoyed seeing excellent passing, sharp ball skills, delicate dribbling, accurate long kicks and solid competitive football by both sides.
South Normanton were the first to show their prowess as they put early pressure on the Wood’s defence. But, as we know, the thin red line is strong and resilient in every match. Today was no different as South Normanton soon realised. However, such complications seemed to spur the visitors on as they harried and took on the Wood’s players. This was a game where determination and delicate approach were to complement each other as the game evolved.
The only goal of the match – the game was surely worth more than just one – came from an unexpected moment when the old adage ‘play to the whistle’ was never more appropriate and the Wood’s attackers weedled, twisted, turned, returned, and suddenly , the ball was in the “sprout bag”.
This unexpected goal gave the match greater impetus as South Normanton challenged, tackled, passed, kicked, dribbled, out-paced as the game sparkled and delighted. There was to be no magic moment for either side in this contest. Moves were well-worked out, passes were largely accurate.
What did stand out today was the gratifyingly consistent sporting acceptance of opposition challenges and manoeuvres, and lack of any consequential complaining by all the players whose love of the sport was self-evident and delightful to spectate.
South Normanton Athletic FC were worthy opponents for Walsall Wood and made them work for everything in the game. But, there again, this was what Walsall Wood required of them, too. The Wood left the game with three points, but South Normanton, with all their sporting endeavour, honest play and positive approach to the game are to be commended.
I also have this report from last Tuesday, 6th November 2016 when Walsall Wood faced Nottingham side Dunkirk at Oak Park.
Simon Evans wrote:
The game started in high tempo, Wood forcing a corner within the first minute. The first chance fell to Dunkirk after fiveminutes, Dunkirk striker firing over after the Wood defence failed to clear. The next chance saw Joey Butlin’s find Javia Roberts, his pace beating the defender, but his shot was the wrong side of the post. Dunkirk then had a couple of chances due to confusion in the Wood defence. Jordan Nadats cross was headed to Mitch Tolley, his volley grazing the crossbar, Javia Roberts then had an opportunity again his effort was the wrong side of the post. Dunkirk then had a half chance, the defender blazing an effort just over the Wood bar. The breakthrough just before half time. Joey Butlin curling a freekick in.
Half time: 1-0
The second half started with Dunkirk pressing for an equaliser. The first chance fell to the Dunkirk striker, somehow missing his kick and the Wood defence clearing. Jordan Nadat and Joey Butlin were combining well, but with no final result. Wood made a substitution, Peter Till was replaced by Atherton. His first touch won the Wood a corner. Jordan Nadat then tested the Dunkirk keeper, who was equal to the effort. Jordan Nadat and Mitch Tolley then both had shots blocked by the Dunkirk defence. Wood were now in control and soon they made it 2-0. Atherton with a jinking run, then cuts inside and curls a left footed shot into the back of the net. Wood were now turning it on, James Bennett-Tindall with a great effort that was just over the bar, Mitch Tolley then had a shot straight at the keeper. The last action saw a Dunkirk freekick which the Wood players saw out.
Full time: 2-0 to the Wood.
Thanks to David and Simon for the reports and pictures – much appreciated – for The Good of the Wood!