Photos and captions very kindly supplied by the young David Evans.
Yesterday afternoon (Saturday 28th September 2019) Walsall Wood were visited by Highgate United, who held the Woodmen to a one-all draw in a somewhat intemperate game.
David Evans was there, and sent the following report:
Walsall Wood 1 v 1 Highgate United
Saturday 28th September 2019
The cold blustery weather and uncharitable heavy downpours loudly echoed the game presented for the spectators today. The pitch looked splendid after the morning’s rainfall. The freshly cut green carpet of lush grass with the millimetre precision of the white lines brought a smile to the ruddy faces of the spectators as they hurried, bright eyed and bushy tailed, through the gelding turnstyle to savour the inimitable aroma of onions and beefburgers before pacing smartly into the bar.
As this is Macmillan’s great coffee morning weekend, mouthwatering home-made cakes had been prepared for those wishing to donate to the worthy cause.
Outside we could see the corner flags stiffening in the wind and the goalnets trembling as the first heavy downpour arrived. It was going to be challenging afternoon.
The visitors wore luminous lemon yellow strip this season, and, my word, did they look smart. The home side wore their usual red strip.
The first half brought solid, if uninspiring soccer by both teams in the first quarter of the match. Perhaps this underlined the understandable wariness of the home side who were keen to avoid anything untoward from the opponents they knew from previous encounters.
It was Highgate who showed greater determination at first, as they blustered and elbowed their way through the home side defence, employing clattering, heavy, almost clumsy tacking play against the Wood’s forwards. This inevitably and unsurprisingly negated any possibility of flowing football to grace today’s match. Spectators in the stand witnessed deliberately inelegant football by the visiting side. Mercifully there were some bright moments of excellent open football by both sides. It needed such.
A penalty was awarded, and the Wood scored the first, and their only goal in this hard game. There were loud shouts from the away side and the visiting team bench who employed a forceful, vocabulary which has no place in any stadium. This was noted throughout the match.
Highgate then worked hard and heavy to score their equalising goal.
We all needed a break at half time. The nourishing beefburger was more tasteful than some of the game so far. Perhaps the gentle changing room polite conversation of managers with their players would bring an end to the moments of unsavoury pique seen far from the visitors.
The second half brought a different approach by the Wood to counter the physical nature of their opponents. Highgate seemed determined to staunch and stifle any sporting soccer with scant regard to positive, respectful play. There were few shots on or toward goal by either side. The pattern of the second half’s play seemed to mirror that of the first half, with more yellow cards having to be issued.
The final score was a draw: one goal each. The afternoon had been dull, overcast with frequent heavy downpours, and infrequent bright spells; the football match reflected this.
Highgate have not changed this season.
Walsall Wood Football Club are a top local side with a big-hearted faithful who know how to have a great time supporting their lads, and welcome all comers to come enjoy great local soccer. The boys from The Wood have been at the heart of the local community for a century or more, so please do go check out a match or two if you’re curious.
I guarantee you’ll have more fun cheering on the local chaps than you ever will watching the over-priced prima donnas on TV…
For the good of The Wood!