Pictures and captions kindly supplied by David Evans
Yesterday afternoon (Saturday 5th October 2019) Walsall Wood were again at home – and entertained visitors Tividale at Oak Park. Following a good sporting match, Wood emerged the victors cementing their run of good form.
David Evans clearly enjoyed the afternoon:
Walsall Wood 2 v 1 Tividale
Saturday 5th October 2019
The immaculately prepared welcoming green grass at Oak Park, the lip-smacking aroma of burgers and hotdogs sizzling away always brings a smile to the face and a puts a spring in the step of spectators. Visitors who have travelled from Tividale are always made welcome by the home supporters in the pre-match moments of socialising and friendly banter around a glass of local ale, or a cup of best tea.
The pre-match warm-up routines by the two teams give the opportunity to appreciate the fitness and ball skils that are often taken for granted, but are a vital necessity in every match.
The match officials too, have to warm up and loosen muscles and tendons in their own carefully choreographed routine, to well-meaning choral accompaniment from the stand.
Today’s fixture would be important for both sides, and therapeutic for the home spectators.
The match got under way and both sides soon settled down to good, meaningful soccer. Deft through passes, bright interceptions and accurate play brought frequent appreciation and applause from the numerous spectators, young and not so young.
Where a player received the ball he would immediately attract the attention and presence of opponents, eager to dispossess and then launch their own attacking moves. This was delightful to spectate. Long kicks from goal, high lobbing kicks forward, deft touches to pass the ball to the wing players, delicate footwork to bring a high pass to ground, numerous corner kicks this game had every aspect that highlights the skill of every participant.
The Wood score the first goal in the first half and despite the urgent play of the visitors the score remained at one nil at half time.
The usual cucumber sandwiches and fine tea in bone china teacups were doubtless enjoyed by the players in the privacy of their respective changing rooms, with gentle conversation offered by their doting managers.
Highly professional footage of last week’s Highgate match with interesting unendorsed ambient commentary that came in too late for the relevant match report, which can be read here. The film is shot and edited for Wood TV by the remarkably talented Russell Smith of The-Wood.TV.
Meanwhile thirsty supporters in droves made their way to the hydration and nourishment stations, to gulp and enjoy the well-named Viking Ale, delicious beef burgers and vinegar-drenched chips. It’s a Black Country tradition that dates back to times when things were…. Different.
With the score at one nil to the home side the game resumed, with a marked increased sense of urgency as both teams continued to give of their sporting best. The real grass playing surface presented all the players the soft landing cushion that was frequently vital to add the finishing touch to a fast, accurate, positive game.
The Wood scored their second goal, to the chagrin of their opponents. They scored a fine goal later in the second half, with only a few minutes left of the game
Perhaps inevitably the need to score and make amends brought some solid contacts at times. One rapid tackle brought the games temperature up quite a way. The offending away player was thus required to leave the field of play and have an early shower. The final part of the match was now played by teams of ten players. The consequential frenetic pressure by Tividale nearly brought them their equalising goal, but the Wood’s solid defences held steady. The referees’ final whistle brought a thrilling game to its end. Mightily fatigued players breathed heavily for moments; some to relish the elation of winning, others to share a brief moment’s disappointment of losing.
But, today the wonderful sport of local soccer was the winner. Spectators witnessed some of the very best the sport can offer, played out by two positive, skilful teams. Today we had this in abundance. Both teams are to be loudly congratulated.
The final score was a win to Walsall Wood by two goals to one.
As ever, thanks to David and Russell for the report – always appreciated – for The Good of the Wood!