Images and captions kindly supplied by the young David Evans
Walsall Wood FC were left licking their wounds yesterday afternoon (Saturday 7th December 2019) following a shock 3-0 defeat at the hands of Gresley FC.
David Evans was there, and sent the following match report.
Gresley FC 3 v 0 Walsall Wood FC
Saturday 7th December 2019
This was my first visit to Gresley. I crossed the River Trent over a rickety, narrow bailey bridge and then my satnav guided me through unknown territory, along winding, flooded lanes and seemingly back many centuries in time… to Castle Gresley. Had there been a battle fought nearby? Was the battlefield still visible and unchanged? Had there been a recent archeological dig?
Church Gresley and its maze of narrow, confusing, yet charming streets welcomed me. A steward in neat tabard showed me where to park, in a muddy carpark.
It was the lush green football field that caught my attention, so much so that I nearly stumbled. My mind took me back to imaginary jousting contests, stewards in brightly coloured tabards, a scarred field of honour, and spectating squires, dames, heralds and peasants, eagerly conversing with friends and visitors alike, sharing pleasantries in good humour, feasting on trays of three delicious sausages elbowing their way among fat fried chips and all thereunto present quaffing mead from horns and tankards. Then a shrill fanfare from unseen trumpets, and a ghostly voice of Eddy Warings would-be ancestral Chef d’honneur calling out the names of the jousting knights. I smiled.
This image stayed with me during the match which followed.
Walsall Wood fielded a team depleted by injury and absence. Gresley put their full team on to the battlements. Gresley were seemingly not out to play elegant soccer in this encounter. Perhaps the dire surface prevented this.
But it was Gresley who were the far more cohesive side today and their well rehearsed sporting match tactics worked well, as did the others.
Yet, despite everything, Walsall Wood refused to lose their composure or patience, and Gresley became more impatient, despite now leading by several goals, and putting up a solid blocking defensive line.
Gresley scored a very well worked second goal, now playing against ten opponents, and then a third, now playing against nine opponents.
The game was eagerly followed by Gresley supporters and from other local clubs. They saw an eager home side engage in battle against the top side, and win by determination and grit. The three points earned by this win will boost the confidence of the home club. And Walsall Wood? They avoided sustaining any more injuries, which is an achievement.
The match ended as a tired-looking referee blew his well-used whistle and the players shook hands with their team-mates and with all the opponents, which was good to see. Spectators en masse applauded all the players, too.
Like a final scene from Camelot, the spectacle was over and its memory will fade in to history. I expect Gresley won’t forget in a hurry, though.
Thanks to David there – For The Good Of The Wood!
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.