Images and captions kindly supplied by David Evans
Walsall Wood FC yesterday (Saturday 7th March 2020) got in what has been a very rare thing so far this year – a match at home, on a Saturday afternoon. With an encouraging audience and gate, this will be a welcome return to business for all at The Wood whose match card has been obliterated by the dreadfully wet weather of late.
The match itself marked the first ever visit of Newark Flowserve FC to Oak Park, and they proved to be welcome and worthy opponents.
David Evans was there, and sent the following report:
Walsall Wood 2 v 0 Newark Flowserve
Saturday 7th March 2020
The first flowers of early spring brought a smile to the ruddy faces of those brave fans who ventured to the hallowed football ground to rejoice at the sight of a real grass pitch, finely tuned goalnets, and a few flags snapping in the fresh breeze. It was good to shake hands with friendly faces and to greet and welcome the visiting fans. The pre-match banter with its merry quips, astute observations, portentous prophesies, the price of lubrication, the examination of team lists, the expectation and cautions… This is a necessary part of the wondrous Doings of the Day.
The intoxicating aroma of beef burger and beer, the faint but unmistakable whiff of handrolled and aftershave, the gentlemen’s headwear fashion show, the fixed grin of well-worn dentures, the line of potbellies draping over the touchline fence. This is the panorama of non-league football as only Walsall Wood can perfect in their unique way.
The first half of the game got under way with the visitors wearing blue strip. Early forays and threatening but unsuccessful dashes, steady buildups, some clumsy tackles, probably because of the uneven but drying playing surface, contributed to a difficult game for the players, and especially for the officials.
The match was tightly enacted… There were seemingly no shots on goal by either side in the first half, which ended with no goals. The character and characters were becoming apparent, as the fans were quick to point out.
There was a large contingent of junior home fans… Vocal and fearless in their way, and using largely acceptable vocabulary, to the appreciation of most.
Half time arrived and the opportunity to replenish solid and liquid supplies. Viking Ale and beefburger, with or without onions. Meanwhile the players enjoyed tea and cucumber sandwiches with the tender hearted team managers.
The second half brought new tactics, new challenges, and upon my soul, two goals by the home side, all within the first few minutes. This brought cheers of joy by the home fans… Of course… And the traditional cry by Moses.
The character of the game changed. What had been a sporting contest with very little to separate the two teams in the first half – now, with two snap goals down – some understandable frustration set in. The referee found that he had a hard task to assuage and control the high spirited play by a few. There were numerous stoppages for various reasons… Some unfortunate injuries and scrapes, some heavy landing on the unforgiving earth and the final whistle brought the contest to a halt.
The final score, two goals to nil in favour of the home side does not reflect how closely matched the two teams were.
Newark -players and fans – were a joy to welcome here today on their first visit and their positive sporting attitude and approach was therapeutic, for spectators ,and for the game of football.
Thanks to David Evans once more for an honest, entertaining match report as ever complete with great photos. It really is an honour to feature them.
Check out Walsall Wood FC’s website here.