Images very kindly supplied by the young David Evans
A boisterous home match against Castle Bromwich team Romulus at Oak Park kicked off the 2020/21 MFL football season at Walsall Wood on Saturday (5th September 2020) and saw the visitors beaten in a hard fought, somewhat lively match.
Roving and loquacious football correspondent the young David Evans was there on a fine afternoon on the cusp of Autumn, and sent the following billet-doux:
Walsall Wood FC 1 v 0 Romulus FC
Saturday 5th September 2020
After the endless months of waiting, at last the Midland League got under way – this time for real – as Walsall Wood welcomed their opponents Romulus FC who hail from from Castle Bromwich.
This turned out to be a sporting contest that is best characterised in one word. Rumbustious. It is one of the more exotic and aromatic of adjectives that is seldom appropriate in modern usage – but not today.
Today was a thoroughly rumbustious game of football played at full tilt by both teams.
The first sector of this sporting encounter saw Romulus, dressed in their Everton mint black and white stripes, play some accurate ground passes and took the game to the defending Walsall Wood, glorious in their Empire Red strip.
The game evolved and developed, Wood faced the artistic tactics and game-play that the visitors were evidently intent on employing. Both sides were resolute and determined to out-turn their opponents in close encounters. This, not surprisingly, resulted in some untoward clunks and clatters, which necessarily brought the attention of the eagle-eyed man in black. He wore a a fine new strip, pressed for the memorable occasion, and, with greater frequency, the official was required by events to bring from his pocket both yellow red cards to grace the circumstance. With sharp eye and even sharper HB pencil he noted all pertinent details in his black book .
The flow of play seemed to be an ill-measured mixture of hesitant, gentle and (mercifully) measured football at times, with some superb through passes and smart running by players of both sides.
The half time whistle was blown. The score was nil-nil and gasping players headed for the refreshing delights and delicacies that awaited them in their changing-rooms. Thick slices of Angel cake, petits fours, steaming mugs of Darjeeling, and gentle, polite, vocabulary-enriching conversation from their caring managers.
Then, with another blast from the Acme Thunderer, the players emerged in to the warm late summer fresh air to resume their fine yet gritty combat. A new pattern of football emerged as visiting players tried to employ a different timbre to their challenges, and fell foul of the rules of engagement with increasing frequency. Some adjudged contrived falls were swiftly noted; their offenders swiftly reprimanded. The erstwhile beauty of a fine game was withering before the perplexed and vociferous youthful home supporters, whose choice of expressions was mostly acceptable.
There were several quite heady incidents where the rigour of the game, perhaps flavoured by an over supply of adrenalin, brought the game to a brief stop. Sometimes following awkward challenges on the rich and tiring real grass pitch, and perhaps as a result of its own contours, of course. At other times a simple breakdown in team and individual discipline brought no favours to the visiting team, or their bench, it must be said.
But, as the match went on it seemed to be heading for an odd result, with the visitors now down to far less than the full complement of players, and a Walsall Wood losing a player, victim of an instance of inelegant game-play [Balanced reporting as ever, as it should be *cough* – Bob].
Near the end of this wearisome and fragmented encounter, Walsall Wood were awarded a free kick near the penalty box . The Romulus goalkeeper had rightly been shown a straight red card by the hard-worked and harassed referee. A superb, blistering shot took the ball straight as an arrow into the visitors goalmouth. This was the only goal of the match.
The match ended with the final blast from the jaded referee’s whistle. Home supporters all round the pitch and in the stand applauded their team’s composure and resolve. Players shook hands and the two team managers and their entourage left to partake of a well earned cup of tea. This had been a hard fought, rumbustious game of football for both sides here at the Theatre of Dreams.
Enjoyable, nonetheless. Of course.
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.