FA Cup preliminary round

Walsall Wood 2

Whitchurch Alport 1

The DREAM of the FA Cup was ended at Oak Park for the second successive season as Alport conceded an 85th minute goal to lose at Walsall Wood despite a decent performance.

A slow start was not what Alport and the 70-strong Red Army supporting had planned but when Tony Clarke was allowed too much space in the 18-yard box he made the most of it, squeezing a shot beyond Dave Parton in the Reds goal.

However, his team bounces back well and just three minutes later the scoreline was all level. Sean Griffiths was hacked down 30 yards from goal, up stepped Alex Hughes to strike a low driven ball beyond Lloyd Ransome to put the away side back in the tie.

It was very much the visitors now playing with fluidity and when a corner from Lee Pickerill bounced through the six-yard box Hughes somehow could only steer the ball over when it looked destined for the Wood goal.

Pickerill went close with a chance of his own but his attempt lacked power and was well-gathered by Ransome. The home side threatened themselves and Parton pulled off a good save when the Wood left winger cut inside before unleashing a shot from 20 yards.

A flowing move from right to left found Darren Campion who played into skipper Si Everall, a smart turn away from the defender on the edge of the box allowed the space to fire goalwards but the attempt was over hit and failed to trouble Ransome.

Clarke and Joey Butlin were a handful for the defence for the whole of the second half as Wood attempted to re gain the lead. Parton made a stunning save to his right hand side from a long range effort midway through the half and the Alport number one was at hand to deal with a number of crosses into the 18 yard box also. As the second period went on Alport did settle back into the game but were wasteful unlike in the first half which meant clear opportunities were few and far between.

It was a close fought encounter and now looked destined for a replay this was until a late mistake in the 85th minute. Alport cleared their lines where the Wood midfielder picked up the ball and tried to play a ball into the centre forward.

The pass somehow squeezed through Ashman then Campion to land kindly to Richards unmarked who finished well into the bottom corner to send the home side into celebration.

Wood managed the game well for the final few minutes to put themselves in the first qualifying round of the FA Cup for the first time in five years. A game that could’ve gone either way and was well contested by both sides.