The Meadowmen’s FA Vase campaign comes to an end.
The opening exchanges saw both sides hungry to play football. It wasn’t clear from the off, that the players have had a month away from the game, something that might come to fruition later on during the clash.
Walsall Wood played with a high line, giving the Meadowmen early opportunities to turn in the middle and play the killer ball through to the two forwards, Oliver Waddison and Tom Grainger. Waddison had the ball in the net but was brought back for an offside in the second minute of the game.
The home side managed to take the lead, out of nothing, through Eddie Antonio after six minutes. The quick forward drove into the box and slotted past Chris Crook in the Bridgnorth goal.
On the 20th minute mark, Grainger found himself through from a Bridgnorth ball over the top, out of nowhere it was a top drawer recovery and tackle from Phil McKerdy, that denied the big number nine from equalising.
Antonio had a chance to score another after 22 minutes but for a wonderful stop with the feet from Crook to deny another for the hosts.
AFC Bridgnorth had their first major opportunity of the game through a corner, it was flicked goal wards and shouts for a handball from every player in blue but it was agonisingly waved away from the referee.
The second half kicked off in intense style. The hosts created the first major chance as John Atherton put through Lewis Hayden but Crook continued his excellent display on the night and made sure he kept out the midfielder’s effort.
The home side increased their lead in the 57th minute. Sam Fitzgerald stepped up to a free-kick just outside of the area and made no mistake, smashing past Crook in the Bridgnorth goal. A sucker blow for the away side who were just looking the more likely to score next.
After end to end stuff in the second half, Walsall put the game to bed with five minutes left to play. Jay D Llonga burst in from the right wing and slotted into the far corner.
A night, you feel, that if there was no lockdown, stopping these players rom playing the tie for the best part of a month, that the Meadowmen would’ve had more of a look in. Not a poor display but one where the effects of a month without football took its toll. A great run in the competition with many upsets and memories created by this Bridgnorth side, something that won’t be forgotten.
Walsall Wood: James Wren, Jay D Llonga, Sam Fitzgerald, Shawn Booth, Phil McKerdy, Matt Hughes, Lewis Hayden, Michael Nelson (Edwards 78’), Eddie Antonio, Javia Roberts (Faulder 50’), John Atherton (Hamilton 80’).
Subs: Jordan Edwards, Lewis Hanley, Kyren Hamilton, Kle Houlihan, Rahiem Faulder.
AFC Bridgnorth: Chris Crook, George Marsh, Josh Smith, Harry Walker, Richard Dunne (Lee 60’), Aaron Weston, Myles Arnold, Kevin Buxton, Karl Griffiths, Tom Grainger, Oliver Waddison.
Subs: Chris Field, Elliott Lee, Lewis Ayres.
35’- Foul in Bridgnorth box on Harry Walker by Walsall player, shouts for penalty for the home side, instead, a free-kick awarded.
41’- Rodney Dunn booked for challenge on Walsall 8.
89’- Lewis Ayres booked for ?