The latest addition to the groundhopping list is Oak Park, the home of Walsall Wood FC, who play in the Midland Football League. With Lye Town the visitors, it was a true Bank Holiday, Black Country derby.
First impressions in any walk of life are important and especially so in grassroots football. On that front, Walsall Wood were excellent, as the people on the gate were very friendly and welcoming indeed.
While it is important to create a warm welcome regardless of the level you play at, the further you get away from the English Premier League, the more you can play on the positives that the big clubs don’t have at their disposal. Giving a personal welcome is one of them.
The game itself ended 0-0 but was anything but boring, as many think when no goals are scored. The home side went very close early on with a corner that was straight from the training ground.
Avoiding everyone in the box, it went straight on the head of the incoming centre half, who forced the Lye keeper into a tremendous save. It was a good first half and although the reds should have edged a lead, full credit to the visitors who defended well.
The second period saw Walsall hit the woodwork, along with other opportunities they created, while Lye could also have snatched a goal. I think the away team will be happier with the point but both can be happy with a clean sheet.
There were some very good individual performances on the pitch and both were well-organised. The quality of play was excellent, the game was flowing and both sides were a credit not only to themselves but also the league.
Still in August, it was my 31st game of the season and the 17th new ground. You can never have enough football. Check out my groundhopping pages HERE.