Walsall Wood
Oak Park

Ground No. 183
Visited - Tuesday 12th May 2009
Result - Walsall Wood 3-1 Pershore Town
Competition - Midland Combination Premier League
Attendance - 52

May Bank Holiday Monday, the sun is shining, Wolves have been crowned Champions and all is well with the world, what better time to get another ground in before the seasons end… well perhaps someone should tell that to Pershore Town! The day had started off well enough, I’d made my way over to Walsall Wood, finding the ground without any problems, before it all started going wrong! After going in, it turned out the programmes had already sold out, not a major problem, the man at the gate took my name/address and promised to send one, so off I went, taking a few pictures and chatting to a few other groundhoppers before getting the feeling something was wrong. Was it the ground? No, all looked OK, I couldn’t work it out, until later, coming home on the bus at about ten past three… only one team had been warming up! So obvious that it was difficult to see! It turns out that Wood’s opponents that day, Pershore, had presumed the game was due to kick-off at 7:45pm, despite the League website clearly stating otherwise. The game had to be abandoned and everyone refunded, which whilst a minor inconvenience to me, would have been more frustrating for some of the people who I’d been chatting with two of whom had come down all the way from Hull, and another two from Northampton. Highly unprofessional from the Worcestershire side, even if it is a, well, non-professional league!

The replay was scheduled for 8 days later, so I was determined to tick the ground, making my way over to Walsall after work. Once again, the programmes had sold out, but I managed to buy a spare one, and refreshed myself with the ground. Situated next to a leisure centre, then the main point of interest sits over on the far side, a small stand on the halfway line that dates back to the 1930’s. Of brick construction with a pitched roof, it’s notable for the red/white brickwork, which at one time was mirrored with the roof painted in stripes as well, although now this is just plain white. The clubhouse and a small propped shelter sits opposite, on the near side, whilst hard standing runs around the rest of the pitch, although this has become overgrown and inaccessible on the far side of the clubhouse.

With Pershore having looked at their watches this time, then the game began as schedule, and for the first 45 minutes we were all wishing they’d just scratched it and given WW the points! It was classic end of season stuff, with neither side conjuring up anything of note, but in the second half, the visitors took the lead through James Grosvenor, who picked the ball up outside the box and hammered it home from distance. Pershore looked to have a grip on the game at that point, but in the 69th minute WW were back in it, substitute Tangeni Nghisidmbwa sliding in to poke the ball home past the ‘keeper. Just two minutes later, and the game had turned on its head, Lewis Taylor-Boyce managed to get on the end of a cross, to make it 2-1 and for the last 20 minutes WW really turned on the style, playing some good attacking football, and running out 3-1 winners thanks to Nghisidmbwa who grabbed a second after some superb work from their number 9 down the left hand side to get into the box.

After leaving, I made my way home in good time, glad to have finally seen a game here at last! The Main Stand on the far side really makes the ground, and with everyone seeming quite friendly, then it’s somewhere I’d be happy to come back to one of the days, just in future I’ll make sure to email the visitors the day before to check they’re turning up!

Welcome to Oak Park

The Near Side

The Near End

The Far Side

Rear of the Main Stand

The Main Stand

The Main Stand

The Far End

Ready for Kick Off

The Main Stand

Oak Park Panoramic


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