Shirebrook Town crashed out of this season’s FA Vase competition after losing without reply to a convincing 3-goal margin away at Midland Counties Premier Division side Walsall Wood in a Second Round replay at Oak Park on Tuesday night.
And disappointed Shirebrook manager Mark Shaw said after the game that he thought his side were really poor, adding: “We lacked desire and passion, and the will to win.”
Shirebrook were without key striker Jason Bradley, who picked up a groin injury in the first game.
And, to add to the Shaw’s pre-match troubles, the team bus broke down on the way to the Walsall and a replacement bus had to be organised. That meant kick-off had to be delayed by 25 minutes as a consequence, which did nothing to help Shirebrook’s preparation for the game.
Earlier in the day the game had been in doubt because it had been raining persistently in the area, but a 3pm inspection had declared the heavy pitch fit for play.
The home side were quickly out of the blocks, but Shirebrook weathered the early storm and there was really very little in it until Lewis Taylor-Boyce gave Wood the lead on 22 minutes when he was allowed to turn and give himself a clear sight of goal from16 yards out.
Shirebrook looked to hit back in the minutes that followed, but Wood’s first goal was a bit of a gift and the home side looked certain to double their advantage on 35 minutes when Chris Timons was penalised for tripping Ahmet Bilgimer in the box after he cut in from the left touchline.
However, Shirebrook keeper Gareth Briggs was equal to Andrew Aiton’s kick, diving low to his left to keep the ball out of the net.
The visitors then had a golden chance to get back into the game when they won a penalty of their own six minutes later after centre half Lee Stretton was adjudged to handled the ball in Wood’s area, but Jake Vernon couldn’t find any way past home keeper Dale Faultless from the spot.
It was a disappointment for the visitors, and their woes deepened two minutes after that when Aiton’s cross from the left found Danny Owen unmarked at the back post, and he headed in from 12 yards to increase to home side’s lead just before half-time.
Nevertheless, Vernon could have halved the deficit for Shirebrook a minute later, but again he couldn’t find a way past Faultless who denied him at the near post after a neat pass by Mitch Husbands had sent him clear into the box on the right.
And the visitors huffed and puffed after the interval, but never really did enough to influence the game.
Even the double substitution of Antony Rowley (on for Vernon) and Kyle Jordan (on for Jordan Lemon) on 55 minutes couldn’t spark any more life into Shirebrook, who only created a couple of half-chances before Bilgimer finally put the result beyond any doubt when he scored Wood’s third and final goal with just over fifteen minutes to go.
Substitute Robert Cam very nearly grabbed a consolation goal for the visitors with ten minutes to go, but the home side almost had the last word in time added on at the end with Gonzales’ in-swinging free-kick from wide on the right that had Briggs scrambling to keep from going into the Shirebrook net just under the crossbar.
Shaw said: “It’s disappointing because we did so well on Saturday, but now we can at least concentrate on our prime aim, which is the league.”
He added: “We’ve got to now make sure that we put this defeat behind us and that we’re right on it for our next game. Otherwise we’ll be disappointed again, and we don’t want that to happen.”
Shirebrook Town return to their league programme on Saturday with the visit of near-neighbour’s Teversal FC to Langwith Road for a 3 o’clock kick-off.
Walsall Wood: Faultless, Currithers, Evans, Boothe, Stretton, Owen (Forrest 81), Bilgimer, Hawkins (Murray 85), Taylor-Boyce, Aiton Cooper 75), Gonzales. Subs not used: Deakin, Howard.
Shirebrook Town: Briggs, Ludlam, Rowbotham, Walker, Timons, Cardwell, Lemon (Rowley 55), Gee (Cam 69), Mullen, Husbands, Vernon (Jordan 55). Subs not used: Hemsley, Shaw.
Referee: Phil Hardisty (West Midlands)