Thursday 17th May 2018 at Walsall FC
Walsall Wood 2 Rushall Olympic 2 (Rushall win 4-3 on penalties)
A true local derby to end the cup final season for Staffordshire FA with Walsall Wood and Rushall Olympic facing off at the Banks’s Stadium to determine who would lift the Walsall Senior Cup trophy for 2017/18.
Step 3 side Rushall Olympic were favourites going into the game against step 6 Walsall Wood but the underdogs won the MFL Division 1 at a canter scoring plenty of goals along the way so a competitive game was in store for the fans in attendance.
The Pics had the bulk of the ball in the opening exchanges, passing the ball around confidently against a Wood side who were playing their second final of the week at the Banks’s Stadium after winning the MFL League Cup Final just two days earlier.
Despite commanding the possession the Pics had to wait until midway through the half to make the breakthrough and it came from Richard Brodie who cut inside a Wood defender before dinking the ball over Lloyd Ransome for a 1-0 lead.
Wood were trying to find a way back into the game but rarely threatened a shot on target in response and their task was made all the more difficult for them shortly before the break when Keenan Meakin-Richards was shown a straight red card after an off the ball incident with goalscorer Brodie.
The introduction of Lei Brown at the start of the second half gave Wood an injection of energy and Paul Sullivan almost found himself through on the keeper but a last ditch challenge denied him a clear strike at goal.
Sullivan was not to be denied just ten minutes later though when his free-kick from 25 yards crashed in off the underside of the bar, via a slight deflection off the wall, and the ten men were level.
The second half turned into a proper end to end cup tie with Wood’s Lei Brown proving a constant thorn in the side of the Pics defenders but it was the favourites who went back in front midway through the half when Andre Landell curled a neat finish into the far corner of Ransome’s net to give them a 2-1 lead.
Wood continued to battle and Brown just failed to make contact with a low cross fizzed across the six yard box while Brodie missed a golden chance to make it 3-1 before Ransome’s near post save kept them in the tie as the clock ticked down.
Joe Slinn in the Rushall goal made a flying save to prevent another Sullivan free-kick goal with just a couple of minutes to go and that looked like the final chance until a corner kick, deep into injury time, was steered home by Brown to bring the Wood level at 2-2 amidst joyous scenes from their players and supporters.
The match would be determined by penalty kicks and Danny Waldron proved to be the hero as he coolly slotted home the deciding penalty for the Pics to win the shoot-out 4-3 and take the Walsall Senior Cup back to Dales Lane.
Thanks to everyone who supported the match on the evening in what turned out to be one of the most exciting finals of the season and credit to both teams for putting on an excellent match at the end of a very long season.