The Mikes 0-0 Walsall Wood
A point was the least Stuart Grosvenor's men deserved as they extended their recent unbeaten run to five games with just two goals conceded.
The teams have now met twice this year and have not troubled the scoreboard in three hours of football. As in the game at Oak Park, Wood managed to miss a penalty, but a winner would have been unkind on the Mikes who looked the more likely winners for most of the game against a side who had a fresher impetus having not played on Saturday.
Injuries to Steve Palmer, Andy Lewis and the unavailability of Pete Gould meant returns for Alex Forde, Roland Agbor and Kieren Westwood.
In the bright sunshine it was Wood who threatened first on eight minutes, Craig Deakin won the ball wide right, cut intothe centre of the box through three tackles, Dominic Perkins with a superb challenge saving the home team’s blushes.
Minutes later Jason Holmes intercepted a misplaced pass left of centre ran at the defence and rolled the ball into the path of Charisma Agbonlahor, who under pressure fired his first time shot wide. It was Holmes again minutes later winning the ball in centre midfield and racing for goal before finding Roland Agbor wide on the right - he cut inside through one tackle and his rising near post drive was pushed round the post by keeper Mario Kisiel.
It was nip and tuck as the evenly matched sides looked to gain control with Black and Carruthers heading over before Agbor cut in from wide right, his low cross cut out by Hawkins with Hayles completing the clearance. Agbor was to be an irritant to the visitors all afternoon setting up Agbonlahor for a header then carving through the Wood defence twice without supplying a clinical ball for his fellow strikers to feed upon.
Having weathered the Agbor storm Wood replied with Boothe powering a header too high from a Black free kick whilst at the other end Agbonlahor's attempt to convert a Wilkinson cross went tamely wide.
Sean Butler cut out a dangerous Black cross and brought to an end a goalless but thoroughly entertaining half.
The Mikes were on the front foot immediately after the resumption, Agbor setting up Wilkinson who fired over before himself bursting through several tackles to test Kisiel. It was the same player who perhaps should have done better after a lovely one-two with Westwood only for the visitors custodian to block at the near post.
Evans replied for the visitors latching onto a long ball from his keeper but fired high and wide as both sides stepped their search for a winner. Agbor was on the receiving end of some rough treatment that ended up with a booking for Boothe before Jason Holmes had two good efforts Kisiel saved the first whilst the second fizzed just wide
At this stage, the Mikes looked the likelier to score as they had consistently worked the goalkeeper, whilst the Wood barely troubled Butler with their efforts. The pendulum swung in the visitors' direction with just eight minutes to go when substitute Scott Cooper raced onto a ball into the centre of the Mikes box only to be sent tumbling by Adam Robinson. A penalty was duly awarded by referee Cox and the defender was dismissed asa last man. Jamie Hawkins stepped up but epitomised the profligacy displayed on the day as his effort sailed over the bar.
There were late bookings for Agbonlahor and Evans after they tangled outside the box before substitute Holgate for the Wood and that man Agbor for the Mikes had chances to win it for their respective sides but failed to hit the target.