The Beehive is situated on the edge of Studley, just outside Redditch. It is part of the Studley Sports Centre complex which also boasts a 3G pitch. Midland League Division Two side Montpelier also play their home games here. There is ample parking space adjacent to the ground with access to the football stadium through a single turnstile, directly from the car park. This brings you into the ground on the Abbeyfields Road side, which is also where all of the facilities are situated. There is a large clubhouse and function build running half the length of the pitch. The snack bar is situated next to the entrance and just to the other side of turnstile is the single covered seating area. This is an interesting stand in as much as it is not stepped in any way. There are four or five rows of seats but they are all at the same level.
Directly opposite the entrance are the two dugouts, backed by the 3G pitch. There are no other covered areas in the ground and, from what I could see, no access to the opposite side for spectators. One other noticeable feature of The Beehive is the floodlights which are not as high as the usual structures. I'm not sure why this is. Maybe a local requirement to prevent light pollution into the nearby town? I suppose the ground is not a million miles from Birmingham Airport (Ashford Towm (MX) have low-level floodlights because of their proximity to Heathrow) but I didn't notice that it was on a direct flight-path.
Clearly, Studley were going to be up against it this evening and they didn't get off to the sort of start they would have wanted. With only a minute on the clock a complete defensive mix-up led to Lei Brown being left with a gaping net in front of him and the ball at his feet. He duly obliged. 0-1.
The tone was set for the first half. Wood dominated possession of the ball and the majority of the game was being played in the Studley half of the pitch. Credit to the home side for steadying the ship somewhat after the early shock but they never managed to get off the back foot and, for almost half an hour it was looking like the most one-sided 1-0 game I had ever seen.
However, after 27 minutes Wood made it two when Jordan Fitzpatrick let fly from outside the box. Bees stopper Ryan Young did well to get down and parry the stinging effort but the ball dropped into the path of Brown, who made no mistake to grab his and Walsall's second of the night. 0-2.
Seven minutes later Brown came very close to a hat-trick but saw his effort come back off Young's post with the keeper beaten. However, Wood did not have to wait much longer for another goal. This time it was a Fitzpatrick corner, from the left, that curled in towards the goal, evaded all touches, and nestled in the far corner. 0-3.
HT Studley 0 Walsall Wood 3. Wood completely dominated the game and have spent much of it in the Studley half. Ransome, in the Wood goal, has not yet got his knees dirty.
The fourth goal took until the 70th minute to arrive. A glorious through-ball from Lee Butler forced Young to pull down the Walsall striker as he tried to round him. The referee pointed to the spot but,thankfully, resisted the urge to hand out a red card, which would have completely killed the game. Paul Sullivan stepped up and, despite Young getting a hand to the ball, put his side four to the good. 0-4.
With Studley still bravely fighting away, it took Wood another 10 minutes to clock up he fifth goal, but it was worth the wait. Butler picked up a loose ball about 25 yards out, took a step, took aim, and fired a low drive past Young. 0-5.
All that was left was for another substitute, Tony Clarke, to rise at the near post and glance a 91st minute free-kick past the keeper to make it six. 0-6
FT Studley 0 Walsall Wood 6. Wood showed their title credentials with a thoroughly professional performance. They were quicker, sharper in the tackle, stronger and technically superior from the first minute to the last. Studley battled away bravely for the entire game, but just could not live with their opponents. With Ilkeston going down 4-2 at Warwick, Wood now just need 3 points to be crowned champions. Coincidentally, they could pick up the required points at home to the side who gave them the opportunity, Racing Club Warwick, on Saturday. A note for anyone wanting to attend this game. It will be played at nearby Chasetown FC (The Scholars Ground, Church St, Chasetown, WS7 3QL).
Studley: Young, English, McCalla, Powell, Dineen, King, Westwood, Clarke, Healey, Wynee-Wilson, Ludlow(c). Subs: Oldfield, Cowley, Nwosu, Oldfield
Walsall Wood: Ransome, Hayden, Okonie, Walker, Rowley, Tolley(c), Fitzpatrick, Westwood, Sullivam, Lund, Brown. Subs: Slater, Butler, Clarke, McFarlane, Hurren
Ground Number: 154