Stanway Rovers Reserves 1
Saffron Walden Town FC 0
Saturday 29 August 2015
A new look reserve side, that contained just four of last season’s championship winning team, visited The Hawthorns to face a Stanway side that were coming off of a 5-0 win in their previous fixture.
A very disrupted pre-season campaign, that saw The Bloods play just three meaningful games, coupled with this being their first league game at a tough venue and against a strong side playing their third fixture, didn’t do anything for the Walden cause.
This was soon evident and the first half was a full bloodied backs to the wall affair, with both the slope of the pitch and a stiff breeze favouring the hosts. Some very staunch defending was required for the entire half, and the hosts were rarely troubled as Walden’s forays into their half were few and far between.
In truth, had it not been for some exceptional defending, particularly by a back three of James Richardson, Suyash Gurung and the excellent Ryan Dewey, the result could have been decided well before the break. This, and some woeful finishing by the Stanway forwards plus the agility of Paul Wood in the visitors goal maintained parity.
The three Under 18 players making their competitive debuts for The Bloods in the middle of the park must have wondered what they had let themselves in for, however they all acquitted themselves well and in Alex van Enis they had a contender for man of the match. If Walden could be accused of anything it would be the amount of time and space they allowed their opponents, showing them far too much respect, a subject that was ‘discussed’ during the very welcome break.
HALF TIME: STANWAY ROVERS RESERVES 0 SAFFRON WALDEN TOWN RESERVES 0
The second half began with a much more determined Walden taking the game to Stanway for the first time and playing the football that they are more than capable of. At the heart of the improvement was Dan Murphy-Moore and Ben Morrell, both largely anonymous in the first half, they began to bite at the heels of their opponents to stop them playing from the back and this had the effect of unsettling an up until then very dominant Stanway.
Aided by the strength of Ben Riches up top and the impressive Van Enis, and supported by the marauding runs down the flank of James Richardson the visitors began to create chances and making the home ‘keeper a lot less comfortable than during the first period.
Unfortunately however, with Walden now giving as good as they got, after 65 minutes disaster struck The Bloods. Just as it seemed that a home corner had been dealt with, the hard working Coby Game attempted to volley the ball clear but only succeeded in hitting a Stanway forward full in the back on the eight yard line and despite a brave attempt by Wood to claw the ball away it had enough impetus to spin into the top corner of the visitors net. A cruel goal indeed to concede, particularly at that juncture of the match.
However, for the remainder of the match Walden can be proud of their efforts to get back on level terms and both Riches and Gurung tested the home ‘keeper. As the game entered its’ final stages some robust but generally fair tackles were put in by both sides and the referee began to issue yellow cards. Sadly with just three minutes remaining one such tackle made Walden’s Murphy-Moore react with raised hands and both he and the perpetrator of the original foul were red carded.
FULL TIME: STANWAY ROVERS RESERVES 1 SAFFRON WALDEN TOWN RESERVES 0
Saffron Walden Town Reserves: Paul Wood, Suyash Gurung, Ryan Dewey, James Richardson, Darren Wardley (Coby Game), Alex Van Enis, Dan Murphy-Moore, Dan Weeks (Jack Forster), George Chappell (Darren Wardley), Ben Riches, Ben Morrell. Sub not used: Jason Harvey.
Yellow Cards: Ben Morrell, Alex Van Enis.
Red Card: Dan Murphy-Moore