Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Saffron Walden 0 – FC Clacton 0 (Bloods win 4-2 on penalties) – Essex Senior Cup

Saffron Walden 0 – FC Clacton 0 (Bloods win 4-2 on penalties) – Essex Senior Cup

18th August 2015

I thought last week’s FA Cup success against Hadley was eventful.   It will take some time for me to come back down to earth after Tuesday night’s match. I should start buying shares in cold flannels for Mrs Nash’s head. This match had almost everything; and in true fashion did not disappoint.

I sat there at around 3pm looking at the pouring rain, hoping the game would not be called off. I even took a walk away from my lap top for 5 minutes, to check the grass on the green. I would have been gutted if the game had been called off due to the weather. You can’t beat a midweek night out at the Lane to break up the working week.

Once I knew the match was on I headed down to my second home, the Meadows. I was worried about putting the flag behind the goal as I didn’t want it getting ruined after its 3rd appearance. I don’t think Nigel would have been impressed. Instead I hung the flag in the main stand for all the fans to see.

I have really enjoyed writing this blog and I am very pleased by the amount of views so far. Last week’s FA Cup blog had almost double the amount of views compared to the Newmarket blog. The blog has got the fans and team talking, and I have now got to know some of the Bloods family better.  #bloodsfamily

That’s enough about me. It’s time to talk about the match.

Sticksy and Maher decided to make a few changes to last Saturday’s win against Hadley. In goal we had 16 year old first team debutant Sam Soutar. Followed by Bell, Lawrence (Beast), Reid, Fleming, Solkhon, Drane, Murphy, Harper, Calver (Wiggy) and Gregory. Subs were: M Abbot, Noble, Snelling (Mashy), Andrews and Turner.

We started the game in true fashion by kicking towards the playing field. Clacton started well and confidently passed the ball. They looked like a team who are currently sitting in 7th in the TNPL, with one win and a draw.

Our first threat came from some silky skills by Wiggy who gave FC Clacton’s right back a hard time. I don’t think he was expecting that. Wiggy got his cross to Drane, who shot, but the ball was cleared for a corner. Harper crossed the ball which found Solkhon, but no one was there to meet Solks’ header back into the box.  

5 minutes in and Clacton started to threaten the defence. FC  Clacton’s Charlie Gibbs made a good run but was no match for Bells’ well timed tackle, which Reid cleared to safety.

10 minutes in the Bloods started piling on the pressure. Drane’s perfect pass found Wiggy who then passed it to Fleming. The communication was very good between the team. Fleming did get a shot in but it was well defended.

The growing confidence gave Solk’s an opportunity to come forward with a darting 100 yard sprint to win Walden a throw on. The fans always appreciate great runs from our full-backs. You can always tell when the fans are getting into it - our voices go up an octave.

More and more changes came Walden’s way and FC Clacton had no choice but to park the bus. Gregory and Harper had some great skill coming forward, but again were denied by a strong defence.

FC Clacton’s Billy Wales made a nice turn but his shot went wide not troubling Soutar.

15 minutes in and Solks went to the ground after a challenge. The ball was kicked off which allowed Solks time to recover.  After fair play by FC Clacton, they threw the ball back to Walden. Gregory showed some great skill and balance. His run was again fast and strong and managed to get a cross in which was headed out for a corner.

Murphy who I am now going to name ‘The Boss’ used his experience and managed the midfield well allowing Sam, Drane and Wiggy to move around well and worry the defence.

25 minutes in a FC Clacton started to get back into the game. The striker (sorry I didn’t get his shirt number) made a great run at goal, but Fleming made a great challenge, kept the ball and sent Bell sprinting down the right wing. Bell did get a cross in but the keeper caught it.

FC Clacton changed their game slightly and began marking Wiggy 3 to 1. Wiggy didn’t let that faze him and made some cheeky turns into the box. He was unlucky not to be awarded a penalty. The referee gave a free kick to FC Clacton instead. Not that we complained…..much!

The Bloods did come under threat from Arron Condon who recently scored a hat-trick in the FA Cup. Murphy ‘The Boss’ tracked back well, and slid in taking the ball away from Condon to deny a goal scoring opportunity.

The play continued well, and we looked the favourite to open the scoring. I have mentioned this before, but the communication was excellent

40 minutes in and Clacton’s biggest threat was a nice bit of skill by Condon. Spike made an excellent goal line clearance. Well at least I think it was Bell? I may be wrong as one of the fans thought it was The Boss. Sorry Joe if it was you but it was raining. That’s my excuse and I am sticking to it.

The first half ended with more pressure from Walden. We looked the better side so far and we, the fans, were pleased with the lads. A first half round of applause was well earned.

Second Half

FC Clacton started the second half brightly. They must have had a strong half time team talk, as they were passing the ball better.

Walden’s first second half effort came from a great ball from Harper which found Wiggy in the box. Wiggy accidently hand balled it, and you could have no argument about the referee’s decision.

5 minutes in and FC Clacton looked threatening. Kevin Coyle was beginning to be a handful and had a pretty good throw himself. The Beast has competition! His throw resulted in a Clacton corner, which was cleared by Murphy. The second corner was pushed back in by Wayne Chapman, but was well blocked by Bell.

Solks made a great run towards goal but was tripped and won a free kick. Drane collected the ball and made a great pass to Gregory who then passed it to Harper. Harper’s cross was caught by the keeper.

Sam made yet another good run and made a sweet pass to The Boss. Murphy got a shot in but it was well blocked by their big number 5, Chris Ribchester.

15 minutes in and Clacton’s striker had a good run, but that soon ended by another well timed tackle by Bell, who won the ball and played it out of danger.

18 minutes in and disaster struck. Solks was involved in a 50/50 challenge. Solks accidently made contact with Jack Clampin’s leg and was red carded. It was a straight red which seemed slightly harsh as it was his first foul. The play stopped while Clamplin was carried off. There seemed to be an exchange of words between some of the fans and the Clacton’s physio but nothing major. Solks waited by the player’s tunnel for Clamplin, to make sure he was ok before taking an early shower. The players shook hands and the game continued. #respect

While all this was going on Louis Harper was replaced by Graeme Turner. Graeme, who has recently come back from injury, looked sharp and injected some extra pace into the game.

We didn’t panic when we went down to 10 men, but Clacton did look threatening. We continued to play our game and try and get that well needed goal. Drane was replaced by Mashy which showed we would not just retreat back and park the bus. Drane had a superb game. He had some of his former colleagues from the reserves cheering him on. Well done Max and keep up the hard work.

35 minutes in and up steps The Beast for another throw on into the danger zone. Turner got a head to the ball but it went wide. 

The Beast showed that he was not just a monster throwing, hard hitting defender. He showed a lovely bit of footwork in the FC Clacton’s box, and crossed it to Turner at the back post. Turner headed back to Gregory but his shot was cleared by Ribchester. Ribchester had a busy night but did his team proud.

40 minutes in and Soutar made a brilliant stop. Huge save to deny FC Clacton from pinching a win at the end.  During this time Wiggy was yellow carded for disagreeing with the referee.

A few minutes to go and M Abbott was introduced to the game.

Both teams continued to fight for that winning goal but the inevitable happened. It would go down to a penalty shootout. Who was going to be the hero? I bet Sam didn’t expect he would be facing penalties on his first competitive match.

 At this point the fans looked nervous and Mrs Nash struggled to look. Surely we could do this and win? We cheered as loud as we could and hoped that the penalties would be taken where we were standing, as we didn’t want to have to leg it to the other side. Malcolm, with his broken foot, would have had to be pushed in a wheel barrow.

Penalties as they happened:

SW: Wiggy stepped up first and scored.

FC: Condon took Clacton’s first and scored.

SW: Joe ‘The Boss’ Muphy’ scored.

FC: Soutar guessed the right way and saved Coyle’s attempt.

SW: Mark Abbott scored.

FC: Substitute Ben Parkin scored.

SW: Gregory missed, as his shot went over the bar. He played an excellent match, so be proud Sam.

FC: Soutar pulled of another fantastic save to deny substitute Charlie Thompson

The Meadows erupted with cheers and now it was up to Bell to score for the win.

SW: Bell scores and we win.

The team all ran and surrounded Bell and Soutar. What a match! We looked the better side, and more then held our own when we went down to 10 men. I am smiling as I write this blog as it truly felt like we had won the cup. Next up we play Ilford.

Man of the Match has to go to Sam Soutar. At just 16 he showed maturity and no fear. After the match I got him to hold the flag up so I could take a picture. Well done and keep on working hard.

Next Blog will be Bloods Vs. Felixstowe & Walton at home. They have won 2 out of 2 so far. Come on you Bloods and bag the 3 points.


Jonathan Scripps


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