Saffron Walden 2 Vs. Felixstowe and Walton 3
22nd August 2015
2pm and I was watching the lads warm up. It was 28 degrees and I had my new personalised training top on. The first thing I thought was, rather them than me. I’ll stick to my cold lemonade, thanks. The fans were still buzzing from our midweek cup win. I spoke to last week’s hero Sam Soutar and he still had a big smile on his face. As always it was great to catch up with the fans who could not make Tuesdays match.
Wardely had made a few changes from Tuesday’s winning team. Croll was back between the posts. Defence: P Abbott, Reid, Lawrence (Beast) and Grinrod. Midfield: Bell, Murphy (Boss), Snelling (Mashy) and Noble. Forwards: Calver (Wiggy) and Gregory. Subs: Drane, Turner, Wardley (Sticksy) and Soutar.
We had Solkhon, Fleming, Harper and M Abbott missing.
I missed the first few minutes, as I was battling with the breeze, and tying the flag to the railings. I was half expecting to get smacked in the face with the ball. Well at least that would have given the fans something to laugh about.
In the first 5 minutes Felixstowe and Walton (F & W) started well. They are a team of solid looking players, who will be competing for a top 4 finish.
In the first 5 minutes we had a corner, which was handled well by the defence. Spike got the crowd going early with some great skill through the middle, and managed to get his shot away, which was comfortably collected by the keeper.
6 minutes in and Mashy looked threatening by linking up very well with Wiggy. Wiggy set Joe ‘The Boss’ Murphy, who shot to the keeper’s right, but was saved. If the shot had a better connection, the Keeper would have been picking it out of the back of the net.
The Bloods did come under early pressure, but Wiggy made an excellent challenge in the box and managed to break free. He was tripped by number 2 Bennet, and won Walden a free kick.
Shortly after, Sam Gregory made another great run, but again was tripped before he could shoot. Referee did blow up for another free kick, but F and W defended well. At this point in the match it was any one’s game.
F and W number 7 Sckall, was a right handful and made a great pass to number 4 Kerridge. Sckarr was quick and great on the ball. Mashy made a good challenge and The Beast cleared. This was the first time we could see how dangerous F and W could be.
15 minutes in and the pressure was mounting up. F and W had a free kick, but the Boss cleared the danger with a powerful header.
Spike continued to battle on the wing with a great run. His pass found Sam Gregory. Sam just could not get his shot away. Full credit goes to F and W number 3 Ainsley, for his well-timed tackle.
Shortly after, we went 1 -0 down as a result of some brilliant play by F & W. Bennet was extremely quick and managed to get passed Grinrod. He made an excellent pass back to Sckarr, and his strike was perfect leaving Croll no chance. Out of respect we applauded the visitors.
The Bloods responded well from going 1-0 down. Wiggy and Gregory continued to haunt the defence but just couldn’t find that killer shot. Bennet again stuck to Wiggy like glue, and marked him well. Not many right backs can do that, so it was a great battle between them.
20 minutes in and up steps the Beast for a throw on. Joe Murphy leaped well but his header was over the bar.
More pressure followed and Spike put in a great tackle to win the ball. He picked the ball up and made a brilliant run up the line. He got his cross in but the keeper held the ball well.
32 minutes in and Grinrod managed to get forward. He showed some great skill and passed the ball to Mashy. Mashy made the defenders sweat and won Walden a throw on. The Beast took it but it resulted in a goal kick.
Shortly after the goal kick the referee stopped the match for a water break. It was very hot, and ‘we’ were just standing behind the goal. The players did not look tired and soon got the game going again. If I had of been playing I would of passed out 3 minutes into the first half. You can tell that the management team have worked hard on the fitness levels.
Just when we hoped we would get back into the game, F and W strike again. The goal was very well done. They played a long ball, which was flicked on by a header. The forward took the ball in his stride, and smashed the ball into the back of the net. Again Croll had no chance. I am sorry I do not know who scored, as it happened so quickly. I have to admit I was disappointed, as we were undone by quick and precise play. Sorry lads.
We responded just how the fans wanted. Wiggy took on Bennet and got the better of him. He tripped up but got straight back up. His shot just was not strong enough to trouble the keeper.
This was a battle of skill and pace. Bennet looked threatening going forward, and gave Grinrod a hard time. I think Usain Bolt would have struggled to keep up.
Mashy showed some great play, and worked really well coming forward. He passed the ball to Gregory. Sam showed of his pace and beat the defender. He got a strong cross in, and again the keeper caught the ball. It was well held as Sam didn’t hold back on his cross.
We continued to try and snatch a goal back and showed some great skill going forward, but just could not get a clear shot on goal. The first half finished Saffron Walden 0 – F and W 2. It felt like a long walk back to the tea hut.
The Bloods were down but not out. Wardley work your magic please!
I had to take a quick break for breakfast before starting the blog for the 2nd half. I needed to get some energy, for the next 1000 or so words. They always say football is a game of 2 halves, and the Bloods sure proved that.
There was no shade from behind the goal. The sun was beating down and we were hot. God knows how the players must of felt.
So we were off and ready for the 2nd half with Wiggy getting the better of Bennet, but couldn’t get his shot away. Sckarr broke well and ran at Grinrod, this time Grinrod was too good for him, and his slide tackle was perfect. The ball went for a corner, which was well handled by Reid.
5 minutes in we started to string some excellent passes. Wiggy held the ball well and beat his man. His forward pass to Spike was great. Spike found some space and had a shot, but it was too close to the keeper. This was much better from Walden.
The 50/50 was called and I wasn’t really listening. I asked Colin what the number was and realised I had won £83. What a result! Thank you very much. I missed about 5 minutes collecting my prize. I bought Malcolm a drink for his troubles.
Back to the match and we looked good. The passing was better and we started to attack the box more. Wiggy and Gregory looked sharp which gave Spike, Noble and Mashy time to join in with the attack. We just needed that final ball into the box to latch onto.
Turner was introduced to the game for Grinrod to provide more fire power. Grinrod played well. I didn’t realise he was a left back. Usually he is much further forward, where I think he plays his best football.
13 minutes in and we looked in control. F and W had not had a shot on goal.
15ish minute in and we had a free kick into our own half. We took the ball quickly and found Wiggy in space, who ended up one on one with the keeper. The referee brought the play back because he was not ready, and a player was still down. As you can imagine the fans had a pop at the referee.
More skills by Mashy who gave a lovely pass to Gregory in the box. Gregory chested down well but the defender got across him, just before he was about to take his shot. The ball was played to the right back, and Gregory tried to get ball back, but got booked for a shoulder barge. It may have been a strong challenge but it was never a yellow card.
You could tell the F and W defence where getting rattled. Wiggy played well and was awarded a penalty. Unfortunately for Wig, the keeper guessed the right was and saved the ball.
All was not doom and gloom, as the saved penalty resulted in a throw on. The crowd were getting right behind the Bloods, and called for the Beast. The Beast launched his throw into the mixer. Murphy got the better of the centre back and in true ‘Boss Man’ fashion, beat the keeper with a fine header. 2-1. Come on you bloods. Noble took a knock as the goal went in but was soon on his feet after some treatment from the magic sponge.
At this point I had to move back to the shade as the sun was far too hot. We had a line of fans standing with their backs near the cabins, to try and get the few inches of shade. We now had a life line. Mrs Nash needed that cold flannel again!
F and W put the pressure back on and had some good chance. There best effort of the half, Croll carried the ball up and over the bar for a corner.
Once we got back in the game the Beast pushed forward. He took a throw on, which was headed back to him. He got a cross in and I thought Gregory was going to try a bicycle kick. Sckarr, who was F and W’s best player in the first half broke, but Noble ‘Nobby’ ran with him and produced a very important challenge to win the ball.
F and W pushed on to try and kill the game off with a corner which was confidently caught by Croll.
More crosses game in and Mashy cleared well with a header. Another corner to F and W, but Croll made another brave catch, giving the forwards no chance.
We got back into the game again and Sam had a very good effort which went wide of the post.
75 minutes in and pressure by Walden was mounting. Beast had another great throw on which Mashy got his foot on, but was blocked by the defence. F and W started to park the bus. It was time for another water break.
80 minutes in and Turner showed some first class skill. He ran up the wing, and played the ball around the defender to run onto. He held the ball up, and waited for Wig to get into the box. The cross was perfect and Wig chested it down, and smashed it in the back of the net, to make it 2-2. This is why I love non-league football.
F and W pushed for a winner but the defence didn’t take any chances and cleared the ball well.
Veteran Sticksy, came on with about 5 minutes from time and replaced Gregory. Yet another very good game from Gregory. Sam, your first league goal is coming.
Sticksy played up front, and you could tell this worried the defenders. Wig and Turner worked well again, and Graeme sent in a cross for Sticksy, but it was just too high.
Drane was introduced to the match for Mashy. Mashy had a great game and looked threatening.
Damn, Damn, Damn!! Just as I thought we could win, or at least get a draw, F and W won a soft penalty. If you could hear the tone of my voice on the Dictaphone, you would have thought the world had ended. The penalty was taken well and we were now losing 3-2.
We didn’t give up, and continued to battle and Sticksy came close with a very good header, which floated over the bar.
After a very frustrating last 5 minutes, F and W used there experience and slowed the play down. A few of their players hit the deck more time the Drogba did against Barcelona, in the semi-final of the Champions League Cup. You have to hand it to them they knew what they were doing.
The match ended up Bloods 2 – Felixstowe and Walton 3. Personally I could not have asked more of the players in the 2nd half. We were undone by 2 brilliant goals in the first half. The fight back was almost a fairy tale ending. Well done lads for not giving up in tough conditions. We will be back!
Fans Man of the Match was difficult. A lot of the lads did well. I had to base it on the full 90 minutes and not just the first half. So the fans man of the match goes to Joe ‘The Boss’ Murphy. Mashy you came a very close 2nd but Joe’s goal just tipped it for me.
Next up we visit Mildenhall on Tuesday 25th. Keep on working hard lads and we shall get that win.
Thanks for reading.