Woodbridge Town Reserves 1
Saffron Walden Town Reserves FC 1
12th September 2015
Beset with injury and availability problems, this Walden side contained several youth players making their competitive debuts for the senior set up, and many of those were having to play out of their normal positions. Indeed, even with skipper for the day Dan Manser at 29 years old, the average age of the side was just 18.
In truth, The Bloods should have come away from this enthralling game with all three points as several chances were created but not finished off through a combination of poor finishing and plain bad luck. It is without doubt however that one day soon it will all come together, and an opposing side will be punished severely when it does!
The action commenced immediately from kick off when a lazy clearance from a Woodbridge defender was intercepted by the busy James Richardson. He then took a few strides forward before releasing a pin point pass for Ben Morrell who had made a perfect run through the centre of the home defence. Morrell’s pace took him clear of the defenders and the home ‘keeper rushed out just enough to force Morrell to slide the ball just wide of the post. Shortly afterwards Morrell hit a great low cross into the home six yard area only to see Manser’s attempt to lift the ball over the ‘keeper clear the bar as well.
Woodbridge however were always a threat when pushing forward, and Walden’s back four had to be at their best to repel some good work by the home forwards. Walden suffered a blow however after twenty minutes, when central defender John Griffin took a knock on his hip and despite his efforts to continue he had to be withdrawn. Some re-shuffling saw the superb Ryan Dewey take up his position in a new central partnership with Harry Clark, and youth player Jack Garratt made his senior competitive debut at left back, despite regularly playing on the right side for the Under 18’s.
Walden then went close again when Luca Riccio swung in a corner that evaded everybody and cannoned off of the far post. Manser should have finished of a fine move down the right flank when he initially laid the ball out to Suyash Gurung, who combined well with Coby Game to put in a great cross into the box to meet Manser’s run. Slightly off balance with the ball behind him however his shot was wide of the near post. It was always felt that unless Walden were more clinical they would pay for it and that was the case with five minutes remaining in the half. Woodbridge’s tricky right side winger put in a very good cross which was met with an equally impressive glancing header that evaded all efforts from David Vant in the visitors goal.
HALF TIME: WOODBRIDGE TOWN RESERVES 1 SAFFRON WALDEN TOWN RESERVES 0
The second half began with Walden stepping up the pressure and with five minutes gone they were level when the partnership of Morrell and Manser once again came to the rescue. A high ball out of defence was pulled down well by Manser who then proceeded to slip Ben Morrell clear and his left foot finish gave the home custodian no chance before it hit the net.
His effort had obviously taken its’ toll towards the end and his tired legs were at the death just about supporting him. However, it was the very hardworking Coby Game who was then withdrawn so that the fresh legs of Jack Forster could help out down the Walden right side, and just when it was thought that the game would be seen out without any further incident Woodbridge had other ideas. Two exceptional saves from Dave Vant, one with his hands and the other with his legs were needed to maintain parity with just two minutes remaining.
David Vant, Suyash Gurung, Harry Clark, John Griffin (Jack Garratt 25) Ryan Dewey, Coby Game (Jack Forster 80), Luca Riccio (Dan Weeks 65), Callum Sparrow, James Richardson, Danny Manser, Ben Morrell.