Long Melford 0 – Saffron Walden 3
18th September 2015.
Now that was more like it! That was the win the Bloods needed to kick off our season, and climb up the league. It was a very eventful evening at the Stoneylands. We had an own goal, a red card, Sticksy lasting 90 minutes and a goal keeper who never gave up.
It was my first ever Friday evening match. It was ground hopper day, which means that people from all over the country visit different grounds for the experience. I was introduced to a few as the Saffron Walden Blogger. I am now known as Mr Blogger to a few of the fans.
Last season’s match at the Stoneylands was epic. We were 3-0 up at half time and ended up drawing 3-3. But tonight was different. The conditions were perfect and the Bloods controlled the game.
As I arrived I caught up with a few of the Bloods family, which I now class as great friends. Over the season you get to know more about the people standing and cheering beside you.
I got the team sheet from Paul, and found out we were missing a lot of players, due to injury and holiday. We had the following lads missing: Reid, Fleming, Strong, Solkhon (All defenders). M Abbot (Midfield). Gregory and Turner (Forwards).
The starting 11 were:
Floyd Croll was in goal. Defence: Grinrod, Lawrence (Beast), Wardly (Sticksy) and P Abbott. Midfield: Snelling (Mashy), Harper, Noble and Bell. Forwards: Calver (Wig) and Thomas. Subs: Drane, Murphy (Boss), Morrell, Crane and Soutar.
Ben Morrell was called up to the first team for his first competitive debut, after impressing Sticksy in the reserves.
The first half
Melford started the match playing in black and white. We soon won the ball back and Thomas made a great run into the box. He beat his man and crossed the ball, but it didn’t find its intended target.
2 minutes in and we had won a throw on. The crowd called for the Beast to take it. His throw on was well defended by Melford and cleared out of the box.
5 minutes in and Wig showed off his skills. He held the ball up well and was brought down just outside the box. Harper took the free kick, but again it was well defended by Melford.
Not much happened in the first 10 minutes. Both teams were working the ball well, but with no real danger at goal.
12 minutes in and we had another free kick. The free kick was taken short but intercepted by Melford. Melford’s Yearling broke well and ran towards Croll’s goal. He found Clarke in space. Clarke crossed the ball into the 6 yard box, but Croll collected the ball well.
The Melford keeper Mansfield was off his line, so Mrs Nash encouraged Croll to shoot. He didn’t listen.
Thomas was causing trouble, and produced a lovely flick for Bell to run onto up the right wing. Bell’s cross was well defended, but only for a throw on in the Beast’s territory. The throw on was punched away by Mansfield, but fell to the Viking. The Viking’s shot seemed to hit the Melford defender’s hand, but hand ball was not given. Melford broke well and gave Yearling a chance on goal, but his effort went wide.
Shortly after, Bell won the ball back from inside his half. He ran up the wing and took it around the Melford player. He passed it to Noble, who then passed it to Wig. Wig passed it back to Bell on the wing. Bell got his cross in, but Melford’s Jackson cleared the danger. This showed some great team work from the lads.
Yearling continued to look threatening and drove toward the goal, but Mashy made a great sliding tackle to win the ball back. He passed the ball to Wig, who made an excellent over the top pass to Thomas. Thomas controlled the ball well, but there was no one home to receive his cross.
During the first half we started to mimic the Melford keeper, by yelling out ‘No foul’. As the keeper took a goal kick, we would start the ‘woooooooaaaaaahhhhhh’ and as he kicked the ball we would yell ‘No foul’. You have to give full credit to the Mansfield, as he didn’t flinch once.
25 minutes in and we had another free kick, just outside the box. Grinrod took the shot, which was low and hard, forcing a great save from Mansfield.
Melford put together some great passes, but their ball forward was caught offside.
At this point I would say we looked the better side. Wig was linking up well with Thomas and looked threatening with each touch.
We won another corner for Harper to take. The corner came in and was headed out to Wig. Wig floated the ball back in and Jackson headed the ball over the keeper, and into the back of the net for an own goal, after some great pressure from the Beast. We were quite sympathetic towards Jackson and Mansfield and said how unlucky they were.
5 minutes to go and Melford had a corner. The corner was well defended by Sticksy, but fell to a Melford player. He took a shot but it was well saved by Croll.
Melford continued to try and get back into the match, with a great effort from their captain, Adams. The header was strong but went wide.
Mrs Nash’s flannel had now come out after some great pressure from Melford. I believe from what she was saying, the referee was getting on her nerves…or something along those lines.
We finished the first half strong. We pushed for that second goal with decent chances from Wig, Harper and Thomas, but just had to settle with the one goal for now.
Walden to kick off and Melford had made a sub.
Walden started the half with determination and grit. We had an early free kick but the effort was well cleared.
Melford’s Waugh took a smack to the face with the ball. It looked very painful but after some treatment he soon played on with the match.
Wig made a fantastic run up the wing, tormenting Adams. Adams tripped Wig and conceded a free kick. Adams was given a yellow card for the foul on Wig. Harper crossed the ball from the free kick, aiming for Sticky, but Mansfield jumped up well to catch the ball.
Melford started to pile on the pressure, with a great break from Clarke. Abbott made a great tackle to deny Clarke a shot. Sticksy was controlling the line with the Beast very well. The communication was excellent.
Melford won a corner after a great slide tackle from the Beast. The corner found their striker but the ball went over the bar. This was their best chance of the half.
We shortly went 2-0 up after some fantastic skills by Wig. Wig crossed the ball in, which fell to Bell. Bell launched the ball into the top right hand corner, making it impossible to save. We were on our way to our first win of the season, but were not counting our chickens just yet.
Just as life for the Bloods could not get any better, Wig skilfully took the ball around the defender and crossed the ball low and hard into the 6 yard box. Mashy got infront of the defender and slotted the ball home. We were now 3-0 up. Mansfield was not happy, but was not giving up yet.
Melford put on the pressure, but Grinrod nicked the ball off the striker. He ran with the ball and passed to Thomas in space. Thomas skinned Waugh and took a shot, but his shot was well saved by Mansfield.
We had won a corner, but during this time Griffiths went down on the half way line. I am not sure what happened. He either took a knock or got cramp. The corner was punched away by Mansfield for another Walden corner.
Clarke made a good run and played the ball to Jamie Clark. Clark found substitute Rowe in space who tried to take on the Viking. The Viking stuck to him like glue and knocked the ball out for a Melford corner. The corner was well cleared to a Melford player. The player had a great shot which hit the top of the cross bar. I am sorry I don’t know who that was, but it was a sweet strike.
Melford tried to get back into the game with a great run by Yearline, but he was soon slowed down by the Beast, who cleared the danger.
15 minutes to go and Wig set Grinrod up for a potential worldy, but his shot was slightly too high and wide. It was a great effort from the Viking, who continued his great form from Tuesday’s match.
Noble was replaced by Joe ‘The Boss’ Murphy. It was another great game by Nobby.
Wig’s best effort on goal came from a free kick by Harper. It was played short to Wig, and Wig turn the Melford defender. He had a great effort well saved by Mansfield. Mansfield was determined not to be beaten again.
Thomas showed some silky skills by the corner flag, teasing the left back. He advanced towards goal and won us a free kick. The fans started calling him Zinedine Thomas.
Wig was replaced 5 minutes on time for debutant Ben Morrell. Wig was outstanding throughout, with 3 assists (if you count the own goal), and was unlucky not to get on the score sheet.
Melford didn’t give up and Clarke continued to look threatening. He linked up well with Rowe, but the Viking won the ball back and cleared the danger.
In the last few minutes of the match, there was a red card. Row saw red after a robust challenge on Grinrod.
Grinrod did have the last attempt but it went over the bar and almost hit Mrs Nash on the head. Jackie told Grinrod he would be taking home the kit tonight as punishment.
So that was it. Walden had won and kept a clean sheet. It was a fantastic match for the Bloods. I am glad the curse of the blog has now been broken. Now can we go on an unbeaten run, please?
The fans’ Man of the Match was a unanimous decision. Congratulations Wiggy Calver on another fantastic game.
Next match for the first team will be Hadleigh away on the 26th September.
The reserves are today (19th Sept) at Catons Lane against Whitton United Reserves, and again on Tuesday night against Cornard United Reserves. I shall be doing a blog for the Cornard match. Good luck lads.
Thanks for reading.
Sorry the pictures are rubbish but my iPhone is rubbish.