Friday, 2 October 2015

Ilford 3 – Saffron Walden 2 – Essex Senior Cup

Ilford 3 – Saffron Walden 2 – Essex Senior Cup

30th September 2015, Cicklefield Stadium

A dull 0-0 draw for Walden just does not happen. This was yet another eventful match for the Bloods. The match had it all; 2 red cards, a debut goalie, 3 penalties and of course, Mrs Nash’s famous flannel.

We got to the ground about an hour or so before kick-off. I was greeted by Malcolm’s smile and fan favourite, Mrs Nash. I was introduced to the Ilford Board, who were very accommodating and had a nice cup of tea and a biscuit.

For those who do not know the ground. Cricklewood is a sports centre, so it was a bit like entering a leisure centre. They have a full size running track around the pitch, which meant that we could not stand behind the goal.

Sticksy decided to rest a few players for Saturdays match against Godmanchester. Wig was taking a well-earned break, but hopefully will return to the starting 11 on Saturday.

Floyd Croll was in goal. Defence: Solkhon, Lawrence (Beast), Reid and P Abbott. Midfield: Murphy (The Boss), Harper, Fleming. Forwards: Crane (Road Runner), Turner (G Man) and Thomas. Subs: Bell, Grindrod (The Viking), Noble (Nobby), Drane and Snelling (Mashy)

We had heard that Ilford had made a few changes to their starting 11. This was because they have a FA Vase match against Woodbridge Town on Saturday.

First Half

Ilford started the match in their Blue and White shirts. This meant that Walden could play in Red and Black. Ilford’s first threat came from an early throw. The throw was taken long and headed on, but the player was caught off side.

The Bloods first attempt at goal came from a great ball by Reid, which was delivered into the 6 yard box. The Beast put pressure on the keeper, and forced him to stumble the ball, to award the Bloods a corner. The corner was taken by Harper, but didn’t find his intended target.

From that corner, Ilford’s number 7 Armagh-Tackie broke well, and sprinted up the pitch with the ball. He crossed the ball for Da Silva (who was a giant). Croll miss kicked his clearance and the ball went out for a corner.

5 minutes in and it was very evenly matched. The Bloods were given a free kick, after Thomas was tripped over. The ball sailed into the mixer by Harper and Reid produced a dangerous flick on, from his head, but there was no one to slot it home.

Now I have to blog this Beast, and I am sorry, but how did you get knocked over by Armagh-Tackie, who must have been a foot smaller and 3 stone lighter? Sorry I had to mention that as the Bloods family were shocked. We love you really big man.

8 minutes in and Ilford struck first. I am not sure who it was who scored for Ilford. Basically the ball was crossed to the striker, who was in space. He stuck the ball perfectly, beating Croll’s dive. It was a very good finish.

Ilford's Armagh-Tackie was showing some very good defensive skills, as well as going forward. He tracked back well and tackled the Boss, to stop a cross.

15 minutes in and the Boss sent Road Runner up the wing, with a perfect pass. RR out ran the left back. He went for a shot, but it was just too long. This was better from Walden.

20 minutes in and the Bloods were awarded a penalty.  Atutis was sent off for trip on Thomas, in the area. Now this caused a debate between the Bloods fans. Atutis was on a yellow from a previous foul; however his foul on Thomas was not malicious. Personally I thought the sending off was a little harsh.

Anyway, I am not taking any credit away from the tricky Thomas. He stepped up and scored from the spot. Well done James. 2 down 20 more to go!

Ilford seemed determined to get back in the game. Armagh-Tackie had a great little run, but was tackled by Solkhon. Armagh-Tackie fell to the ground and the keeper shouted for a foul. No foul was given and Harper cleared the line well.

30 minutes and Road Runner made another great run down the wing. He got into the box, but it was well defended by Ilford for a corner. Harper tried to find Solkhon with his cross, but Solkhon didn’t get a decent connection with the ball.

Turner was looking hungry and controlled the ball well from a midfield position. He was tripped but stayed on his feet, and made a lovely pass to Thomas. Thomas won us a throw on for the Beast to take.

35 minutes into the game and disaster hit. Warwick latched onto a miss placed pass back and ran at the goal. Croll came of his line and clashed with Warwick, giving Ilford a penalty. That was the good news! The bad news was that the referee sent Croll off for the challenge! Now I wouldn’t want to be ‘disrespectful’ to the match officials, but how was that a red card? It felt like he was just trying to even up the teams. Croll held his head high and walked off the pitch. We spoke to him as he came off, and he said there was no point arguing about it, as the referee had made up his mind. Solkhon took the number 1 shirt with no hesitation, as we didn’t have Soutar on the bench. He was playing for Essex U18s. As you can imagine the flannel was out, and we almost had to get Mrs Nash a towel.

Warwick took the penalty well, and scored to make it 2-1 to Ilford.  We were now down to 10 men, and had our left back between the sticks. The Bloods fans starting singing ‘We love you Solkhon, we do!’ even if he did look like he was wearing his Dad’s shirt. (See Pic).

Soon after the penalty, Young had a great chance from long range, but it went over the cross bar. Jamie ‘Schmeichel’ Solkhon had the ball well covered.

G Man made a great run up the wing and got into the box. He got a shot in but it was well saved by McAnaly, for a corner ball. The ball went over the keeper and found the Beast. The Beast drove the ball in low and hard, for the Boss to tap in. It was now 2-2 and I needed the flannel.

It was half time and it was all go. I needed a drink! Off to the bar we went.

Second Half

Wardley made a half time substitution. Paul Abbott was replaced by Nobby. The Bloods wanted to go for the win, rather than risk penalties, so they played a 3-3-3 formation or it may have been 3-5-1.

The lads came out of the blocks quickly, and got an early throw on for the Beast to take. He threw the ball into the mixer, the ball was flicked on but the referee called for a foul on the Ilford defender.

Ilford’s number 9, Mullings had a good opportunity to score. He made a great run but Jamie ‘Schmeichel’ Solks had it well covered.

Soon after Ilford’s shot, G Man showed some great skill with the ball at his feet.  His shot was on target, but McAnaly made a great save.

McAnaly was on call again, and pulled off another great save to deny Thomas. The Beast made a lovely forward pass, for Thomas to run onto. His shot was on target, but was well saved by McAnaly.

15 minutes into the second half and Road Runner was replaced by Bell. The Bloods looked the better team, and played like it was all or nothing. Well played Craney. Good to see you giving those defenders hell.

Ilford had a good opportunity, to put pressure on Solks, but Reid got to the ball first and headed it back to Solks. Jamie ‘Schmeichel’ Solks showed of his kicking power, and almost released G Man on a threatening run.

Unfortunately G Man was hurt from a challenged by Warwick, in the 18 yard box. It didn’t look like a foul but he looked in a lot of pain.  He managed to get a shot in, but it went over the bar. Mayer ran on with the magic sponge to help G Man. G Man got back up and tried to run off his injury.

67 minutes into the match and Ilford’s Weber scored after Young hit the post. The ball deflected back to Weber, and he made good of the opportunity. This felt like a kick in the teeth, as the Bloods had been playing very well.

We kept on pressing and were not giving up without a fight. The boss made a lovely pass with his head, for Bell to run onto. Bell lobbed the ball over the defence, for Thomas’ well timed run. His shot was blocked and we were awarded a corner kick.

70 minutes into the match and G Man could not continue. Up steps the Viking as his replacement. I hope you’re not too badly hurt G Man.

Mrs Nash’s quote: ‘Go on Dan, give them hell!! Let’s go down fighting’ (obviously not physically).

I am actually seriously considering writing a mini-series called ‘Mrs Nash’s Bloods. What this space!

Anyway back to the action. Bell was tripped over and won the Bloods a free kick, 25 yards out. Harper went for a shot and hit the cross bar. It was so unlucky and would have been a smashing goal.

The Beast got booked for a shoulder to shoulder challenge. No idea why he got a yellow card?! The referee hadn’t booked anyone for a while, so he may have been bored. How ‘disrespectful’.

10 minutes to go and we won another corner. Fleming connected with the ball well, but the Ilford defender got in the way. We called for a hand ball, but it was not given.

85 minutes into the match and Bell was tripped in the box, and won us a penalty. I was interested to see if the referee would get his red card out, but he didn’t. Thomas took the penalty but McAnaly produced a great save, to deny Thomas a brace.

The Ilford centre back was determined not to throw the lead away, and shouted at his player to ‘switch on’ as Walden still looked like scoring. It’s good to see that from the players.

Harper went for another long range effort, but his shot was slightly wide.

Minutes to go and we had a corner. Jamie ‘Schmeichel’ Solkhon ran from his goal line to take part in the attack. Bell delivered a good corner, but it was just too high for Solks.

We pushed and pushed for that equiliser but it just did not happen. I am really proud of the lads for giving it all that had. Even though we lost, the ‘Behind the goal crew’ had a great evening. As always we stayed and clapped both teams off  the field, and wished Ilford luck in the next round.

I am going to give Fans Man of the Match to Jamie ‘Schmeichel’ Solkhon. As soon as Floyd was sent off, he didn’t hesitate to take the number 1 shirt. Well done for stepping up Jamie.

Next match for the first team is away to Godmanchester. Now that will be a challenge. Can we beat the potential league winners? I know we will bloody well try.

 Thanks for reading




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