Biggleswade 1 – Saffron Walden 3
FA Vase – 21st November…..Bloody cold.
After such an incredible run last year in the FA Vase, I was really looking forward to the match. The club had arranged for a coach, to take the players and supporters to Biggleswade United. Biggleswade are in the Spartan South Midlands League, and are currently 19 in the league. When you compare the two team’s performances; over the last 10 games, we were evenly matched…Well on paper that is!
After reading their pre match report, they seemed very confident they were going to beat us. As they say; ‘He who has the last laugh, laughs the loudest’…..or something like that.
We arrived at the ground just before 2pm, and headed straight to the bar. After a few rounds and a nice warm pasty, we headed over the car park to the ground. There was a real chill in the air, and you could definitely tell winter had arrived. The lady on the PA system welcomed us to the ‘Second Meadow’, and asked us to give her a wave. Well of course we all waved and cheered, to let the home fans know we had arrived.
TEAM: Floyd Croll, Ryan Fleming (Flemo), Dan Grindrod (Viking), Matt Snelling (Mashy) (Stuart Wardley (Sticko) – 51 mins.), Ben Lawrence (Beast), Chris Reid (Graeme Turner (G Man)– 36 mins.), Craig Calver (Wig), Max Drane (Joe Murphy (Boss)– 79 mins.), Jake Noble (Nobby), James Thomas (Zinedine), Louis Harper. Substitutes (not used): James Crane (Road Runner), Neil Andrews.
The First Half
Walden lost the toss, so we ended up playing against the sun. I even gave Nigel ‘Carlos’ Bailey a few bars of ‘Here comes the sun’. He complimented me by adding the ‘Doo do do do’ bit.
To say the boys were up for it, would be an understatement. As the Biggleswade Tweet said ‘We came out of blocks, faster than Usain Bolt’. I really respected the Tweet, as we really did. We really went for it.
We had an early throw-on, and chanted for the Beast. The Beast stepped up and threw the ball into the 6 yard box, but it was cleared for a corner by Cooper.
The Bloods drew first Blood, when Zinedine took advantage of a bad clearance by Biggleswade. Zinedine saw that Martos was off his line, and volleyed the ball towards the goal. The ball had so much spin, it beat Martos at his left post. All the defence could do was stand there and watch. The goal came 2 minutes after kick off.
It was all Walden in the first 5 minutes, with the lads trying to push for a second goal. Harper worked extremely hard to hold the ball up, and passed the ball to the incoming Wig. Wig tried to float the ball into Martos’ left hand corner, but it was slightly high and wide.
10 minutes in, and the game started to settle down. Biggleswade gained a little more control and tried to test Croll from long range, but the ball went over the bar.
12 minutes in, and Biggleswade had a corner. The corner was taken by Farrell, but Flemo cleared the ball out of danger; with his head. Biggleswade gained momentum from the corner, and shortly after won another. The corner was well delivered, but Drane managed to get the ball cleared.
17 minutes in and Biggleswade had equalised. Floyd Croll made an excellent save from Cooper, but Sagwete did not waste his opportunity from the rebound; and smashed the ball past Croll.
Soon after the goal, Reid made a great challenge to stop the Biggleswade striker from have a clear shot at goal.
The Bloods soon got back into their rhythm, and would not let the equaliser faze them. Flemo’s long ball was skilfully taken by Zinedine. Zinedine squared the ball to Wig, but his effort was straight at the keeper.
Harper showed his strength, and travelled well with the ball, to fend off the midfield. He tried to play Zinedine into space, but his pass was slightly too strong, and the ball went out of play.
The Bloods did not stay behind for long. 24 minutes in the match, and The Beast connected perfectly from a corner ball by Harper. His thunderbolt header smashed the back of the net, leaving Marto no chance. 1-2 to the Bloods!
Zinedine came very close to a second goal, after his dipping strike hit the underside of the bar, and bounced on the goal line. Marto did well to react, and pushed the ball away from danger. This opportunity was created by the Viking, who won the ball with a very good tackle.
The Beast showed some lovely footwork, with his educated left foot; to flick the ball onto Thomas. The Beast was under pressure but did not panic.
36 minutes into the match and Reid was replaced by G Man. Reid took a knock and couldn’t continue. I spoke to him after the match and he should be fine.
40 minutes into the match, and Elliot went for a long range effort, but the shot went over the bar.
Mrs Nash was now getting cold and sent Malcolm to get into the tea line. Malcolm knows his place!
Biggleswade had an opportunity near the end of the half. They had a good chance from the corner, but the Beast would not allow them to pass go!
HT: Biggleswade 1 – Saffron Walden 2. The lads had worked extremely hard and deserved their lead.
The Second Half
The Bloods re-started the match and won an early corner. There was some pushing and shoving in the box; which can be quite normal, but it was getting silly, and Zinedine was not happy with the constant impediment
51 minutes into the match, and Mashy was replaced by Sticksy. Mashy has recently come back from injury, so his hamstrings were tight. There wasn’t any point risking further injury.
Master Owen Bailey took the Dictaphone, and reported that Wig was spinning the defence with his skills. Wig won the Bloods a corner, to be taken by Harper. Harper’s delivery almost found Sticko, but was well defended by Elliot.
There was more pushing and shoving from Sagwete on Zinedine; as we waited for a Beast throw-on. Sagwete pushed Zinedine over, and the referee had no choice but to show him a yellow card. We all wanted a penalty, as in theory it was a foul in the box. The throw was instantly cleared back to Beast and the Beast crossed the ball towards the back post, but Sticko could not get his head to it. Now to be fair he is getting on a bit. Lol (We love you really).
Well, no one expected what was to happen next. The Viking scored one of the best goals, I have seen in a Walden shirt. The ball fell to the Viking, and he smashed it from 35 yards out. The ball took a slight deflection, but buried itself in the top left hand corner. His goal is definitely a contender for goal of the season. It was a rocket! It was one of those goals, where you just stand still and watch. The whole team ran to the Viking to celebrate with him.
We were chanting ‘We want 4’, and the Bloods worked very hard to give us what we wanted. G Man won us a corner for the Viking to take. The Beast managed to get his head on the cross, but it went wide.
G Man had to go off for some treatment. I think he was cut after a clash with Marto, but he didn’t stay off the pitch for long.
73 minutes into the match, and Marto was booked for more pushing and shoving in the box. Mrs Nash’s flannel was officially out, as she was not happy with Mr. Marto’s conduct.
Soon after yellow card, the Bloods won a free kick. Harper went for a shot, but it was slightly too high and went over the bar.
The Viking curved in a corner ball, which was on target, but it was well saved by Marto.
79 minutes into the match, and Drane was replaced by Joe ‘The Boss’ Murphy. Max had a great game, and worked hard. He made some excellent tackles and clearances, especially in the first half when we were under pressure.
85 minutes into the match, and G Man worked really hard to win the Bloods a corner. The Viking took the corner, but he hit the post. The rebound was well cleared by the defence.
The final result was Biggleswade 1 – Saffron Walden 3. The Bloods out played the home side and deserved to win. It was a joy to watch, and I am very proud of all the lads.
The MOTM has to go to Dan ‘The Viking’ Grindrod. He worked very hard throughout the match, and capped it off with a stunning goal. Well done Grinners. That goal will be talked about for a very long time.