Sunday, 1 November 2015

Haverhill Rovers 1 - Saffron Walden 0

Haverhill Rovers 1 – Saffron Walden 0

The New Croft

31st October 2015

The New Croft is one of my favourite places to visit. You can’t beat a local derby. Both teams and fans are always up for the match. Not just for the points, but also the bragging rights. With a healthy crowd of 218 and with half of the fans cheering on the Bloods, it was going to be a great atmosphere.

The Bloods fans had a coach, which I have named the Bloods Boogie Bus. And Malcolm Nash was the tour guide.

I must also thank Mr Chapman for buying me a pint when I arrived. My round next time!

It had been a difficult week for the Bloods and a win was badly needed. Unfortunately for the Bloods, this wasn’t the case. For the fans that didn’t make the trip, I can assure you the lads gave their all. I am sorry if I sound like a bad loser, but we definitely deserved a point. But I will not take credit away from a very tight Rovers defence. They didn’t give the Bloods many opportunities to pull the trigger.

As always, I shall talk you through the match, and line ups.

Floyd Croll was in goal. Defence: Solkhon (Rocky), Lawrence (Beast), Reid and P Abbot. Midfield: M Abbot, Murphy (The Boss), Drane. Forwards: Wig, Turner (G Man) and Thomas. Subs: Bell, Harper, Grindrod (The Viking) and Wardley (Sticksy)


The First Half

Walden won the toss and started the match.

Our first attack came from a good cross from Mark Abbott. Mark sailed the ball into the box, but it was slightly too high, and went out for a goal kick.

Thomas was looking threatening on the wing, and received great back up support from Paul Abbot. Thomas passed the ball back to Abbot, who crossed the ball in first time, but it was well defended by Rovers.

The lads were working hard, and looked good in possession. They passed the ball well and looked confident.

Rovers broke well from Archer (goalie). Archer sent the ball long for Alleyne, who was one on one with Rocky. Alleyne played the ball through Rocky and ran at the goal, but Croll made a great save and pushed the ball onto post. Rocky got back to clear the ball out of the box.

Rovers had a corner, but it didn’t get past Paul Abbot, who cleared the ball. The loose ball was collected by the Rovers midfield. He crossed the ball, but Ried headed the ball away from danger.

10 minutes in, and Rocky started to come further forward. He made a skilful run up the wing, and was tripped for a Walden free kick. Mark Abbot’s free kick was good, and found Rocky at the back post. Rocky headed it back into the 6 yard box, for the Beast to take down. The ball worked its way to Thomas who went for a long range effort, but it went over the bar.

Our best move of the first half came from Mark Abbot, who skilfully flicked the ball to G Man. G Man controlled the ball well and found Wig’s run. Wig played the ball onto his right foot, but his shot was saved by Archer for a Walden corner. The corner was taken by Mark Abbot, but it was well defended by Rovers.

20 minutes in and Rovers were awarded a free kick. Shinn took the free kick, but Paul Abbot did very well to put the striker off, and denied Rovers a shooting opportunity.

I have just realise I have recorded about 5 minutes of general chat, and not realised. It was nice to hear people laughing and joking. Half way through the random chat, Mrs Nash shouted ‘Come on Floyd, he’s off his line’. He decided not to shoot and replay his Wigan days. So, after 5 minutes into general chit chat, I finally realised that I had been recording. I won’t repeat what I said, when I realised.

25 minutes in and we had won a throw. We called for the Beast to take the throw. The throw was well defended by Shinn, but he only managed to clear it as far as Mark Abbot. Mark crossed the ball back into the box, but again it was well defended by Wilderspin.

Rovers looked threatening on the break. Kemp ran up the wing and tried to cross, but Reid put in a block to send the ball out of play, for a Rovers corner. The corner came in but it was well defended by Rocky. The ball was sent back into the box by Shinn, but we managed to get in another block, and the ball went out for another Rovers corner. It was good sustained pressure for Rovers, but the Bloods defence stood up well, and would not let Rovers shoot.

30 minute into the first half and G Man, almost found himself in exactly the same position, from when he scored against Stanway. The ball was flicked over the Rovers defence, for G Man run on to, but Farrant just beat G Man to the ball.

What I had noticed, was the great attacking play by The Boss. He was up for it, and was always in the box for any set piece. He also showed some great skill and won the Bloods another corner.

The Bloods did have a penalty shout, but it was denied from the referee, who said it was accidental.

Paul Abbot put his body on the line, and went in for a hard challenge on Baker. It turned out, that the Bloods were awarded a free kick.

We were playing better than last week. Drane showed some great skills, and managed to release Wig. Wig crossed the ball, over the box for G Man. The Rovers left back put in a good challenge, but could only see the ball out for a Bloods throw, in the Beasts territory. The Beasts effort was well defended.

Rovers came very close to a potential tap in by Weaver, but the cross was too fast, and Weaver could not reach it.

HT: Haverhill Rovers 0 – Saffron Walden 0. Walden were playing the better football

The Second Half

We started the second half well, with two back to back throws for the Beast. We worked hard but just couldn’t get a shot in.

Rovers looked threatening coming from the back. Moody put in a great cross, but it was well cleared by the Beast, for a Rovers throw.

Rovers had a golden opportunity to go 1-0 up. The ball was crossed it the 6 yard box, but Bakers effort went over the bar.

Rovers continued the pressure with a corner. The corner was floated in, but the Beast defended the ball out of the 18 yard box. The ball dropped for Kemp; who went for a long range effort, but again the Beast headed the ball up in the air, and Croll came off his line and caught it.

Thomas was causing havoc down the right hand wing. The Boss delivered a lovely ball for Thomas to run onto. He dribbled the ball all the way down the wing, and into the box, but his cross only found the Rovers centre back.

Mark Abbot had a go from out of the area. Thomas set Mark up for a shot but it was high and wide.

Soon after the Boss went for a long range effort; after Drane set the ball. It was powerful, but went over the bar.

The pressure continued from Rovers. They had a free kick, which Boss defended well. They followed the attack up with a corner ball, but it was well defended by Paul Abbot for another Rovers corner.

65 minutes into the match and Paul Abbot was booked for a challenge on Alleyne. I looked over to Mrs Nash to see if the flannel was out, but it was reserved for later!

Rovers were awarded a penalty for what looked like a push. In true Wenger style; ‘I did not see the ball’, so I am not sure. A lot of people disagreed with the ref’s decision. Now the flannel was official out! But it didn’t matter because our number 1, Floyd Croll saved the ball with his face. We jumped up and down, and congratulated Croll for his heroics. The ball went out for a Rovers corner, which was taken well, but Bakers header was wide.

Mark Abbot and Max Drane were replaced with Louis Harper and Spike Bell. I was very pleased with both their performances. I thought Mark shone in the first half.

Now Mrs Nash’s came up with the quote of the day; as Malcolm went to relieve his bladder. Again I can’t repeat it, but I would recommend you ask her what she said. I am so using that line at work!

Reid played a great long ball to Wig, but Moody got to the ball first and headed it off for a corner ball. Harper took the corner, which found Rocky at the back post, but his headed effort went out for a goal kick.

80 minutes in to the match and Rovers added more pressure, but we worked hard to deny Rovers from getting a clean shot on goal.

We had a good opportunity to score from a Harper corner. Ried rose well, but his header was wide.

G Man had the best opportunity of the half. Thomas showed off some brilliant footwork. He will now be known as Zinedine. He played a great threw ball for G Man, but his shot was well saved by Archer.

Disaster struck in the 88th minute, when Bell was given a straight red for a late challenge on Kemp. Kemp got straight up and shoved Bell, but was only given a yellow card. Didn’t seem very fair to me, but there we go!

If Bell getting sent off wasn’t bad enough for the Bloods; Rovers nicked the win in injury time. The goal came from a corner and was headed in by debutant; Scott Kemp.

So we lost 1-0. The boys worked hard, and as always we try again next week. We are in need of a hero Sticksy. You can do it. #UpTheBloods

The MOTM for me goes to Paul Abbot. I think he had a brilliant game and worked very hard throughout the match. Well done Paul, and keep up the great work.

The next first team match is on Saturday the 7th November, against Whitton United. So it will be another trip to Ipswich for me.

I am going along to support the U18s on Tuesday night at the Meadow. The lads play Histon. The lads currently sit in 3rd place and are doing very well.

Thanks for reading and Up the Bloods!

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