Saffron Walden 0 – Brantham Athletic 1
I must admit as a fan it is getting harder to write about more defeats, and the fact we played the better football, but still ended up losing. I am frustrated as much as all of you. But as a loyal fan and member of the Bloods family, I will not let my head drop and neither should any of you. I know it’s easier said than done. We need those goals and we need them now! Don’t get me wrong, it’s not for a want of trying from the lads. I have a lot of respect for the players/staff, and if I was to play football; I would look like Bambi on ice. The hard thing for the fans is watching the boys out play their opposition but don’t get the results. Maybe this is what it feels like to be a Chelsea fan at the moment. We need that fox in the box, banging them into the net.
I was very sad to hear the news that Sam Gregory has been advised not to play again at this level. I pray that this isn’t the case and he makes a full recovery. He is only 19, and he will need a lot of support while he recovers. If you are reading this Sam, please keep positive and come and see us. You can yell at the officials with Mrs Nash and the Bloods family.
It was a typical November day! It was cold, wet and windy. I arrived at the ground just after 2pm and went straight to shelter by the food hut. I had a very nice burger and a mug of tea. The players waited until 2.30pm before they warmed up. I am not surprised as we wouldn’t want any injuries in the warm up.
TEAM: Floyd Croll, Paul Abbot, Dan Grindrod (Viking), Jake Noble (Nobby), James Solkhon (Rocky), Ryan Fleming (Flemo), Craig Calver (Wig), Joe Murphy (Boss), Marc Abbot, James Thomas (Zinedine), Louis Harper. Substitutes: James Crane (Road Runner), Max Drane, Ben Laurence (Beast), Neil Andrews, Sam Soutar.
Before the game started we had a minute silence, as a mark of respect to all those innocent people who were killed in the attacks on Paris. Such terrible news and our hearts and prayers go out to all the victims loved ones.
The First half
The Bloods first threat at goal, came from a wicked cross by the Viking, after Zinedine kept hold of the ball in the box; and played it back to the Viking. The cross was aimed at Harper, but it was well defended by Nobbs.
Wig and The Viking won us back to back corners after, the Brantham defenders scuffed their clearances. The second corner was almost fumbled by Hawkins, but he did well to recover and get hold of the ball.
The Boss had a good opportunity with a long distance header, but the attempt went wide. I also have to mention; Nigel tried hard to kick the ball back to the keeper, but failed miserably and hit the railings instead.
17 minutes into the match and Bratham had a great chance. Stace jumped well and connected with a cross, but his header went wide.
Brantham had another good chance from a break. Mann squared the ball to Lawler, who’s first time shot went over the bar. It was very powerful and would have tested any keeper.
Harper did well, by winning the ball back from the Brantham defender. He passed the ball to Thomas; who ran into the 6 yard box, but his cross was punched away Hawkin. The ball went into the path of Paul Abbot, but his first time shot went wide. It was great to see Paul coming forward to support the front two.
The Boss was working very hard in the centre, and passed a lovely ball to Wig. Wig ran with the ball up the wing and crossed it. The defender got a slight tough on the ball, but went only as far as Zinedine. Zinedine crossed the ball back into the box, but it was to long for the Boss.
37 minutes into the match, and Zinedine had an excellent chance when he tested Hawkin. Harper headed a cross to Zinedine, and he skilfully pushed it to one side. His shot was bending away to the keeper’s right hand side, but Hawkin managed to get a firm hand to it and pushed it away for a corner. Marc Abbot took the corner but nothing came from it.
Shortly after Zinedine’s effort, Nobby went to the ground. He couldn’t continue and was replaced by Max Drane. I hope you’re okay Nobby and return back to the squad soon.
Brantham had two shots on goal, but Flemo made two excellent back to back blocks.
Branthams goal came from a rebound, after Croll made an excellent save. The ball was loose and tapped in from 6 yards. It was quick thinking from the Brantham striker. I am sorry I didn’t see who scored the goal. I was having a Wenger moment.
HT: Saffron Walden 0 – Brantham Athletic 1
The Second Half
Not much happened in the first 10 minutes of the second half. Marc Abbot had a long range effort, but the shot went over the bar.
55 minutes into the match, and Croll made a fabulous safe from a point blank shot. The cross was whipped in and the striker caught the ball well, but it was not got enough to beat the athleticism of Croll.
60 minutes into the match and Harper was substituted for Crane (Road Runner) and the Viking was substituted by The Beast. Keep working hard lads. It was nice to see Road Runner get some first team minutes, after his hat-trick for the reserves in the week.
63 minutes in and RR won the Bloods a goal kick in ‘The Beasts Territory’. Every one behind the goal, were cheering for the big man. The Beast’s throw found Rocky’s run, but he clashed with Stace and the referee awarded Grantham a free kick.
Travis had a great effort denied by the top of the cross bar. I am not sure if it was a shot or a cross. Croll’s positioning was good; and he would have tipped it over.
Croll continued to work very hard, and saved a decent effort by a Heath. The Bloods number one stood up well and blocked the shot for a corner. The corner was headed over the bar by Grantham.
75 minutes into the match and Thomas did well to beat the defender. He struck the ball, but it was well saved by Hawkins for a corner to Walden. The corner came in but was defended by Stace.
Wig had a rush of Blood, and ran extremely fast to chase down a free ball. He got his cross in, but it hit the bar. It would have been a great solo effort; had it just dropped under the bar.
The Beast tracked back really well, and stuck to Heath. Heath did managed to get a shot in, but the Beast did enough to put him off and the shot went wide.
The Bloods continued to keep Hawkins busy, after Wig latch onto his punched clearance from a corner. Wig’s effort was on target but again was well saved by Hawkins. Their defence were keeping them in the match.
Both keepers were keeping their teams in the mix. Croll made another great save on the 80th minute, to deny Brantham from going 2-0 up.
Drane did some great foot work, and beat the Brantham defender. The ball was passed to Wig, but Wig’s shot was blocked by Sibbons.
Zinedine was working extremely had and trying to create chances. He linked-up well with Road Runner, on the line and the Boss joined in on the action. The Boss won the Bloods a throw for the Beast. The throw was headed into the box, but just didn’t drop for anyone to get a clean shot. The crowd were shouting for someone to hit the ball, but the Brantham boys, stood up well.
Again, it was not our day. We had lost 0-1. Plenty of great build up play, but no goals to show for the lad’s hard work. Keep on working hard lads, and don’t let your heads drop.
MOTM was easy for me. Croll was brilliant and was the stand out winner for this match. Croll made some amazing saves, and gave the Bloods a fighting chance. Well done mate and thank you.
As the voice over from the Apprentice would say at the end of the programme:
‘Who will be Lord Wardley’s goal machine? The search for a goal scorer……continues!’
So going to get beaten on the coach by Sticko for that once, but I will take one for the fans!
A reminder to all travelling to Biggleswade next week! The Bloods Boogie Bus is available and tickets are £10 each. Its FA Vase time! Can we repeat last year’s amazing run?
Oh and please can you sponsor super fan Nigel Bailey for Movember. He is now known as Carlos! Great work mate and amazing handlebars. I wish I could grow one.