Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Saffron Walden 2 – Long Melford 2 – Melford won 5-3 on penalties

Thurlow Nunn League Cup

10th November 2015

There is nothing like Tuesday night football, to break up the working week. After a successful 3-1 away win confidence was flowing. A win against Long Melford in the cup would have been a great opportunity to build on the hard work. To say we were unlucky would be an understatement. Losing on penalties is never nice, but sadly it was not our night. I shall talk you through the match shortly.

Former Bloods goal scorer, Shaun Avis came to cheer on the lads. It must have been very strange for him, to be standing with the fans and not giving the centre backs hell. It was great to see Shaun and we hope to see him again soon.

Before the match, I presented James Thomas with the Bloods Sweat and Cheers player of the month for October. Well done James.

I have decided to blame Mrs Nash for the loss, as she left the sacred flannel at home! I am only joking Mrs Nash. You will always be the local celebrity in my blog. Just make sure you have it on Saturday.

TEAM: Sam Soutar, Paul Abbot, Dan Grindrod (Viking), Jake Noble (Nobby), James Solkhon (Rocky), Ryan Fleming (Flemo), Craig Calver (Wig), Joe Murphy (Boss), Marc Abbot (Max Drane – 70 mins.), James Thomas (Zinedine)(Graeme Turner (G Man)– 66 mins.), Louis Harper (James Crane (Road Runner) – 66 mins.). Substitutes (not used): Spike Bell, Charlie Dicker.

Before I start the blog I want to congratulate Charlie Dicker, for getting a place on the first team’s bench. Even though Charlie didn’t play, I feel it’s a huge achievement and it proves that hard work and determination doesn’t go unnoticed.

Oh and I am still missing a few nick names, so suggesting from the team and fans would be helpful. Soon the blog will look like something out of Lord of the Rings.

The match started with a minutes silence to remember those who fell in WW1.

The First Half

We began the match kicking towards the playing field. As always the lads started lively and positive. Our first threat on goal came from some great skills from Harper; who found Zinedine in space, but his shot was well defended by Melford.

Long Melford had an early corner, which was well taken, but the Bloods held their line well and cleared away any potential danger.

Wig Calver and Zinedine continued their good form, and linked up well. Zinedine timed his pass for Wig; who almost got in a killer cross near the post, but it was well blocked by Melford.

Last week’s MOTM James ‘Rocky’ Solkhon was called into action, when he cleared the ball of the line from a Melford attack. Rocky was playing centre back which is unusual for him, but with the Beast not well and Ried injured, he did his team proud.

In the first 15 minutes the possession was even, with both teams looking threatening. As always when these teams meet, they are always up for a gritty match.

Melford had a decent effort, but it was well saved by Soutar. The shot was curving and could have gone anywhere, but Sam stood strong and Harper was there to clear the rebound.

23 minutes in, and Wig won Walden a free kick in ‘Harper’ range. Mr Sam ‘No Foul’ Mansfield worked very hard to get his team ready. Sorry Sam, but I couldn’t resist. As always you took it well mate. The free kick was slightly too high and went off for a goal kick.

Melford looked dangerous on the break, and Soutar had to make a decision; on whether to come off his line or stay put. He decided to run off his line, and put in a great challenge on the attacker. The ball span in the air, but Melford failed with the follow-up shot.

Melford had another good spell at goal, but Paul Abbot put in a great sliding block to deny the Melford forward from either shooting or crossing. The ball was in no man’s land, but Rocky managed to clear the danger.

26 minutes in, and Wig made a lovely run into the box; beating the defender. He played the ball back to Marc Abbot, who pushed the pull forward, but was tripped up when he went to run onto the ball. The referee awarded the Bloods with a penalty.  Marc Abbot placed the ball on the spot, and drilled it into the roof of the net. Pick that ball up son! Walden 1 – Melford 0

I always like to do a ‘Quote of the Match’, and tonight’s quote came from Geraint Jones. Mansfield miss kicked his clearance and Geraint said; ‘Would you like tea with that slice?’ Genius from the young lad! It’s nice to have a quote that I can actually print. Isn’t that right, Mr Nash? However Malcolm you did say that you felt the referee was having a good game. Must be something in the air!

Melford worked very hard to get back into the game, and I would say they were matching almost Walden; pound for pound…Well, apart from being 1-0 up. Melford were playing a lot better than last time we played them at Stoneylands. Typical!

Melford came very close to scoring an equaliser, just before half time. The ball was well headed by Griffiths, but his effort went wide of the post.

The Boss Man was inches away from making it 2-0, by almost connecting with Zinedine’s lethal cross. It was just slightly in front of him when the ball came in.

HT: Saffron Walden 1 – Long Melford 0

The Second Half

Walden started the second half by looking for that second goal, straight from kick-off. The Bloods put together a series of good passes and kept the ball well. Zinedine was causing the right back havoc, and Melford found him difficult to control.

Zinedine’s trickery paid off, as he was fouled in the penalty area. The referee awarded the Bloods another penalty. Up steps Marc Abbot; and he calmly slotted the ball into the left hand corner. Mansfield did get a touch on the ball, but it was too well placed to stop. Marc was now on a brace and full of confidence.

The Boss came very close to making it 3-0, when he ran onto Harpers well timed pass. The Boss dribbled it into the box and set himself to shoot, but it was very well saved my Mansfield.

Melford battled hard to get back into the game, and their hard work paid off in the 55th minute. Griffiths latched on to a well-timed through ball, and lobbed Soutar from 18 yards. It was a perfect lob, and I personally think it was impossible to save.

Wig had a decent effort on goal. In true Wiggy style, he beat 3 defenders and had a shot; but his effort was not strong enough to trouble Mansfield.

63 minutes into the match and Melford’s number 7 (Yearling), looked very threatening on the break. He had great pace and tested Rocky. But Rocky managed to get back and put a good challenge in. He was very quiet in the first half, so the manager’s half time talk must have paid off.

Melford’s worked hard for the equaliser, and had a very good effort cleared off the line by Marc Abbot. Abbot was definitely putting in a MOTM shift. Marc almost got his hat-trick. Harper made a great break and passed it to Marc. Marc dribbled it into the box and struck the ball well, but it was too close to Mansfield.

Soon after Marc’s effort, Nobby tried to get in on the action. He made some space to shoot, but his shot was straight at Mansfield.

66 minutes into the match and Harper was replaced by Crane (Road Runner) and Thomas was replaced by G Man. It was another good, hardworking performance from both the lads.

Road Runner used his speed, to make an instant impact on the match. It was great to see him and Yearling compete for pace.

70 minutes into the match and Marc Abbot was replaced by Max Drane. Not a bad shift Abbo, but please can you get a hat-trick next time?! ;-)

Drane got straight into the match, with a quality hard challenge on Yearling. You could tell he had been itching to get into the match since kick off.

Road Runner continued to battle hard, but this time it was with Melford’s Captain; Swain. He was also very quick and made it a great challenge for RR.

G Man was working very hard, and making the defence worry. I don’t think they expected his speed for someone so tall.

Long Melford continued to look dangerous, and were trying everything to get into the match. The Viking made a perfect challenge to prevent a cross. He kicked the ball off for a corner.

The corner was good, and Melford believed they should have had a penalty, but the referee told them to play on. Or as we would say; ’Get up man!’

Drane put in another great challenge to stop Yearling from getting in the box. If he had been slightly late he could have been taking an early shower.

More and more pressure was mounting, but Flemo put in a great challenge. The back four had been working so hard, and Flemo was using his strength to keep Melford at bay.

89 minutes into the match and Griffiths came very close to scoring with his head, but luckily for Walden his effort went wide.

Walden held the lead deep into injury time, when the match ended in controversial fashion.

In the 95th minute, The Viking went down injured in his own 18 yard box. The ball was kicked into touch in the Long Melford half while he received treatment. Long Melford threw the ball to Wig, who kicked the ball back 60 yards to Soutar in the Walden penalty area. Sam Soutar mistakenly picked the ball up, and the referee penalized him for handling a back pass.

Griffiths drove the in-direct free kick from the edge of the penalty area, which took a slight deflection from the Bloods wall, and ended up in the back of the net for the equaliser. The decision of why Melford didn’t kick the ball directly back to Sam was questioned and caused debate between the fans?!

I know how disappointed Sam was for his mistake, but as I said to him after the match, he must not blame himself and to keep his chin up. Easily said than done, but Sam; please think of the positive things that you have done so far through the season.

The final whistle blew and the match went into a penalty shoot-out.

Long Melford won the toss and scored all five of their penalties, whereas Ryan Fleming’s spot kick was brilliantly saved by Mansfield, and Long Melford went through to the quarter-finals 5-3 on penalties. Wig, Boss and Road Runner all scored from the spot. Personally I would not want to take a penalty, so well done to all those who stood up.

So we lost from being 2-0 up. It just was not meant to be. We still have the Vase, and plenty to play for in the league. Congratulations to Melford and I admire you’re spirit for not giving up. Good luck in the quarter finals. Just pray you don’t get Norwich away!

The MOTM goes to Marc Abbott. Marc had a great game and took both his penalties very well. I think his football has improved since coming back from injury. Well done Abbo and keep up the good work.

Thanks also to Paul Daw who provided me with some of the contents of the Blog, which I will admit I stole. ;-)

Next match for me is tonight (11/11/15). Its will be Walden U18s vs Royston U18s in the league. Let’s hope the lads can continue their excellent for.

Thanks for reading


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