Walsham Le Willows 1 – Saffron Walden 2
Saturday 28th November 2015
Both sides were in need of all 3 points, to try and climb away from the bottom 3. Before the match Walsham-Le-Willows (WLW), were on 10 points, and the Bloods were on 11 points. Both teams had played the same amount of games, and are in the bottom 5 of the TNPL.
It was cold and wet, and we all knew it was going to be a gritty match. With both sets of fans feeling anxious! This was what they call a 6 pointer.
The Bloods had a few players missing including key regulars; Solkhon, Bell, Nobby and Wig. We are also without, the still injured: Strong and Gregory. We all hope you get fit again soon. But we are the Bloods, and don’t let a few people missing dent our confidence. We are a team!
We had at least 20 away fans, braving the wind and rain. The Ressie’s had a game at home against WLW Reserves, so Blog favourite Mrs Nash and Co stayed to cheer on the lads at home.
TEAM: Floyd Croll, Paul Abbot, Dan Grindrod (Viking), Matt Snelling (Mashy), Ben Lawrence (Beast), Ryan Fleming (Flemo), Max Drane (Neil Andrews – 92 mins.), Marc Abbot (Joe Murphy (Boss)– 70 mins.), Graeme Turner (G Man), James Thomas (Zinedine), Louis Harper. Substitutes (not used): Stuart Wardley (Sticko), Sam Soutar.
The First Half
Walden started the match lively, and put WLW defence under instant pressure. P Abbot’s pass found Zinedine on the wing. He crossed the ball into the 6 yard box, but it was well collected by WLW.
We had an early throw, for the Beast to take. As always the fans chanted ‘Beast, Beast, Beast’ His throw was aimed for Flemo, but it was slightly too high for him and WLW cleared the danger.
Mashy was looking confident on the ball, and gave WLW something to think about. He pushed the defence back, and played the ball out well to Zinedine and Harper. It’s good to have the Mash back fit.
12 minutes into the match, and G Man had the first good opportunity on goal, when he met Zinedine’s head; but his effort went over the bar.
WLW spent the first 15 minutes being pinned back, until Curry had a very good powerful effort; which showed the Bloods how dangerous they could be on a break. Luckily for the Bloods, the shot went wide.
18 minutes in and we thought that WLW had scored, but the goal was disallowed for being off side…Phew!
Harper delivered a great through ball, for G Man to run onto. G Man did very well to shake off the defender, but his shot was brilliantly saved by Brandy, for a corner to the Bloods. Brandy looked like an experienced keeper, who would be difficult to beat. The Viking took the corner, but it was cleared away; but only to P Abbot. P Abbot passed it back to the Viking, who had another cross. The cross found Zinedine; who then set Flemo for a shot, but it was straight at Brandy.
The Viking was causing the WLW defence issues with his crosses. This time he crossed the ball from the right, for Mashy. But it was slightly too high and Mash couldn’t get a clean header.
WLW started to turn up the heat, and were looking threatening with some dangerous crosses into the box. There were a few nervous moments, and we were hoping the ball wouldn’t drop for a WLW forward, but the back four did well to eventually clear the ball.
The Viking was involved in a challenge, which looked like he was stamped on by Sim. The assistant referee believed it was accidental, but the referee still gave Sim a yellow card. Surely it’s a foul or it’s accidental. Can it be both?
35 minutes into the first half, and G Man won us a corner. The corner was taken by the Viking, who found Drane. Drane’s shot was deflected for another corner. Harper took the corner, but the referee blew for a foul on the WLW player.
WLW started to gain more possession. 38 minutes into the half, and they had a good opportunity from a corner. The corner was well defended by the Beast.
42 minutes into the match, and M Abbot was booked for a challenge on Clark. Clark tried to break from a Walden throw on, but was brought down by Abbot.
During the last few minutes of the half WLW looked the better side, and were putting pressure on the Bloods, but the lads stood up well and kept the WLW at bay.
HT – WLW 0 – Saffron Walden 0
The Second Half
We had a small shelter for the 2nd half, which was made by poles and tin. Now for those who have been to an away match; The Bloods family and metal make a noisy mix. We do like something to bang!
The Bloods started the second half, exactly how they started the first half. We were joined by Martin and his son for the 2nd half. He sat in the stand, eating sandwiches and sipping tea in the first half! LOL
50 minutes into the match, and Harper had a great chance. He played the ball onto his right foot and went for a shot, but it was blocked by a defender for a corner. The Viking took the corner and struck gold again! His effort went straight into the net, via the hand of the goalkeeper. It was now 2 out of 2, for last week’s MOTM.
We continued to look dangerous, and were encouraging our players to take a chance and shot from long distance. Quite a few of the lads have powerful shots. Walden certainly looked like they had more goals in them.
WLW started to get going again and had a chance from a cross, but the striker’s header went wide.
The Beast and Floyd were called into action. The Beast made a good block from a WLW effort, and Floyd did well to save the rebounded effort. The flag was raised anyway, but there was no way Super Floyd was going to take that risk.
WLW pressure paid off from a corner in the 62nd minute. The wind made the ball tricky to clear. Several shots were blocked in a 6 yard box scramble, before the ball was forced over the by Webb.
The lads did not let their heads drop and were determined to get back in front. Zinedine latched onto a great through ball and dribble the ball into the 18 yard box. Three defenders tried to take the ball from him, but he calmly slotted the ball past the keep from 9 yards out. It was a fantastic goal, and showed us all why he was player of the month for October. JT is a great asset for the Bloods.
We thought lightening had struck twice, when WLW found the back of the net, but it was ruled off side. Thank God for that!
WLW were playing well, and making the Bloods work hard. They had a great chance from a throw on, but it was well cleared by Mashy.
Zinedine had another great opportunity to go one on one with the keeper, but he was cynically pulled down by the WLW player. The player was given a yellow card. The Viking took the free kick and went for a shot, but his effort went over the bar.
70 minutes in and Marc Abbot was replaced by Joe ‘The Boss’ Murphy. Another great performance from Marc!
80 minutes into the match and WLW continued to push hard for an equaliser, but the Bloods were working hard to shut WLW out.
Max Drane had a great run in the middle, after he played the ball out of danger. The WLW player had no choice but to foul Drane, to prevent him from breaking into the box.
WLW had a free kick, which was well saved by Croll, and Drane managed to scoop the ball out of the box.
The Bloods came very close to making it 3-1. Harper had a lovely run, passing a few defenders and passed the ball out to Mashy. Mashy struck the ball well, but it was well blocked for a corner to the Bloods. Harper took the corner, but it went over everyone and out of play.
With only a few minutes remaining, I was starting to feel nervous. We were working so hard to keep our lead. WLW were not done yet and had a good opportunity from a throw on.
Unfortunately Drane was injured, and replaced by the experienced Neil Andrews in the 92nd minute. Neil sprinted on to help protect the lead from a set piece. Get well soon Draney.
After what felt like a lifetime, the final whistle went and the Bloods had deserved the win. Finally we had won a game, which we had deserved to win. I have watched so many games, where we have dominated the match and ended up losing by the odd goal.
What a great team effort by the lads and the MOTM was a difficult choice. Every player had put in a great shift. I have consulted the fans and I am pleased to award the MOTM honours to James ‘Zinedine’ Thomas. He worked tirelessly and scored a class goal. Well done JT. Keep it up!
During the match I was also getting updates of the Ressie’s match from Karen. Unfortunately the lads lost 5-2 at the Lane. J.J Anderson and Manser scored for the Bloods. Better luck next time lads.
The next first team match is on FRIDAY evening at Newmarket. Postcode is CB8 8BG
On Saturday the Ressies play Stanway at home – 3pm kick off
Look out for the Twitter and Facebook updates on Friday and Saturday as the games may be postponed due to the rain.