Walden 0 – Hadleigh United 3
28th December 2015.
After an early pitch inspection it was game on at the Meadow. Being a bank holiday, I was hoping for a large crowd and I was not disappointed. We had our biggest crowd so far this season, of 367 people.
After last week’s 3-0 away defeat, we were all hoping for a better result from the Bloods. Unfortunately this was not to be. We had quite a few regulars missing, but I am not using that as an excuse. It was another frustrating match, where we ‘again’ looked the better team on the pitch.
Hadleigh played well, and it seemed they had an answer for every Walden attack. With a solid back four and an inform goal keeper - beating them was not going to be easy.
I will go into the match in more detail soon.
It was great to see all the regular fans, full of the Christmas spirit. The sun was shining and weather was mild. Even Sticko had a smile on his face! As the lads warmed up, they looked confident and ready to run off their Christmas Turkey….Only joking lads!
Sticko had called up Jake Thompson and Jamie Dicker from the U18s squad. It was nice to see the lads given an opportunity to mix it up with the first team. New player, Stuart Hoskins was also given an opportunity to partner the Beast in the back four.
TEAM: Floyd Croll, Spike Bell, Paul Abbot, Jake Noble (Marc Abbot – 67 mins.), Ben Lawrence, Stuart Hoskins, Craig Calver, Joe Murphy (Jake Thompson -75 mins.), Graeme Turner, James Thomas, Louis Harper (James Crane – 67 mins.).
Substitutes (not used): Jamie Dicker, Stuart Wardley.
The First Half
There was an early concern from the Hadleigh bench, as Spinder stayed down after a challenge. He was given treatment, but continued shortly after.
Zinedine was the first person to burst onto the scene; as he skilfully dribbled the ball past the right back. He stumbled just outside the box; but instead of going down, he stayed on his feet and whipped in a dangerous cross. The cross was well cleared by the defence.
Soon after the cross, Wig latched onto a free ball, and showed off his fancy footwork to; win the Bloods a throw in Beast territory. The Beasts throw was well defended at the near post.
6 minutes into the match and Hadleigh won the ball back; after they successfully cleared a Beast throw. Chaplin ran with the ball and linked up well with Thrower. Bell managed to track back and tackle Thrower, for a Hadleigh corner. The corner did not threaten the Bloods goal.
Soon after the corner, Croll was called into action! The Hadleigh forward had a great opportunity, after he was threaded a lovely long ball. Croll sprinted off his line and managed to clear the ball, before the Hadleigh player got to it.
Wig came close to opening the scoring, after he controlled a very good cross from G Man. We initially thought the Hadleigh player had handballed it, before Wig struck the ball. Wigs effort was well defended and deflected for a Bloods corner. The corner found Zinedines head, but his header was saved by Nower.
After the save Hadleigh went straight up-field and were awarded a very soft penalty. Pabbo over stretched, as he tried to put in a tackle. Thrower stepped up and scored from the spot kick, with Croll getting a hand to the ball. I spoke to a few people at half time; who were nearer the incident. They believe the Hadleigh player dived. I do not know, as from where I was standing I couldn’t say for certain. I am taking the Wenger route, by not seeing the ball. The goal was scored 11 minutes into the match.
Hadleigh’s confidence started to build and Chaplin went on another run, but Bell put in an excellent tackle, which ended Chaplins promising attack.
16 minutes in, and we had won a free kick. Harper took the free kick, but it was headed straight back to him. He then met Zinedine run, with a lovely lob over the defender. Zinedine cross was blocked, and he won the Bloods a corner. The corner was well cleared by Hadleigh.
18 minutes in, and Wig got into a one-on-one situation with Nower. Wig tried to place the ball into the right hand side of the goal, but Nower pulled off an excellent save, and we were awarded a corner. It was my save of the match! The corner was taken and headed back to Harper. He tried to blast it across the goal line, but no one managed to get that well needed tap in. It was the right idea from Harper.
We were creating lots of chances and looked like the better team. We just could not find the back of the net. We needed someone to score a scrambled ‘ugly’ tap-in type goal.
27 minutes into the match, and Hadleigh won a corner. Luckily the ball didn’t drop for a Hadleigh player, and the Bloods struggled to clear it. Then the Beast put his large boot through the ball, to calm the fans nerves.
We continued to work hard, and were creating some good chances. The lads passed the ball well, but the Hadleigh defence were stubborn. Pabbo went for a shot, but ended up hitting his own player. The loose ball was cleared by Hadleigh.
30 minutes into the match, and Croll made a good save. He had little to do since Hadleigh scored the penalty.
34 minutes into the match, and Hadleigh had a free kick just outside the box. The cross was whipped in, and tapped into the back of the net. Luckily for the Bloods the goal was ruled off side. There was a sigh of relieve from Mrs Nash and Co.
The Boss won the Bloods a throw for the Beast to take. The fans were starting to believe a goal was due any minute. The throw came in, but it was scooped clear by Scopes.
42 minutes into the match, and the Bloods found themselves 2-0 down. Churchyard scored from 10 yard with an unstoppable strike. It was ‘head in the hands time’ for the fans.
Wig had the last good chance of the half, when he took a swing at G Mans cross. The shot was again blocked by Scopes.
HT: Saffron Walden 0 – Hadleigh United 2
The Bloods started the half well. G Man made a lovely run up the wing, shielding the ball from the Hadleigh defender. His cross was good, and gave Nower no choice but to punch it clear.
50 minutes into the match, and Zinedine won the Bloods a throw for the Beast. The throw was delivered into the box, but there was no striker to latch onto the ball.
55 minutes into the match, and Hadleigh had scored again. This came out of the blue, and the match was effectively killed off, as Lorimer whipped a low shot into the net. It was a shame, as Croll made a good save from the initial shot. Lorimer took his chance well from the loose ball in the box. The Bloods family were rattled, and we wanted to see some positive change.
Zinedine came very close and tested Nower. His shot was low, and looked like it was heading into the corner of the net, but Nower’s diving effort was outstanding. We congratulated both players for their efforts. Wig got the ball back, and won the Bloods a corner. The corner was taken well and G Man tried to muscle his way in, but Stafford cleared the ball.
67 minutes into the match, and Harper and Noble were replaced by Mabbo and Road Runner. Keep working hard lads.
Road Runner almost made an instant impression, when Zinedine played him into space, but Nower go to the ball before RR could pull the trigger.
75 minutes into the match, and the Boss was replaced by first team debutant Jake Thompson. Keep working hard Boss.
We had not given up yet, and both Bell and G Man where determined to deliver that perfect ball. Both lads, made very strong drives up the wing but their crosses were again, well defended.
The last chance on goal came from Thrower, when he tried to test Croll from long range. His curling attempt went wide of the post.
We had lost 3-0 at home, and left still searching for our first home league win.
Sorry this report is a bit short, but I didn’t have much to say about the second half. The lads tried and tried but couldn’t find the back of the net. We need to get scoring again! With Avis now gone and no Gregory; due to long term injury - and now with our leading goal scorer JT suspended for two games… Who is going to be our out and out striker? Come on Bloods, we can do this!
My MOTM was Spike Bell. Bell worked his socks off, and made some excellent tackles. He also looked very good coming forward. Well done Bell.
Next the first team make the long trip to 19th place Fakenham. We are currently 17th and just 2 points above the drop zone. Both teams will be desperate for the points. It will come down to who wants it the most? Well I hope it does, rather than a dodgy referee decision!
I would also like to wish Chris Reid huge success and happiness in the North West. I was only told that Reid had left at yesterday’s match. Good luck Chris, you will be missed.
Thanks for reading