FC Clacton 3 – Saffron Walden 0
23rd February 2016
It was a chilly February evening in Clacton. We waited until after 4pm until we could set off as the match would be played subject to passing a pitch inspection. With my long johns on, Peter and I set off and made it to Clacton with over an hour to spare. I had a chat with a few of the players to see how everyone was. Lee Pacey told me that he had scored twice against Clacton, which is surprising for a goalkeeper. A keeper will get the odd one in a season, but not usually 2 against the same opposition.
We were missing a few of the key regulars due to injury, work or illness. As I went through the team with Sticko he told me we had no Spike, no Boss, no Viking and no Zinedine. But the good news was we had Nobby and Rhino back in the starting 11.
You may just look at the score and thought we played badly, but the score was no reflection on the way the boys played. I thought we had a very good came considering all the people we were missing. I shall talk you through it.
TEAM: Lee Pacey, Paul Abbot (Pabbo), Jamie Solkhon (Rocky), Jake Noble (Nobby), Ryan Fleming (Rhino), Stuart Wardley (Sticko) (Charlie Dicker – 78 mins.), Craig Calver (Wig), Neil Andrews, Graeme Turner (G Man), Marc Abbot (Mabbo), Louis Harper (Jack Morris – 84 mins.).
The First Half
Within minutes of kick off, Wig was causing havoc and won an early corner for the Bloods. Harper took the corner, which went over the defence and straight to Wig. Wig weaved his way into the box and floated in a cross. The ball was headed up in the air by Rhino. Clacton did manage to clear it, but only as far as Wig, who won a free kick not far from the 18 yard box line. Wig took the free kick but the wall did its job.
8 minutes into the match, and Newland won a free kick for Clacton. Coyle took the free kick, but Rocky headed it clear for a Clacton throw.
Harper was commanding the middle of the pitch, and crossed the ball perfectly for G Man who made a run up the wing. G Man controlled the ball and beat the left back, but luckily for Clacton he had back up and the defender kicked the ball off for a throw.
Wig won a corner ball from the throw for Harper to take. Sticko managed to get his head on the cross, but it went over the bar.
15 minutes into the match, and Clampin and Kirkby had a great opportunity on the break. Clampin fed a great through ball for Kirkby, but his shot went straight into the side netting.
The boys were flowing and it didn’t look like a cold Tuesday night replay. The lads were up for this and dominating.
I was impressed by the build-up play between Mabbo, Nobby and Andrews. They were moving well and forcing Clacton to come out of formation. Andrew found G Mans run, but the defender did enough to stop him from getting a clean shot on goal.
18 minutes into the match, and Wig continued to taunt the defence, leaving Fowler very frustrated with his defence. No one could touch him! He managed a shot on goal which forced a save from Fowler. The save was one for the cameras! At this point I was amazed we were not winning.
Rhino and Mabbo frustrated the Clacton forwards by intercepting challenges and sending the ball back up to G Man and Wig. It really was great football.
22 minutes into the match, and Clacton scored which was completely out of the blue. A diagonal ball bounced very high and Pacey came off his line to try and clear the ball. Clampin managed to get a leg to the ball and his high lob dropped under the bar and into the net. I was standing with my hands on my head in shock. Granted it was a great goal and well taken.
Clacton soon livened up after going into the lead and started to produce better football. They won a corner which was punched clear by Pacey. They tried to follow up with a shot but it went high and wide.
There pressure paid off and they soon found themselves 2-0 up. Newland went for a header from the edge of the penalty area, which dropped into the corner of the goal. The 12 Bloods fans could only look at each other in disbelieve.
35 minutes into the match, and Walden’s heads didn’t drop. Wig made an incredible 60 yard sprint, taking the ball past 3 players. He crossed the ball into the path of G Man who shot first time, but it went slightly over the bar.
41 minutes into the match, and Clacton’s hitman Condon made it 3-0. The goal started from a long ball from Fowler. Condon won the ball and ran through the Bloods defence. His shot was taken perfectly and smashed the back of Pacey’s net.
HT – FC Clacton 3 – Walden 0
At half time I was in shock, and didn’t go into the club house. Instead I had myself a burger and a cup of tea and reflected on what had happened. I spoke to some of the Clacton fans, who were also shocked considering we had dominated for the first 20 minutes. I started to think about last season’s match at Melford, when we went 3-0 up and drew 3-3 (sorry for the reminder). So with that in my mind I knew we had another 45 minutes to play and anything could happen.
The Second Half
As soon as the whistle went, Walden did not hesitate and came out of the blocks fighting.
48 minutes into the math, and Clacton won a corner which was taken by Coyle. The corner was met by Pabbo, who deflected the ball up in the air for Pacey to catch. The lads tried to break with a long ball to G Man. G Man was making great progress until Coyle fell to the ground, after being shot by that mystery sniper! The referee awarded Clacton the free kick.
I found myself apologising for not having much to talk about, but there really was not much to discuss in the opening 10 minutes of the 2nd half. Clacton had won another free kick which Coyle took after his miraculous recovery from the earlier challenge from G Man. Only messing Coyle! You had a very good game. Anyway, the free kick was delivered into the box, but Nobby headed the ball clear.
62 minutes into the match, and Andrews broke with the ball and passed the ball to G Man, who went on a charging run up the wing. He managed to set Wig, but his shot was blocked. Wig won the ball back and was brought down outside the box for a free kick. The free kick didn’t trouble Fowler.
There was a moment of ‘Ref Ranting’ after Mabbo won the ball back in the Clacton half and slipped a well-timed through ball for G, but the lino flagged for offside. It was clearly onside as G Man ran passed the defender. Mrs Nash would have been in full voice and armed with her flannel. I have to credit Clacton as they did not appeal for the offside and played to the whistle.
Very much like the first half, we dominated the play until Clacton won a penalty for a hand ball. The ball bounced up and hit Sticko on the arm. Condon took the spot kick, but Pacey guessed the right way and pushed the ball clear for a Clacton corner. Clacton came close with a great header, but Pacey made a decent save to deny Clacton from rubbing more salt in the wound.
Andrews had a decent effort blocked by Clacton. He called for the ball on the edge of the area and Wig complied. The defended did well to take the sting out of the shot, and Fowler collected the loose ball.
76 minutes into the match, and there were a few moments of ‘handbags at dawn’ after Clampin clashed with Mabbo. Both of the players were booked for arguing after the foul.
G Man had a great effort at goal. He controlled Pabbo’s throw and turned well in the 6 yard box, but his shot was slightly off target and went over the bar.
The Clacton fans started to sing, as they felt a win was easily in their grasp. They have a stand called The Bus Shelter which was filled with supporters, singing and cheering on their lads.
78 minutes into the match and Sticko was replaced by Charlie Dicker. Well done Veteran! You have worked very hard over the past 5/6 games. Only another 12 matches to go and you can put your feet up.
Clacton did push for a 4th, but Rhino put in a lovely tackle to win the ball back. He then aimed a long ball to meet Harper’s run, but it was slightly too long and the ball was collected.
Soon after, there was another great ‘Booby Moore’ style box tackle from Pabbo which denied Clacton a goal scoring opportunity.
Dicker was looking sharp and timed a long ball perfectly for G Man to run onto. G Man charged up the wing and into the 18 yard box, but his delivery was straight into the path of Fowler.
84 minutes into the match and Harper made way to give Jack Morris his first team debut. Good work again Harper. That goal will come soon. Jack Morris made some good turns and was making the right back work for every ball.
Walden did continue to work hard and tried and score to give the travelling fans something to cheer about, but it just was not our day.
The final whistle went and the lads left the pitch and went straight into the changing rooms. G Man stayed back to thank the chilly fans for coming. The Clacton staff and fans were very friendly and I told goalkeeper Fowler that I was impressed by the way he directed his back 4. He thanked me and wished us all a save journey home.
My MOTM is going to Wig Calver. Wig worked so well and was unlucky not to score. His energy and work rate was excellent and what you want to see from a captain. Well done.
I also need to apologise for my Tweets throughout the match. They were very basic and some poorly spelt. My excuse was that it was freezing and my battery was close to dying. Someone did comment on my awful spelling, which didn’t impress me when all I was trying to do was update the fans that couldn’t make the trip. I must admit sitting in the warm and watching Arsenal versus Barcelona seemed very appealing, but as I said to Carole nothing was going to stop me from cheering the boys on and continuing my 100% attendance record for all competitive matches this season.
On the positive side the Ressies won 2-0 at home against Halstead. Carter and Powter were the goal scorers. The last time the two teams met in the league, the Bloods lost 5-1. This highlights how much the lads have improved over the season. Well done.
Next up we play bottom of the league Whitton United at the Meadow on Saturday. I hope to see you there.
Please see below Youtube link from Peter Coath for highlight from the match
Up The Bloods