Saffron Walden 3 – Gorleston 2
20th Feb 2016
I was really looking forward to the match and welcoming the Green Army to the Meadow. We played Gorleston, just before Christmas and lost 3-0 with two sending offs. The staff and supporters are great at Gorleston and were very welcoming, so I hope they felt as welcome as us fans felt when we visited them.
The club house was shut to the fans as they had booked a wedding. The board and staff did very well, and opened up the president’s room and hired three toilets for the fans to use. It didn’t cause an issue as we still had beer to drink, food to eat, football to enjoy and somewhere to go for a pee.
I arrived at around 2.30pm and parked up. I had a chat with Peter to arrange transport for Tuesday night’s visit to Clacton. Once in the ground I bought a programme and saw that they had the all-time Bloods tops scorers and appearance stats. It’s worth a read as some of the stats almost go back to WW1. Alf Ramsey was at the top of the list for goals scored with 192. It was interesting to listen to some of the fans remembering watching the Bloods legends play for the club, and sharing their memories. I sometimes think when I retire I hope to be telling stories of the Beast’s long throw and Super Floyds double save against Hadleigh or that amazing match we had in the Vase against Stanway last year.
Before the match we had a minutes silence to remember Ryan Harman who sadly passed away. I didn’t know Ryan but I give his friends and family and his Green Army my deepest sympathy for their loss. Grass roots teams are families and become huge parts of our lives on and off the pitch. RIP Ryan.
Lee Pacey, Spike Bell, Paul Abbot (Pabbo), Joe Murphy (Boss), Jamie Solkhon (Rocky), Stuart Wadley (Sticko), Craig Calver (Wig), Marc Abbot (Mabbo), Graeme Turner (G Man), James Thomas (Zinedine), Louis Harper. Subs: Charlie Dicker, Neil Andrews and Floyd Croll (Superman)
The First Half
Walden won the toss and started the match. As we walked around to the South Stand Lower, I had to run onto the pitch and remove the temporary goal posts. If you have not seen them before, they would make an awesome javelin. So with my H&S hat on I made sure they were out of harm’s way.
We started the game well with good passing and determination, but it was Gorleston’s Ingram who had the first attempt at goal. Ingram made himself some space and went for a shot outside the area, but luckily for Pacey the shot went slightly wide. It would have been a great save had it been on target.
7 minute into the game, and Macrae was called into action. We had won a free kick, which Pacey took. He found Zinedine, who jumped well and flicked the ball into the path of G Man. G Man beat the defender and struck at goal, but Macrae got down low and held the stinging strike well.
Ingram was looking the most threatening player on the pitch for Gorleston. He travelled well with the ball, but was met by a strong tackle by Harper who won the ball back.
Thompson and Middleton worked well on the break. Thompson split from Middleton as he ran up the wing with the ball. Middleton sent it a lovely cross, but Thompson could only steer the ball over the bar. It was good football.
12 minutes into the game, and Mabbo showed some lovely footwork. He tried to progress with the ball but was fouled and won the Bloods a free kick. Harper free kick was floated into the box but was headed clear.
18 minutes into the game, and Bell showed true grit and determination by closing down the defence and forcing the defender to kick the ball off for a Bloods throw. The ball was thrown to Wig, who beat his defender. Wig passed the ball to G Man and called to be set for a shot. G Man set Wig well, but his shot was well blocked. It was cracking link up play.
Brown was looking very handy and wasn’t afraid to run with the ball. Brown got into a great position, but his fierce shot was block by Rocky which resulted in a corner to Gorleston. The corner was wall collected by Pacey.
Harper was giving a lesson on how to be cool under pressure. He took command of the ball in the centre of the pitch and threaded a lovely through ball to Zinedine. Zinedine took the ball on his left foot, but lost his footing and the ball was scooped away
21 minutes into the match, and Brown scored a great goal. He had been looking lively from the start of the match. He weaved his way into the Bloods box, and his shot went over Pacey and into the back of the net. 0-1 to Gorleston!
23 minutes into the match, and Zinedine won a free kick outside the box for Harper to take. The free kick didn’t trouble Macrae.
24 minutes into the match, and Wig was caught off side in another suspect decision. Again the lino did not react until he heard the shout from the Gorleston back four. This is going back to my point in last week’s blog. I can’t be too harsh on him as he didn’t have a bad game.
It didn’t take long for the Bloods to level the score. Wig turned the right back on the line and struck the ball low and hard into the box. The Boss came charging in and flicked the ball into the back of the net. It was a lovely goal and thoroughly deserved. Well done Boss man and Wig.
30 minutes into the match, and we were looking the favourite to go into the lead. Harper won a corner ball and took it. The ball was headed away by Brown, but he had to see the ball off the pitch. Wig ran to put pressure on Brown but was called up for a foul after Brown went over.
36 minute into the match, and Zinedine put the Bloods into the lead. The constant pressure had paid off. Wig played the ball into the path of Zinedine. Zinedine stayed strong and shielded off the defender. He then calmly slotted the ball passed Macrae and into the back of the net. A great goal for Zinedine, and another assist by Wig!
38 minutes into the match, and Thompson seemed to be having a go at Sticko. We thought the referee was going to book Thompson, but he didn’t and gave a free kick for Pacey to take.
39 minutes into the match, and I presented Mrs Nash was a yellow card. The flannel had come out and to be honest, I really don’t know why. I guess she must have seen something she didn’t like. Or, as she would say: ‘Lino, you’re getting on my nerves’!
The Bloods continued to work hard and showed some brilliant skill. For those who remember the Sherminator from the American Pie films – Confidence is high.
Near the end of the half Zinedine came close to making it 3-1. Mabbo did very well to win the ball back in the centre of the pitch. He timed his through ball to Zinedine perfectly. Zinedine did well to control the ball, but the defender did enough to not allow Zinedine to put his foot through his strike, and the ball was comfortably saved by Macrae.
The final attempt at goal came from Gorleston, when Middleton made some good ground. He passed the ball to Thompson; who went for a shot, but it went wide and past Pacey’s post.
HT: Saffron Walden 2 – Gorleston 1
Gorleston and Walden came out from the half time break with the same objective. And that was to get the ball and score. The referee was getting a little ‘whistle happy’ and produced a yellow card for Middleton, after a late challenge on Harper.
G Man made a cracking run up the wing, after he took the ball around the Gorleston winger. His cross was well blocked for a Bloods corner. Harper’s corner was aimed at the back post for Rocky. Rocky headed the ball back across the box to G Man. G Man went for a crack, but it was well blocked by the defender. I must admit, it did look like the ball went out of play when Rocky headed it back. As a child you are always told to play to the whistle, and so we did!
Thompson was given a yellow card for a challenge on Mabbo. You could see in their faces that they were getting frustrated and needed the ball back. Harper floated the free kick into the crowd of players. The boss managed to climb well and get a header in, but it was well caught by Macrae.
Gorleston handed the Bloods a warning shot after a diagonal ball split the defence apart and found Ingram in space. Ingram went for the shoot but it sailed over the bar.
The Boss game close to another great header from a set piece delivered by Harper, but his effort went slightly wide.
Macrae made two great back to back saves, after Zinedine’s effort caused a few ‘ooohs and aaahhs’. Macrae palmed the ball away, but only as far as the Boss whose shot was again well saved by Macrae.
71 minutes into the game, and the dynamic duo of Wig and Zinedine paid off again. Zinedine made a lovely passing move to set Wig. Wig didn’t hesitate and slotted the ball past the Macrae’s left hand dive and into the net. After the goal the referee produced more yellow cards. I have no idea why, but he must have heard something he didn’t like.
Gorleston had not given up and continued to press on. One of the substitutes went over in the box, but the referee was not convinced it was a penalty.
78 minutes into the match and Harper came so close to scoring. Wig ran with the ball, and found Harper in space. Harper adjusted himself and tried to curl the ball into the top of the corner, but it hit the bar. It would have really topped off his day after such a great performance.
The Boss was growing in confidence and almost pulled off a Dele Alli style goal. He flicked the ball up and over, and as he was about to strike at goal, Brown managed to get across Boss and kick the ball out for a throw on.
Mabbo was booked for a tackle, which I have no idea why. Middleton took the free kick but it was well defended by Sticko.
82 minutes into the match, and Gorleston had scored. They had won a fortunate corner when Pacey dived on the ball, but was then knocked over the line following a strong challenge. The resulting corner was only partially cleared, and Ingram smashed the back of the net from close range.
After Gorleston closed the gap, Walden did not retreat and put 11 men behind the ball. Instead they pushed for a 4th, which would finish the game once off and for all. Wig played really well winning the Bloods a corner. The corner was flicked out to Mabbo, who went for a driving shot but it was well blocked. The ball fell to the Boss, but his shot went wide.
89 minutes into the match, and we thought disaster had struck. The Gorleston player found the back of the net, but was caught off side. Phew! We really deserved all 3 points and I was praying for the whistle to be blown.
The referee was on Fergie time, and we shouted and whistled for him to blow that whistle. It was very tense, and you could cut the atmosphere with a knife.
Finally with my heart in my mouth and Mrs Nash clutching onto her flannel, the whistle had gone and we had won all 3 points. The win had got us up to 10th place. We are having a great 2016.
I decided to put MOTM to a vote on Twitter for the fans. I could not decide between Boss, Wig or Harper as they all deserved the title. But I am pleased to announce that we have chosen Joe ‘The Boss’ Murphy for MOTM. A brilliant performance by The Boss and well done.
During the time of me writing the Blog, Floyd Croll has decided to leave the club. I am truly gutted as I feel he is a huge asset to the Bloods, but as a fan completely understand his reasons. He is a great keeper and a lovely person and I wish him well. If any managers or chairman are reading this, I suggest you get on the phone and get Super Floyd’s signature. He will be an asset to any team.
Next up we have Clacton Away on Tuesday night. I shall be going to cheer on the lads.
Don’t forget the Ressies are also playing on Tuesday night against Halsted at the Meadow. Please come along and support the lads.
Thanks for reading