Thetford Town 0 Saffron Walden 1
13th February 2016
Walden have worked very hard to get away from the relegation zone, and a win today would help cement there place in the Premier league. Thetford however were struggling and needed the points. That had just beaten Newmarket 5-3, so confidence would have been high.
I picked Martin and Master Johnson up on the way to Thetford. We spoke about the club throughout the journey, and how pleased we were with the way we have kicked off 2016. The Bloods have got 11 points from their last 5 matches and have found form, home and away. It’s a great time to be a Bloods fan.
We arrived at the club just after 2pm. The Sat Nav tried to take us to an industrial estate, but we ignored it and looked for the flood lights. We were not the only fans who struggled to find it using the postcode from Google.
The team had a few regulars missing including the Abbot Brothers. Pabbo (Paul Abbot) was getting married, so I would like to congratulate Paul and his wife Sarah. I hope you had a great day Mr and Mrs Pabbo.
We were also missing Rhino and Viking (Fleming and Grindrod), so Sticko and Andrews formed an experienced partnership at the back.
Sticko also gave new signing Lee Pacey his debut in goal, and gave Jack Young a place on the bench.
TEAM; Lee Pacey, Spike Bell, Jamie Solkhon (Rocky), Jake Noble (Nobby), Neil Andrews, Stuart Wardley (Sticko), Craig Calver (Wig), Joe Murphy (Boss), Graeme Turner (G Man), James Thomas (Zinedine), Louis Harper. Substitutes (not used); Charlie Dicker, Jake Thompson, Jack Young.
The First Half
Walden started the match instantly trying to pin Thetford back. Bell fed G Man a great through ball as he was charging up the wing. G Man tried to get a cross in, but it was well defended for a Walden throw on. Unfortunately the throw was wasted and no chance was created.
Standley got booked after he went down in the Walden box. I am not sure why he was booked to be honest. If anyone can let me know I would appreciate it.
Thetford had a good opportunity when Hunsdon passed the ball to Foster. Foster gave himself a few yards of space with a lovely touch, but his long range effort went sailing over the bar.
G Man had the first shot on goal, after he ran onto a lovely flick from Wig. We thought G Man was going to blast it first time with his left foot, but he decided to control the ball and shoot. The defenders block took the power out of the shot, and was then collected by Barker.
11 minutes into the match, and Pacey was called into action. Priddle had a great opportunity to open the scoring, but Pacey came off his line quickly and saved the shot at the feet of Priddle. This gave Thetford confidence to push on, but Pacey made another few good saves to deny an opening goal for the home side.
17 minutes into the match, and Harper sent Zindine on a run with a lovely ball. Zinedine did very well to stay on his feet as the Thetford defence surrounded him. He managed to get a shot in, but it went wide of the post. We laughed as the ball would have hit me in the face, had it not been for the pole in front of me which pins back the net.
Thetford delivered a nice cross into the Bloods box, but Rocky managed to get back, and scoop the ball away for a corner. Cusack took the corner, but the referee blew for a foul in the box and awarded a free kick for Pacey to take.
G Man was looking more and more dangerous as he frustrated Thetford’s left back. He beat his man in the box, and went for a low cross, but the defender slid in and deflected the ball for a Bloods corner. Harper’s corner was headed out of the area, but only as far as Bell, Bell tried to float the ball into Rocky’s run at the back post, but Barker got to the ball first.
22 minutes into the match, and Priddle tried to test Pacey from long range, but his effort went wide.
G Man and Bell continued to dominate the right hand side of the pitch, by linking up very well. G Man won another corner for the Bloods. Harper’s corner went over the defence, and found Wig. Wig used his quick feet and crossed the ball back into the 6 yard box, but it was cleared for another Walden corner. Harper must have worked up a sweat by running for one corner to the other. You could tell that Thetford were getting concerned, as Barker was demanding his players to listen to his instructions. This time the referee called for a foul on the Thetford player, and the danger was momentarily over.
27 minutes into the match, and Wig won a free kick outside the box. Harper decided to be sneaky and play it short to Wig. Wig managed to turn the defender, but his cross was blocked for another Bloods corner. The corner was header clear for another corner. Poor old Harper was running back and forth to keep the momentum going. The corner was cleared, which sent Hunsdon on a break. His pass found Foster well; who tried to skin the Boss, but Boss made his presence known by mopping up the trouble.
Wig was giving the defence a hard time. They did very well to close Wig down by stopping him from making a pass. He managed to get the ball to Harper. Harper then set Zinedine but his shot was fizzled out by the defence. Thetford tried to make a break but the player was tripped by Nobby. Nobby was yellow carded for the foul. The free kick was taken, but the Bloods wall did its job and G Man headed the ball clear…..he must have felt that.
37 minutes in to the match/blog, and I am announcing a Rant Alert! Bell timed a brilliant ball which met Wigs run perfectly, but the linesman called it for off side. It was clearly on side. The frustrating thing was that the lino didn’t make a decision until he was influenced by the call from the Thetford defence. I know everyone does it, but the lino clearly didn’t know what to do. I watched MOTD2 on Sunday night and Mark Chapman was talking about how official’s decisions, can be made on a player’s reaction. How ironic!
Wig showed some fantastic skill on in the box, and took the ball around 3 players with a cheeky spin. He crossed the ball low and hard but Bond blocked the ball well. The ball fell to Priddle; who tried to make a break, but his effort went wide.
With 5 minutes to go before the half time break, Rocky was booked for a late tackle. Thetford were awarded a free kick, which Bailey took. The Walden defence cleared the ball for a Thetford corner. The corner did not trouble Pacey and his experienced defence.
HT: Thetford 0 – Saffron Walden 0
The Second Half
Walden started the 2nd half with confidence, and looked confident with each pass. The long ball was used a lot in the first half, so the tactics had changed.
Bell used his strength and battled well with Cusack. Bell found G Man in space; who went for a cross but it was well blocked by Cusack for a Bloods corner. Harper’s delivery was excellent and Rocky hit the bar with an attempted floating header. Thetford scrambled to clear the ball out of the box.
49 minutes into the match, and Walden were awarded a penalty after Foster’s hand prevented a goal scoring opportunity. The Boss took the penalty, but Barker guessed the right way and made a good save. Zinedine latched onto the rebound, which forced an even better save from Barker. G Man tried to steer a high ball into the net but his effort went over the bar.
54 minutes into the match, and Thetford tried to get into the Bloods box, but Andrews stood up well and cleared the ball.
56 minutes into the match, and Zinedine was growing in confidence and started to run more at the defence, but the Thetford defence closed him down well. They were not defending like a team who were near the bottom of the table.
The Boss was not shaken after his miss and brought the ball out of the Walden box. He timed his pass perfect for Wig, but Wig was penalised for a block on the Thetford’s right back.
Bells perseverance and work rate was inspiring, as he charged at the Thetford defence and won the ball back. He crossed the ball to Wig who tried to weave his way through, but his shot was straight at Barker.
69 minutes into the match, and Foster had a great chance at taking the lead, but his strike was straight at Pacey.
71 minutes into the match, and G Man put ball through Barker’s legs and into the back of the net. This was down t some brilliant footwork from Zinedine. Zinedine was fouled but, managed to slip the ball to G Man who calmly struck the ball to make in 1-0 to Walden.
Immediately after the goal, Rocky was heading back to his own half and had an attack of Tourette’s at a Thetford player, and was sent off by the referee, after he consulted his linesman. That was a crazy sending off. This happened every few minutes on the pitch, but there we go. You could tell the referee was being assessed. Pearson took the free kick but it was straight at Pacey. Walden had to change formation and Zinedine covered the left back position.
The lads didn’t show any panic from being down to 10 men. We continued to push for a second to try and kill the game off. Wig travelled with the ball into the box, and tried to curl the ball into Barker’s top left corner, but it was too high and didn’t force a save.
In the 80th minute Sticko fell awkwardly making a clearance, and Thetford substitute, Barzey reacted badly to the incident, and went to have a pop at Sticko on the ground, causing a ‘handbags at dawn’ moment, which took 5 minutes for the card happy ref to resolve. Barzey was shown a red card, reducing both teams to ten players, and the Boss a yellow card. The Boss and Andrews seemed to be defending the old boy! I didn’t get it and couldn’t understand what was going on. Barzey was furious and needed a team mate to usher him off the field. He was a big lad, so I am glad I didn’t have that job!
Theford pushed for an equaliser with a great opportunity from a break, but G Mam got back, slid in and blocked the cross, which awarded Thetford a corner. The corner was played short and then pinged into the box, but G Man headed the ball away.
The mighty Bloods held on until the final whistle to bring back all 3 points. It was a great battle and I really enjoyed it. The lads dug in and played like a team.
The MOTM goes to G Man (Graeme Turner). He is starting to stake his name as a regular hit man in the league, and will get other teams talking and hopefully worrying. Well done G Man for giving it 100% throughout the match.
Our next match is at Home against Goleston. Last time we met, we lost 3-0 so a win would be a great result. This will be followed by a trip to F.C. Clacton next Tuesday week.
The ressies travel to Hadleigh on the back of a well-earned draw against Melford.
Thank you for reading.