Sunday, 6 March 2016

Kirkley and Pakefield 2 - Saffron Walden 0

5th March 2016

After a few days of heavy rain and light snow, I was amazed to hear that the match was on. I was clued to Twitter waiting for the news. There were only three games which went ahead in the TNPL. The Meadow was waterlogged, which meant no football for the kids or the reserves.

So, I set off around 12.30pm and arrived at the ground at 2.30pm. I waited in the car until the London derby match was finished. I was gutted Spurs didn’t win, but on reflection I would have taken a draw after being 1-0 down. When I got to the club house, I found out they had BT Sports so I could have left early and watched the game.

The Bloods were still missing Bell, Grindrod and Mashy who are all on the injured list. Solks was serving a ban but will be back for our match against Godmanchester and our coach Neil Andrews and Rhino were not available. After an excellent performance, last week’s MOTM Charlie Dicker kept his place at right back.

The Team

Pacey, Dicker, P Abbot (Pabbo), M Abbot (Mabbo), Wardley (Sticko), Noble (Nobby), Calver (Wig), Murphy (Boss), Turner (G Man), Thomas (Zinedine), Harper. Subs: J Dicker, J Garrett, J Young

First Half

Walden started the game well and looked positive going forward. Wig, Zinedine and G Man tested both the wing backs with some darting runs.

The Bloods had the first scare of the match on the 4th minute, when Pacey misplaced his clearance from out of the area. The ball fell to a K&P player, but luckily for the Bloods his long range effort at an open goal went wide.

5 mins into the match, Zinedine sprinted to keep the ball in play. He passed the ball to Pabbo who then found Wig in space. Wig floated a cross in to the box, but it was slightly too high for G Man. G Man did get his head to it, but his effort was high and wide.

Wig was causing problems for the defence, and held the ball in the area. He beat a couple of defenders, but his shot was scuffed and easily collected by Tibbles.

9 mins into the match, and K&P had a lovely strike well saved by Pacey. Pacey palmed the ball away for a corner. The corner was delivered into the 6 yard box, but Pacey rose well and tipped the ball away for another corner. Their 3rd corner was cleared by the Boss.

Sticko made two very strong back to back headers to deny K&P. The first header was quite straight forward, but his second header was cleared off the line.

15 mins into the match, and Zinedine won a free kick outside the area. Sticko went short and played it to Wig, but the defended tackled the ball well and cleared the danger.

Stone came extremely close, when he managed to get free from his marker. He connected well with a header from Grint’s cross, but the ball went wide of the post.

Dicker was not phased, by the size and strength of his opponent. He was penalised for a strong challenge, giving away a free kick. The free kick was sailed into the box, but Pacey punched the ball clear and Dicker scooped the ball away from the box.

20 minutes into the match, and Zinedine tested Tibbles. Harper’s diagonal pass met Zinedine’s well-time run. He took a few touched to give himself some space, but his shot was straight at Tibbles.

Sticko was putting in a great shift, and won the ball back in the middle of the pitch. He passed the ball to Wig, who turned but his effort went over the bar.

Wig continued to worry the defence. He beat his man on the line and crossed the ball for G Man; who came charging into the box, but Flowers got low and headed the ball away from the goal.

I thought the Boss was going to rattle the back of the net with an effort outside the box, but Herbert did well to get across him and block his shot. It was definitely heading towards the goal with some venom.

30 minutes into the match, and it looked like Wig was tripped in the box. The referee was not convinced there was any contact, so he waved play on. Martin and I were standing with a few of the local fans and we asked for their opinion. A few thought it was a penalty and a few though it wasn’t. My opinion would be…umm…no comment!

Haverson had a great effort on goal, but Pacey stayed strong and blocked the powerful shot with his arm. K&P followed up with a cracking shot, but Pacey dived well and pushed the ball over the bar for a corner ball. Tibbles showed respect by applauding both saves. #staystrongnicky (Stanway Keeper in-joke)

40 minutes into the match, and Wig won us a free kick. The ball was delivered into the box by Harper and headed out by the defence, but only to Zinedine. Zinedine struck the ball well, which I believed hit the defenders arm and should have been a hand ball. The referee didn’t agreed and K&P broke well. Baker went for a shot but the ball went wide.

G Man came very close to scoring in the 44th minutes. He ran with the ball into the box, and took a touch to give himself a better angle, but his strike missed the goal by a few inches.

HT: Kirkley and Pakefield 0 - Saffron Walden 0

Second Half

I started the second half on my ‘Jack Jones’ behind the goal. The wind had picked up and the temperature had dropped. My hands were starting to suffer. I would usually put them in my pocket, but I was busy taking pictures and talking into my Dictaphone.  

We won an early corner thanks to Zinedine’s charge into the box, which left Herbert no option but to kick the ball off. Harper took the corner but it was well defended.

50 minutes into the match, and K&P had a goal disallowed for offside. The whistle had gone before the ball struck the net.

We won a free kick around 40 yards from goal. Harper sailed the ball perfectly into the 6 yard box, which missed Zinedine by inches for a potential volley.

Brooks was awarded a free kick after a clash with Sticko. The ball was floated into the box, but Nobby got his head to it and cleared the ball out.

60 minutes into the match, and K&P started to pile on the pressure. Pabbo made a brilliant slide tackle in the box, which dispossessed the K&P forward.

63 minutes into the match and K&Ps pressure paid off. Stone stormed down the left wing and squared the ball for Baker to tab in from 10 yards out. It was great link up play.

Walden didn’t let their heads drop and pushed for an equaliser with two back to back corners, but the defence held their line.

73 minutes into the match, and an almost identical move enabled Stone to cross a similar ball for Baker to shoot home to put K&P 2-0 up. If I wasn’t cold before, I certainly was now. It didn’t seem fair as we were looking like we could have got something out of the match.

Not long after the goal, the players exchanged a few words and shoves after the Boss was the victim of a late challenge. Sticko was extremely upset with the challenge and made his emotions clear. Wig was working hard at telling his players to ‘back away’ and get on with the match. This showed great leadership skills from our newly appointed captain.

I am sorry but I do not have much left to blog about. The Bloods worked really hard to try and get back into the match, but the K&P defence did their job. You could see why they are 5th in the league. The side were very physical and strong, and didn’t give the Bloods many opportunities to grab a goal. The lads worked really hard and were simply undone by two text-book goals. Onwards and upwards! Next season we need to be more clinical in front of goal if we want to break into the top 5. When I look at the progress and improvement we have made, it won’t be long until we are challenging for top spot.

My MOTM was Stuart Wardley. Sticko worked tirelessly for the full 90 minutes. The player manager showed great leadership. The physical match suited Sticko’s style and the veterans experience certainly shone through.

On Tuesday, Walden take on in form Godmanchester Rovers at home in what should be another challenging game.

Thanks for reading.

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