Friday, 11 March 2016

Saffron Walden 1 – Godmanchester 2

Saffron Walden 1 – Godmanchester 2

8th March 2016

The Meadow

Godmanchester was always going to be a tough match. They are currently sitting in 3rd place and have only lost 4 games all season. This was not going to put the Bloods off, after five back to back wins at home. Last time we played the result ended up 0-0. In that match the Bloods treated the fans with some of the best defending of the season.  

We started Tuesdays match with a very strong team. Bell was back for injury and started from the bench. Fleming was back in defence and Solks was back from his two match ban. Grindrod and Mashy are improving their fitness each day, so hopefully we should see them back in squad very soon.

Before the match I presented Graeme Turner with the award of Player of the month for February. Graeme has had an excellent 2016 and has showed great form. Well done G Man and keep up the good work.

TEAM: Lee Pacey, Paul Abbot (Pabbo), Jamie Solkhon (Rocky), Jake Noble (Nobby), Stuart Wardley (Sticko), Ryan Fleming (Rhino), Craig Calver (Wig), Joe Murphy (Boss) (Spike Bell – 63 mins.), Graeme Turner (G Man), James Thomas (Zinedine), Louis Harper. Substitutes (not used): Charlie Dicker, Neil Andrews.

The First Half

Walden won the toss, and started the match. They immediately went at Godmanchester from the first blow of the whistle. Wig won the Bloods and early free kick for Harper to take. The ball was delivered into the box, but McDonald headed the ball clear.

5 minutes into the match, and both teams were passing the ball well, trying to test each other. No real chances on goal, but both had decent build up play.

9 minutes into the match, and the Bloods were working really hard to try and open up Goddy’s defence. Sticko was involved in two decent attacking opportunities which started from the back four.

Just as we looked like gaining the upper hand Godmanchester scored. To be honest, the high ball should have been cleared by the Bloods defence, but instead dropped kindly for Brown and Brown was not going to miss from six yard out. Pacey did his best to come off his line, when he realised the ball had not been cleared but credit to Brown, he pounced at the opportunity slotted passed Pacey.

Wig won another free kick for Harper to take. Harper found Rocky running in at the back post, but he was too far out to get any real power on the ball and his headed attempt was easily caught by Conroy. Conroy threw the ball out quickly and Spark broke well for a counter attack. His through ball sent Hyem up the wing, who squared the ball into the box but the end product was fluffed and went out for a goal kick.

20 minutes into the match, and the Boss won the ball back in the Godmanchester half. This showed great determination from the Boss. You could see he was really up for the match and enjoyed the challenge.

Shortly after, Wig had a great shot which was deflected by the defence. The ball fell to Zinedine, who ran into the box and tried to square the ball, but there was no one there to convert the cross into the back of the net.

Goddy had two great opportunities after a lovely shuffle from Unwin. He passed the ball to Spark, but Nobby did well to win the ball back and quickly clear the ball. The ball was sent back into the box, but it was easily collected by Pacey.

The pressure didn’t stop and Godmanchester pushed for a second. The Boss stood up well and cleared the danger. The lads were working extremely hard by showing Godmanchester that they were no walk over.

Wig was causing the defence a headache and managed to turn his marker. He crossed the ball low and hard at Harper, but the loose ball was well cleared.

35 minutes into the match, and again Wig got the better of the defence. This time he went for a shot rather than squaring the ball, but his effort was tipped over the bar by Conroy. It was a lovely turn and shot and would have been a sweet individual goal.

Wig was very unlucky not to be given a penalty. He was tripped up on the line of the 18 yard box. From my angle it looked like it was in the box, but according to the referee it wasn’t. Harper took the free kick and decided to go for a blast, but it went high and wide.

Godmanchester were finding it so hard to control Wig. Wig was calling for every ball and playing as if it was his last game. He dribbled the ball over 50 yards across the field and won the Bloods a corner. Harper took the corner but Conroy pushed the ball up in the air. Conroy had to run off his line to catch the ball as Zinedine was prowling.

38 minutes into the match, and Hyem went for a long range effort from a counter attack, but the shot went out of the ground.

For the remainder of the half the Bloods had the better of the play, with some lovely attacking football. Paul Daw counted 8 corners to Godmanchester’s 2. We were unlucky not to be at least on level terms at half time.

HT: Saffron Walden 0 – Godmanchester 1

The Second Half

The Bloods started the 2nd half exactly the same way as they finished the first. Nobby was involved in an early challenge from Parr. Parr was shown the yellow card for the late challenge. Harper took the free kick. Again, the stubborn Goddy defence held their line well.

The pressure continued from the Bloods as we won corner after corner. We came very close to being gifted an own goal, when Moran headed the ball just over the bar. As you can image the ‘Come on Walden’ yells grew louder and louder. The final corner was well punched away from Conroy.

 It was Goddy’s turn to test the defence, but Rhino headed a dangerous cross away from the goal.

54 minutes into the match, and Goddy had scored. A right wing cross was played into Brown, who with his back to goal, turned and managed to steer the ball past Pacey to make it 2-0. A clinical finish!

We had a bit of banter with Conroy, because he complained that the ringing of the church bells was ‘doing his head in’. Mrs Nash told Conroy that she was going to tell her Dad what he said, because her Dad was the Vicar. Got to love Mrs Nash!

60 minutes into the match, and Goddy started to push for a third, but Pabbo put in a lovely tackle and sent the ball out of play for a corner. The corner was headed clear and fell nicely to a Goddy defender. He went for a ‘worldy’ but his shot went over the bar.

63 minutes into the match, and the Boss was replaced by Bell. Another strong display from the Boss!

Not much happened for the next 15 minutes. Both sides tried various different ways to score but both teams defences did very well not to concede.

So, in the 79th minute, Zinedine won a free kick near the corner flag after being pulled back. Conroy was not happy with his player. Harper crossed the ball to the back post, which met Bell at the far post to make it 2-1. It was a great goal and unstoppable. Bell muscled his way through the defence, jumped up and headed the ball in. We believed we could get a result.

81 minutes into the match, and Pacey made a great save to deny Goddy from going 3-1 up and killing off the game. Pacey saved the ball at his near post, and deflected the ball for a Goddy corner. The corner ball was well caught by Pacey. Pacey saw Wig in space and punted the ball to him. Wig saw that Conroy was off his line and went for a long range effort. The shot was on target but caught by Conroy.

The lads worked extremely hard but the match finished 2-1 to Goddy. I am proud of the lads, as they never gave up. One thing you can guarantee about the Bloods is they never give up, whatever the score is. I appreciate this as a fan.

The MOTM goes to Wig Calver. Wig played excellently and Goddy could not control him. Well done Wig and thank you for all the hard work you put in. Keep it up Wiggy.

As the players left the pitch I waited to thank them for their brilliant effort. I spoke to Jamie Solk’s and he told me that this match would be his last for the rest of the season, and he will see how he felt at pre-season. I was truly gutted to hear this but understand. We will miss him at the Meadow. Not just for his football, but for his character off the pitch and respect for the fans. Thanks Rocky for everything and I hope you come back soon.

Ben ‘the Beast’ Lawrence visited the Lane to watch the match and catch up with his friends. We presented him with a framed shirt as a retirement present from non-league football. Ben was chuffed with gift and thanked us all.

We have Clacton on Saturday at home. Unfortunately we do not have Wig, as he is serving a 2 match ban, and we now don’t have our trusty left back Rocky. So this means Sticko will have to shuffle the pack. Who will start up front? Who will be captain? Will Sticko make himself captain or pass the honours to another player? Whatever he decides, you can guarantee the lads will give it 100%

Thanks for reading

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