Saffron Walden 1 – Norwich United 2
Well, what a match we had at the Meadow. If this is the best the league have to offer, then I can’t wait until next season when we have a fully fit squad. I mean no disrespect to Norwich, but if you went on their current performance over the past two years, you would have expected a very one sided match. Norwich has an excellent team, with a striker who scores for fun. Matt Blake is dangerous in front of goal with an impressive tally of 31 goals.
Sadly we lost, but I am so proud of the lads for sticking it to them, and having a go! Fear was not on the agenda for this Bloods team. To be honest the ref did ruin the game, and the Norwich keeper got away with a blatant shove on Zinedine from a 50/50 ball in the air. What I don’t understand was why he didn’t just catch the ball. He must have had almost half a foot on Zinedine with long arms. The Boss’ expression and shrug of the shoulders said it all! In the end we could have had three penalties, but had to settle for only one. Anyway, full details are below.
TEAM: Lee Pacey, Paul Abbot (Pabbo), Dan Grindrod (Viking), Matt Snelling (Mashy), Stuart Wardley (Sticko), Perry Moody (Fagin), Jake Noble (Nobby) (Max Drane – 84 minutes), Marc Abbot (Mabbo), Joe Murphy (Boss) (Charlie Dicker (Chaz) – 84 mins.), James Thomas (Zinedine), Louis Harper. Substitutes (not used): Ben Morrell, Jake Thompson, Chris Reid.
The First Half
Norwich started the match well, and kept the ball. They confidently passed the ball and were patient in coming forward. It didn’t take long for Walden to get fed up with the waiting game, and pushed hard to win the ball back. Mashy won the ball back, and pushed forward. He crossed the ball into the box but it was headed clear by Carus.
5 minutes into the match, and Blake came very close to opening the scoring with a powerful strike. Fagin stood up well which forced Blakes shot wide and into the side netting, giving the Bloods a warning shot.
Louis Harper won the Bloods a free kick, as he was tripped over 30 yards from goal. The Viking crossed it into the box, and it took the slightest touch forcing a very good finger tipped save from Jessop.
Norwich was awarded a free kick outside the area. The ball was firmly kicked at Pacey; who accidently spilled it, leaving the Viking no choice but to kick the ball off for a Norwich corner. The corner was headed off the pitch by Mabbo for a Norwich throw-in.
Eastol-Smith was very lucky not to concede a penalty, when he pulled back Zinedine shirt. It was so obvious that I am amazed the lino did not see it. It was ridiculous and we made our point clear and booed Eastol-Smith with every touch he made. Slighty immature but it was only banter. We don’t accept cheating at the Meadow.
Norwich had a good opportunity, but new Blood Fagin made a brilliant block to deny Blake from striking the ball at goal. Mabbo then cleared the ball out of the box.
Norwich had another good chance at goal, but this time Pabbo did extremely well to close the strikers angle and made it difficult to shoot. His shot went into the side netting
20 minutes into the match, and Zinedine came very close to scoring from a header. Harpers cross was perfectly weighted, but Zinedine’s header was slightly too high and went over the bar. This was proof that the league champions could be beaten.
25 minutes into the match, and the Bloods were feeling confident. The Boss came really close to connecting with Mabbo’s cross, at Jessop’s near post, but it missed his head by a few inches.
30 minutes into the match, and the communication between the midfield was brilliant. Mashy was proving to be a handful in the centre of the pitch and would stay at the heels of the Norwich defence. Norwich found it hard to manage him, and Harper and Zinedine would run into space and create opportunities for Mashy to pass the ball.
Norwich liked to play the long ball game, and would try and test Sticko and Fagin. Sticko showed his experience and went in hard with his head at every opportunity. It was almost like Norwich was running out of ideas and tried to get the ball to Blake at every opportunity.
34 minutes into the match, and I had a moment of the ‘commentators curse’, when I said to the fans that I thought Jessop had a good kick. Seconds later he slipped as he kicked the ball from a goal kick, which went straight back to the Bloods.
Zinedine won a free kick, after our old pal Eastol-Smith flattened him outside the area. The free kick was easily caught by Jessop. Jessop immediately punted the ball to Blake, but Nobby blocked Blake’s effort. The ball kindly fell back to Blake, but his second attempt went wide.
40 minutes into the match, and Zinedine was awarded a penalty after he was tripped in the box by Shipley. Shipley was yellow carded. Up steps Mabbo who smashes the ball into the roof of the net to make it 1-0. Jessop was not happy and kicked the ball out of the ground in protest. As you can imagine, that caused serious banter from the Bloods family. There were a lot of jokes about spitting out the dummy.
44 minutes into the match, and Pacey made a great save at the near side off post, from a Blake smash. The corner was delivered into the six yard box, but Fagin headed the ball clear.
HT: Saffron Walden 1 – Norwich United 0
The Second Half
Norwich inflicted some early pressure as they came charging into the box, but Pabbo worked hard by forcing the attacker to go wide and ran the ball out for a goal kick.
Our first effort of the second half came after Mashy did really well to win the ball back in Norwich’s half of the pitch. He flicked the ball to Zinedine, who went to curl the shot, but it hit the Boss straight in the side off the face and out for a goal kick.
Shortly after, Hipperson had an opportunity from a corner. They tried to take the corner early, but the referee wasn’t ready and called the play back. It was a shame as it would have been a goal kick. Anyway, Norwich’s second attempt sailed over everyone and out of play.
At this point in the match came the third dodgy decision from the Lino and the Ref. The Viking crossed the ball into the box for Zinedine. Both Jessop and Zinedine went for the ball, but instead of catching or punching the ball out, he just pushed Zinedine away from it. It was a ridiculous decision not to award a penalty. Mrs Nash’s flannel was out and in full use.
60 minutes into the second half, and Zinedine ran 80 yards up the line, beating three attempted challenges from Norwich players. He made a lovely one-two with the Boss, but his final ball was cleared away from the box.
We continued to battle as Norwich pushed for the equaliser. Pabbo made a great tackle on Blake, and took the ball away from his stride.
68 minutes into the match, and Nobby did well to head clear a free kick, which was heading into the six yard box.
70 minute into the match, and the solid looking Bloods defence were finally undone. The Vikings clearance unfortunately fell nicely for Carus, who steered a looping header just inside the left hand post, which silenced the Bloods family.
As soon as the lads re started the match, the ‘Come on Bloods’ cheers got louder and louder. We had not deserved this, with the amount of work the lads had put in.
Thomas was involved in yet another dodgy decision by the referee. He managed to get goal side, and was tripped over in the box, but the referee played on. I was stunned and felt robbed! I didn’t get how on earth it was not a foul. Crazy!
It didn’t take long for lady luck to shine on Norwich, when they converted a second goal at the near post. Jones jumped well and headed the ball into Pacey’s net from a very tight angle. I felt sick and could not believe it. The lads did not deserve this after such a positive performance.
84 minutes into the match, and Drane replaced Nobby and Chaz replaced Boss. Boss and Nobby, should be proud of their performances.
Unfortunately there was little much they could do, as Norwich did well to keep the ball away from a potential fairy tale ending. The match ended Walden 1 – Norwich 2. Thanks Ref! Sorry to sound like a bad loser, but that was madness. Had we been played off the park then fair enough, but we looked good for the win.
Anyway, I am really pleased with the way the lads played and proud to be a Blood.
MOTM goes to Perry Moody (Fagin). Anyone who can stop Matt Blake from getting on the score sheet gets my vote. Well done Perry! You have had two very good performances, and I hope you are enjoying playing for the Bloods. Keep up the good work, and hopefully you and Flemo can give old -man Sticksy a rest.
On Easter Saturday, in-form Walsham-le-Willows, visit the “Meadow” for what should be another entertaining match.
I was told at half time that it would have been Dennis Savill's birthday that day, and his daughter left a lovely pot of roses on his bench that was dedicated to him after he sadly passed away. I didn't know Dennis very well but I know how much he meant to the players, staff and fans. He is greatly missed by them all.
Long Melford Colts 1 – Saffron Walden 2
On Sunday I went to watch the U18s in the Colchester Cup at Stoneylands. I didn’t do a full blog but I wanted to express how impressed I was with the lads. The Bloods controlled the match from start to finish and could have won by 5 or 6, had it not been from the very impressive Melford keeper.
Captain Jack Young scored a class volley from the 18 yard box, which lobbed the keeper. It was impossible to save. The second goal came in the second half from Jake Thompson as he drove into the 18 yard box and smashed the ball into the bottom hand corner of the net, out of the reach of the keeper. It was starting to look like it was going to penalties but the lads listened to Mike, stayed calm and the constant pressure finally paid off.
Every player played well, but I gave MOTM to George Chappell. George worked extremely hard and had the full backs in his pocket. He was unlucky not to get on the score sheet, but made some excellent assists.
Well done lads and I hope you go onto to winning the cup.