Sunday, 27 March 2016

Saffron Walden 1 - Walsham Le Willows 0

Saffron Walden 1 – Walsham Le Willows 0

The Meadow

26th March 2016

After last week’s narrow defeat, the Bloods were back to winning ways. It was a hard slog, with difficult conditions but the lads battled hard a deserved all three points. Sticko finally took a well-deserved break and ran things from the bench. The fans got to see for the first time the partnership between Fagin and Rhino, and the lads did not disappoint.

As I was writing out the team sheet, I was told that today’s referee was the best in the league. I am not sure how you measure that, but after the poor decisions we have had in the past I was intrigued.

I then had a great chat with Mark Young about the 100k walk he is doing for Charity. He was on a bus to Cambridge at 6.30am, so he could walk back in time for the 3pm kick off. Now that’s dedication to the cause and the club! I also asked him how many days he would do doing the walk over; expecting him to camp overnight or in a B&B. He told me that no one stops to sleep and they walk through the night. He is raising money for Help for Heroes, so if you have not yet sponsored him, please do.

Click on his link. He is also doing a bucket collection at one of the home matched nearer the end of the season


The Team

Pacey, Bell, P Abbott (Pabbo),Snelling (Mashy), Moody (Fagin), Fleming (Rhino), Calver ( C )(Wig), M Abbott (Mabbo), Turner (G Man), Thomas (Zinedine), Noble (Nobby).  Subs: Drane, Dicker (Chaz), Scott, Wardley (Sticko).


The First Half

The Bloods won an early free kick, which Mabbo took. Mabbo sailed the ball into the pack of players, but it was comfortably collected by Bryant.

WLW’s Wood had a decent effort, but his shot was blocked for a WLW corner. Call delivered a good ball into the box, but Rhino headed the ball clear and out of the area.

After a two match Wig didn’t show and pitch rust and won the Bloods a corner. The corner was taken by Bell, who tried to find Rhino, but it was well defended by WLW.

6 minutes into the match, and Zinedine scored a lovely goal. Mabbo crossed the ball into the box, which was brought down by G Man. G Man spotted Zinedine’s run and flicked the ball into his path and Zinedine calmly lifted the ball over the keeper, from a tight angle, and into the back of the net. It was 1-0 to the mighty Bloods.

Pacey made a fantastic save from Woods’s header. Barwick whipped in the cross for Wood to test Pacey, but Pacey dived across his goal and caught the ball.

11 minutes in and WLW started to gain possession and added pressure on the Bloods. Peter put in a dangerous cross but it was well caught buy Pacey.

Zinedine did very well at closing the defence down, as Morton had no choice but to pass the ball back to Bryant. Zinedine ran at Bryant and Bryant had to react quickly and only just kicked the ball off for a throw-in, before Zinedine got to the ball.

As we were pushing for a second goal, Malcolm Nash came along and asked Fiona to call Andrew in the tea hut, because the referee wanted a coffee at half time. The ref will want paying next! I told Malc to get the finest china out and nip to Starbucks.

Anyway, back to the match and G Man won the Bloods a corner for Bell to take. The ball was headed up in the air between 5 players, but was eventually scooped away by 5. Clarke was congratulated by Bryant which was picked up by the fans, so in true ‘behind the goal’ fashion we would cheer on Clarke (Nath) with every touch he made. So much nicer than aggression and bad language! Even if it was ‘tongue in cheek’ banter! Nath should be honoured.

22 minutes into the match and Bell did very well to stick to the quick feet of Call. Just before Call was about to pull the trigger, Bell got the better of him and cleared the ball away from the box for a throw-in.

30 minutes into the match, and Wig was involved in a little bit of ‘handbags at dawn’ moment with Steed, as both players competitive attitude got in the way. It looked like both players pulled each other to the ground. The referee managed the situation well and got the lads to shake hands with no cards.

33 minutes into the match, and the lino made a shocking decision. G Man was running up the line with Peter in tow, when Peter fell to the ground. The lino waved his flag and awarded a WLW a free kick. G Man didn’t touch him! It was disappointing as all the officials were having a very good game.

WLW added some pressure after winning a free kick on the half way line. The free kick was delivered into the box, but Fagin rose well and headed the ball out for a corner. WLW were gifted a free header but the effort went wide.

41 minutes into the match and WLW won a free kick. It was delivered by Nurse into the box, but the referee sported the high boot in Rhinos face and gave the Bloods a free kick.

HT Saffron Walden 1 – WLW 0

The Second Half

The Bloods came out of the blocks looking for the second goal. Pabbo started to come forward and did very well to win two back to back throw-ins. I had also noticed that Zinedine was now playing out on the right and Wig was in a CF position.

It was ‘hearts in the mouth time’ for the Bloods fans, after Peter broke and delivered an excellent long ball. The build-up play was great and WLW should have made it 1-0, but Bell slid in and cleared the ball off the line. It was the save of the day.

WLW was given another opportunity from a header at the far past, but the WLW players effort went over the bar.

G Man made a lovely run up the wing and fended of three defenders. He played the ball to Mash, who was charging into the box. Mash tried to flick the ball over Bryant, but Bryant made himself big, and caught the ball before it went over his head and potentially in the net.

Soon after, G Man continued to use his strength and pace up the wing. He left Peter on the ground and ran into the box, but our mate Nath put in a great block for a Bloods corner. Bells corner was aimed at the back post, but Barwick cleared the ball out of the area.

53 minutes into match, and Wig showed off his silky skills in the area, and won the Bloods a corner. Peter got to the ball first and cleared the danger.

58 minutes into the match and Clarke (Nath), had a rush of Blood and took Wigs legs out from a challenge from behind. The referee did waste any time showing Nath a red. There was a little bit of afters as a few players got involved in some pushing and shoving. Mabbo was booked for this. We now needed a new WLW player to cheer on. So we decided to cheer on Josh (Curry) and Sam (Peter). Sorry lads and it was all in good jest.  

Wig had a good effort, when he won the ball back from WLW. He tried to find the top left hand corner but it was collected by Bryant.

66 minutes into the match, and the Bloods won a free kick. The free kick was delivered by Mabbo and Rhino came close with a header, but it was just wide.

Josh (Curry) conceded another free kick as he tripped Mashy near the Walden dug out….”Oh Josh, what did you do that for?” the crowd jest (or something like that). Bell crossed the ball, but it was easily dealt with by the WLW defence.

70 minutes into the match, and G Man won the Bloods another corner as he continued to battle with our other mate Sam, down the wing. Bell took the corner which dropped for Rhino. Rhino played the ball back to Mash, who went for a blast, but WLW did very well to keep formation and block the shot. The ball then fell to Wig, and Wig crossed the ball to Bryant’s far post. Zinedine got his head to the ball, but it missed the goal by inches.

72 minutes into the match, and Wig had a good opportunity of making it 2-0. The Bloods won the ball back in the WLW half. Wig got into a good shooting position from 18 yards out and went for the shot, but it was straight at Bryant.

75 minutes into the match and Mabbo was replaced by Max Drane. Well done Mabbo. Another strong, solid performance!

WLW continued to work hard with only ten men and believed they could get something out of the game. There was a moment from a throw on where the fans could see a potential scrappy tap in, but Fagin did well to clear the ball out.

80 minutes into the match, and G Man was replaced by Charlie Dicker (Chaz). Well played G Man and good to have you back terrorising those left backs.

At this point the rain and wind got stronger, so we all moved back to the container units. Half of the crowd who stand by the club house joined us.

82 minutes into the match and I was feeling nervous. WLW won a free kick. The free kick was aimed for the back post, but went over everyone and out of play.

With only a few minutes left on the clock, Rhino was involved in a tussle with Call. Call ended up winning the free kick. Personal I didn’t see much in it. The fans started to look at each other with nervous smiles. Surely we could hold on to this lead! Sam took the fee kick and it was headed out by Mash, but only as far as Barwick. Barwick crossed the ball back into the box, but Zinedine did well to usher the ball out for a goal kick.

90 minutes into the match and Chaz battled hard and won the ball from…you quest it. It was fan-favourite Josh. He managed to play the ball forward and cross it into the box, but it was well defended. The crowd really get behind our young Blood who has recently broken into the first team, but continues to play with the U18s. A great little prospect!

Panic struck in the dying minutes of the match when WLW were awarded a free kick for Nurse to take. The free kick was headed out for a corner. You can hear my voice getting higher on the Dictaphone! The lads didn’t panic and defended the corner well. As the ball was cleared the referee blew the final whistle.

What an incredible battle from the lads, which has taken us to 42 points and sitting comfortably in mid table. After looking at the league table I believe the best we can finish is 7th. There is a 10 point gap between 6th and 7th place. I would be over the moon if we finished in the top half as I truly believe we can improve and potentially be top 5 next year and maybe top 3 and title contenders in the 2018/19 season.

I have also got to hand it to WLW. They never gave up and could have folded after going down to ten men, but they stuck at it and could have nicked a result. Full credit to defence and keeper!

The MOTM goes to Ryan ‘Rhino’ Fleming. He worked extremely hard and put in some great challenges. Flemo is very dynamic and can play in three or four different positions. A great asset for Sticko’s team! Well done Rhino and thanks for your hard work.

I have also chosen Stuart Wardley as my player of the month for March. Since the Beast left, Sticko has played almost every minute of every game. His work rate has been brilliant and I believe he thoroughly deserves the praise. Well done Sticko. Sticko will get a £25 Amazon voucher and a certificate which I will present at the next home game.

The Ressies made it back to back wins with a 3-1 away win at Wivenhoe Town. Scorers: Morrell, Game and Carter. Well done Lads. The Ressies are back at home next Saturday against Brightlingsea.

The first team are on the road and travel to face 4th place Felixstowe and Walton. This will be a great test for the Bloods.

Thanks for reading

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