Sunday, 24 April 2016

Saffron Walden 3 - Thetford 1

Saffron Walden 3 – Thetford 1

The Meadow

23rd April 2016

It was the last game of the season at the Meadow for the Bloods first team, and the lads left the field with all three points and a very happy crowd. It was a great atmosphere with over 300 fans. The club decided to let children go free with a paying adult which always helps boast the attendance. We even invited Barack Obama, while he was visiting the UK, but due to a very busy schedule he didn’t make it!
Mark Young was busy collection money to help toward his 100k walk. All precedes go to Help for Heroes. Mark raised over £200 from the fans on the day. Good luck mark for the event. It hurts my feet just thinking about it.

The fans were treated to some great football. There was a slight moment of concern when Thetford took the lead, but we knew from the way the lads were playing that we would come back to win the match.

Before the match, I was speaking to a few fans and they thanked me for the blogs and said they had enjoyed them; even with the spelling mistakes! It was nice to hear the positive feedback and I have enjoyed everyone; even when we lose.

The Team

Pacey, Bell, P Abbott (Pabbo), Snelling (Mashy), Wardley (Sticko), Moody (Fagin), Calver (C) (Wiggy), Noble (Nobby), Turner (G Man), Thomas (Zinedine), Murphy (Boss). Subs: Drane (Baby Face), Grindrod (Viking), Dicker (Chaz), Andrews

The First Half

The match almost started with an early goal, when Mashy found himself in space and went for a shot, but it was straight at Barker. Barker slightly fumbled the ball, but recovered very well to collect the ball before Zinedine could pounce on the loose ball.

Zinedine won the Bloods a corner for Wiggy to take. Harper usually takes the corners but he was not available for selection. The ball was delivered into the 6 yard box, curling towards the goal. Barker had to punch the ball up and over the bar for another corner. Wig ran to take the corner and Barker was called to action again. This time he managed to palm the ball away from Zinedine’s head. This was all in the first few minutes of the match.

5 minutes into the match, and Zinedine won another corner for Bell to take. The corner was sailed into the box, but the busy Barker leaped and caught the ball.

Thetford had a good opportunity from a free kick. Bailey sailed the ball into the box, which curled slightly and confused Pacey. It looked like it was heading for and easy catch, but Pacey had to adjust himself and caught the ball.

12 minutes into the match, and Wiggy found himself in a great scoring opportunity, but the defender just did enough to smother his shot and the ball rolled kindly to Barker.

Fagin was looking strong and always alert when called upon. He made a lovely tackle to take the ball off Priddle and tried to find G Man with a long ball, but the ball was blocked before landing in front of G’s run.

16 minutes into the match, and the fans had another ‘hands on heads’ moment, when Wiggy shot just wide of the post after some great link up play with G Man and Mashy. It was very close and would have been very hard to stop.

20 minutes into the match, and the Bloods were awarded a free kick for hand ball 25 yards from goal. Wiggy floated the ball into the 6 yard box, aiming for Sticko’s ‘ghosting’ run, but it was easily collected by Barker.

26 minutes into the match, and the Bloods were awarded another free kick for a hand ball. Wiggy sailed the ball into the box, but the defender headed it up and over the bar for a corner. Bell took the corner, which took a slight touch and found Wig on the left hand side of the 6 yard box. Wiggy tried to steer the ball into the top right hand corner, but it was just wide.

Just as the Bloods started to dominate the game, Thetford scored from a header from a ‘Beast Style’ long throw. It caught the Bloods by surprised and was squeezed in between Pacey and the goal post. Sorry I do not know who scored it, but it was a well taken set piece and caught the defence out.

We didn’t let this stop our momentum and continued to work hard to get back level. Mashy was unlucky not to score as the Thetford defence struggled to clear the ball. Zinedine got the slightest touches on the ball, which set mash, but his fierce strike went wide of the post.

34 minutes into the match, and Thetford won a corner ball but it was well headed out by Bell. Thetford got the ball back into the box but Fagin cleared the ball, which almost sent Mashy on a run, but he was knocked off the ball.

42 minutes into the match, and new Blood Fagin got on the end of a set piece and headed it over Barker and into the roof of the mouth. The assist came from Wiggy’s free kick after the ball was yet again handled. Well done Fagin for getting you first goal for the Bloods. It was now 1-1 and we thoroughly deserved it after all the pressure. I was so pleased that I caught the goal on camera.

45 minutes and into the dying minutes of the half, G Man won a corner for Bell to take. The delivery was long and the referee blew the whistle for half time.

HT: Saffron Walden 1 – Thetford 1

The Second Half

Thetford had an early corner which was taken by Cusack. The free kick didn’t pass the front post, and was easily headed clear from Pabbo.

47 minutes into the match, and Wig fed G Man a lovely ball up the wing. G Man ran at least 60 yards and fended his opponent off. He got the ball into the box, but his cross was deflected for a Bloods corner. Wiggy’s corner was header clear and out of the area.

48 minutes into the match, and the fans held their breath as the Thetford forward worked his way through the defence, but lucky for the Bloods his shot was wide of the post.

51 minutes into the match, and Wiggy was doing what Wiggy does best by turning the right back in the 18 yard box. He went to cross the ball but his effort was deflected for a corner. Wiggy took the corner but it was headed out by Hutcherson for another Bloods corner. This time Bell took the corner kick, but it was collected by Barker. Barker tried to send his team on a break with a long ball, but the ball was ushered out by Pacey.

57 minutes into the match, and Wiggy won the Bloods a free kick as he was tripped near the corner flag. It was a very good ball, which found G Man, but his header went up and over the bar. G Man was frustrated as he knew it was a golden opportunity.

62 minutes into the match, and Pacey was forced to make a save from a shot by Hunsdon. The ball was spilled but Sticko ran in and cleared the loose ball.

65 minutes into the match, and Theford had two back to back corners. The first one was headed away by Fagin and the second one was ushered out for a goal kick.

The next goal was brilliant scored by G Man. Pacey launched the ball out of his area for Wiggy to control. Wiggy chipped the ball up and over for G Man. G Man calmly lifted the ball over the ascending Barker from a tight angle, and the ball dropped perfectly under the cross bar and into the back of the net. It was executed with style! 2-1 to the mighty Bloods!

72 minutes into the match, and the Boss was replaced by the Viking. It was a great day in the office for the Boss, who certainly lived up to his name and bossed the centre of the field.

75 minutes into the match and Barker had the save of the match….or did he? According to the referee, Wiggy’s blast was not brilliantly saved by Barker, but it was wide and out for a goal kick. It was amusing when the Thetford defence started to walk into position, expecting to face a Bloods corner. Well, it made Barker smile and we congratulated him on his heroics.

83 minutes in the match, and Barker wasn’t given much time to rest, when he saved another fantastic effort from Bell. Wiggy crossed the ball into the six yard box for Bell to head the ball down into the corner of the goal, but Barker managed to get down and palm the ball around the post and out for a corner. The Viking took the corner which was headed just wide by Wiggy.

87 minutes into the match, and Zinedine was replaced by Max Drane (Baby Face). James ‘Zinedine’ Thomas had another great game and worked his socks off. Great effort and a brilliant debut season for him.

89 minutes into the match, and G Man skilfully made it 3-1. The ball was passed to G on the 18 yard line. He started to dribble the ball across the box, turned the defended, and stuck it in the back of the net. A fantastic brace for the G Man!

90 minutes into the match, and Forster was randomly sent off. I have no idea why as we were all busy still celebrating GMan’s goal and the three points. If anyone can tell me what happened I would really appreciate it.

90+1 minutes into the match, and Wiggy was replaced by Charlie Dicker. Wiggy has a great game and gave the defenders a tough time. Well done Wig. Chaz was greeted by a huge cheer from the fans. The fans have been very impressed by the way Chaz has worked extremely hard for the U18s to earn himself a place in the first team.

90+2 minutes into the match, and Thetford were awarded a free kick. The ball was delivered to the far post, but Pacey was fouled as he tried to catch the ball.

The final whistle went and the players clapped the fans as they left the ground. It was a great win and an enjoyable game.

My MOTM goes to Graeme Turner. G worked very hard and was rewarded by two great goals. Well done G Man and we hope you finish the last two away games in style.

Walden firsts have two games left which are both away. The first match is on Wednesday night against Swaffham and the last match is away to Brantham. Mathematically we could finish 7th based on the teams around us losing, but to finish the season in 9th place would be an excellent achievement.

We have three more matches left at Catons Lane. The reserves take on Lowestoft on Tuesday evening and return to the Meadow for their final game of the season against Woodbridge on Saturday 30th. Good luck lads.

The U18s welcome Ely City to the Meadow on Thursday 28th for their last league game of the season.
I have also been given a new challange for next season. My challange is to see how many selfies I can get with the keepers that we play against. Lets have a sweep stake!

Thanks for reading

Up the Bloods



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