Brantham Athletic 0 – Saffron Walden 3
30th April 2016
What a way to end the season, with a 3-0 away win at Brantham. It was a lovely day in Brantham and the fans were all in good spirits. Amazing what a few days can make to the weather forecast. Wednesday night in Swaffham, we were all shivering from the cold. Today we didn’t need our long johns, coats and hats.
So, this is my last match blog of the season! I have attended every match, home and away, cup and league and even though I enjoyed every minute, this last match felt a little depressing knowing that the season was over.
When we arrived at Brantham I sat with Mabbo and his kids. Mabbo was out of action due to a calf injury, but still came along to support his team. The lads came off the pitch and Sticko told us the team. We were missing our regular three strikers; Wiggy, Turner and G Man, but this gave the opportunity for the talented U18’s player Charlie Dicker to form a partnership with experienced and reliable Spike Bell. Charlie’s brother Jamie was also called up to be in the first team squad after an impressive season with the U18’s. Those two are now known as the brothers of destruction. I believe that's what the WWE used to call Kane and Undertaker.
Pacey, Abbott (C) (Pabbo), Grindrod (Viking), Snelling (Mashy), Fleming (Rhino), Moody (Perry), Noble (Nobby), Drane, Bell, Murphy (Boss), Dicker (Chaz). Subs: Harper, Jamie Dicker and Wardley (Sticko)
The First Half
The Bloods took instant control of the match and put pressure on the defence early. The lads had a swagger about the way they played. Each player seemed to express themselves and seemed confident. It didn’t take long for Chaz to make a big impression on the fans. He skilfully dribbled the ball towards the area, but was fouled just outside and won the Bloods a free kick. With Wiggy unavailable, the responsibility fell to Drane. Now I have never seen him take a free kick before, so I was interested to see how he did. Draney curled the ball over the wall and into the top corner, making it impossible to save. It was a brilliant goal and he had a grin from ear to ear as he ran away to celebrate with his team mates. It was 1-0 and we were just warming up. Wiggy now has serious competition! The goal was timed around 8 minutes into the match.
Draney was on fire and confidence was high. He received the ball in the 18 yard box and took it around the defence. He struck the ball well, but his effort was deflected for a Bloods corner.
12 minutes into the match, and the Boss was causing havoc down the wing. He beat his man at the corner flag and tried to set Chaz on the edge of the 18 yard box. He went for a first time strike, but the ball was always rising and went over the bar. It was great positioning from him.
Nobby put in a lovely challenge to take the ball of Mann, and he fed the ball out to Boss. This was lovely football. Brantham were closing down well, but the Bloods had the upper hand and played the ball before they potentially lost it.
22 minutes into the match, and Brantham won a corner. Mann took the corner but Pacey rose well and caught the ball between the pack of players.
26 minutes into the match, and Mashy showed great determination on the wing and managed to fend off Tevivian, as he tried to take the ball off him. Trevivian did well to block his cross, but conceded a throw in for the Bloods. The Viking went for a long through to the near post, but Hawkins did well to collect the ball out of harm’s way.
28 minutes into the match, and Bell came really close to scoring with a curling effort into the top left hand corner. He linked up well with Chaz, and pushed the ball onto his right foot. Hawkins had to dive at full stretch to palm the ball out for a Bloods corner. Bell took the corner but it was well defended by Brantham.
33 minutes into the match, and Bells placed a lovely ball over the defence for Mashy to run onto. It looked like Mash was pulled to the ground, but the referee was not convinced and waved play on.
We were working very hard to get the second goal, but the defence stood up well. They stopped the Bloods from finding that killer pass in the box and setting someone to make a clear shot. Nobby managed to get in a shot, but it was deflected for a Bloods corner. Brantham's defender Nobbs, was shouting at his players to work harder….or something along those lines. Bell took the corner and it was curling inside the near post, but Heath, was in the right place at the right time and blocked the ball on the line.
38 minutes into the match, and Pacey made a lovely save to deny Mann from scoring with a powerful shot, from the corner of the 18 yard box. Pacey pushed the ball clear for a corner ball. The corner sailed over the pack, and Travis ran to retrieve the ball. Travis set Harry Mann at the edge of the area, but his shot went sailing over the bar.
Just before the final whistle, Drane came close to making it 2-0 after running onto a lovely through ball from Bell. He tried to steer it into the corner of the net, but lacked the power it needed and Hawkins got down early and held the ball.
HT: Brantham 1 – Saffron Walden 0
The Second Half
I saw Mashy before the second half started and he had hurt his hamstring earlier on, after trying to change direction quickly. He managed about three minutes into the second half and was substituted for Harper. Well done to Mashy for trying to play on, but we were glad he came off because we didn’t want him risking further injury as he is a huge part of the first team. If I was picking the team he would be one of the first names on the team sheet. So, well done Mash and stay off the sick bed.
At this time, we had heard that Melford were 2-0 down, so if the score stayed as they were, we would finish in 8th and be the highest placed team out of the three teams that were promoted last year.
Brantham were awarded a free kick about 25 yards out. Heath tried to test Pacey, but the ball was comfortably collected by Pacey.
52 minutes into the match, and the Bloods were awarded a free kick after the Viking was fouled near the corner flag. The free kick was taken but didn’t trouble the defence.
There was a worrying moment when the Boss went to ground, but after a bit of ‘Sticko’s magic sponge’ he soon got up and played on. We laughed as the Boss ran off the pitch before Sticko did, so he could be allowed to continue as soon as possible.
Our pressure paid off after a lovely two pass combo, which saw Draney head the ball into the back of the net. Harper crossed the ball over the defence for the Boss. The Boss headed the ball back into the box for Draney to steer it into the net. His header was quite a way out and was not easy to score. It was certainly Draney’s day and we were all egging him on to get a hat trick.
68 minutes into the second half, and Chaz turned his defender on the line, which left him on the floor. He tried to square the ball, but the defender got the slighted of touches. The ball found its way out to Drane as the crowd watched him charge in, but his shot went over the bar. We all thought that was going to be his moment of fame.
73 minutes into the second half, and the Boss made it 3-0 with a cracking goal. He received the ball in the far corner of the 18 yard box, stood up strong, turned his marker and drilled it into the bottom corner of the net. Well done Boss! Brilliant work and thoroughly deserved! Not too sure about the celebration though?!
75 minutes into the second half, and Grantham won a corner ball for O’Brien to take. He played it short to Harry Mann, who set Travis, but his strike was just wide of the post. You could see they had been working on that in training.
Shortly after, Pabbo was replaced by Jamie Dicker for what may have been his debut for the first team?! I may be wrong so please correct me if I am. Well done to Pabbo who did a great job as captain and played a solid game.
82 minutes into the second half, and Drane was replaced by Sticko. Now according to Sticko’s latest press release, this will be the last time he puts on a Walden shirt. He was greeted with a huge cheer by the fans. Somehow I think the old boy will be back! If it is the last time, then thank you for everything you have down for the club over the many years as player, captain and now manager……..I hear we are looking for a new kit man?! LOL, more on that later!
86 minutes into the match, and Rhino put in a great challenge on Crisell to stop him from shooting at goal, and the ball found its way to Pacey to collect.
The very last action of the match came from Brantham. Crisell had an opportunity of getting a consolation goal, but his shot went over the bar and kept Pacey’s clean sheet intact.
FT: Brantham 0 – Saffron Walden 3
MOTM goes to Max Drane after a brilliant brace and an all-round excellent match. Drane recently broke into the first team this year, and has had his bad luck with injury but today certainly proves that he is one to watch. Well done Max and congratulations.
As the match was going on, we were getting regular updates from Fiona on the Ressies score. We heard it was a thrilling match, and the boys won 4-2 at home. Morrell scored a hat trick and Manser got the 4th. Well done to Ray, Keith and his lads.
And my final note, and as always I save the best for last but sadly yesterday was Dave Orley’s last match as kit man. Dave has so much love and respect from the lads that he will be missed and the place won’t be the same without him. Dave, I hope you enjoy retirement and please don’t be a stranger. Be great to have you with the fans, cheering on the boys…you can always keep Mrs Nash from getting her flannel out! The boys gave him the bumps after the match which was a really nice thing to do……not sure how he felt after.
So that’s it for my match blogs this season. I have been asked to do a summary of the season which I will do in the next week or so, otherwise enjoy the break, thanks for reading and I hope to see you either at the awards night or in pre-season.
Up The Bloods
PS. The Shot Stopper Selfie Challenge is coming to a ground near you!
All the best