It has to be said that December was not one of the best months to be a Blood. But we kept on cheering the lads on no matter what. I guess this is what you call a rough patch. There were a few more nick names added to the team and Carlos decided to leave the club, but the bad spell didn’t keep his long lost brother Nigel away.
However, we did had the perfect start to December with an excellent away win at Newmarket
Newmarket 1 - Saffron Walden 2
4th December 2015
‘Oi Walden…You were lucky!’ was the cry from the Newmarket fan, as he walked out of the ground. The lads responded by chuckling to themselves. If you were not at the game, I can assure you, luck had nothing to do with it. The boys played out of their boots and I was very proud of them all.
Both teams had to play against a strong wind, which was making long balls and clearances very hard. It was cold and horrible, but the fans didn’t care. We were just grateful for the Friday night entertainment.
Newmarket had played well all season, and had only lost 4 times. We played them very early in the season at home and lost 2-0. But this was when we were getting used to the level of step 5. Now we were up and running and playing some brilliant football. I truly believed that this Bloods side will now take some beating.
TEAM: Floyd Croll, Paul Abbott (Pabbo), Dan Grindrod (Viking), Ryan Fleming (Rhino), Ben Lawrence (Beast), Chris Reid, Craig Calver (Wig), Marc Abbott (Mabbo) (Spike Bell – 77 mins.), Graeme Turner (G Man), James Thomas (Zinedine), Louis Harper (Joe Murphy (Boss)–81 mins.)
Substitutes (not used): Neil Andrews, Max Drane.
You may have noticed the new nick names. Ladies and Gents I introduce to you: Ryan ‘The Rhino’ Fleming, Paul (Pabbo) Abbott and Mark (Mabbo) Abbott (see what we did there?)
Zinedine made an early impression on Newmarket, by showing them what he could do. He weaved in and out of a few defenders, but he was eventually challenged by the centre back.
The Rhino was called to action as Newmarket pressed for a shooting opportunity. But he stood up well, and put in a great tackle. The loose ball was cleared by Viking.
G Man worked the right back hard, and managed to get a cross into the six yard box. The shot was well defender and cleared out of danger, but Mabbo put in a great challenge to win the ball back. He played the ball to Zinedine, who shot, but it was deflected for a corner. The Viking took the corner; which found Reid’s head. Reid headed the ball back into the 6 six yard box, but the shot was well blocked.
23 minutes in to the match, and Zinedine scored with a lovely placed header. The Rhino made a lovely turn on the line, and delivered a perfect cross for Zinedine to head past the keeper. Zinedine managed to place the ball, while sandwiched between two defenders, and angle his header away from Heath’s reach. Great work from both players! The Rhino was showing off his skills as a CAM.
At the time I was asked by a young lad, who Zinedine Zidane was? I almost fell over!
29 minutes into the match and Newmarket had scored. A high cross into the box caught the wind, and came down under the waiting Holder, who headed home from beyond the far post. To be fair they did start to look threatening, and former Bloods player Napier was starting to create space for himself.
The Beast put in a brilliant sliding tackle, in his own 18 yard box. The Newmarket player was about to turn and shoot, but the Beast timed his tackle to perfection and cleared the ball.
In the last 5 minutes of the half, Newmarket pushed hard to get their noses in front. They delivered a great cross, but Reid managed to head the ball clear. The ball went back to Newmarket, but Pabbo didn’t give them another opportunity to cross the ball.
Both teams worked hard, but I would say that Walden just looked the better team
HT: Newmarket 1 –Walden 1
Nigel B kindly got me a cup of tea, while I tackled with the flag in the wind. Luckily Newmarket had a net up behind the goal, so I managed to feed it through and tie it to it.
47 minutes in the match, and Harper came very close to making it 2-1. G Man made a solid run across the 18 yard box, and back heeled it to Harper. Harper went for a long range effort, but it just went over the bar. Now that was the positive start we wanted.
Newmarket upped their game, and started to put on the pressure. The Viking put in a great challenge and cleared the ball. The ball was delivered back into the box and Newmarket managed to get in a shot, but it went over the bar.
61 minutes in the match, and Zinedine latched onto a through ball from Harper. Zinedine scored from a very tight angle from the right hand side. His shot was squeezed past Heath, and the ball clipped the inside of the post and went in. It was great accuracy from the Bloods in form attacker.
We continued to press the back four and Mabbo had an effort on goal, but it was too high. The fans were chanting ‘We’re gonna score in a minute!’ We were hoping for a Zinedine hat trick to cap off his night.
Croll pulled off a great diving save from Patterson, who hit the ball on the volley. The ball was scrambled out of the six yard box.
Newmarket pushed hard to get back into the match. They were not giving up and tried to test the defence, but we stood up well and kept them out.
Wig won the Bloods a free kick, as the Newmarket defender hand balled his long range effort. The Vikings shot was low and hard, and forced a diving save from Heath. We thought the Viking was going to make it three in a row. We then had two back to back corners, but decided to try and run the clock down, rather than go for a third. It was sensible football.
It was getting well into injury time and we were calling for the whistle. I told Martin to hold back from his Tweet, as we didn’t want to jinx it.
The final whistle went, and it was one of the best three points we had earned all season. The Bloods were playing some great football. It was a brilliant team effort, and we were proud of the boys.
Fans ‘Man of the Match’ went to James Thomas
Saffron Walden 2 – Berkhamstead 3 – FA Vase
12th December 2015
After checking the weather constantly all week and promoting the match on Twitter, the day had finally come. Could we match, or even beat our amazing FA Vase run from last season?
On the Friday evening before the match, I sat there listening to the rain come down, praying the game would not be postponed. The club and supporters had done a lot of work promoting the game, which was sponsored by the Curry Club.
After the hand shake between the teams, I presented Dan Grindrod with player of the month for November. Well done Dan. Very much deserved.
TEAM: Floyd Croll, Paul Abbott (Pabbo), Jamie Solkhon (Rocky), Matt Snelling (Mashy), Ben Lawrence (Beast), Ryan Fleming (Rhino), Craig Calver (Wig), Jake Noble (Nobby) (Spike Bell – 81 mins.), Graeme Turner (G Man), James Thomas (Zinedine), Dan Grindrod (Viking) (Louis Harper – 51 mins.). Substitutes (not used): Joe Murphy (Boss), James Crane (Road Runner), Neil Andrews.
Berko started the match and were looking good, and controlled the ball well. They sent a dangerous ball into the box, but Rhino cleared the ball well out of the danger zone.
Our first attempt on goal came from Zinedine. G Man did very well to hold the ball at the corner flag, and wait for support from Pabbo. Pabbo cured his cross; which found Zinedine’s head, but his header was straight at Smith.
20 minutes in, and we had another opportunity from a Beast throw. The throw was flicked into the box by Nobby, but was cleared by Berko. Berko broke from the clearance, and won a corner kick. The corner kicker went straight over everyone and out for a goal kick.
22 minutes in, and Berko scored a great goal from long range. Hawes latched onto the ball and struck a wind assisted shot from about 20 yards out, which curled into the top right hand corner, giving Croll no chance to save. It was a lovely goal, and worthy of an applause from both sets of fans.
Berko started to grow in confidence after they took the lead, and began putting pressure on the Bloods. They were looking good for their lead.
40 minutes into the match, and Pabbo conceded a soft penalty. Hawes stepped up to score comfortably from the penalty spot, to put Berko firmly in control.
Croll was left in no man’s lands, after the Bloods didn’t intercept a threatening long ball. Croll made the decision to come off his line, dived and managed to get a hand to the ball before the Berko player had chance to control the ball and shoot.
The half time whistle went and Berko had deserved their 2-0 need. The fans were looking glum, but I knew we had another 45 minutes to go and believed the boys could do it.
I was praying for an improvement from the lads in the second half. My prayers were answered with-in 90 seconds. A Beast throw was flicked on by G Man. The ball dropped for Zinedine, who turned and shot straight past Smith, making it 2-1. It was game on!
Just as I thought our luck had changed, Carter scored a cracking goal for Berko. Carter found some space just inside the 18 yard box, and his shot dipped just under the cross bar. Another great goal from Berko!
The fans spirits did not drop, and neither did the lads heads. Mashy stepped it up, and ran with the ball through the midfield at full speed. He played a through ball to Wig, but Wig was challenged and couldn’t get a shot in. This was what we wanted to see. Attack, Attack, Attack! I wouldn’t have cared if we had lost 10-1, as long as we gave it everything.
Zinedine came very close to making it 3-2 after meeting Wigs zipped cross. The cross travelled at a fast pace, and I didn’t expect anyone to get there. Zinedine did, but his shot was five yards wide.
60 minutes in, and Mashy did extremely well to send a dangerous low cross, between the six yard box and the goal line. Rocky came charging in, and tapped the ball at an angle into the back of the net from three yards out. It was a brilliant reaction from the lads, and we truly believed that we could win. Great link up play from the lads!
65 minutes into the match, and we were working very hard. Mashy was playing like it was his last ever match. The lads were pushing the defence and not giving up. We had time on our hands, and we looked the favourite to win.
G Man had an incredible effort, which was well saved by Smith. We all thought it was going to rattle the back of the net. It was a great save from Smith to keep us all in suspense. The corner came in, and met Rocky’s head, but his effort was just wide.
Smith was winding up the crowd, by taking as much time as possible in taking his goal kick. The fans started counting down, to get the referees attention. It was not fair, and in my eyes he was cheating. I know wasting time is a slippery tactic, but not when you have 20 minutes to go. It didn’t show much ambition from a side that dominated the first half. Eventually the referee gave Smith a yellow card.
83 minutes into the match, and Croll made the save of the match. We gave away a free kick which was just outside the area. The shot was taken well, and Croll dived and palmed the ball against the post, and out for a Berko throw. Croll had just given us a lifeline.
The high paced action didn’t end, and Hawes was sent off for a reckless challenge on Rocky. The Beast was not happy, and ran over to ‘politely’ tell Hawes he was out of order. I am not surprised as the tackle could have really hurt him. The Beast was given a yellow card for his ‘handbag’ reaction.
After all the commotion called down, we had one last opportunity with the free kick. Croll had decided to join the action, and we were hoping for a Schmeichel special. It was our last throw of the dice……Unfortunately we didn’t capitalise from the free kick and lost the match 3-2.
Fans ‘Man of the Match’ went to Matt ‘Mashy’ Snelling
Gorleston 3 – Saffron Walden 0
19th December 2015
When I first read the fixtures and saw that Gorleston away was on the 19th December, my initial thought was, that’s going to be bloody cold! But the weather was a mild 15 degrees, so my hat and gloves were not required.
I arrived at the ground at 2pm to a very warm welcome at the gate. The gentlemen at the gate explained to me where everything was and wished me a pleasant afternoon. Gorleston were raising money for charity with ‘Text Santa’. They asked the fans to wear Christmas jumpers. It was a good effort from everyone. We were approached by three ladies and a bucket to donate. I admit I don’t have a Xmas jumper, but I did donate some money. It’s great to see a club that collects for charities as much as we do.
Now, I pre-warn you that this blog will contain a fair bit of ranting, but if you’re a Gorleston fan please don’t think that I was being disrespectful to the Green Army. Your lads played very well, and took advantage of their chances in front of goal. The fans were excellent, and sang along throughout the match. I had been to every away match, home and away this season, and they are definitely the best fans I had come across so far…..well apart from the Bloods family! I looked forward to welcoming them to the Meadow, when we met again.
Unfortunately the referee made it almost impossible for the Bloods. I shall explain as I go along. I wouldn’t want to ruin the surprise.
Starting XI: Croll, P Abbott (Pabbo), Solkhon (Rocky), Muphy (Boss), Laurence (Beast), Fleming (Rhino), Calver (Wig), Noble (Nobby), Turner (G Man), Thomas (Zinedine), Harper. Subs: Bell, Wardley (Sticko), Grindrod (Viking), M Abbott (Mabbo), Crane (Road Runner).
The first comment I made was on 4 minutes, when Zinedine tapped and ran onto the ball, beating the Gorleston left back. He was tackled just before he was about to whip in a cross, and won the Bloods a corner. The corner was delivered by Harper, but it was well cleared by King.
The first suspect decision from the referee came when Zinedine was knocked over by the defender, and the referee played on, even through the linesman was waving his flag! Zinedine was struggling a little bit after the challenge, and looked like he had to put deep heat on his calf muscle.
The game was very physical, and you could see both teams wanted the three points. It was good to see both teams working for the badge.
The Bloods first shot on goal came from Zinedine, after Wig cleverly sailed the ball over the back four. Zinedine’s shot was straight at the Macrae.
Watts showed a lovely piece of skill, when he trapped the ball and played it onto his left foot. He pulled the trigger, but Pabbo managed to slide in front of Watts and diverted his shot for a Gorleston corner. The corner came in, but Nobby managed to clear the ball for a throw on.
It was tackles galore, but this time it came from Nobby, who was very impressive. He tried to release Wig, but his pass was intercepted.
Harper won the Bloods a free kick, which was 25 yard out and near the corner of the box. Harper floated the ball to the back post for Rocky to leap at, but it was too close to Macrae.
As we were gaining the upper ground, Gorleston had scored. The ball was whipped in the six yard box, and was not cleared. The ball dropped for Ingram, who smashed it past Croll from five yards out. Ingram took his chance well.
Now rant time: I am not 100% sure what happened here, but this is what I saw. Zinedine was fouled, as he tried to run onto a through ball. The referee ‘again’ didn’t give the Bloods a free kick. Thomas got up and ran to the referee, to protest. The referee literally turned around and showed Zinedine a red card. As you can imagine, Zinedine and the lads were furious at the decision. The fans didn’t even know why, and what had happened?! I now know it was down to swearing at the referee. Even some of the Gorleston fans, thought it a stupid decision. I ran over to meet Zinedine when he came off to see if he was okay. He was puzzled and frustrated, as the referee was not calling the match fair. This all happened in the 37th minute
It went from bad to worse for the Bloods. Two minutes later, Gorleston took advantage of the rattled, 10-man Bloods team and scored a cracking goal. Lambert’s drive was unstoppable, and the Bloods fans were in disbelief. It was perfect tactics by the Green Army, who did exactly what we would have done. As you can imagine the loyal Green Army fans were in full voice.
Well they say things happen in threes, and who ever said that was spot on. We had won a throw-in, and Sticko ran on the pitch to speed the tempo up. The referee went over to Sticko, and they exchanged words. The referee didn’t like what he heard, and then sent Sticko off!! The ref had completely lost control of the match! I know I am sounding like a bad loser, but the game was shaping out to be a really good match.
The whistle was blown bang on 45 minutes. Ummm…how can that happen after two red cards, and plenty of stoppage in play? We were down 2-0, ten men and no manager! If Mrs Nash had of been at the match, we know where her flannel would have gone.
Walden started the second half well, and didn’t look beaten yet. They came out of the block fast and tried to get back in the game early. Rocky came close from a Beast throw; which looked like a corner to the Bloods, but it turned out to be a goal kick.
I want to say how great the ‘Green Army’ fans were, with their singing, chanting and banter. They were confident and tried to wind Croll up…Obviously we would never do that to a keeper!....Yeah right.
60 minutes in (ish) and Goleston had scored to put the game out of the Bloods reach. Gorleston showed some excellent football, and Watts’ firm strike beat Croll to make it 3-0.
Soon after the third goal, Bell and Mabbo replaced Harper and Nobby. Harper and Nobby played very well and worked hard.
BREAKING NEWS: Line of the day came from Nigel Bailey, after Mabbo was fouled outside the box. I quote ‘I thought you were going to give him a Christmas card, not a yellow card’. Love it Mr. B.
The Goleston fans were singing ‘You’re not very good, you’re very good’; so I started singing ‘Play us when it’s fair, play us when it’s far’. We used the same tune as ‘Knee’s up Mother Brown’. You got to love friendly non-league banter.
68 minutes into the match and Wig was replaced by Crane (Road Runner).
Not much happened in the next 10-15 minutes, with Goleston playing the ball around and not letting the Bloods build momentum.
82 minutes into the match, and Bell showed some great footwork, as he dribbled the ball through two Gorleston players. He delivered a great through ball for RR, but his effort went wide.
Shortly after RR’s effort, Gorleston tried to stretch their lead even further, but the attempted header went wide.
Our last great effort for a consolation goal, came from some great skill by G Man. G man received the ball at the wing, turned the defender and shot, but it was well saved by Macare.
So that was it! We had lost 3-0 and I was now worried about losing the inform Zinedine and Sticko for a few matches. Thank you referee and we hope you had nice Christmas.
I must say a special thank you to Gorleston who made us all feel very welcome.
Fans ‘Man of the Match’ went to Jake ‘Nobby’ Noble.
Saffron Walden 0 – Hadleigh United 3
28th December 2015.
After an early pitch inspection it was game on at the Meadow. Being a bank holiday, I was hoping for a large crowd and I was not disappointed. We had our biggest crowd so far this season, of 367 people.
After last week’s 3-0 away defeat, we were all hoping for a better result from the Bloods. Unfortunately this was not to be. We had quite a few regulars missing, but I am not using that as an excuse. It was another frustrating match, where we ‘again’ looked the better team on the pitch.
Hadleigh played well, and it seemed they had an answer for every Walden attack. With a solid back four and an inform goal keeper - beating them was not going to be easy.
TEAM: Floyd Croll, Spike Bell, Paul Abbott, Jake Noble (Marc Abbott – 67 mins.), Ben Lawrence, Stuart Hoskins, Craig Calver, Joe Murphy (Jake Thompson -75 mins.), Graeme Turner, James Thomas, Louis Harper (James Crane – 67 mins.).
Substitutes (not used): Jamie Dicker, Stuart Wardley.
The match started and there was an early concern from the Hadleigh bench, as Spinder stayed down after a challenge. He was given treatment, but continued shortly after.
Zinedine was the first person to burst onto the scene, as he skilfully dribbled the ball past the right back. He stumbled just outside the box, but instead of going down, stayed on his feet and whipped in a dangerous cross. The cross was well cleared by the defence.
Wig came close to opening the scoring, after he controlled a very good cross from G Man. We initially thought the Hadleigh player had handballed it, before Wig struck the ball. Wigs effort was well defended and deflected for a Bloods corner. The corner found Zinedine’s head, but his header was saved by Nower.
After the save Hadleigh went straight up-field and were awarded a very soft penalty. Pabbo over stretched, as he tried to put in a tackle. Thrower stepped up and scored from the spot kick, with Croll getting a hand to the ball. I spoke to a few people at half time who were nearer the incident. They believe the Hadleigh player dived. I do not know, as from where I was standing I couldn’t say for certain. I am taking the Wenger route, by not seeing the ball. The goal was scored 11 minutes into the match.
18 minutes in, and Wig got into a one-on-one situation with Nower. Wig tried to place the ball into the right hand side of the goal, but Nower pulled off an excellent save, and we were awarded a corner. It was my save of the match! The corner was taken and headed back to Harper. He tried to blast it across the goal line, but no one managed to get that well needed tap in. It was the right idea from Harper.
34 minutes into the match, and Hadleigh had a free kick just outside the box. The cross was whipped in, and tapped into the back of the net. Luckily for the Bloods the goal was ruled off side. There was a sigh of relieve from Mrs Nash and Co.
The Boss won the Bloods a throw for the Beast to take. The fans were starting to believe a goal was due any minute. The throw came in, but it was scooped clear by Scopes.
42 minutes into the match, and the Bloods found themselves 2-0 down. Churchyard scored from ten yard with an unstoppable strike. It was ‘head in the hands time’ for the fans.
Wig had the last good chance of the half, when he took a swing at G Mans cross. The shot was again blocked by Scopes.
HT: Saffron Walden 0 – Hadleigh United 2
The Bloods started the second half well. G Man made a lovely run up the wing, shielding the ball from the Hadleigh defender. His cross was good, and gave Nower no choice but to punch it clear.
55 minutes into the match, and Hadleigh had scored again. This came out of the blue, and the match was effectively killed off, as Lorimer whipped a low shot into the net. It was a shame, as Croll made a good save from the initial shot. Lorimer took his chance well from the loose ball in the box. The Bloods family were rattled, and we wanted to see some positive change.
67 minutes into the match, and Harper and Noble were replaced by Mabbo and Road Runner.
Road Runner almost made an instant impression, when Zinedine played him into space, but Nower got to the ball before RR could pull the trigger.
75 minutes into the match, and the Boss was replaced by first team debutant Jake Thompson.
We had not given up yet, and both Bell and G Man where determined to deliver that perfect ball. Both lads, made very strong drives up the wing but their crosses were again, well defended.
The last chance on goal came from Thrower, when he tried to test Croll from long range. His curling attempt went wide of the post.
We had lost 3-0 at home, and left still searching for our first home league win.
Fans ‘Man of the Match’ went to Spike Bell
Not a great end to the year and we still hadn’t won at home all season. The lads were working hard, but we were all in need of a little rest. We were sitting in 17th and just two points from the drop zone. Sticko and Neil had work to do, but I knew that the lads would come back fighting and our luck would soon change.
Player of the month – Jake Noble
Best game of the month – Newmarket Away
Worst game of the month – Gorleston away
Goal of the month – James Thomas vs Newmarket
Away fans of the month – Gorleston
Away ground of the month – Gorleston
Thanks for reading