Stuttering start to season in the league as Bloods get set for FA Cup test in Welwyn

Saffron Walden Town have picked up one point from their opening two games of the Essex Senior League

Saffron Walden Town have picked up one point from their opening two games of the Essex Senior League season. Picture: CELIA BARTLETT PHOTOGRAPHY - Credit: Celia Bartlett

Saffron Walden Town head into the FA Cup preliminary round still searching for a first success in the new Essex Senior League.

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They face Welwyn Garden City at the Southern League side’s Herns Lane ground on Saturday but their opening two fixtures have ended in disappointment.

The Bloods travelled to Redbridge on Saturday for game one of the new campaign and returned with a 2-2 draw after snatching a late equaliser.

Joe Pullen got it with a header beyond George Martin in the home goal, deep into stoppage time.

It had been the second time Walden had drawn level.

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Redbridge initially took the lead on 52 minutes. Keke Orth fed James Barlow and he went past the keeper before knocking it beyond the two covering defenders.

That advantage lasted eight minutes, Lewis Francis continuing his personal hot-streak by firing home unmarked in the box.

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Redbridge were back in front though with nine minutes of normal time remaining, Charleston Browne with the cross and Barlow with his second.

The home side had also had a penalty saved superbly by Reece Paine in the first half while Walden had gone close when an effort from Gavin Cockman struck the post and rolled along the line and out.

Tuesday night’s game saw competitive football return to Catons Lane and the first half would have delighted the majority of the 213 supporters in the ground.

Francis was again on target for the Bloods, putting them ahead after just eight minutes when he raced onto a Craig Calver through ball and finished with aplomb.

His night would end on the half hour though when he was forced off but Walden were still ahead at half-time and looked in control.

That advantage continued deep into the second period too but two goals inside the final 11 minutes snatched the points away from the hosts and left them with nothing.

Callum Bloss got the assist for the equaliser on 79 minutes, finding Cameron Gray for the finish, and five minutes later he scored the winner himself from the spot, sticking it above Paine who had dived the right way.

Following the FA Cup match, which will be decided on the day, Walden are back at Catons Lane on Tuesday for a league game with St Margaretsbury.

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