Abbot at the double but Saffron Walden pay the penalty

PUBLISHED: 10:21 12 November 2015 | UPDATED: 10:21 12 November 2015

Saffron Walden Town manager Stuart Wardley sends in instructions from the sideline. Picture: Jamie Pluck

Saffron Walden Town manager Stuart Wardley sends in instructions from the sideline. Picture: Jamie Pluck

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Marc Abbot’s spot-kick double did the job in normal time for Saffron Walden Town but they could not hold their nerve in a nail-biting penalty shootout as they were dumped from the Thurlow Nunn League Cup at the second round stage by Long Melford at Catons Lane on Tuesday night.

The Bloods had raced into a 2-0 lead through Abbot’s penalties either side of the break. but Melford fought back and snatched a last-minute equaliser to break home hearts.

With the teams locked in parity, a shootout was required and Ryan Fleming’s penalty was saved as Melford surged into the quarter-finals.

After a slow start, Town took the lead in the 26th minute when Abbot was fouled in the penalty area and he stepped up to convert.

The score remained the same until the break but Walden doubled their lead four minutes into the second half.

James Thomas was upended in the box, and Abbot made no mistake once again.

Melford responded quickly and reduced the arrears in the 55th minute when Jamie Griffiths ran onto a long through-ball and lobbed the ball over Sam Soutar and into the net.

Walden held the lead deep into injury-time until the match ended in controversial fashion.

Following an injury to Dan Grindrod in the 95th minute, the ball was kicked into touch in the Melford half while he received treatment.

The visitors were unsure how to restart the match, but resolved it by throwing the ball to Craig Calver who kicked the ball back 60 yards to Soutar in the Walden penalty area. Soutar mistakenly picked the ball up, and the referee penalised him for handling a back pass. Griffiths made no mistake with the resulting free-kick.

Seconds after the restart the final whistle blew and the match went to penalties.

Melford won the toss and scored all five of their penalties, while Fleming’s was saved by Sam Mansfield, and Melford celebrated victory.

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