Bell does not toll on Saffron Walden Town's unbeaten run
PUBLISHED: 10:38 02 February 2017
Spike Bell's late strike kept Saffron Walden Town's unbeaten Thurlow Nunn Premier Division streak in 2017 intact as they drew 2-2 with Walsham-le-Willows at Catons Lane.
Craig Calver put the Bloods ahead but the visitors hit back through goals from Ryan Clarke and Jack Brame before Bell fired Walden’s leveller.
Player-manager Stuart Wardley handed Ronnie Ledwith and Connor Molloy their first-team debuts after impressing for the U18’s.
Walden began the first half well and controlled the match from the kick-off.
Their first effort on goal came from Bell, after he connected well with Calver’s short free-kick into the six-yard box.
The defence just did enough to close the angle and Bell’s effort went wide.
During the first 15 minutes keeper Lee Pacey took a knock and it looked like he would struggle to continue, however, after some treatment from physio Drew Davis, he shook the injury off and continued.
Julian Parson-Simon had two long-range opportunities, but both were just off target.
Walden’s first goal then arrived via a moment of brilliance from Calver.
The forward spun the Walsham defender on the line, shot from the tightest of angles and the ball curled past Craig Brand and into the net.
Calver’s goal certainly gave Walsham more impetus and they came close to equalising. However, Pacey got down low to block the shot.
Near the end of the first half, Brand made a good save at James Crane’s feet after he had run onto Calver’s through-ball.
Simon-Parson had the last effort of the half, and again tried to test Brand from range, but his shot was inches wide of the goal.
Walden started the second half positively, but it was Walsham that equalised on the hour.
Town could not get the ball out of the area and eventually it fell kindly for Clarke, who was given too much room and struck the ball past Pacey.
Moments later, Calver was unlucky not to put the home side back in front.
Calver ran 50 yards with the ball, fending off the defender before hitting a shot that was brilliantly tipped over the bar by Brand.
Wardley’s men continued to push for the lead and debutant Ledwith came close but his shot hit the side of the net.
With eight minutes to go Walsham-Le-Willows took the lead courtesy of a fine strike from Brame that left Pacey with no chance.
Town didn’t give up though, continuing to attack the Walsham goal, and Brand was called into action more than once.
When the game seemed to be slipping away though, Bell unleashed a terrific left-foot shot that flew into the net.
Walden travel to Mildenhall Town on Saturday.