Bloods back home after late Joe show
PUBLISHED: 12:00 22 February 2018
Saffron Walden Town play host to Fakenham Town in the Thurlow Nunn Eastern Counties League Premier Division on Saturday, on the back of a late 3-2 win at Stowmarket last weekend.
It was the first meeting between the two sides in just over three years, with Walden having gained promotion to the Premier Division two years earlier.
But it was Stowmarket who made all the early running, with Josh Mayhew breaking the deadlock after just four minutes.
After captain Ollie Brown was awarded a penalty, Mayhew buried the spot-kick into the corner, beyond the reach of his former Bury Town team-mate Neil O’Sullivan, for his 43rd goal of the season.
Stowmarket came close to a second when a slip in defence presented Remi Garrett with a chance to race through on goal, but the winger dragged his effort wide of the target.
Despite conceding an early goal, Walden were back on level terms on 27 minutes, as man of the match Charlie Portway fired home the rebound when a shot from Lewis Francis came back off the post.
The goal seemed to spur Stowmarket back into action as Anton Clarke’s cross reached Mayhew at the far post and his attempted lob went over the crossbar, before Clarke stung the hands of the Walden keeper.
But just as it looked like the hosts were going to move back in front before the interval, it was Walden who struck on the stroke of half time, as Francis swung a cross in for the clinical Portway to head past Craig Brand.
The home side found it difficult to break through a resolute Walden defence after the restart, until 64 minutes when substitute Angelo Harrop’s free kick found Ottley-Gooch and his header was tipped over by O’Sullivan.
Ottley-Gooch headed over from the corner and Mayhew saw an effort fly the wrong side of the post, before Ottley-Gooch converted Dave Cowley’s corner to make it 2-2.
It set up an exciting finale as a resurgent Stowmarket pushed for a winner, but Joe Murphy almost caught out Brand, lobbing inches wide of the top corner.
With five minutes to go, substitute David Kempson’s header was tipped away by O’Sullivan, before Walden struck two minutes later with the winner as Murphy steered the ball past Brand to secure all three points for Stuart Wardley’s men.