Bloods bank point before FA Cup tie

PUBLISHED: 13:30 24 August 2018

Saffron Walden Town's Lewis Francis clears the danger against Sporting Bengal (pic Dennis Cunning)

Saffron Walden Town's Lewis Francis clears the danger against Sporting Bengal (pic Dennis Cunning)


Saffron Walden Town had to settle for a point from their Essex Senior League clash with Sporting Bengal United after a thrilling 4-4 draw.

And they are back at Catons Lane on Saturday to host Hoddesdon Town in the preliminary round of the FA Cup.

With five regular players missing last weekend, manager Stuart Wardley partnered Jamie Riley in the back four.

The visitors started well, but the Bloods opened the scoring with a penalty scored by the in-form Charlie Portway.

Five minutes later they were rewarded with another goal as Tom Lakin ran onto a through ball and delivered a great cross, which Portway smashed into the top corner.

It was plain sailing for the hosts as they continued to dominate the match and in the 28th minute scored a third goal as Lewis Francis guided the ball past the keeper from Portway’s cross, after he did well to keep the ball in play and found his teammate.

Bengal’s captain was sent off after a late lunging tackle on Dan Trendall, but with five minutes left in the first half the visitors hit back as Tony Cookey scored with a looping header over Neil O’Sullivan.

The east Londoners came out in the second half determined to get back into the match and were rewarded within minutes as Zakariya Haque managed to get between Wardley and Riley and tapped the ball under O’Sullivan.

The Bloods continued to push on and their hard work paid off just after the hour mark as Julian Simon-Parson kept the ball in play and passed to Francis, who found Portway.

The striker’s first attempt was brilliantly tipped onto the crossbar by Cem Temur, but Portway made no mistake with the rebound to complete his second hat-trick in a row and take his tally to seven this season.

However, with 10 minutes left Bengal scored again, after some great individual skill by Ashaan Siddik, and they were awarded a free-kick on 85 minutes, which Steven Carvell floated towards the far post and saw it sail straight into the top corner.

Francis was named man of the match for the Bloods, who are now seventh in the Essex Senior League and are still unbeaten this season.

Goals from Portway (2), Francis and Ryan Fleming sealed a 4-3 win over May & Baker in the Essex Senior Cup on Tuesday.

The FA Cup tie against Hoddesdon kicks off at 3pm.

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