In-form Bloods up for cup following derby triumphs
PUBLISHED: 09:00 22 August 2019
Saffron Walden Town will look to carry their fine Essex Senior League form into the FA Cup and cause an upset this weekend.
The Bloods enjoyed back-to-back Uttlesford derby wins over Takeley and Stansted this week and welcome BetVictor Isthmian League side Maldon to Catons Lane on Saturday.
And Jason Maher's men should go into the preliminary round tie with confidence, despite their opponents having won their first two matches of the campaign.
They made the short trip to Station Road on Saturday and claimed all three points just before the hour when Jack Leachman netted with a sweet strike behind Matt Gill to end Takeley's 100 per cent start to the campaign.
And the Bloods followed that up with a thrilling 3-2 triumph against the Airportmen back on their own turf, in front of an impressive crowd of 223, on Tuesday night.
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There were chances at both ends early on, with Leachman hitting a post before the visitors got their noses in front through Billy Coyne, whose corner went past a sea of bodies and in at the far post.
And the sides swapped goals in a dramatic start to the second half, as Lewis Francis pounced on a loose ball to level and Gavin Cockman put the home side ahead with a low 25-yard drive.
Stansted hit back almost immediately to square matters once more when Moses Carvalho advanced as the home defence stood off and sent his low shot from outside the box past Nicky Eyre.
But Walden were back in front when a long throw-in was not properly dealt with by Stansted and Gary Bowes stepped inside to curl a low shot through a crowd of legs and into the far corner of the net.
The visitors had penalty claims for handball waved away and went agonisingly close when Jack Mitchell flicked on a long throw-in but the ball was somehow not turned over the line.
And Bloods were reduced to 10 men when Tom Skelton was shown a second yellow card in the closing stages, but Eyre produced a superb fingertip save to keep out a last-gasp effort and secure the points for Maher's men.
Having knocked out Baldock Town already, another win in the FA Cup on Saturday will earn the club a further £2,890 in prize money and a spot in the first qualifying round on September 7.