Defeat for Saffron Walden Town on ground anniversary

PUBLISHED: 08:37 27 October 2015 | UPDATED: 08:37 27 October 2015

Saffron Walden Town v Stanway Rovers. Jamie Pluck

Saffron Walden Town v Stanway Rovers. Jamie Pluck

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Two goals in the last 15 minutes denied Saffron Walden Town victory on their 125th anniversary of playing at Catons Lane in a game they had looked on course to win.

The Bloods were 1-0 ahead at half-time, however they fell to a 2-1 defeat to Stanway Rovers in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division.

Both sides had a long throw specialist, and these were the main source of danger in the opening quarter-of-an-hour, in which neither side had a shot on target.

Jamie Shaw then had a couple of long range attempts go wide, before Jamie Solkhon’s through ball in the 21st minute was headed away by the Stanway keeper to Spike Bell, who tried to volley over him into the empty net, but hit the ball wide of the target.

Chris Reid went even closer in the 25th minute when he headed a long throw over the keeper, but saw the ball headed off the goal line by the full back.

Walden took the lead in the 33rd minute with a well-taken goal when a Solkhon through ball was knocked forward by Graeme Turner and then driven firmly past Nick Punter in the Stanway goal.

A minute after the goal Turner put Thomas away down the right, and although he beat a defender his cross was blocked at the near post, and cleared.

Two minutes before the interval Bell beat two defenders, but his low cross was saved at the near post by the keeper, as the Bloods were worthy of their narrow lead at the interval.

The first quarter-of-an-hour of the second half was evenly contested, although in the 66th minute Stanway’s Jamie Shaw had a shot which hit the crossbar, and keeper Floyd Croll did well to save the loose ball.

Three minutes later Croll made another good save at the feet of Ben Newson as Stanway increased their tempo and aggression, collecting yellow cards at regular intervals.

The Bloods’ defence looked solid, but with 15 minutes remaining Stanway snatched an equaliser from a free-kick taken in their own half.

Strangely, Stanway’s Joss Neale was booked for the challenge, yet the free-kick was awarded to Stanway.

The ball was played up to Shaw, who headed on to Daniell Slatter who shot home from 10 yards.

The referee was subjected to a considerable amount of pressure from the Stanway players, as the tension could be felt in a competitive battle for each loose ball.

As well as the Walden defence played, they could do nothing with a diagonal ball into the box from the left wing which substitute Richard Meadows glanced with his head just inside the far post to put Stanway ahead in the 82nd minute.

It was a sickening blow for the Bloods who made a desperate attempt to get a late equaliser, but late headers from Ben Lawrence and Chris Reid were unsuccessful, and they had to settle for another narrow defeat infront of another excellent home crowd.

Fate has been unkind to Saffron Walden this season, but next Saturday, they have a chance to avenge a last minute penalty defeat against Haverhill Rovers earlier in the season, in a local derby. Walden have found it much easier to gain points away from home.

TEAM: Floyd Croll, Paul Abbot (James Crane – 87 mins.), Jamie Solkhon, Jake Noble, Ben Lawrence, Chris Reid, Joe Murphy (Ryan Fleming – 76 mins.), Spike Bell, Graeme Turner, James Thomas, Louis Harper (Mark Abbot – 62 mins.). Substitutes (not used): Max Drane, Dan Grindrod.

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