Football: Saffron Walden push Maldon & Tiptree all the way in practice match on 3G pitch
PUBLISHED: 07:58 11 February 2014 | UPDATED: 07:58 11 February 2014
Saffron Walden produced an impressive display in this hastily arranged private practice match on a 3G pitch against Maldon & Tiptree, a team two divisions higher in the pyramid system.
Following their fourth postponed match in succession – their Thurlow Nunn First Division Knockout Cup clash at home to Braintree Town Reserves fell foul to the wet weather – it was important Walden should get some much needed match practice, and in the last 10 minutes they proved their fitness by finishing the stronger.
In the first half Walden more than matched their Ryman Premier League opponents, and took the lead in the 24th minute when Craig Calver won the ball on the edge of the box, dummied two players and curles a shot into the top left hand corner of the goal.
Two minutes later Shaun Avis gave away a free kick which Maldon took quickly, enabling Bradley Hunter the chance to fire the ball past the advancing Jason Harvey to equalise.
Walden continued to play well and thoroughly deserved to go in at the interval on level terms.
Calver, James Crane and Ross Laird all had attempts at goal as the Bloods continued to compete on equal terms with their higher ranked opponents after the break.
As the wind increased, Walden struggled to get the ball out of their half for a 10-minute spell. The more experienced Maldon players took advantage of the conditions and Jay Nash twice drove powerful wind assisted shots past the helpless
Harvey in the 67th and 70th minute to give the Ryman League side a flattering 3-1 advantage.
The Bloods, however, responded well in the last 10 minutes and scored a deserved second goal in the 85th minute when a corner from Calver was brilliantly headed in by Jamie Solkhon.
A minute from time Craig Calver almost scored an equaliser after jinking past two defenders and chipping the ball over the keeper, but the goal bound shot was blown inches wide of the far post.
Two minutes into injury time, and with virtually the last kick of the match, Jack Stevenson shot into the far corner of the goal from the left flank, again with wind assistance, to restore Maldon’s two-goal lead.
• Walden are due to host Cornard United in a league fixture on Saturday, 3pm kick off.
The Bloods’ re-arranged knockout cup tie with Braintree Town Reserves is scheduled at Catons Lane for Tuesday night.
WALDEN: Jason Harvey, Spike Bell, Jamie Solkhon (Cameron Watson – 45 mins), Matt Snelling (Joe Murphy – 45 mins), Dan Dea’th, Stuart Wardley, Charlie Gray (Charlie Davies – 45 mins), Ross Laird (Jamie Solkhon – 65 mins), Craig Calver, Shaun Avis (Darren Bicknell – 45 mins), Louis Harper (James Crane - 45 mins).