Football: Saffron Walden Town's promotion push dented with defeat at Stowmarket
PUBLISHED: 11:40 19 March 2014 | UPDATED: 11:40 19 March 2014
Two goalkeeping errors cost Waldne dear as thet slipped to a first defeat in 10 games away to Stowmarket on Saturday.
On a ground where they rarely play well, and after a week without a win from three games, their promotion chances have now virtually been extinguished.
Even if they were to win all of their last nine league games, it may not be enough.
With five players being unavailable, Walden got off to a bad start when Chris Reid broke down in the pre-match warm-up, and Stuart Hoskin was moved back to defence, while Joe Murphy was drafted in to midfield.
Despite the misfortune, Walden made a good start, winning a couple of early corners, and in the 10th minute Darren Bicknell came close to scoring when he headed a right wing cross down into the ground and the home keeper McCarrick made a fine one handed save, to push the ball around the post.
In the 24th minute another good move down the right resulted in Bicknell heading just wide. A minute later a Hoskin header to Bicknell saw his goalmouth shot blocked and deflected to Murphy, who should have scored from a couple of yards out, but the ball was blocked and cleared.
The Bloods were made to pay for their misses, and in the 27th minute a long free kick from 60 yards out by Sean Ray into the Walden box, evaded everyone, and somehow rolled slowly into the net.
It took just three minutes for Walden to equalise, when Craig Calver was fouled, and Louis Harper’s free kick was glanced on by Stuart Wardley to Bicknell who scored from three yards at the far post.
A fine move down the left by Calver in the 36th minute, saw the ball laid back to Bicknell, who from about eight yards out rattled the ball against the foot of the left hand post, and he should have scored from the rebound, but hit the ball straight into the keeper, who was lying on the ground.
The “Bloods should really have been ahead at half-time, having had the better of the first forty five minutes, and with the advantage of the wind in the second period, must have been hopeful that they could secure the maximum points.
Nine minutes into the second half a harmless looking kick forward by Yani Duka looked certain to reach the Walden keeper, but a combination of the wind and a bad bounce saw the ball hang in the air just outside the penalty area.
Paul Wood could have headed the ball clear, but hesitated, which allowed Remel Davis the opportunity to knock the ball past the keeper, and virtually walk the ball into the empty net. The goal visibly shook the Walden team, and gave Stowmarket a sense for the first time that they could win the game against their higher placed opponents.
Walden responded with two corners, the first being headed wide by Hoskin, and the second, on the hour, by Calver curled towards the far post, where it was headed off the line by the fullback.
Desperate to get back into the game, Walden were caught on the break in the 63rd minute, and although Wood blocked a shot from Davis, the ball found its way to Wayne Proctor who scored from ten yards out, to give the Bloods a mountain to climb, if they were to get the victory they needed to keep their promotion bid on track.
In the 67th minute Calver was fouled on the left, and from the free kick Murphy appeared to score a fine headed goal at the far post, but the goal was disallowed, adding to Walden’s frustration, which grew as the minutes ticked away.
The result was a desperate disappointment, from a game the Bloods should have won.
WALDEN: Paul Wood, Spike Bell, Cameron Watson (John Griffin – 80 mins.), Matt Snelling, Joe Murphy, Stuart Wardley, Craig Calver, Stuart Hoskin (George Root – 80 mins.), Darren Bicknell (Shaun Avis – 84 mins.), Louis Harper, James Crane.