Point for Saffron Walden Town from Godmanchester Rovers trip

PUBLISHED: 09:05 05 October 2015 | UPDATED: 12:16 05 October 2015

Matt Snelling. Picture by Jamie Pluck

Matt Snelling. Picture by Jamie Pluck

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Saffron Walden Town claimed a point from an entertaining goalless draw at Godmanchester Rovers in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division.

Despite there being no goals on Saturday, this game was full of excitement and incident, and for the Bloods this was an excellent point gained against the best team they have played this season.

Godmanchester Rovers have averaged six goals a game at home this season, yet after losing Jamie Solkhon and Matt Snelling after a clash of heads in the second half, Walden fought a magnificent rearguard action to record their third away league game in a row without defeat.

The match began at a frenetic pace and keeper Floyd Croll was called into action in the fifth minute to keep out a shot from leading scorer James Hall.

Walden’s first serious attempt at goal occurred in the 19th minute when James Thomas headed the ball back and Snelling drove a powerful shot just wide of the post from 12 yards out.

In the 22nd minute Godmanchester won a free-kick on the right and Taylor Parr rose highest to head the ball against the top of the crossbar.

Around the half-hour mark Godmanchester won four corners in quick succession, but efforts from Charlie Bowen and Mike Hyem missed the target, and the Walden defence weathered the storm.

Walden came desperately close to scoring in the 37th minute when James Thomas headed on to Spike Bell, who hit a superb lob shot on the run which keeper, Niall Conroy acrobatically tipped the ball over the bar falling backwards.

The Bloods then had a spell of pressure in which they forced four corners in a row.

From the third, the ball fell to Solkhon whose hooked shot rattled the underside of the crossbar.

From the next corner Walden had two shots blocked in the goalmouth before Craig Calver fired through a crowd of legs, but just wide of the left hand post.

Walden reached the interval after a full blooded first half, fully deserving to be on level terms.

A minute into the second half Paul Abbot got to the bye-line and laid the ball back to Louis Harper, whose shot from the edge of the box flashed a couple of inches over the crossbar.

Two minutes into the half and disaster struck when Walden duo Solkhon and Snelling clashed heads going for the same ball, and the match was held up for 15 minutes while both players were treated by the two physios for serious head injuries.

An already depleted Walden team saw both players replaced by Joe Murphy and player-manager Stuart Wardley, for a rare appearance.

From this point onwards Godmanchester had much the better of the possession, but the Walden team worked tirelessly to keep the home team at bay.

Parr and Loyd Groves both had good attempts for Godmanchester, but Croll was in no mood to be beaten.

Walden, themselves, nearly scored in the 62nd minute from a corner won by Thomas.

The cross fell to Calver who tried to curl the ball around and over the keeper, but Conroy managed to hold onto the ball.

Croll was in fine form as Godmanchester continued to push forward at every opportunity, although Walden had an excellent chance in the 80th minute when Thomas ran onto a Croll drop kick and his attempted lob over the keeper was saved at full stretch.

The final few minutes were anxious for both teams, but the Walden players defended heroically and with some skill to gain a hard earned point which moved them up three places in the league table.

On Saturday the Bloods first team have their first home game for over a month when Swaffham Town are the visitors to The Meadow and Walden will hope to repeat their FA Vase victory over the same team.

TEAM: Floyd Croll, Paul Abbot, Dan Grindrod, Matt Snelling (Joe Murphy – 47 mins), Jamie Solkhon (Stuart Wardley – 47 mins), Chris Reid, Craig Calver, Jake Noble, Spike Bell, James Thomas, Louis Harper (Max Drane – 84 mins). Substitute (not used): Sam Soutar.

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