Saffron Walden Town avenge league defeat to set up Chesham United clash in FA Cup

PUBLISHED: 16:05 22 August 2016 | UPDATED: 16:05 22 August 2016

Spike Bell. Picture: Jamie Pluck

Spike Bell. Picture: Jamie Pluck


Four days after a tough league defeat at Long Melford, Saffron Walden Town returned to Stoneylands for an FA Cup preliminary qualifying round clash and produced a wonderful display of attacking football to prevail 2-0 and book an away tie at Southern League Premier Division side Chesham United.

Missing their captain, Craig Calver, the Bloods put in a disciplined display that saw them outplay their hosts, and but for a heroic goalkeeping performance, they could have had the match won by half-time.

In the seventh minute keeper Darren Moyes made the first of his many fine saves, pushing away a powerful free-kick from Spike Bell.

Marc Abbot, Shaun Avis, James Crane and Graeme Turner all went close with good scoring chances, then in the 20th minute a cross from Crane was hit first time by Avis, and Moyes made a brilliant one-handed save.

From the resultant corner by Bell, Ryan Fleming headed on for Turner to head home at the far post for a thoroughly deserved lead.

A minute later it was nearly two when Crane’s shot rattled the inside of the left hand post and Avis’s follow-up shot was saved, and a third shot was blocked and scrambled away.

The remainder of the half was a joy to watch as Walden produced one of their best ever free flowing FA Cup displays.

In the first 20 minutes of the second half, Walden found it hard to adjust to playing with the strong wind, and for a while the contest was much more even.

The match was effectively sealed in the 68th minute by a wonder goal when Bell broke from his own half down the right flank, and then launched an unstoppable shot from over 40 yards out into the top corner. Moyes had no chance.

Fleming and Abbot went close with attempts on goal and Long Melford made a brief late flurry to get back into the game when a fine header from captain Steve Adams was pushed over the bar by Lee Pacey.

Walden finished the game strongly, and three minutes from time, following a lovely passing move, Joe Murphy shot firmly against the post, with the keeper well-beaten.

In the 90th minute Charlie Dicker went on a brilliant 50-yard run in which he beat two defenders, rounded the keeper, but hooked his shot into the side netting.

Ryan Dewey, who has featured for the reserves in the past three seasons, was named man of the match.

Stuart Wardley’s men travel to United, who reached the second round last year before bowing out to League One Bradford City, in the first qualifying round on Saturday, September 3.

The club want are looking to take as many supporters as possible and will be organising a return coach from Catons Lane.

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