Saffron Walden Town knocked out of FA Cup by Hanwell Town

PUBLISHED: 17:39 16 September 2015 | UPDATED: 17:39 16 September 2015

Matt Snelling runs with the ball.

Matt Snelling runs with the ball.


Saffron Walden Town exited the FA Cup in the first qualifying round after a 1-0 defeat at Southern League Division One Central side Hanwell Town on Saturday.

The match started quietly with little incident of note in the first 20 minutes, and it was not until the 21st minute that the first moment of danger came when James Thomas made a good run down the left, but shot just wide of the near post.

Five minutes later, the game kicked into life when both sides had a goal disallowed for off-side within a minute of each other.

Walden netted first from a nice move in the 27th minute when Matt Snelling finished off a low cross from Thomas, then Tyler Christian-Law also had his low shot into the net chalked off when straying too far forward.

Walden finished the first half very strongly, but they really needed to convert at least one of their chances when on top, if they were to win the match. Craig Calver tried to chip the ball over the keeper in the 32nd minute, forcing a full-stretch save.

A minute later Graeme Turner got to the byline and cut the ball back to Louis Harper 12 yards out, but he wasted a glorious chance by mis-cueing his volley.

In the 37th minute, Calver showed good skill to get in the box, but he placed his shot wide of the far post. Further good play by Walden saw Thomas cross to Calver, but from a few yards out, he shot against the keeper’s body, and Turner’s follow-up header went straight into the keeper’s arms. Both players could easily have scored.

Not to be out-done Christian-Law had a shot that hit the far post in the 42nd minute. Just before the end of the first half Louis Harper put Calver away, and the Walden forward took the ball on a further 20 yards before putting another good shot wide of the right hand post. It remained goalless at the break.

Both teams had a chance to score early in the second half, with Floyd Croll saving from Emmanuel Ighorae, and James Thomas shooting over the bar for Walden.

The decisive moment came in the in the 49th minute when Ben Lawrence, in trying to clear the ball gave away a corner. Croll managed to punch the ball high up into the air, but as it came down the tall Kieran Gradwell got his head to the ball first, and it dropped into the goal to give Hanwell a crucial lead.

Two minutes later a free-kick was headed by Ryan Egan against the outside of the Walden post, and the woodwork came into play again in the 58th minute when Gradwell curled a 20 yard shot against the top of the crossbar.

In the 79th minute, Snelling’s cross was headed by Thomas and brilliantly tipped onto the crossbar by keeper Cain Davies, and two minutes later, the lively James Thomas shot over the crossbar from 15 yards out.

Walden’s last chance of an equaliser came from Stuart Wardley, but it went straight at the keeper.

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