Seventh home win from eight for Saffron Walden Town
PUBLISHED: 10:44 31 March 2016 | UPDATED: 10:44 31 March 2016
James Thomas' seventh-minute effort was enough to secure Saffron Walden Town's seventh home league victory in eight games.
Walsham, currently 15th in the table, battled well on Saturday but were ultimately sunk when Nathan Clarke saw red just before the hour mark for a cynical lunge on Craig Calver.
With six games to go, the Bloods now have a chance of finishing in the top 10 - a terrific effort considering they were attempting to stave off relegation at Christmas time.
Both teams struggled to adapt to the blustery Catons Lane conditions early on, but it was Walsham who nearly grabbed the opener in the third minute. However, a timely tackle deflected Andrew Wood’s shot for a corner.
Four minutes later, Walden did find the first goal. Graeme Turner’s through-ball gave Thomas the opportunity to chip the ball which he took with finesse.
Home keeper Lee Pacey made his only real save of the match in the 12th minute, catching the dangerous Wood’s header.
Beyond that, Walden were mostly in the Walsham half for the opening period with Calver’s dipping volley the best chance to add to the lead.
Early in the second half, Wood, headed over the bar, then Turner responded for Walden with two dazzling runs down the right flank. The first drew a save from a Matt Snelling flick, and the second won a corner.
With the wind at their backs, Walden continued to press and their cause was helped further by the 58th minute dismissal of Clarke.
Soon after, skipper Calver should have scored from close range when his shot was pounced on by the keeper before it could cross the line.
Ryan Fleming then powerfully headed a Marc Abbot free-kick just wide and Thomas also put a header past the post in the 68th minute.
With a man down, Walsham rallied well in the closing stages, but the ever-strengthening wind made it difficult for either team to keep control of the ball, and another excellent home crowd of 234 were relieved to hear the final whistle.
This Saturday Town travel to fourth-placed Felixstowe & Walton United looking for a first travelling league win in three games.