Shooting boots missing for Saffron Walden as Melford claim victory

PUBLISHED: 17:20 13 April 2016 | UPDATED: 17:20 13 April 2016

James Thomas can't beat the Melford keeper with his header

James Thomas can't beat the Melford keeper with his header

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Stuart Wardley's Saffron Walden Town dropped a place to 10th in the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division after a third home reverse in four league games.

Having made sure of safety several weeks ago, Town are looking to retain their top 10 place for the remainder of the season but they will have to be more creative and clinical in future games in order to do so.

The Bloods got off to the worst possible start when a mis-hit clearance went straight to Long Melford’s Jamie Griffiths, who although forced to go sideways across the penalty area, managed to hit a low shot through a crowd of players into the net.

Walden responded well and had much of the possession, but a free-kick from the edge of the box was headed away, Matt Snelling headed Graeme Turner’s cross wide, and a spell of pressure saw Craig Calver’s shot parried by the keeper, Sam Mansfield.

A nice move in the 16th minute then saw James Thomas shoot just wide. Calver also went close with a couple of efforts as the hosts threatened once more.

However, they were to go two behind as a long, diagonal cross found the head of Griffiths 15 yards out, and although at first it looked harmless, it looped over the keeper, and went in off the underside of the bar.

Player-manager Wardley came on as a substitute in the 55th minute to try and counter the robust Melford style, and within a minute of coming on, he came close to heading in a free-kick.

Six minutes later Ryan Fleming headed a corner over the bar, but in a rare attack Nathan Rowe headed a free-kick for Long Melford against the corner of post and bar.

At the other end, a couple of further headers from Thomas in the 77th minute and Matt Snelling three minutes later, which were just off target, were Walden’s best efforts in the closing stages.

This Saturday Saffron travel to relegation-threatened Swaffham Town before taking on fifth-placed Kirkley & Pakefield on Tuesday.

n Stuart Wardley has been named Bloods, Sweat and Cheers blog’s player of the month for March.

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