Ten-man Saffron Walden Town get their season up and marching with a win in the Fens

PUBLISHED: 10:38 16 August 2013 | UPDATED: 10:38 16 August 2013

Craig Calver was sent off for Walden on Tuesday. Picture by Dennis Savill

Craig Calver was sent off for Walden on Tuesday. Picture by Dennis Savill


SAFFRON Walden claimed their first win of the season with a hard-fought 2-1 away at March Town United.

Two yellow cards in the space of two minutes over disputed penalty claims, with 30 minutes remaining, resulted in the dismissal of Walden’s Craig Calver and left the Bloods with a difficult task to salvage something from the game, with the game still goal less.

With ten men, however, the Walden players worked tirelessly as a unit, and were rewarded with a hard earnt first league victory of the new season by two goals to one.

With little rainwater in the Fens, the pitch was very dry, and proved to be difficult to play on, making it hard for both teams to play a passing game. Walden did get a clear scoring chance in the 8th minute, when Dan Grindrod did well on the left to get in a cross, which Spike Bell headed over the bar when well placed in front of goal.

Another 20 minutes passed before Walden were able to apply a sustained spell of pressure. Grindrod again was the provider with troublesome crosses, before Bell found Louis Harper with a cross in the 29th minute, whose powerful shot from ten yards struck a defender and went behind for a corner.

A couple more corners followed, which the “Bloods were unable to take advantage of, and at the end of the first half Harper sent a free kick just over the bar, and Bell couldn’t quite get enough power behind a shot from Grindrod’s header.

The Walden defence looked comfortable in the first half, but although the team had the edge in the first half, they didn’t quite reach the heights of their first half performance against Great Yarmouth on Saturday.

March had their best spell of the game early in the second half, but despite winning three corners, could not make an impression on the Walden defence.

In the 60th minute Calver turned well past a defender and nearly scored with a shot which was blocked by the keeper at the near post. He appeared to be tripped as he went for the loose ball, and although he did well to drive the ball across the goalmouth, his appeals for a penalty only earnt him a yellow card from the referee.

Two minutes later Calver went past a defender at speed, in the penalty area before crashing to the ground following an attempted tackle. Referee, George Byrne, produced another yellow card for alleged diving, and Walden were reduced to ten men for the remaining half an hour.

Graeme Turner took on the role as the sole forward, and he rose to the challenge brilliantly. Walden won a free kick on the edge of the box in the 65th minute, from which Chris Reid’s powerful shot was blocked by the keeper, and Harper hit the rebound wide.

Four minutes later Turner chased a well flighted forward ball from Alex Riches, before holding off two defenders and placing a superb chip shot over Liam Higgins and into the top right hand corner of the goal.

Walden now had a lead to defend, and worked hard to put March under pressure whenever they had the ball. In the 74th minute Walden won a corner on the left, and their two central defenders did enough to deceive the keeper and allow Harper’s cross to curl straight into the net to five them a two goal cushion.

Walden always looked dangerous on the break, and first Matt Snelling and then Turner twice, troubled the keeper with powerful shots at goal as they threatened to increase their lead, with some impressive football.

Deep into injury, with the last kick of the game, Josh Jackman struck a low long range shot from over 30 yards out, which Paul Wood did well to get down to near the post, but unfortunately for him the ball rebounded straight to Aaron McKenna who followed up to score a consolation goal just before the final whistle.

On Saturday Saffron Walden have a difficult trip away to Felixstowe & Walton United at the first stage of the FA Cup.

WALDEN: Paul Wood, Chris Reid, Dan Grindrod, Matt Snelling, Alex Riches, Stuart Wardley , Spike Bell, Joe Murphy, Craig Calver, Graeme Turner, Louis Harper (Justin Crissell – 85 mins).

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