Turner topples Thetford to lift Saffron Walden Town further from relegation zone

PUBLISHED: 10:24 18 February 2016

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Graeme Turner's second-half strike was enough to snatch a fourth league win of 2016 in a competitive game that saw two red cards and five yellow cards issued to players of both teams.

Ten-man Walden kicked up the steep slope in the first half and effectively won the match by keeping a clean sheet although both sides had a good number of attempts on goal. Lee Pacey, who made his debut in goal for the Bloods, performed very capably, making a couple of good saves.

At the other end, James Thomas broke from the halfway line in the 17th minute, and did well to get in a shot which just missed the post.

Turner was also a constant threat with his powerful breaks at speed, which won several corners for the Bloods.

Seven minutes before the interval Craig Calver drove a dangerous ball into the Thetford goalmouth, which was scrambled clear, but then set up a breakaway for Thetford, who should have scored. However, Olly Standley, snatched at his shot, slicing wide.

Kicking down the slope after the break, Walden made a storming start, and their pressure paid off in the 49th minute when a corner was handled in the goalmouth and a penalty awarded.

Thetford’s goalkeeper, Matt Barker, got a hand to Joe Murphy’s penalty, and then blocked Thomas’ follow-up shot, before Turner hit the third shot over the bar, with the keeper on the ground.

The winning goal came in the 72nd minute when Thomas got goal-side of the defender, and was felled just inside the penalty area. The referee allowed the advantage, and Turner seized on the loose ball before driving it low into the net from 12 yards.

Immediately after the goal, as Jamie Solkhon was heading back to his own half, he became involved in an exchange of words with a Thetford player and was sent-off by the referee after consulting his linesman.

With a man advantage, Thetford pushed forward for an equaliser and Walden defended admirably as the tension increased.

In the 80th minute Stuart Wardley fell awkwardly making a clearance, and Thetford substitute, Jonathan Barzey, reacted badly to the incident, seeming to attack the Walden player- manager on the ground, and causing a huge fracas which took five minutes for the match officials to resolve.

Barzey was shown a red card, reducing both teams to 10 players, and Murphy a yellow card.

The last 10 minutes were tense, but Walden comfortably held onto their lead. They travel to Gorleston in the league this weekend.

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