Walden retake top spot in Thurlow Nunn First Division
PUBLISHED: 13:55 16 February 2015 | UPDATED: 13:55 16 February 2015
Saffron Walden Town came from behind to beat Stowmarket Town 2-1 at Catons Lane to retake top spot in the Thurlow Nunn First Division.
Ben Lawrence cancelled out Stomwarket’s second-half opener before Spike Bell wrapped up the points with a 84th minute winner, pushing Walden back to the summit of the table after weeks in second place.
The Bloods have been breathing down the neck of Long Melford but they finally reclaimed top spot on Saturday. They sit two points ahead of Melford, who didn’t have a game on Saturday, and they can stretch it five if they win their remaining game in hand.
Walden had as many as four games in hand the former league leaders but two consecutive 2-2 draws kept them in second. They got back to winning ways against mid-table Stowmarket, but they had to work hard for three points.
Remarkably, the first half ended goalless. Bell missed a chance in the first minute, Graeme Turner was denied twice and Stowmarket’s Josh Cheetham blazed over, all within five minutes of kick-off.
Chances continued to fall for both sides but neither could profit as Max Planck saved efforts from Shaun Avis and Turner while, at the other end, Floyd Croll was alert to any danger Stowmarket posed.
There was nothing Croll could do about Stowmarket’s goal as a high ball caused confusion in the Walden ranks and Cheetham finished.
The Bloods tried hard to respond, but were finding Stowmarket determined and competent opponents. The clubs long unbeaten league run appeared to be seriously under threat until the equaliser finally arrived in the 75th minute. Lawrence rose highest at a corner to head to ball past Planck.
Stowmarket responded with two long-range shots from Tom Bradlaugh and Josh Capocci, but the momentum was with Walden and, from a Lawrence throw-in, Turner flicked the ball on for Bell to score at the a far post.
There was still time for Stowmarket, though, but Croll made a stunning reaction save to keep out a header from Ben Licence and Walden managed to see out the remaining minutes.
The teams’ 22-game unbeaten run equals a club record set in 1982/83. If Walden are to beat the record, they will have to avoid defeat against Downham Town on their own ground, where they have one of the best home records in the division.