Saffron Walden ready for big FA Vase showdown after four-star show on the road

Joe Pullen puts Saffron Walden Town in front at Stanway Rovers.

Joe Pullen puts Saffron Walden Town in front at Stanway Rovers. - Credit: SWTFC

Saffron Walden Town warmed up for their biggest game in years with a hugely impressive victory away to Stanway Rovers.

All eyes will be on Catons Lane on Saturday when they host Loughborough Students in the last 32 of the FA Vase, just four rounds from a place at Wembley.

But they go into it with renewed confidence after a 4-2 win at the Colchester-based side who had gone into the Essex Senior League game two places above the Bloods in fourth.

Those positions have not changed but Walden are now four points behind and with games in hand on all the sides ahead of them bar Enfield.

The only downside to the game was they conceded two, something which didn't look likely after a blistering first-half from the away side.

They took the lead after 10 minutes with Joe Pullen getting his head to a pinpoint free-kick from Michael Toner and they had increased that to three by the interval.

Craig Calver got his 100th goal for Saffron Walden Town in the win at Stanway Rovers.

Craig Calver got his 100th goal for Saffron Walden Town in the win at Stanway Rovers. - Credit: GAVIN ELLIS/TGS PHOTO

Craig Calver got the second on 36 minutes, his 100th goal for the club, with a drilled shot from a narrow angle, before Khris Oti's downward header from a Toner cross wrapped up a wonderful 45 minutes.

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They were given a rude wake-up goal mere moments after the contest restarted with Ayomikun Odukoya supplying a clinical finish, and the hosts had chances to further cut the deficit, James Young though remaining unbowed and a Walden defender clearing one off the line.

And it was slightly against the run of play that Walden grabbed a fourth, Calver's delivery towards Oti cleared only as far as Tom Skelton who returned it, via a deflection, over the line.

Stanway kept plugging away though, Ernest Okoh hitting a post before Young made a superb stop from the rebound, and eventually they did get a second on 86 minutes, Odukoya getting on the end of a free-kick for his second of the game.

But Walden saw out the rest of the game in relative comfort and will now turn their attentions to Saturday's 3pm kick-off.

The majority of ESL fixtures were victims of the wet weather, including Takeley's game at Enfield, but Stansted did play and their 2-1 win at home to Sawbridgeworth Town lifts them to second in the table.

John Clarke and Paul Clayton got the goals.

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