June 19 2013 Latest news:
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
SAFFRON Walden’s promotion claims went from hopeful to “very unlikely” after they failed to take their chances against Long Melford on Saturday.
The Bloods played some good football and created many good chances – even a missed penalty from top scorer Stuart Wardley – but could only muster a point against a dogged Melford side.
It leaves them with a mountain to climb if they are to catch the top two and boss Colin Wallington said promotion could now be beyond his team for this season.
“I felt we needed to win the next six games if we were to have any chance of going up, and even then it would still have been difficult. I think it is very unlikely now,” he said.
The opening 20 minutes were evenly contested with both teams creating chances. The Bloods began to dominate the play and, after a period of sustained pressure, Wardley was pushed over in the box in the 39th minute. The normally reliable defender hit a powerful spot kick into the corner but the Long Melford keeper, Sam Mansfield, made a brilliant full length save to keep the scores level at the interval.
Walden made a strong start to the second half with Matt Snelling shooting just wide, and Joe Rudkin’s right wing cross striking the outside of the near post.
Walden should have scored soon after. Snelling hit a low shot which smacked against the far post, and rebounded to Ross Laird whose side footed effort went agonisingly wide of the other post with the keeper stranded.
Another incisive move by the Walden forwards enabled James Crane to find Laird at the far post, and his goal-bound volley saw Mansfield deflect the ball onto the post and away for a corner.
Within a minute, a high ball into the box was challenged for by Bicknell, and the keeper was only able to punch it to Laird, who drove the ball back into the net to give the Bloods a deserved lead.
But, out of the blue in the 73rd minute, a long drop kick from Mansfield bounced kindly for Jack Durey whose first time lob shot to beat the advancing Jason Harvey to give the home team an unexpected equaliser.
The Bloods surged forward in a wave of attacks in search of a winning goal, but found Mansfield in unbeatable form as he twice saved from Bicknell, and then from shots by Snelling and Louis Harper.
“We played some good stuff but didn’t take our chances – it has been the story of our season. It was disappointing,” said Wallington.
Walden will be looking for an improved result on Saturday with a trip to Ipswich Wanderers on Saturday, 3pm kick off.
TEAM: Jason Harvey, Dan Dea’th, Chris Reid (Dan Grindrod – 22 mins), Matthew Snelling, Alex Riches (Dan Phelan – 78 mins), Stuart Wardley, Joe Rudkin, Ross Laird, James Crane (Charlie Davies – 89 mins), Darren Bicknell.