Ely City 0 Saffron Walden Town FC 0
Ely City FC 0 – Saffron Walden Town FC 0
1st August 2017
It was the first match of the season for Stuart Wardley’s men, and despite being the dominate side for the majority of the match; the fans had to settle with a well-fought point.
The management have been very busy in the summer and have signed Neil O’Sullivan, Oliver Emsden, James Ferguson, Luca Dusi and Mason Naylor. O’Sullivan, Emsden and Ferguson were all given debuts, and all three of them played extremely well. Wardley also promoted Flynn Tarman from the reserve team to the first team, after impressing last season and in preseason.
It was a battle of the goalkeepers with new Blood Neil O’Sullivan winning ‘Man of the match’ for a string of top class saves. Elys’s goalkeeper Harry Reynolds also put in an excellent performance. Ely certainly have Reynolds and the defence to thank for their heroics.
The match started lively, with both sets of fans getting behind their teams. Charlie Portway was inches away from putting the Bloods one nil up. James Crane skilfully dribbled the ball into the box and played a perfect through ball into the path of Portway. Portway tried to lift the ball over Reynolds, but his effort hit the crossbar, and was cleared away by the Ely defence.
Moments later, Walden’s new goalkeeper Neil O’Sullivan made an excellent save. The ball was destined to be fired into the back off the net, but O’Sullivan got down and blocked the shot with his chest. This wasn’t the end of the trouble, and O’Sullivan made another stunning safe, which was even given a round of applause by opposing goalkeeper Reynolds.
Ely fans thought their pressure had paid off, and they did find the back of the net from a set piece, but the striker was offside and the goal was disallowed.
Half way through the first half, it was Reynold to show his fans what he could do. Walden had won a corner, which was delivered from Spike Bell. Ely struggled to clear the ball from their area, and the ball found its way to James Crane. Crane’s curling effort was brilliantly pushed around the post by Reynolds.
With five minutes to go, Flynn Tarman played an excellent 50 yard through ball in front of Graeme Turner. Turner fended off the defender, as his drove into the box, but his finish was comfortably saved by Reynolds.
With seconds to go in the first half, James Crane tried to cheekily beat Reynolds at his near post, but his effort deflected off the post.
HT: Ely City 0 – Saffron Walden 0
The ‘Bloods’ continued the second half; and after a decent opportunity from an Ely corner, didn’t give Ely’s defence a rest. Crane was causing more issues and tried to weave his way through a wall of Ely players, but his final ball was deflected for a corner.
54 minutes into the match, and Graeme Tuner tried to float a headed effort over Reynold, from Ronnie Ledwith’s long throw, but it didn’t dip in time and landed on the roof of the net.
Walden had a number of chances in the first 20 minutes of the second half. Portway had an excellent opportunity from 8 yards out, but credit has to go to Ely’s Alex Theobald, who threw himself in front of the ball to block the shot.
With 15 minutes remaining, Portway did find the back of the net, but the referee believed he had tripped the defender, so the goal was disallowed.
Pressure was mounting for Ely, but Walden could not get passed their stubborn defence. Walden showed great link-up play, and Joe Murphy came close with a powerful header, but his effort went over the crossbar.
With 10 minutes to go, it was Ely who looked the favourites to get all three points. They had three efforts within 3 minutes. Neil O’Sullivan was called into duty and made another excellent point blank save. The ball was threaded through the Walden defence, but O’Sullivan ran off his line, got down low and pushed the ball passed the post. The corner was played to the near post, and Ely had a great opportunity, but the ball was nestled into the side netting from the Ely player.
FT: Ely City FC 0 – Saffron Walden Town FC 0
MOTM went to Neil O’Sullivan
O’Sullivan, Bell (C.), Ledwith (Chadwick 73mins), Emsden, Simon-Parson, Ferguson, Crane, Murphy, Turner, Portway, Tarman
Subs not used: Dusi, Dicker, Chadwick, Naylor, Grindrod
Match Report by Jonathan Scripps