Walden win at Kirkley & Pakefield
By Jim Duvall
FA Cup Preliminary round
The Bloods earned themselves a trip to Barking in the next preliminary round of the FA Cup, after beating Kirkley and Pakefield 2-1 away from home.
Walden started the game very well and put instant pressure on their opponents defence. It only took 7 minutes for Charlie Portway to put the Bloods in the lead. Matt Snelling showed strength and skill, and crossed the ball into the area, for Portway to calmly float the ball past the keeper and into the back of the net.
Half way through the first half, heavy rain fell, which slowed the play down and made it difficult for both teams. Kirkley began to improve and put pressure on O’Sullivan and the Bloods defence. Kirkley’s best effort of the first half came from a corner. The ball was crossed into the box, and James Herbert managed to flick the ball over the Bloods defence with his head, but only managed to hit the post and the ball deflected back into play.
HT: Kirkley and Pakefield 0 – Saffron Walden Town 1
The rain had stopped which allowed both team to play with more intensity. The second half started gritty with both teams looking determined to score.
Within minutes of the second half, Kirkley had got themselves level, with a great goal from a corner. The corner was sailed into the box, missed everyone, and ended up in the top corner.
Walden reacted brilliant, and it took just two minutes to regain their lead. Tom Lakin ran with the ball, down the wing and played it to Matt Snelling. Snelling fended off the defence and scooped the ball over to Greame Turner, who was in space. Turner’s shot was bravely blocked by the Kirkley defender and the ball ended up with Oliver Emsden, who was prying outside the 18 yard box. Without hesitation Emsden skilfully curled the ball into the top of the net.
With 25 minutes left, it was still anyone’s game. Neil O’Sullivan continued his excellent form and produced two fantastic saves. He somehow managed to get his hand to a powerful strike, which sent the ball up in the air and bounced back off the crossbar. Moments later, this was followed up by a finger-tipped save from distance.
Tension was mounting and captain Spike Bell showed his leadership skills, and would not let the team show any signs of tiredness.
FT: Kirkley and Pakefield 1 – Saffron Walden Town FC 2
MOTM went to Spike Bell.
Neil O’Sullivan, Spike Bell (C.), Flynn Tarman (Daniel Grindrod 59mins), Matthew Snelling (Richard Chadwick 90mins), Julian Simon-Parson, Ryan Fleming, Tom Lakin (Connor Molloy 62mins), Joe Murphy, Oliver Emsden, Charlie Portway, Graeme Turner
Subs not used: Charlie Dicker, Mason Naylor, Stuart Wardley, Ronnie Ledwith