Saffron Walden Town 2 Walthamstow 3
Essex Senior League
Saturday 13th November
John Mackie and Terry Spillane will both want to downplay any claims to the ESL title just yet; however if they keep picking up wins on the road against teams in the top six then that is exactly what will happen come April. Saffron Walden had inflicted a defeat on Stow in the first fixture at Wadham Lodge in September. They went into this one occupying 5th place, trailing their visitors by six points. In truth, even though we have yet to reach the Christmas break, this was a game that neither side would want to lose. And it was for that reason why this was a fast-paced game, with lots of full-bloodied tackles, to keep the 402 fans entertained.
Michael Toner had the first chance, directing a header towards the bottom corner, but Stow’s custodian is of course Amarildo Cekrezi, a man who collects clean sheets on a regular basis, and he leapt down low to tip the ball round the post.
Cross did test both keeper’s but the next clear opportunity came in the 24th minute, but luck certainly favoured the hosts as Callum Ibe connected with a cross and fired a shot that hit the post, then the same player had another go on the rebound only to see this also kept out by a fine save from James Young.
The Bloods had a little spell were they managed to get decent balls behind the Stow defence, however George Pullen could only thump one chance over in the 32nd minute, then in the 40th minute Craig Calver had a grasscutter saved by Cekrezi. A minute later and it was Ibe’s turn to hook a shot over the crossbar, followed soon afterwards by Khris Oti who got his head onto a free kick but could only direct his header over the Stow crossbar. The half came to an end, which had produced no goals but such was the intensity of the play that you couldn’t take your eyes of it. It certainly hadn’t been a dull opening half.
The opening minutes of the second half saw two talking points; first the Bloods saw a Calver shot that drew appeals for handball. The referee, perfectly placed as he was right near the incident felt otherwise and so play continued. And Stow now launched an attack that ended with Jason Hallett delivering a pinpoint cross to Ibe, who rifled the ball home, only to have celebrations curtailed as the Assistant Referee had signalled an offside, thus the goal was chalked off.
Ibe went close again in the 56th minute; a diving header needing Young to make a save to keep the ball out. Stow were back in the Saffron box on the hour mark as Scully made a superb run, cut inside and then placed his shot past the Saffron keeper.
Walthamstow have become experts at killing a game off, and they extended their lead in the 65th minute to put them in a very strong position. It was a fine team goal as well, with Courtney Homans changing down the right wing, before picking out Ibe with an inch-perfect pass which the Stow striker buried with some aplomb.
But the Bloods were able to pull a goal back in the 74th minute when a long throw into the box ended up being put into his own goal by a Stow player. They all count of course and now it was game on again for the remaining minutes of the game. And what an ending ten minutes those in attendance witnessed!
It started in the 84th minute when Harrison Carnegie worked his way into the box before bending a ball round Young into the net. Saffron Walden pulled one back in the 89th minute when Stanley Leech got a final touch to take the ball past Cekrezi.
The hosts threw everything at their opponents in stoppage time, with Young even going up into the Stow box in the closing moments when his side had a last-ditch corner. Unfortunately there was also a melee in the box that saw both sides come together, with Jason Beck being shown a red card after the referee had restored order. A sad ending to what had been a compelling contest, that had also seen both sets of fans get behind their teams without any animosity.
Saffron Walden Town: James Young, Tom Skelton, James Solkhon, George Pullen (Joe Pullen 85′), Scott Pethers (Capt), Matt Hurley, Craig Calver, Michael Toner, Khris Oti (Stanley Leech 78′), Charlie Smith (Joe Maybanks 70′), Gavin Cockman.
Scorers – O.G. (74′), Stanley Leech (89′).
Walthamstow: Amarildo Cekrezi, Courtney Homans, Tommy Spillane, Charlie Edwards (Ben Byrne 85′), Moses Carvalho, Jason Beck, Harrison Carnegie, Adalberto Pinto (Capt), Jason Hallett, Connor Scully (Michael Osei 80′), Callum Ibe (Yemi Adelani 87′).
Scorers – Connor Scully (60′), Callum Ibe (65′), Harrison Carnegie (84′).
Saturday 13th November
Essex Senior League
Athletic Newham 1 Little Oakley 1
Cockfosters 5 St Margaretsbury 1
FC Clacton 1 Sporting Bengal United 0
Hoddesdon Town 1 Redbridge 2
Sawbridgeworth Town 1 Clapton 1
Takeley 2 Ilford 1
West Essex A White Ensign A
There was plenty of action down at the bottom end of the table as Sawbridgeworth Town down in 20th took on Clapton who started the 18th. Harry Davidson notched for the Robins, with the Tons replying via Kyle Roberts. The 1-1 draw sees no movement up the table but another point on the board for each club, which sees both add a bit of space between themselves and bottom club Sporting Bengal United who were beaten by a solitary Jordan Lartey goal over at FC Clacton. Athletic Newham are also non-movers, ending the day in the same 6th spot that they were sitting in before they hosted Little Oakley which also ended in a 1-1 draw. Joel Appiah handed the hosts a 9th minute lead, but Greg Rodger levelled up in the 24th minute to earn each side a point, which means that Little Oakley also end the day sitting in the same position as they had been at 3pm: 14th. With Walthamstow winning meant that Stanway Rovers and Redbridge, 2nd and 3rd respectively, had to also pick up all the points available in their games to keep up the pace. They both achieved that, winning on the road too. Redbridge beat Hoddesdon Town 2-1, the Motormen goals coming inside five first half minutes, with Bradley Bennett opening the account in the 22nd minute, followed by Rob Norris in the 27th. Jack Gibbs pulled one back on the hour but the visitors held on and remain 3rd and 4 points behind the leaders. Stanway Rovers beat Stansted 2-0 as Daniel Okoh and Lewis Francis netted, but suffice to say the win keeps them 2nd, also four points behind Walthamstow, but having played four games more. Cockfosters were the day’s biggest winners as they beat St Margaretsbury 5-1. The game was only two minutes old when Reece Barrett handed Fosters the lead, but the visitors recovered from this and were level on 13 minutes: Connor Tully the scorer. A brace from George Beattie saw the hosts go in at the break 3-1 however, and that was followed by a further brace from Reece Monsanya, who scored both via penalties. Cockfosters move up to 9th, St Margaretsbury remain 17th. Takeley managed to snap a three game losing streak with their 2-1 win over Ilford, but they had to pick themselves up after falling behind to a Reece Sayers goal in the 6th minute. It took until the 55th minute before the hosts were back on terms, with Jordan Westcott then scoring the winner for Takeley four minutes from time. Takeley move up to 12th after this win, while Ilford are another non-mover, occupying 16th until Monday at least when they host Woodford Town. Unfortunately the West Essex v White Ensign game had to be abandoned due to a theft in the changing rooms.