Sat 02
1st Team
FC Clacton


By Fiona Mackay
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Bloods knocked out of FA Vase after close 4-3 loss against F.C. Clacton

Jason Maher’s Walden side have crashed out of the Buildbase FA Vase in the 2nd round in a hard-fought, back and forth, battle against Eastern Counties League outfit and fellow Level 9 club F.C. Clacton on an incredibly wet and soggy Saturday afternoon at Catons Lane.

The result means this is Walden’s third time in a row in all competitions that they have lost, after being knocked out of the BBC Essex Senior Cup by Redbridge on penalties and losing their first league match of the season with a 4-1 away defeat against Hoddesdon Town last Saturday. But they would have been buoyed by the fact they reached this round of the Vase after a thumping 5-1 win against Biggleswade in a 1st round replay.

F.C. Clacton, on the other hand, got to the second round after beating Risborough 2-0 back in October with no replay, but have had a mix start to their season and currently sit 9th in the Thurlow Nunn Premier League but were coming off the back of a 3-1 league win against Swaffham Town. So it was all to play for in this cup tie.

While it rained earlier in the day, the weather looked like it was going to hold up. But just before kick-off the heavens opened and an astonishing amount of water fell down to make the match resemble an old-fashioned muddy school rugby match, filling the air with the smell of mud and Deep Heat. Causing players to slip and lose their footing all game.

But the rain didn’t stop the action from starting straight away as, moments after F.C. Clacton kick-off, the visitors bagged themselves a goal. Seasider’s Adam Hampson dribbled the ball up to S.W.T.F.C.’s third way line and plays a pin-point pass to Ricky Griggs feet in the left side of the box. Griggs was surrounded by the Walden’s defence, but controls the ball nicely, managing to break free from them to find some room and get off a shot which beats Jayden Purdue at the far post. 0-1.

The Bloods responded just 4 minutes later, as Jack Leechman gets the ball just outside the oppositions box and places the ball to Charlie Cole. In very much the same vein of the first goal, Cole was surrounded by Clacton’s defence but he takes the ball up into the centre of the box to make enough space and places the shot to the left of the goal, beating Joe Fowler, making the score level at 1-1 and getting his 26th goal of the season in all competitions so far.

In the 16th minute, Walden doubled the score when Gavin Cockman made a dashing run down the right wing and fires the ball into the box. The ball ricochets off a Clacton defender and falls kindly to winger Lewis Francis, who controls it and passes the ball effortlessly into the net as the goalkeeper was out of position. 2-1

Only 9 minutes afterwards, the visitors levelled things up with a throw-in set piece. Zach Smith-Walker loops the ball deep into the Blood’s box. It meets the head of an unmarked Chris Ribchester as he flicks it on behind it him into the 6-yard box finding Hampson, who slides to the ground and prods the ball in the back of the net getting his second goal of the game. 2-2

At this point in the game, the weather had calmed down a bit and 2 minutes after the visitors scored, S.W.T.F.C. had a chance on goal. Jack Isherwood switches the ball from the right wing to an on-running Cockman, who darts into the left side of the Seasider’s box and cracks off a shot to the right of the goal which forced Fowler to make a great save to keep it at 2-2.

10 minutes later, Clacton got themselves the lead with a very nicely worked goal. Seasider’s captain Kyelan Marvell runs down the right wing and passes the ball to Harry McDonald, who crosses it in the danger area of the Walden’s box towards Ribchester. Ribchester can’t get enough of his head on the ball and it goes behind him to a waiting Hampson, who knocks it in at an open far post making it 2-3.

In the 41st minute, Griggs nearly his second goal as Hampson plays the ball through to an on running Griggs in the right side of the box. Griggs hits the ball hard on target to the left off goal, but a great athletic save from Purdue parries the ball out for a corner to keep Walden in the game.

But that didn’t matter for Griggs as he got his second goal 2 minutes into stoppage time, as Jordan Lartey crosses the ball into the box finding the head of an unmarked Griggs, who easily heads the ball into the back of the net and making the score at half time 4-2.

F.C. Clacton were certainly the happier side going into the dressing rooms at half time and always seemed like more of a threat than the home side. But with the weather as it was and the difficult playing conditions it created, the crowd at the Lane didn’t see many chances and the game was very much a scrappy midfield one with both teams making costly errors. But where there were chances, they were all taken. Making it yet another high scoring match at home for the Bloods.

Walden came right out the gates in the second half when, 5 minutes after the whistle, Cockman runs with the ball into the box and gets one-on-one with the keeper, forcing him to run out and close the gap. Cockman gets off the shot, but Fowler gets his hands to it to make the save.

In the 54th minute, S.W.T.F.C. cut the deficit to make it 4-3 after a long-throw in from Walden captain Scott Pethers finds the head of Ryan Fleming, who powers the ball home from the penalty spot giving the Blood’s a fighting chance to get back into the game.

After this the visitors sat back to try and keep the result and Walden were running out of steam and just couldn’t break down the Seasider’s defence and the match slowed down. Around midway through the second half, the visitors had another chance when Hampson drives up the ball from just inside the home sides half and up to the box. But with defensive pressure from Pethers, Hampson is forced to make a shot, but an outwards running Purdue blocks the shots and the ball goes out for a corner.

In the 84th minute the visitors had another chance, when Griggs hits a power shot from just outside the centre of Walden’s penalty box. The ball looked like it was going in, but it just couldn’t stay down and it cracks the outside of the crossbar.

The final chance of the match also fell to Clacton when McDonald found himself with plenty of time with the ball, on goal and with time and space. Unfortunately, he dilly-dallied with the ball too long, taking far too many touches and when the shot finally came an outward running Purdue closes in on him and easily makes the save.

The final whistle came and it was the Seasiders and their away support who busted into celebrations as they secured their place in the next round of the Vase. The defeated Bloods made no attempt to hide their disappointment in a match in which some simple defensive errors in the first half and a lack of creativity up front in the second half cost them their own cup run. Walden have a chance to redeem themselves and get back to winning ways next weekend when they go on the road to play Walthamstow in the league.

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Match details

Match date

Sat 02, Nov 2019




Buildbase FA Vase 19-20