The FA Vase – Second Round Qualifying
Venue: Catons Lane
2018-19 Season – Match 14
Saturday 15th September 2018 – 3pm KO
Saffron Walden Town: Black & Red Striped Shirts, Black Shorts, Black Socks
May & Baker E.C. : Black & White Striped Shirts, Royal Blue Shorts, Red Socks
May & Baker shock the Bloods to advance to the First Round Proper of the FA Vase
Report by Scott W (Twitter: ScottMHC14) with additional photos by Pete Dudley (@ped1980)
Our travels this weekend took us to Catons Lane for the first time to see Essex Senior League side Saffron Walden Town take on high-flying Eastern Senior League South side May & Baker. Pre-match, myself and colleagues felt there were goals in this one.
For The Bloods, manager Stuart Wardley was deprived of the talented pair Dan Trendall and Julian Simon-Parson due to injury though still named a powerful front three of Greg Strong, Charlie Portway and Lewis Francis. Wardley himself was named on the bench. Onto the visitors and they lined up with a strong forward partnership of their own with ex-Basildon Utd forward Reece Tranter and Dan Gilchrist leading the line with ex-Dagenham & Redbridge trainee Conor Okus in midfield though regular skipper James Barlow was unavailable.
The match began with the visitors probing forward though they were unable to breach the committed Saffron Walden back-line in the early moments of the match. Visiting forward Dan Gilchrist had a weak shot gobbled up by home custodian Neil O’Sullivan before moments later, M & B winger Craig Hall’s toe-poke was well-blocked by the midriff of O’Sullivan whilst one-on-one with the ‘keeper. The hosts responded with efforts from distance, captain Spike Bell and forward Lewis Francis the parties unable to find the target.
Danger signs were there for the hosts midway into the first half as home defender Ashley Skeggs did well to deny May & Baker forward Reece Tranter a good shy at goal and soon afterward, Hall headed wide of the post. The visitors did make their good spell count minutes later as a nervous back header by Skeggs sent Tranter in and he went past O’Sullivan and calmly slotted home.
SWT had a decent chance to level five minutes later though midfielder Jack Mead headed wide after being well-found from a left-wing cross into the box. The hosts were starting to find their rhythm at this point though M & B defended well and saw through to the interval with their slender lead intact.
Half-Time: Saffron Walden Town 0 – 1 May & Baker
You sensed that this game needed livening up a tad and four minutes into the second period, the visitors certainly provided some impetus as after a good ball in from the left, Craig Hall’s glancing header sent Micky Wetherall’s side into a strong position in this match. To their credit, Walden responded though found visiting stopper Michael Gooch in good form, showing some good decision-making. As the hour mark was approaching, Gilchrist’s low drive was well-stopped by O’Sullivan following Hall’s good ball in from the M & B right flank. O’Sullivan had to be alert to deny a clever routine from a corner from the visitors which ended in a long-range strike. M & B got their wish though with 25 minutes left as Gilchrist’s sweet strike sailed past O’Sullivan to send the Eastern Senior League South side into dreamland.
The hosts were a little deflated, understandably, though still searched for a way back into the game and after Gooch punched out a good delivery into the area, Francis headed wide when in a decent position. Soon after that, after a cracking delivery from Francis, SWT forward Charlie Portway smashed an effort against the underside of the crossbar, it did deserve better though perhaps it was a marker that it may not be the hosts’ day.
That said, after Gooch had denied another long-range drive by Bell, Walden did get on the score-sheet with 12 minutes remaining as Portway was all alone in the box and rifled home well. Three minutes later, Bell’s deflected cross was skied over by Francis. In fairness the central defensive pair of Dean Hall and Joe Maskell were very dependable for the visitors.
More gloss was added to the scoreline late on as Tom Harvey powered home a close-range strike from a narrow angle which only crowned off a momentous day for the visitors and a rare off-day for the home side.
Full-Time: Saffron Walden Town 1 – 4 May & Baker
I’d just like to say a thank you to Saffron Walden for their fine hospitality all-round today, it is a really nice ground as I hope the pictires convey, with the back-drop not being too shabby either.
Saffron Walden Town | Manager: Stuart Wardley
Neil O’Sullivan (GK), Spike Bell (Capt), James Solkhon, Ashley Skeggs, Jamie Riley, Ruben Da Silva (Joe Cunning 53′), Craig Calver, Jack Mead (Malchi Rivett-Leigertwood 66′), Greg Strong (Ronnie Ledwith 85′), Charlie Portway, Lewis Francis
Goal-scorer: Charlie Portway [78′]
Booked: Portway | Subs Not Used: Davies, Wardley
May & Baker E.C. | Manager: Micky Wetherall
Michael Gooch (GK), Dean Hall, Kiel Chandler (Daniel Lopes 69′), Tom Harvey, Elliott Carter, Joe Maskell, Craig Hall (Luke Dickins 64′), Conor Okus, Reece Tranter (Lewis Wallen 74′), Dan Gilchrist, Henry Osei
Goal-scorers: Reece Tranter [27′], Craig Hall [49′], Dan Gilchrist [65′] & Tom Harvey [87′]
Booked: Lopes | Subs Not Used: Martin
Referee: Reece Pinchback