Match report by Izaak Darvill.
Going into the new season Long Road went into the game with a fairly new squad against a reasonably good Saffron Walden side that had plenty of quality. In a well battled first half between two well organised teams chances were few and far between with the ball mainly dealt with in the heart of midfield by both teams. However, Long Road managed to find freedom down both flanks, with Josh Lewis and Josh Starling exposing the Saffron Walden full backs lack of pace, regularly winning corners for the team.
In a first half that lacked finesse and a spark of light from either team, Saffron Walden came up against a resilient Long Road defence, who time and time again sent the ball back towards the half way line. Moving into the closing minutes of the first half, Long Road had the chance to take the lead after the opposing keeper parried a decent half volley strike from Long Road captain Josh Lewis into the path of striker Jasper Bridges. Who blasted the ball over the bar from yards out.
Unable to capitalise on the weak Walden defending, Long Road managed to remain in control of the game and were awarded through a Harry Harding tap in, after the ball found its way through the Walden defence from a corner, assisted by Josh Starling, for their persistence on the stroke of half time. Making the score 1-0.
Moving into the second half, Long Road dug in defensively, but were able to keep the ball on the floor and play some very nice link up play that at one stage did lead to a possible penalty shout for the college, after a good one-two between Josh Lewis and Josh James. The former seemed to be fouled when bearing down on the goal. However, the referee wasn’t having any of it. In the latter stages of the second half, the game became very even once more with the ball going back and forth between the teams regularly. Which lead to some frustration shown by the Walden midfielders when one player got booked for descent.
Putting on a fairly responsible and organised display Long Road were able to see the game through and open the new season with a 1-0 win.
Scorer: Harry Harding – Assist: Josh Starling