After a massive break from our last appearance at the Lodge, we welcome Barkingside for an ESL fixture. Barkingside are having a torrid time this season and sit bottom of the table and have, to date, yet to register a League win.
Chris Lecointe has recently transferred from our club to Barkingside and I would be extremely surprised if he was not out to prove a point to us this evening, so we will have to keep a keen eye on him
I also note that former players Ryan Imbert/Daniel Laurent/Ashley Wackers (who did not start a competitive game for us and Garjay Thompson are registered for our visitors, but, looking at recent line ups, I see that only Thompson has started a game.
Since our last game here, we have played three away games. We won comfortably at Redbridge with three unanswered goals, before a battling performance, against the elements as much as the home side, at Cricklefields, never an easy at that ground at the best of times, let alone in teaming rain for the majority of the game.
The away game at Saffron Walden was dramatic for several different reasons.
First of all, we knew it would be a tough ask, a long away trip to a side in form, the same as us.
But, what made things much more difficult was a referee who seemed to consider all of our challenges to be worth awarding a free kick, often accompanied by a yellow card and similar challenges from the home team, sometimes not even worthy of a free kick, let alone the coloured cardboard out of the top pocket.
Looking at the fixture list page on our website and the team line ups, our side of the page looks like the canvass of an abstract painting whilst the other side of the page has a blank canvass
I have seen a video clip of their third goal and it should have been disallowed on two counts – firstly a foul on our defender who challenged for the original header from the long throw into our box and then the scorer was clearly offside when he headed home
I did notice that even the referee’s guide dog was wearing a Saffron Walden scarf.
To defend against accusations of “one eyed” bias, as bad as the referee’s, even the home fans could not believe how many decisions were going their way
With so many yellow cards being chucked our way, it was almost inevitable that one of our players would end up getting a red and so it proved (answers on a postcard if anyone knows what the second offence Junior committed to get his second yellow)
It did seem at the end the referee was allowing play to go on until they got their equaliser – how else do you explain eleven minutes of added time?
But, although the sending off greatly influenced the game and gave us an even harder task to get the win, the reason we came away disappointed was the face that, both before and after Junior’s sending off, we missed several chances to put the game out of reach of our hosts.
A fourth goal at that time would have definitely given Walden too much to do to get any points, however long the referee allowed play to continue for
Some people took exception to the comment I made on email after the game, saying that we had missed a wasted opportunity to make up ground on Hullbridge Sports, who surprisingly lost 2-1 at Sawbridgeworth, who, of course, we beat convincingly about a month ago and I stand by that
To be fair, I have to agree with the manager’s view that he would have taken seven points from three away games, before the games, but, given the nature of the draw at Saffron Walden, it actually felt like a defeat, immediately after the game, but, looking at it objectively, it was still a point collected and extended our unbeaten run to eight games.
I firmly believe there is only one side who can stop us from making a genuine effort for the league title and that team is us.
We have a superb squad of players, most, if not all, would get into sides at Bostick League level and we are currently on an unbeaten run of eight games.
Also, we have seen already that the management team have the right contacts to bring in players to add value to the team with the arrival of players like, Billy Jones/Reece Conway and most recently, Matt Brinklow, who has experience in the ESL at both Hullbridge and Basildon United
The team, when they are on their game, which is more often than not, are superb to watch and sometimes impossible to stop for the opposition, so we rally do have it in our own hands to fulfil the potential that our attacking play deserves
That is why it is such shame that we have not accumulated more points so far and are hanging on to the coat tails of Hulbridge and Stansted and not standing toe to toe with them, which is what our football deserves
On top of that we even have our own song, it will certainly get my vote in the Eurovision, come on now everyone “Walthamstow FC, we’ll support you ever more”, beats “You’ll Never Walk Alone” hands down
We now have a run of three games, at home, against sides from the bottom half of the table and we need, starting tonight, to turn on our “A” game to ensure we collect a “full house” of points in these matches
That should ensure that we make up ground on Hullbrige and Stansted and set us up nicely for another “tasty” away trip to the team currently in second place