(Photo by Paul Baxter)
Stansted 5 Saffron Walden Town 0
Errington Challenge Cup Semi Final
Tuesday 2nd April
Report by Matt North
Stansted are into the final of the Errington Challenge Cup after a 5-0 thrashing over Saffron Walden at Hargrave Park. On paper, this game looked like it would be a close contest. However, the home side were just too good for Walden on the day and the score line showed that. A total attendance of 271 were there to see this huge semi-final clash.
Just four minutes into the game, the Airportmen had themselves an early lead. The ball was thrown into the penalty area with it falling to Paul Clayton. Clayton, from six yards out made no mistake in volleying the ball home into the roof of the net for 1-0. Up the other end, Lewis Francis was played in on goal for Walden. However, keeper Charlie Turner was quick to react and intercepted. Moments later, Stansted were at it again this time through Callum Ibe. The Stansted man had an attempt from outside the box which was deflected and out for a corner.
With a quarter of an hour played, Jack Mitchell delivered in a corner for the home side. It reached the head of James Peagram, where his close-range header was tipped over brilliantly by Neil O’Sullivan in the Walden goal. Soon after, Stansted had another chance to make it 2. An error from Ryan Fleming gifted a chance to Ibe, where his effort was saved. It was very much all Stansted in the first half and they were the dominant side.
Walden soon had an opportunity through Charlie Portway. Francis played a pass to him where his shot was blocked. Not long after, the hosts nearly scored their second of the evening as Ibe and Peagram combined. Ibe played an exquisite pass to Peagram whose attempt was blocked. However, with half an hour played, the Airportmen doubled their advantage. Captain Billy Coyne crossed into the box, where it reached Peagram back post, who headed in from close range.
Six minutes later and Stansted made it 3-0. The ball fell to Callum Ibe from inside the penalty area and he struck the ball sweetly into the net. It was fair to say Stansted were in complete control this game. Walden soon had an opportunity up the other end. Greg Strong had a chance to find a way back into the game for his side, but his shot hit the side netting. That was the last action of the half as Stansted went in at 3-0 up.
Into the second half and Stansted were starting from where they left off. Ollie Bell passed to Peagram where his first-time effort was over the bar. 12 minutes into the second half and the Airportmen made it 4-0, this time Ollie Bell getting in on the act. The ball fell to him on the edge of the box and struck it with the ball taking a slight deflect beating O’Sullivan.
Just halfway through the half and Walden had an opportunity from a corner. It was delivered in and a header from Jamie Riley went just over the bar. Moments after, Stansted were awarded a penalty after Callum Ibe was brought down in the area. Peagram stepped up but O’Sullivan guessed the right way and saved the spot kick. But right after, Ibe was fouled yet again where the ref gave another penalty. This time Ibe stepped up and didn’t have any trouble converting his kick, calmly slotting it home for 5-0.
With Stansted certain for the final, Walden were still trying to get a goal and nearly had one if it wasn’t for a superb save by Charlie Turner. A corner was crossed in with a header hitting the frame of the goal. It came back out where another header was denied by Turner. With not long left, the Stansted keeper was nearly caught out as Greg Strong’s deflected attempt hit the crossbar and came back into play. A final chance of the game came from the visitors by substitute Tom Lakin, with his shot saved again. That was the last action of the game with Stansted winning 5-0. The Airportmen will take on West Essex in the final after their 4-2 win at Clapton. The final will take place at Bishop’s Stortfords ground on Bank Holiday Monday, May the 6th.
Stansted: Charlie Turner, Jamie Bennett, Billy Coyne (Capt), Sam West, Jack West, Paul Clayton, Callum Ibe, Rob Norris, James Peagram, Ollie Bell, Jack Mitchell
Scorers – Paul Clayton (4), James Peagram (30), Callum Ibe (36, 72’p), Ollie Bell (57)
Saffron Walden: Neil O’Sullivan, Spike Bell, Jack Mead, Ryan Fleming (capt), Jamie Riley, Scott Pethers, Craig Calver, Ashley Skeggs, Greg Strong, Charlie Portway, Lewis Francis
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