James Solkhon, Will McClelland and Scott Piggott were all on target as Sawbridgeworth Town faced defeat in their opening game against Saffron Walden Town.
The bloods dominated much of the match and were clinical with their chances, while Sawbo had their fair share of chances, but were unlucky as they were denied by the woodwork four times in the game.
Both sides looked to come out of the traps fast, but it was Walden who had the first chances of the game. A shot was deflected wide in the opening minutes before a free-kick was floated into the box, but Toby Smith held on well. The hosts also looked to float a ball in the box, but James Young matched his opposition number and held on well.
Walden found a foothold in the game as they pressured the Robins defence. A ball was played over to Scott Piggott, but Smith held on before he could poke home before the away side called for a penalty as Craig Calver went down under some pressure, but the referee waved the shouts away. The pressure continued from the Bloods as a shot was just fired over before Gavin Cockman looked to cross the bar into a dangerous area, but it was blocked on the edge of the box. The visitors wondered how they weren’t ahead in the 22nd-minute as the ball fell to Cockman in the box, but his shot was blocked before Alfie Hylton fired over the rebound.
They didn’t have to wait long through as the deadlock was broken in the 28th-minute. Sawbo had looked to relieve the pressure by moving the ball upfield but Morgan Arnold was halted by a great challenge before a minute later, the ball had fallen to James Solkhon, who poked the ball beyond the keeper. The goal only boosted the away side’s press as they sought another goal. Gavin Cockman played a clever free-kick into Calver, but his shot was fired over before the latter looked to assist himself, but his cross was over everyone.
The second came in the 36th-minute as Will McClelland got his goal for the afternoon. The ball fell to the Walden player in the box, and like the first, it was poked beyond the keeper. Sawbridgeworth Town looked to respond immediately as Eric Koduah made a good run, but his shot was just wide of the post. The half was ended well by Sawbo, but they couldn’t find the back of the net. Arnold made a good run, but his shot from an angle rattled the underside of the bar and stayed out, before he looked to lift the ball over the keeper, but Young got a strong hand to the ball before the follow-up shot was deflected inches wide.
Right from the restart, Walden found themselves back on top. Solkhon fired a shot at goal, but the keeper saved well before Cockman looked to drive a dangerous ball across the face of goal, but no one was close enough to tap it home.
The Robins had a couple of chances themselves following the pressure, but they couldn’t make them count. A free-kick was floated into the box, but cleared well by the visitors before Frank Oatham rose well to meet the ball, but his header was off the post. The visitors settled and looked to come forward again. A well worked corner saw the ball fed to Scott Pethers on the edge of the box, but his shot was fired over before Walden had their third a minute later. A Sawbo defender looked to head the ball back to the safety of his keeper, but the header was short and Scott Piggott headed it beyond the keeper.
With less than 15-minutes to play, it was clear it wasn’t the Robins afternoon as Tim Strike struck a ball toward goal from distance, but his effort was off the post before another effort was just wide a minute later. Sawbo continued to search for a goal in the closing stages, but Walden defended well to hold onto their clean sheet. Walden were reduced to 10-men as a second bookable offence saw the Bloods have a man dismissed, but that didn’t affect the scoreline. The Robins went close once again from the resulting free-kick, but Fred Griffiths’ effort struck the post once again.
Despite trying to get the ball forward in injury time, the game was brought to an end after three added minutes.