Headlines should tell a story, but be cunningly cryptic to entice the reader in for more. Today I had so much to play with, especially as the result was a foregone conclusion. But this is the game we all love so much for its unpredictability so I had to rethink. Therefore before we start I thought I would explain what my title actually means:-
“Maldon and Tiptree” – home team
“Assalted” – not a misspelling but a pun on the fact that Maldon is famous for its sea salt production
“by” – preposition meaning near to or through a medium
“Jammy” – a pun on the fact that Tiptree is globally famous for its jam still manufactured today by J Wilkins & Sons
“Motormen” – nickname of the away team Redbridge FC
So there we have the full explanation, you can read on.
With the cold snap giving way to rapid melting, for what seems like the millionth weekend in a row, the Non League football calendar was decimated once again. Many games hadn’t even made it to Saturday and by lunchtime my options were being decreased by the minute. However, my first option (after Lewes’s inevitable postponement away to snowy Wingate & Finchley) was still on, and on without a pitch inspection planned. I was off to the deepest corner of Essex to the home of salt and jam. Welcome to Maldon and Tiptree.
The two towns aren’t really next to each other. In fact Maldon and Heybridge are neighbours, divided by Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation, one of the closest rivalries in the Isthmian league. But Maldon Town and Tiptree United decided to join forces instead back in 2009 through the vision of the Tiptree Chairman who saw an opportunity to be THE premier footballing team in the North Eastern Chelmsford area. Who said football chairman were power-hungry meglomaniacs?
After seasons of mid-table performances in the Isthmian league, this year saw the start of something special. The Blues started the season with a bang of gigantic proportions. After draws in two of their first three league games, they went on a winning run of fourteen consecutive Ryman League matches. Their run was only ended in the Boxing Day derby at Heybridge when they suffered their first defeat of the season, and indeed was the first time they had failed to score a goal in ninety minutes. The league title still seemed all but wrapped up. And then for some unknown reason they took the effect of the defeat into the New Year. An unconvincing 3-0 win away at bottom of the table Ilford was followed up by a nil nil draw to Waltham Abbey, the first points the team had dropped at home all season. Surely lightning wouldn’t strike twice with the visit of Redbridge, themselves desperately trying to stay out of the relegation zone? The stats suggested a banker home win. Maldon & Tiptree were a mere 47 points above their visitors, with a goal difference of 90 between the two. Continue reading