Thetford 0 Seasiders 5

Thurlow Nunn League

Premier Division

Saturday 9th September 2017

Story Phil Griffiths

Pictures Stan Baston

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where does one begin? I’ve been watching the Seasiders for over 40 years and down the decades I have seen some good sides gracing the red & white shirts, either as Felixstowe Town, Felixstowe Port & Town or Felixstowe & Walton United, and after watching this game I think I have seen the pick of the bunch, and at their best over this 90 minutes, hopefully there is plenty more to come to draw greater and greater support from the town of Felixstowe!

No one involved at the club is naïve enough to think that we can go through the season with a 100% record, with each game getting more difficult than the last, as sides step up their own game to try and be the first ones to lower the Seasiders colours. Defeat will inevitably come at some point so best enjoy the accolades while we can.

One accolade of I am particularly proud, as I’m sure are the management, is that the top 250 Non-League Clubs in the country are headed by us, Felixstowe & Walton United, 9 games, 9 wins!

I think the whole club were apprehensive about this fixture, last season we lost 3-1 at Mundford Road, going into the game on a six match winning run having scored 20 goals without conceding, and following the game, going on another four match winning run!

There was certainly no feeling of over confidence, despite our good record this term with everyone of the opinion… this would be our stiffest test yet!

Again, the supporters turned out in force, adding around 60 to Thetford’s average gate this term, and there is no doubt they have been a big boost for the side both home and away.

The home side started the day in third place, having lowered the colours of early leaders Coggeshall Town the previous week with a 3-2 win, and look a far more competitive side this term having made a couple of significant signings during the summer.

The game started with both sides forcing a string of early corners, all of which came to nothing with Thetford’s captain Ross Bailey going closest, forcing Danny Crump into conceding the Seasiders second corner of the game in the 6th minute. Matt Morton cleared for a corner at the other end as Callum Bennett, making his first start of the season, swung the ball into the near post from a Joe Francis lay back.

The home side’s full back, Glen Shepherd, broke quickly in the 15th minute but his shot was that of a full back, high, wide and not so handsome. Both Dan Davis and Rhys Barber had to make crucial interceptions and clearances in the area as Thetford pressed and the corner count continued to rise at both ends.

Max Melanson picked up a yellow card for a challenge on Bennett which was to prove expensive before the game was over, and Crump saved from Ben Anderson at the expense of a corner. Felixstowe soaked up plenty of pressure with Crump again in action to deny Ross Bailey, punching clear, and Stuart Ainsley made another goal-line clearance before Bailey tested Crump again just before the break.

The visitors were certainly happy to hear the referee’s whistle indicating half time had arrived, and I don’t know what was in the half time cuppa but Felixstowe came out for the second period looking a different side, stepping their game up and adding pace to their attacks.

Jordan Matthews saw his effort saved by Barnes at the expense of a corner in the 48th minute, and should have opened the scoring two minutes later but put his effort the wrong side of the upright. Miles Powell saw his headed effort from a corner saved by Barnes with the aid of a post, but the pressure was mounting on the home defence and in the 53rd minute, Bennett’s free kick into the area picked out Scott Chaplin, who saw his initial shot saved by Barnes but not held and both watched as the ball rolled across the goal line.

It all got a bit heated in the 57th minute when Melanson caught Matthews after the Felixstowe No10 had played the ball out to Francis. I’m not sure there was too much intention in the tackle but it was late and dangerous, and referee Giovani Maresca had little option other than to show him a second yellow card to add to the one in the first half with the red following. Joe Francis was disappointed the referee had stopped play as Matthews’ pass had put him clear of the home defence with a clear run at goal, but the decision was the right one and the chances of Thetford getting back in the game were greatly reduced with Melanson now a mere spectator.

Robbie Priddle did test Crump with a shot from distance, but the momentum was with the Seasiders with Barnes saving from Bennett and Powell somehow missing the target with a header from close range. It’s a funny old game, as Jimmy used to say, Powell’s effort must be in contention for miss of the season, but a minute later he played the perfect ball into Joe Francis’ path for the Seasiders No7 to run into the Thetford area and finish with aplomb to double the Seasiders tally.

Any hopes the home side had or any doubt about where the points were going was decided in a 10 second spell in the 75th minute. Morton sent a thumping header against Crump’s left hand post, and from the rebound and clearance Felixstowe broke away for Chaplin to produce a high quality finish and make it 3-0.

From that point the Seasiders could have scored four or five goals as the home side’s resistance faded while the Seasiders got stronger, but it was left to livewire Jordy Matthews to gain reward for a tireless display, adding a fourth in the 84th minute after being set up by Francis, and making it five three minutes later with a goal of the highest quality, turning in the box and smashing a shot into the roof of the net.

The side will not be resting on their laurels as they now turn their attention to Friday night and a home league game against Brantham Athletic. Yes, it still hurts, the 7-2 defeat on the opening day of the season that saw us make our early exit from the FA Cup, but this will not be a ‘revenge’ match, the opportunity is there to make it ten/ten in the league, and that will be far more important than any ‘revenge’. The pressure mounts with each game, and that encounter will be just as difficult as this one – hopefully, we will have a packed house at The Goldstar ground with Friday Night Football on offer for the first time in the new clubhouse.

Be a Seasider, join us Friday!