Seasiders 5 Brantham 1

Friday 15th September 2017

Thurlow Nunn League

Premier Division














My Ghast is Flabbered! WOW!

454 spectators through the turnstiles on a wet Friday night, playing a side that thrashed us 7-2 the last time we met at The Goldstar, on the opening day of the season!

Who were they? Gluttons for punishment with a kinky masochistic streak?

Over the 90 minutes’ football, the question was answered with an emphatic performance from the Seasiders. They were supporters who have become used to watching a very good side, and that was again the case on Friday evening.

With three players missing for a variety of reasons, the management named three of the current under 18 squad on the subs bench for the game, with one of them called into action for his debut in the last couple of minutes - an event and milestone in its own right, with more detail later in this report.

With many anticipating a large crowd to watch the game, their hopes and expectations were dampened in the hour before kick-off as the rain lashed down, but they needn’t have worried, as a magnificent 454 came through the turnstiles, plus 50 or so under 16’s who came through the ‘free’ gate.

There were a couple of changes from the side that went nap at Thetford the previous Saturday, but the shape didn’t change and Stuart Boardley came in for his first start in a Seasiders shirt wearing the no 8. There was plenty of apprehension as kick-off neared, with that previous result at the fore of many minds, but also anticipation of being able to put that result behind us, and the ground looked resplendent under the lights as the game got under way.

It didn’t start well; in fact, it was a potential disaster, as Sam Newson connected with Ed Nobbs’ cross into the area with just two minutes on the clock, to send the visitors into raptures, envisioning another all-star show at The Goldstar, at the Seasiders’ expense.

To me, it quickly became apparent that wasn’t likely to happen, as the Seasiders took a firm grip on proceedings and before Brantham had time to settle it was all square, with Boardley celebrating his elevation to the starting line with a superb finish to a sweeping move between Jordan Matthews and Joe Francis, with the latter laying the ball back for Boardley to rifle his shot into the roof of the net from 18 yards, with just seven minutes on the clock.

From that point, there only looked one winner as the home side stepped up a gear with the visitors contained in their own half for long periods, and in the 26th minute the goal the Seasiders had threatened came with an emphatic downward header at the far post by Miles Powell, as he met a superb 40 yard cross from Stuart Ainsley.

There had been three goals in 26 minutes, and no matter who you were supporting you had to give credit to the quality of all three. Brantham had a spell of pressure before the break but found the home defence steadfast, while both Brantham fullbacks went into the referee’s book for challenges within 90 seconds of each other. Will Crissell was first after catching Scott Chaplin late, quickly followed by Ed Nobbs for a challenge on Callum Bennett.

Sean Bartlett went down in the 51st minute and stayed down when he and Dan Davis collided as both tried to get a loose ball, and after partially recovering he was withdrawn, to be replaced by Aaron Skeggs.

It looked as though it should have been 3-1 on the hour when Powell again headed downwards with Hawkins beaten and the ball looked a foot over the line as Nobbs hooked it clear, but there was no signal from the assistant referee and play was waved on. It was only a temporary reprieve though, as Joe Francis struck a stunning 20yard volley past the visitors ‘keeper from Callum Bennett’s throw-in without the ball touching the ground or any other player. Hawkins didn’t move as the ball flew past him, and it signalled the end of any likelihood Brantham had of getting back in the game.

It was 4-1 in the 72nd minute as Powell collected the ball close to the halfway line and bore down on Hawkins’ goal, under close attention from two defenders who he shook off before producing an excellent finish from 15 yards.

Brantham’s joint manager, Michael Brothers picked up the game’s third yellow card 3 minutes after coming on to replace Jack Smith, and with three minutes left on the clock Powell made the visitors’ misery complete and put to bed the ghost of that opening day defeat when he completed his hat-trick after Hawkins had saved his initial shot, reacting quickest to strike the rebound beyond the visitors ‘keeper from six yards.

I’m always looking for a good story to tell, and the game threw one up right at the end. With the 90-minute mark rapidly approaching, the Seasiders’ management threw on their third substitute, 18 year old Lewis Hutchins, who became the first player to appear at every age group for the club and all three senior sides, starting as a 6year old. He didn’t get too many minutes, but no doubt he enjoyed the experience, and whatever the future holds, they can never take that record away from him - well done, Lewis!

p.s He was back in action on Saturday afternoon for the reserves when they hosted Long Melford, playing the full 90 minutes, having played for the Under 18’s in their 2-0 Suffolk Under 18 Midweek Cup win. Not a bad week’s work, not on the losing side once!

It's back at The Goldstar on Tuesday evening for our first outing in the League Cup (maybe our only outing) when we host Whitton United who currently sit second in Division One, a point behind Woodbridge Town having played one game more, there are no easy games for us, we will be a major scalp for a young Whitton side so there will be no room for complacency.

Please Note. Season Tickets are not valid for this game, it is an ALL PAY match. (League Rules)