Seasiders 2 Wivenhoe 0

Thurlow Nunn League

Premier Division

Saturday 23rd September 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think the last week has ably demonstrated how sides raise their games as they try to become the first ones to lower the Seasiders’ colours in the league/league cup this season. You have to look back to 1963 to find the record start to the season, when Bury Town won 18 consecutive games and we are somewhat short of that figure after Saturday’s win. But having said that, what the side have achieved to date is magnificent, while still somewhat short of Wroxham 34/44 wins 1996-97 and Chelmsford City 16/18 wins in 1946-47. Chelmsford went through that season undefeated, to set a record, but 18 games undefeated, in an 18 game season!

So it’s put the calculators away and let’s enjoy the ride while we are on it - when the current magnificent run comes to an end, I will be the first to clap the side off the pitch saying “Thanks for the ride, guys!” and I’m pretty confident I won’t be standing by myself!

I well remember the days when we had the proverbial 'One man and his dog' watching us, so we are clearly improving as we now have 'One man and his Two dogs' watching!

Most pleasing for me this week has been the side performing well, when not at their best. Able to dig in and get a result - credit to Wivenhoe (and Whitton), who were notably second best at half time, but they came out for the second period and took the game to the Seasiders, having plenty of possession but finding the home defence resolute and basic when needed, restricting the visitors to just one serious effort on goal, saved by Danny Crump.

You don’t want to overstate the side’s performance, pride before a fall etc. etc… but neither should it be understated. What the side have done so far is attract a crowd of well over 400 on a regular basis at the Goldstar, and produced performances to make them want to come back for more, something that has never happened before on the Peninsula, but hopefully now something that will continue, ad infinitum!

The club moved nine points clear at the top of the Premier Division, extending their winning start to the season to 11 games, but they were made to work for the points in the second half against battling visitors whose football belied their lowly league position.

Comfortably ahead at the break, the Seasiders looked on course to extend their run of scoring five goals into a 5th game, but the Dragons came out for the second period determined to make sure that didn’t happen. They certainly halted the flow of the Seasiders’ game but other than one outstanding save from Danny Crump, they lacked the firepower in front of goal against a solid defence who had to be at their best, to get themselves back into the game.  

There was a lively start to the match - the visitors forced a first minute corner that came to nothing before play switched to the other end, with three Wivenhoe players going into the referee’s book in the 5th minute at the end of a fracas, after David Lopez had brought down Jordan Matthews in a central position. Although the offender wasn’t one of the three involved in the subsequent polished handbags at three paces, that saw Mr Sannerude produce his yellow cards. When the dust had settled, Stuart Ainsley played the resultant free kick into the area and Rhys Barber, up for the kick, planted it wide of the target.

it was the home side who were dominant in the opening half, with Joe Francis firing into the side netting and Barber missing a glorious chance at the end of a sweeping move before Matthews opened the scoring on 26 minutes, at the end of slick build up.

Joe Francis and Scott Chaplin were involved in a flowing build up that ended with Stuart Ainsley squaring the ball low and hard into the six-yard box. Matt Grove looked to have collected the ball under pressure from Sheridan Driver, but then fumbled, letting in Matthews to stab the ball into the unguarded net. Both the ‘keeper and Driver needed attention from the respective Physios before the game restarted, and it was the non-stop dynamo Jordan Matthews who was alert seven minutes later, pouncing on Barker’s weak back pass to nick it off Grove and round the ‘keeper for the home side’s second.

The home side should have been further ahead at the break but some wayward finishing and good defending kept the score down to 2-0, and after the break the Seasiders never had the same urgency in their play they had shown during the first 45 minutes, while Wivenhoe did step up their game and saw a lot more of the ball. Over the 45 minutes, Danny Crump was only called in to serious action just once, making an agile save to deny Matt Grove with a close range header.

Both sides used their complement of substitutes which broke up the pattern of play, and the home side kept a grip on the game to ensure the visitors never got back into serious contention - had they scored, the result might not have been quite so comfortable, but with just seven goals scored in their 10 games played to date, they are clearly finding it difficult to test sides.

The tough games keep coming, and wherever the Dragons’ league position is, we never find them an easy opposition, and the same could be said of the next two games. On Wednesday, we make the relatively short journey to Walsham Le Willows, followed next weekend by Saffron Walden away. If our unbeaten record remains intact after those two games, you may just catch me with a smile on my face!

Good to have our manager Kevin O'Donnell on Radio Suffolk after the game, indeed, good to have Radio Suffolk at the game, he sounded quite eloquent for a brief moment in time! Well done Kev, well done everyone on the playing and management side!