Brantham 1 Seasiders 1

Thurlow Nunn League

Premier Division

Saturday 25th November 2017

Pictures Stan Baston, Story Phil Griffiths.

Meetings between the clubs down the years have traditionally been close affairs, with little to separate the sides - the last four seasons (including the current one) have produced four wins for the Seasiders, three for the Blue Imps and a draw (yesterday). Plus of course the spectacular 7-2 for Brantham in the FA Cup this season, so the fact that this game ended as a draw didn’t come as too much of a shock or surprise for either camp.

Once again, the Seasiders supporters were on tour and turned out in good numbers at the Leisure Centre with one of the club sponsors – Coastal Global Logistics – sponsoring the game, plus laying on a mini-coach to carry a few of them over the Orwell and round the Stour. Big thanks to Matt Hope for that, sadly Brantham don’t publish their attendances but did say the attendance for this game was 142, which, if correct would mean well over half had made the journey from Felixstowe, so again, a huge thank you guys, brilliant support and the players certainly knew you were in attendance!

You have to have a fairly large squad if you are to compete at the top of the league and both the sides do, but both found their resources stretched for this game. I don’t know the intricacies of the Brantham set up, but I do know the Seasiders were short of six players including leading scorer Miles Powell… there was a new face on the bench with striker Sam Ford having joined the club in midweek, but defensively there was little room to manoeuvre with Steff Mallardo & Taylor Hastings both side-lined & Stuart Ainsley unavailable, while     

Jordy Matthews is always missed when out through injury. That’s not making excuses as the home side had their own problems, just a fact of life of non-league football.

No-one should have left the Leisure Centre disappointed with the standard of the football produced, played at a good pace with both sides looking to play attacking football with both in contention for a promotion spot, so plenty riding on the game.

The first 45 minutes was end to end football with Brantham’s Kyle Ferguson making a couple of probing runs while Scott Chaplin was his usual livewire self, keeping the home defence on their toes.

The first half chance came in the 17th minute when Brantham conceded a corner, Stuart Boardley’s flag kick was only half cleared as far as Joe Francis, who got power into his header but it was just too high. Danny Crump had to punch clear under pressure from a Craig Hughes corner at the other end, and the Seasiders had to defend in depth to deny the hosts an opening.

The few half chances created were coming from set pieces and Rhys Barber’s header from a Scott Chaplin corner was just the wrong side of the upright in the 23rd minute, and Brantham had to make an early substitution when Terry Rymer went down injured just before the half hour, with Sean Bartlett getting an early introduction to the game.

Josh Kerridge headed wide of Robinson’s right hand post as the half drew to a close, with the Seasiders gaining the upper hand in the closing minutes of the half but unable to find a way through.

The deadlock was broken a minute into the second period when Kerridge made a probing run from the half way line and fired the visitors ahead with an unstoppable volley from 20 yards.

Michael Brothers twice went close for the home side before full back Ed Nobbs drew the sides level with 15 minutes left, breaking away from a Felixstowe corner and in a one on one with Danny Crump saw his initial effort parried, but the loose ball rebounded kindly into his path and he slotted it into an empty net.

The game could have gone either way in the final 15 minutes - Joe Francis, on a jinxing run, was denied by a spectacular save from Robinson late on tipping Francis’s looping shot over the bar, and Michael Brothers saw his clever effort rattle the Seasiders’ bar in a high tension finish before the referee called time.

      

      

For the neutral it was as good a game of football as you will get at this level, both sides had decent chances to win the game but both sets of management knew how close it was. No midweek game for the Seasiders but it’s Friday night football once more when FC Clacton are the visitors for an 8pm kick-off. Our last Friday night game, at home to Hadleigh United just a month ago attracted 623 supporters, and it would be brilliant to see all of you back on Friday evening as the side continue their chase for promotion.