Seasiders 4 FC Clacton 2

Thurlow Nunn League

Premier Division

Friday 1st December 2017 7:45pm

Pictures: Stan Baston ; Report: Chris Ryan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They say when the going gets tough, the tough get going, and the last couple of weeks has seen the side dig in and grind out results. The management don’t complain about selection problems due to an extended injury list, as in most cases, the opposing clubs have their own problems, and I think that was very much the case for this game.

What Messrs O’Donnell & Watson had to do was fill the subs bench with youngsters who they felt might well have a good future at senior level, and named three of the four subs from players currently in the under 18 squad. Two of them got to make their debuts, and one of those two got on the scoresheet - he described himself on twitter later Friday evening as ‘buzzing!’

This game marked the beginning of the second half of the season, and with the first half having seen the side lose just once and draw just once, it was a case of re-focusing, starting again and look to get as close to that first half of the season total as possible. What nobody seems to have done is to tell the opposition, and on Friday night, the Essex Seasiders looked anything but the perennial strugglers they have been in recent seasons.

The reverse fixture back in late August ended in a comfortable victory 3-0, but the Essex Seasiders looked a much more focused side for this game, playing some decent football that had the home side stretched at times.

Big thanks to Chris Ryan, who compiled this report in the absence of yours truly!

Lewis Smy's 90th minute debut goal saw the Seasiders maintain their 100% home league record with a 4-2 win against a hard working FC Clacton side that ensured the home victory was not confirmed until the final whistle. 

Scott Chaplin drilled home from Francis' cross in the third minute to open the scoring, with Francis and Kerridge both testing the visiting defence as Felixstowe dominated the opening period without increasing their lead.

Jordan Brazitis was delighted but as surprised as everyone else in the ground to see his deep cross from the left wing strike the far post and nestle in the back of the home net on 14 minutes, to bring the sides level. Jake Plane's well struck free kick brought an excellent save from Danny Crump in the home goal as the visitors enjoyed a good spell before Felixstowe once again gained the ascendancy.
Barber headed wide from Boardley's free kick, with a flowing move down the Clacton left enabling Felixstowe to regain the lead as Craig Jennings converted Callum Bennett's cross.

Jennings produced a defence splitting pass with Clacton keeper Luke Avenell quickly off his line to deny Francis, but there was no denying Rhys Barber's powerful header from Francis' cross on 32 minutes, as the home side opened up a two goal lead.
The lead looked comfortable until Cowler's deep cross into the home area on the stroke of half time was not adequately dealt with, and Jake Plane fired the ball home to keep the visitors hopes very much alive.

Clacton's Avenell was the busier of the two keepers in the second half, producing a fine save from Bennett at the expense of a corner, and collecting Chaplin's flag kick with confidence under pressure.
Encouraged by the home side’s inability to increase the lead, despite creating numerous chances, Coyle urged his team forward, but they were limited to shots from distance that failed to test Crump in the home goal.

16year old Rory Porter and 17year old Lewis Smy were introduced late in the game with both impressing on debut. With the clock running down, Chaplin saw his goal bound shot blocked for a corner with his flag kick turned home by Lewis Smy, to the delight of his colleagues and the home fans in the 300+ crowd. 

16year old Joe Hunt was the youngster to miss out on what would have been a second outing at senior level, with Kristian Haighton having already been used to replace the injured Stuart Boardley at half time.

With our nearest challengers Coggeshall Town dropping points at Godmanchester, and Stowmarket losing at home to Kirkley, while Brantham could only manage a draw at Haverhill Borough, it meant our lead at the top was extended to 22 points, and Coggeshall’s 5 games in hand can only produce 15 points, putting the pressure on a bit, but also on the other sides chasing us. I’d rather be us than them!