Seasiders 2 Ipswich Wanderers 0

Thurlow Nunn League

Premier Division

Tuesday 10th April 2018

Word: Barry Grossmith - Pictures Stan Baston

In the run in to the end of the season, when a team vying for the league title plays host to a side struggling to fend off relegation, there may be one or two people who might assume a home victory is all but guaranteed. And when the team near the bottom has just suffered a 6-1 defeat whilst the home side have just enjoyed a 4-0 victory away, it would be hard to argue against that belief. But to ensure success in football, nobody should ever assume a straightforward win.

It was on Boxing day when The Seasiders, on 71 points at the time, last met Ipswich Wanderers, themselves on just ten points, at Humber Doucy Lane and, at the time, Felixstowe were riding high whilst the Wanderers were on the end of a 12 match losing streak. And yet, it was The Wanderers who came out on top in front of 216 hardy souls to take all three points with a Paulo Coelho goal on 60 minutes.

Prior to last night’s match nobody at the club was taking this one for granted. As Joint coach Ian (Watty) Watson said after the game at Wroxham on Saturday, “We have seven games left. That’s seven cup finals”. With title contenders Coggeshall at home to Saffron Walden Town and in-form Stowmarket hosting Histon last night too, management, players and fans at The Goldstar ground were keen to bag all three points and move yet closer to promotion and maybe even title winners.

On what turned out to be a chilly, misty evening, Felixstowe lined up with two changes from the side that beat Wroxham 4-0 on Saturday. Stuart Ainsley came in for Ethan Clarke and Josh Kerridge, returning from injury, was in the starting line-up instead of the injured Kye Ruel. Some 248 spectators were about to witness a feisty, competitive game at the Goldstar ground.

Just like the encounter between the two sides on Boxing day, Felixstowe found the going tough early on, with Ipswich Wanderers’ goalkeeper Jack Spurling putting on another impressive display of shot stopping.

The Seasiders did have most of the ball in the early exchanges with Stuart Boardley and Miles Powell coming close in the opening minutes. Asa Milliard for the visitors placed the ball over Danny Crump’s bar just before Sam Ford for the home team was bundled off the ball in the penalty area at the other end on 10 minutes. The game then settled into a pattern of Felixstowe pressure with no end result, interspersed with some lively play on the right from George Ablitt for the visitors, working well with Milliard in a more central role.

The first yellow card of the game came on 27 minutes when former Seasider, and very much a favourite at the Goldstar ground, Joe Bloomfield was booked for a foul on Kerridge resulting in a free kick leading to a shot on target from Ford. Just a minute after this, a second yellow was issued by referee Anthony Pope for the visitor’s number 9 Milliard. With just five minutes of the first half remaining Spurling tipped a powerful strike from Ford over the bar, followed by a goalmouth melee with, yet again, goalkeeper Spurling playing a central role. The teams went in 0-0 at half time leaving the home side frustrated that their efforts had not led to anything.

With Scott Chaplin on for Callum Bennett, the second half was a lively affair. Yet again Spurling was producing some impressive saves but The Seasiders did not have things all their own way.  Ablitt was lively again down the right wing and saw an effort himself go over the Felixstowe bar on 52 minutes. At the other end Chaplin was beginning to play an influential role, heading wide on 55 minutes.

Events started to speed up when Bloomfield was given a second yellow card on 58 minutes and subsequently sent off for a foul shortly before captain Rhys Barber booked for the home side following a coming together with Spurling in the Ipswich goal. With the Wanderers down to 10 men Ablitt was replaced by another former Seasider Matt Buckle on the hour, in order to help shore up the now weakened defence.

There then followed a string of fouls with Buckle receiving a yellow on 63 minutes for a foul inside the area on Joe Francis who got up and duly obliged the home fans by converting the spot kick to give the home the lead in the 64th minutes

Still the bookings kept coming, with Boardley given a yellow in the 67th minute just before Ipswich made a straight swap with Milliard coming off for Ashley Rankin. A short range effort from a busy and impressive Ford came to nothing and this was followed by the final substitution from the visitors with Liam Crapnell replacing the injured Ollie Rumsey on 73 minutes.

The stop start nature of the game continued with Jamal Wiggins replacing Josh Kerridge  and  Regan Pelling came on with seven minutes left in place of Miles Powell and  Sam Ford fired past Spurling from a Francis cross to finish a sweeping move that started with Stuart Ainsley at left back. It was his second goal for the club and secured all three points with just minutes left on the clock.

The drama still wasn’t over, Ainsley was shown two yellows in quick succession, making the contest ten versus ten for the final few minutes of added time.

Again, this was a matter of “as you were” with both Coggeshall and Stowmarket also winning on the night, the latter doing so impressively beating Histon with just 9 men on the field.


It’s on to Ellgia Stadium on Saturday, home of Ely City, for another tricky encounter.