MON 20 JAN - AVELEY (AWAY) - Isthmian League


Battling Seasiders fall to defeat in thriller


Felixstowe & Walton United shocked high-flying Aveley with an early goal, at Parkside on Monday evening, only for the Essex hosts to turn it around to move joint top of the league with Maldon & Tiptree, eventually running out 4-3 winners in front of a crowd of 191.

Ollie Canfer drilled the Seasiders into a third minute lead, and although Aveley were 2-1 up at the break through George Sykes (35) and a Stuart Ainsley own goal (41), Stuart Boardley's men levelled via George Clarke in the 79th minute. However, hopes of earning a vital point, in their battle against relegation, were quashed by late goals from Sykes and Alex Akrofi, Clarke netting a consolation deep into injury-time.

The Seasiders enjoyed the perfect start, taking the lead after just three minutes via Canfer's accurate strike. Canfer caught the Millers cold by getting beyond the defence and steering his right-footed shot in at the far corner of the net, and this was an early lead which the Suffolk visitors comfortably protected for the first half-hour. They were rarely troubled until the 35th minute. Keeper Spurling advanced out of his six-yard box to meet a free-kick, but couldn’t get near the ball and Sykes pounced to drill the loose ball past a sea of players.

Felixstowe had a 38th minute goal ruled out for offside, just three minutes later, and they found themselves trailing to a 41st minute own goal by Ainsley. Akrofi did the damage with a strong run and dangerous cross from the right flank, which left-back Ainsley could only divert into his own net following a deflection off his back. The Seasiders had a great chance to equalise in the 51st minute, Jordan Matthews unfortunate to see his lob just go over the bar, with home keeper David Hughes well off his line. Six minutes later and Aveley came close to extending their lead. Tom Richardson looked certain to score at the far post, but his goal-bound shot was deflected over the bar by Ainsley. The visitors kept plugging away, and they grabbed a deserved equaliser in the 80th minute when keeper Hughes flapped at a corner, allowing Clarke to poke home the rebound with precision. However, two minutes later and they were trailing again. Spurling did well to beat away a fierce drive by Akrofi, but Sykes was on hand to smash home the loose ball. And Aveley made the game safe when Akrofi managed to squeeze home a shot from close-in, on 86 minutes, George Clarke replying with virtually the last kick of the game to make it 4-3.

Felixstowe will be buoyed by their performance against a high-flying Aveley side and should be at full strength when Hullbridge Sports make their first ever visit to the Goldstar Ground on Saturday for yet another crucial game for the Seasiders.


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