SAT 07 MAR - GRAYS (AWAY) - Isthmian League


 Late drama as Seasiders win again


A dramatic late fightback secured a second successive victory for Felixstowe & Walton United in the BetVictor Isthmian League North. Goals from Armani Schaar and a 95th minute winner from Ollie Canfer completed the league double over Grays Athletic as the Seasiders moved up a place in the table.

Grays came into the game in the midst of an alarming run of form, the home side winning just one of their last fourteen games after sitting top of the table before Christmas. There was a healthy contingent of Felixstowe supporters in attendance at Parkside, the home of Aveley F.C.

Felixstowe made two changes from the side that won 2-0 at Brentwood a fortnight ago, Stuart Ainsley and Armani Schaar dropping to the bench and Henry Barley and George Clarke making the starting eleven.



On a blustery afternoon it was Felixstowe who made the early running, Jordan Matthews was unlucky not to open the scoring in the second minute after he shot just wide of the far post after storming through on goal. Ollie Canfer went even closer on twelve minutes, his excellent effort missing the left upright by no more than an inch after another clever move. Felixstowe were clearly enjoying playing on the 3G surface, this allowed them to play their passing game and they were showing plenty of quality in their build up play without as yet finding that finish to open the scoring. It was Adam Hanson’s turn to cause panic in the home defence after twenty minutes, creating space on the left hand side of the box, cutting inside and firing a good effort that the Goalkeeper did well to parry away. Grays were happy to play the long ball game and were starting to grab a hold in midfield. A wind assisted effort from 40 yards nearly caught out Jake Alley in the Felixstowe goal but he did well to get a touch to divert the ball wide. Felixstowe were still looking the better side in terms of quality but Grays were now having the upper hand in possession and it was the home side that opened the scoring with the last kick of the first half. A corner from the right was headed clear by Josh Kerridge only for the ball to come straight back into the box and be scrambled home by Tony Stokes. Felixstowe will be disappointed with the timing of the goal and the manner in which it was scored, but it could be argued that Jake Alley was being impeded by a Grays forward lying injured at his feet.


The Seasiders made two changes at half time, Schaar and Ainsley replacing Clarke and Barley. The second half was a fairly scrappy affair, Felixstowe were more direct in getting the ball forward and were unlucky when Adam Hanson saw his rising shot clear the bar early on. Ollie Canfer was then denied by a superb close range save when he looked certain to score from five yards. Grays were winning corner after corner and they nearly doubled their lead from one of these set pieces when a looping header clipped the top of the crossbar. The flow of the game was being repeatedly disrupted by free kicks and the seemingly over fussy referee managed to book eight players, four from each side, in a game played in a competitive but fair spirit. Stuart Ainsley will feel especially upset to receive a yellow card for an innocuous challenge that now means a two match suspension for the Seasiders defender. Felixstowe finally drew level on 83 minutes, Ainsley crossing for Armani Schaar to volley a stunning curling shot into the top corner. Felixstowe were now pushing forward looking for that crucial second goal, although a few nervous moments were occurring at the other end as Grays also sniffed at goal. With the game entering its 95th and final minute, Felixstowe defended a corner well and found themselves with numbers racing forward, Jordan Matthews played in Miles Powell who sent in an inch perfect cross for Ollie Canfer to poke home the winning goal at the near post to spark scenes of jubilation from the whole squad as they celebrated with the supporters.


Speaking after the game, Manager Stuart Boardley said. “I’m less pleased with the performance if I am totally honest with you, but the character and desire that we showed was second to none and the escape is on!” He continued. “There is some debate going on in the dressing room about Armani’s goal, if he meant it or not! And obviously Ollie Canfer popped up at the end to score another vital goal for us; he has been fantastic since joining us. We’re trying not to look at other results too much as we just have to concentrate on ourselves at the end of the day, we can’t do anything about clubs results or performances, just concentrate on performing ourselves and winning games, and at the moment that’s what we’re doing.”

The Seasiders will look for their third successive victory on Tuesday evening when Canvey Island visit the Goldstar Ground. The match is a “Pay what you want” fixture and the whole club would appreciate your support.



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