Reserves receive visit from ESBL official

ESBL Treasurer Brian Reed sent us his match report following a visit to the Goldstar Ground last Saturday 




Date: Saturday 12th December 2020. Venue: Dellwood Avenue, Felixstowe.

It has been five years, April 2015, since I last visited Dellwood Avenue, Felixstowe home of Felixstowe & Walton United FC Reserves who have returned to the ESBFL, Premier Division after several seasons in the Thurlow Nunn Football League, Reserve Section, we hope they enjoy their return to the ESBFL. That last visit encompassed the ESBFL Representative teams, FA Inter League Cup tie against our neighbouring league the Suffolk & Ipswich Football League, the facilities then were somewhat “dated” and meant a lengthy walk to the pitch, times have moved on and the facilities today are superb, a new pristine clubhouse, state of the art changing rooms and a pitch that should have been a pleasure to play on, so well done to all those fund raisers and volunteers at the Club.

Today, the home Reserves, languishing in seventeenth place, would be playing Hatfield Peverel FC, themselves below half way in twelfth place, a club that has seen numerous players move on since I watched them last season, that meant there were several new players that I had not seen before. Felixstowe had only one victory this season, that was at Barnston AFC in early October, but a three-all draw at Brantham Athletic FC Reserves last Saturday may have kick-started their comeback after lockdown. 

The appointed match official was Simon Bird who would be ably assisted by Andrew Harvey and Philip Barham, the floodlights on a dark and miserable afternoon were on from the start and an assembled crowd, officially stated as seventy-two set about watching what became an entertaining match with seven goals.

Hatfield Peverel, captained by Grimsey, kicked-off and Owusu-Boakye committed the first foul of the match when upending Rotaru but Adeyemi blasted the free-kick high and wide and from the goal-kick Rotaru just got in front of Owusu-Boakye to send in another volley, this time narrowly wide. A long clearance from keeper, Carlton found Cameron whose pass to the right sent Palmer away, but his shot flew across the face of the goal for a goal-kick. On six minutes DECLAN CAMERON took down a high pass, played the ball through behind Bodfield and Grimsey before side-stepping Bodfield to beat keeper, Hicks from ten yards out, an early lead for the young home team. The opening ten minutes was fairly even, probably sixty/forty in favour of the home team, both teams were trying to attack then defend as required and Felixstowe deserved their early lead as their passing and movement was good as Hatfield Peverel got used to the wet conditions, there had been few fouls committed by either team.

On twenty-three minutes Rotaru picked up the ball inside his own centre-circle and made ground towards the left side sending in a fine cross which was not defended very well, with the ball running loose, Arnold had his chance saved by the keeper, Adeyemi saw his shot from the rebound blocked on the goal-line before DAN HARDING rammed home the equaliser. A minute later and the visitors went ahead, Owusu-Boakye fouled Rotaru wide on the left side, the free-kick taken by Harrington was met at the far post by ADEBOLU ADEYEMI whose towering header found the back of the net, that’s two quick goals where the home defence has not dealt with a high cross or free-kick! Page for Hatfield Peverel showed some good dribbling skills picking up the ball from half-way, riding two challenges before defender Abbott got across to clear the ball out for a goal-kick. Home scorer Cameron had another chance just before the half-hour mark but was thwarted by a fine save by keeper, Hicks, from the corner taken by Palmer, Leeder just reached the cross with Norman rising just behind him, Morrison took the next corner which was cleared to Saberton whose pass found Cameron and his chipped cross was headed over by Abbott, a close call. Ashdown fouled Cameron and received a verbal word from the referee, Palmer played the free-kick into the six-yard box, keeper, Hicks punched clear but was caught by the incoming Morrison to concede a free-kick. Saberton went heavily through the back of Page and he also was given a verbal warning by the referee, from the free-kick, home keeper, Carlton made a fine save to deny Arnold.

With half an hour elapsed, Felixstowe still looked hungry for a goal when going forward, Hatfield Peverel had also upped their game, Harrington found Arnold who gained a corner off of Saberton, Ashdown took the corner, keeper, Carlton missed his attempted punch and Grimsey, unmarked at the edge of the six-yard box could only lash the ball over the goal. Leeder set up the next attack for Hatfield Peverel, finding Harding whose run and cross was met by the head of Arnold who could not believe what he saw as keeper, Carlton made an outstanding save when tipping the ball over the cross-bar. On thirty-eight minutes Felixstowe scored a deserved equaliser, EMANUEL MORRISON picked up the ball wide on the right side, drifting inside two players he sent a fine left-footed shot that beat keeper Hicks before striking the inside of the far post to nestle in the back of the net. Surely, that must be the end of the scoring for the first half, no chance, as Hatfield Peverel re-took the lead on forty minutes, a big shout for off-side went up from the home defence as HARRY PAGE managed to elude the defensive line to meet a pass from Ashdown and he ran on to beat keeper, Carlton, that decision certainly looked a close call.

HALF-TIME: 2 - 3.

There were multiple changes after half-time, Bodfield and Harding retired for Hatfield Peverel, being replaced by Whiteman and McFaull respectively, whilst Felixstowe replaced Saberton with Petrea and the home team kicked-off the second half. Felixstowe won an early free-kick, just inside the visitors half but the delivery from Palmer was poor and low but did earn a corner as Leeder deflected the ball out, the corner taken by Morrison was hacked clear by Grimsey, no messing about with that clearance then and that clearance put Arnold away down the right side, with his driven cross just too far ahead of McFaull who had run from the half-way line to get involved. McFaull then found Arnold who was fouled by Abbott, McFaull took the free-kick but the unmarked Page headed wide from six yards out, yes, there are more goals in this game! Another fine move by Hatfield Peverel saw the ball move from Whiteman to Arnold to Adeyemi who was caught narrowly off-side and the visitors kept up their pressure with Leeder floating a long ball over the top to Arnold who was denied by a fine save by keeper, Carlton, advancing off his line. Ten minutes into the half and Felixstowe drew level, again, keeper, Hicks made two decent saves after his defence went missing but at the third attempt DECLAN CAMERON reacted quickest to score from close range.

Some silly fouls creeped into an otherwise entertaining match, Leeder was spoken too after a poor challenge on Mhango, a pass from Cameron fell to Petrea whose cross was cleared by Grimsey, Morrison then thought he had broken through but squeezed his goal attempt wide as Grimsey covered. The same two players were involved in the next attack from Felixstowe, once again no-nonsense defending by Grimsey saw the ball, the third, nestling in the trees on the far side! Hatfield Peverel should have added to their own goal tally, another fine move, Rotaru to Page to Arnold then Adeyemi who set up Arnold who contrived to scoop the ball over the lonesome keeper and the cross-bar from less than six yards out on the left side, good approach, poor finish. Felixstowe responded in kind, Leggett to Mhango to Cameron who played the ball wide to Palmer, unfortunately his cross was too deep and missed out the forwards in the middle. A rare error from Grimsey, he intercepted a forward pass but pushed the ball too far ahead before clearing in which time Morrison nipped in and rather than play the ball square to either Cameron, Mhango, Palmer or Owusu-Boakye, he tried to score himself, leading to a goal-kick. When Grimsey shackled Morrison at the expense of a corner, the kick taken by Morrison was met by a great header from Cameron only for McFaull, standing at the near post, on his goal-line, to brilliantly head the ball away. Felixstowe, like Hatfield Peverel sensed that the next goal might be the match winner, the home team drew a free-kick, right on the edge of the penalty area when Adeyemi clipped the heels of Hughes, but Cameron, on a hat-trick fired the ball over the cross-bar.

Twenty minutes remained when Felixstowe made another change bringing on Baker for Mhango, Adeyemi limped off for Hatfield Peverel but returned almost immediately and the threatened rain was now pouring down. Central defender, Norman for Felixstowe went down injured and could not continue allowing Bloomfield to enter play and as the minutes ticked away Adeyemi did get replaced by the experienced and Club stalwart, Chipperfield, now perhaps the smallest player on the pitch and he slotted into central defence beside Grimsey! Harrington upended Palmer on the half-way line but the free-kick failed to cause concern, unlike the dark sky, just as well the floodlights had been on from the start then! A free-kick from Harrington fell between the unmarked Grimsey and Arnold who both had a shie at the loose ball before it was hastily cleared. Was the lessen learnt about the prowess of Grimsey in the air, clearly not, as from a corner, their first of the half, taken in the eighty-seventh minute by McFaull, PAUL GRIMSEY rose highest to send a thumping header into the net, clearly a match winner. Felixstowe responded again, a through ball from Palmer should have been left to Morrison to run onto, but Cameron running back from an off-side position inadvertently intercepted the ball, turned and struck a fine effort against the cross-bar and safety only for the match to resume from the position of the offside incident, a close call for the visitors as minutes later the match ended.

FULL TIME: 3 - 4.

Did I enjoy the match?, very much so, I have to say that the facilities are excellent, the pitch was superb, both teams had a go playing some good football, seven goals scored, plenty of effort, some good goal-keeping at both ends and another clean sheet, well at least for the referee who kept his cards close to his chest, no dissent and only a couple for players being spoken too, well done to both sets of players for that.

Now let’s turn to my Star Player, Felixstowe are a young side, their inexperience might have been a cause for concern but today they played well, some neat passing and definitely plenty of effort, if they had a failing, it was from crosses and corners as looking back at where three of the goals conceded came from, it was there, the fourth goal was, in the opinion of the local support gained from an off-side call that was not upheld, difficult for me to judge from my seat on the half-way line. Pick of their players was Cameron with two goals and plenty of action to keep the visitors on their toes, Palmer through midfield was always close to the action alongside Abbott and Owusu-Boakye. Turning to Hatfield Peverel, again plenty of effort from back to front, Rotaru caught the eye with some fine dribbling and distribution aided by Page, Ashdown and Harding backed up with front players Arnold and Adeyemi who caused problems. However, defensively, they might have conceded three time’s but Leeder, Harrington, Bodfield and Grimsey led the defensive line with captain Grimsey getting my praise for a whole-hearted display, he did not lose an aerial challenge at all, no-nonsense tackling, plenty of encouragement and the winning goal to boot!