Seasiders survive late scare to progress in the cup


Felixstowe & Walton United won the battle of the seaside clubs but had to survive a scare as Southend Manor fought back from 4-1 down towards the end of the game to make it 4-3 going into injury time. Miles Powell sealing the victory and a place in the First Qualifying round draw for the Emirates FA Cup with his 95 minute strike.

Felixstowe made three changes from the side that opened the league season last weekend against Basildon United, Henry Barley coming back from injury, with Sam Nunn and Billy Holland also in the starting eleven. Southend had won 1-0 against London Colney in the previous round, but had achieved mixed results in their five league games played so far, losing 4-2 and 4-0 to Saffron Walden and Stanway Rovers respectively in the last week.

It was the higher league Seasiders that started the game brightest, clearly looking to get the ball on the ground and play their usual passing game. Henry Barley had the first chance of the game after just two minutes but screwed his shot just wide of the post, Ollie Canfer then found space in the centre and his long diagonal run from the half way line saw him step inside and fire in a decent shot that the ‘keeper did well to save. Two minutes later and Felixstowe got their reward and a deserved lead, Sam Nunn raking a 40 yard pass across field that Zak Brown controlled, beat two men as he burst forward and selflessly squared the ball to a grateful Ollie Canfer to turn and slot into the gaping net. Southend were jolted by the goal and immediately mustered their first meaningful attack of the game, and it took a fine save at close distance from Callum Robinson to deny the visitors an equaliser. The away side did have the ball in the net shortly after but the offside flag had long been raised. Felixstowe doubled their lead on 25 minutes, this time it was Henry Barley making himself the space to shoot from 20 yards, the ball bounced in front of the goalkeeper and he could do nothing but grasp thin air as the ball found the bottom corner. Zak Brown was unlucky not to extend the lead further a minute later as again the away side struggled to contain his pace and trickery, but his shot was straight at the goalkeeper. Southend were looking dangerous from set pieces and it was from one of those that they pulled a goal back on 28 minutes, a free kick and a scramble in the box led to Callum Robinson grabbing the ball, before Luca Frankis appeared to kick the ball from his hands to force it over the line, the referee and the assistant appeared to be waiting for the other to make the call for the clear foul but neither did and the goal was awarded. Billy Holland and Jordan Matthews went close to restoring the two goal advantage towards the end of the first half but the goalkeeper was behind both shots.

Southend were again looking very dangerous every time they won a set piece, with deliveries from Alex Jenkins always finding his target man and creating nervous moments at the heart of the home defence. Billy Holland looked to have settled those nerves on 62 minutes when he spun to convert a close range effort after Miles Powell had headed down a Callum Bennett free kick into the centre.  Powell then forced a near-error at the back as he challenged for the ball in the six yard box, Kiah Froud inches away from heading past his own goalkeeper. Powell was having a great game after coming off the bench and his sprint into the box from 30 yards deserved a goal, but his shot just missed the far post as Canfer screamed for the pass. Canfs was screaming with joy a few minutes later as he brilliantly made it 4-1, expertly chipping the goalkeeper from a tight angle on the edge of the box to celebrate by dancing with the corner flag! With the game seemingly won now, the visitors went full gung-ho and stunned the home crowd by pulling back two goals from Jordan Chambers, firstly leaving the home defence for dead to fire into the far corner on 76 minutes and then from a free kick on the half way line, sending in the long ball that they did well to keep in near the far post and chambers stabbed the ball home ahead of Robinson on 82 minutes. Chances were still coming the way of the home side and they never really looked like conceding an equaliser from here, although the groans from the crowd when five minutes added time was announced told the story on the nervy side-lines. As the clock ticked down to the last of the five added minutes it was Miles Powell who sealed the victory, his run into the box followed by an emphatic finish to make the tie safe.

Speaking after the game, Seasiders Assistant Manager, Andy Crump was just pleased to have made it through to the next round. “I know it’s a cliché, but it was a typical cup-tie. We had a game plan to take the game to them, impose ourselves on the game and not allow them into the game. We started well and our play was quick enough that we did not let them settle, we scored two good goals. We then went sloppy, every time we gave a free kick away, we allowed them to get a breathe, every time they did that they got themselves sorted and organised and they posed a real threat, especially with the deliveries from their number six in particular, he put the ball on the money each opportunity he had. We got over that by scoring the third and fourth and at that time you think, okay, let’s use the squad, let’s make some changes. I don’t think those changes disjointed us, but we slipped into those habits from those free kicks again, and not taking responsibility for our man. But listen, it’s a cup-tie, we won 5-3, we’re in the hat for the draw which is important for this football club, a decent crowd and there’s a lot more to come from this squad, they are still gelling as a group and it will come. All credit also to Southend, they came here with a plan, perhaps we let them execute it more than we would like but they did well, but we scored five goals and we look forward to the draw on Monday.”





Match report by Stuart Daynes

Photos by Dave Francis



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