Seasiders fall to first defeat of the season

Felixstowe & Walton United suffered their first defeat of the season, a second half goal from Canvey Island enough to secure the three points for the home side. The Seasiders had four excellent chances in the first half but could not find the net and a 51st minute winner from Elliott Ronto proved decisive.

The Seasiders were forced into making changes from the side that progressed in the Emirates FA Cup last Saturday, with Callum Bennett missing due to a family wedding, Noel Aitkens and Henry Barley taking knocks in that FA Cup win. Leon Ottley-Gooch, Josh Hitter and Armani Schaar were in the starting eleven.

In a competitive first half, it was Felixstowe who started the stronger, spreading the ball nicely around the wide pitch and creating plenty of chances. Ollie Canfer was unlucky not to get a sight at goal after five minutes, Zak Brown’s great build up play leading to a cross that was just a foot in front of Canfer who was in plenty of space. After seven minutes it really should have been the Seasiders taking the lead, Jordan Matthews creating a chance when he won the ball in the centre and played a delightful through ball for Josh Hitter, with two other Felixstowe forwards either side of him, Hitter burst into the box with no defenders in sight, but his shot was straight at the goalkeeper, It really was a perfect opportunity to open the scoring and capitalise on a good start to the game. Canvey were full of running themselves and were causing problems at the back and winning corner after corner, and the home side had their first decent chance on 14 minutes, a good cross was met by Matthew Price whose sharp shot looked to be heading into the net before Callum Robinson showed great reactions to turn the ball away from danger, Canvey then had a header blocked on the line shortly after as the game swung from end to end. On 23 minutes it was Felixstowe again who were perhaps unfortunate not to be in front, Armani Schaar charging down the ball from an attempted clearance by Mason in the Canvey goal, but the keeper recovered well to hinder Schaar as he was about to nod into the gaping net. Billy Holland went close on 35 minutes with a 20 yard curling effort from Zak Brown’s layoff. The home side were creating half chances and winning plenty of corners still but the visitors were having the better of the clear-cut opportunities and on 42 minutes it was Schaar again so close to scoring, Stuart Ainsley with some superb wing play and a cross that Schaar rose highest to head sweetly towards the bottom corner of the goal, as the Seasider supporters behind the goal were raising their arms to start celebrating, Mason pulled off a remarkable save to claw the ball away from the goal line. Price headed over the bar for the home side as the teams went in goalless.

The second half saw a tactical switch by the home side to stifle the Seasiders and frustrate at every opportunity, chances therefore were hard to come by in the period and when Canvey took the lead on 51 minutes it was an uphill battle from there. It was some decent build up and a dangerous cross into the box that made it a simple task for Elliott Ronto to flick across the goal and over the line. Sam Nunn was forced off on the hour mark and on his way to hospital with a deep leg wound after crashing into a sharp, protruding section of pitch barrier and getting his knee impaled under the barrier, his leg was freed after some careful work from both physios, players and even some supporters from Felixstowe. Canvey thought they had doubled their lead when play resumed when a similar ball into the box that had led to the goal was turned in by Price, but this time the offside flag was already up. The last half hour was a very scrappy affair and apart from a penalty shout for the Gulls on 85 minutes, nothing of any note was created by either side. Joe Whight did have an opportunity with a free kick from outside the box which was the last kick of the game but his effort went over the bar.

Speaking after the game, Seasiders boss Stuart Boardley said. “I thought overall it was a very close game, we probably had the better of the chances first half, and then second half they had the lion’s share of the chances, there wasn’t a lot between the teams on the day so we probably feel a draw would have been a fair result on reflection, but obviously they were more clinical as they scored and we didn’t!”







Match report by Stuart Daynes

Photos by Tom Bradford



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