Seasiders score stunning cup victory


Felixstowe & Walton United pulled off a stunning 3-1 victory at Hastings United to reach the first round proper of the Buildbase FA Trophy. Goals from Sam Nunn, Leon Ottley-Gooch and Zak Brown ensured a happy journey home for the many supporters who had travelled to the south coast and were amongst a crowd of 710 at the Isthmian South East League club.

The Seasiders were without Billy Holland as he joined the ever growing injury list, but were pleased to welcome back Joe Whight from his long term illness that had seen him miss the last ten matches, Whight taking a seat on the bench alongside new signing Charlie Warren. Rhys Henry started the game and Harry Knock returned to the centre of defence.


Zak Brown had the ball in the net after just 30 seconds as Felixstowe looked to have made a dream start but the offside flag was raised, incorrectly according to those who were well positioned. The home side were looking to start the game quickly themselves and were spreading the ball well across the wide pitch and attempting to attack from all areas. They came close to taking the lead on 3 minutes as Callum Robinson saved twice in quick succession to deny Pogue and Chalmers. It was no surprise when Hastings did take the lead after 6 minutes, Ben Pope converting from close range after a fine run and cross from the always lively Tom Chalmers. Hastings continued to press and create opportunities as Felixstowe struggled early on to get a hold in the game. Chalmers again came close on 9 minutes, his mazy run cutting through the defence and a clever one two set him clear eight yards out but he blazed the ball wide of the post. There was controversy again on 19 minutes as Henry Barley was bundled over two yards inside the box, the referee whistled for the foul, but inexplicably gave a free kick on the 18 yard line, seemingly for an earlier foul during Barleys run? Zak Brown curled in the free kick and the goalkeeper could not hold the ball and Harry Knock and Armani Schaar both had attempts to poke the ball home before the defence cleared. An enforced change midway through the half for the injured Josh Hitter saw the introduction of new signing Charlie Warren and a change in system for Felixstowe and this immediately had an impact with Felixstowe gradually taking over the game. Sam Nunn headed across the box on 30 minutes but the ball was punched away as Brown looked to connect with it. Hastings had a chance on 35 minutes as Stuart Ainsley went down with an injured arm and the attacker sprinted forward and rolled the ball back for a long range effort from Pogue that flew wide. It was Felixstowe now doing most of the pressing, on 38 minutes Charlie Warren set up Armani Schaar on the angle of the area and his shot was inches wide as the away side really started to control the game with Henry Barley in the thick of the action, and it was his cross that led to the equaliser on 40 minutes, Felixstowe cleverly switching play around the box from right to left with three good passes and it was last season’s FA Trophy goal scoring machine Sam Nunn who headed home Barleys cross. Hastings showed they were still in this match straight after the goal, a three man break led to a one on one with Robinson, the forward shooting under Callum but watching in despair as his effort missed the far post by a whisker. Zak Brown was also unlucky not to put the away side ahead as the clock ticked into first half stoppage time, his curling shot from the edge of the area deflected just wide of the right post, and then seeing his snapshot fly wide after some brilliant build up play again from Charlie Warren.


Hastings came out for the second half again looking to make a fast start and they hit the post on 46 minutes from a 10 yard header, but from then on it was all Felixstowe, constantly attacking, holding the ball up well and closing down what had been a very lively front three for Hastings. Henry Barley shot straight at the keeper on 47 minutes after a good break from Zak Brown. Leon Ottley-Gooch headed the away side into the lead from Barleys corner on 54 minutes to silence the home supporters as the grip on the game tightened minute by minute. Felixstowe’s attacks were frequent with Barley and Brown causing all sorts of panic in the home box, the away defence dealt with anything that did come their way and the midfield controlled the game and were forcing Hastings into mistakes all over the pitch. Harry Knock headed just wide from another corner and Brown saw his fierce shot deflected and the ball looped up and went just over the bar. Pogue for the home side volleyed well over on 63 minutes and two minutes later it was so nearly 3-1, Barley again on the right beat his men and set up Ottley-Gooch whose angled shot from 12 yards flew inches over the bar. On 68 minutes it was 3-1! Zak Brown nearly breaking the net as he somehow managed to evade the three defenders surrounding him to absolutely launch a rocket of a shot from an angle that found the far top corner of the net, a brilliant finish and one that sparked wild celebrations with the away supporters. Rhys Henry came close on 70 minutes has his goal bound shot was blocked. Hastings had no answers to give as Felixstowe comfortably saw out the remainder of the match, Felixstowe were on the break constantly as Hastings attempted to get back in the game, they headed well wide from a corner on 85 minutes but Felixstowe really produced a masterclass into how to close a game out, fighting for every single ball, tackling superbly in all areas of the pitch and keeping possession when it mattered, including what must have been a 25 pass sequence in added on time that drew the Ole’s from the fans who then got to celebrate with the team moments later as the final whistle blew for a famous cup victory.


The media team spoke to Manager Stuart Boardley after the game. “We are so pleased; the lads are celebrating inside the changing rooms deservedly for what was a complete team performance. We started quickly but then had trouble with the system for the first 15 minutes so we tweaked that and it worked fantastically. We are so pleased for the lads as it’s been a hard few weeks with the injuries we’ve had and we have come here with a scratched together side today, but every one of them was fantastic. This group of players has a real togetherness, a real fight about them, we are not carrying anybody and we have real men in the changing room who are willing to stand up and be counted in front of big, boisterous crowds like today. When we changed the system first half that allowed the players the platform to go and play their football and to then dominate the game. I thought other than small spells Hastings had, we thoroughly deserved the victory. We worked hard, it would be easy at 2-1 or 3-1 to sit back and then go long, but we keep encouraging them to keep doing what they’re doing, and that’s why we’ve won today, we kept playing out from the back, through midfield and could have won by more.” Boards went on to say. “I don’t want to single any one player out today, they were all fantastic and all worked their nuts off! for each other, when you’ve got that, it’s a special place to be and when we get some more players back we will be in an even better place. Also special mention to the supporters, they’ve come a long way and in great numbers and they probably don’t appreciate just how much that means to the players, having that support and having them to go and celebrate with on that far side, we really want to thank them for that.”



Match report by Stuart Daynes

Photos by Thomas Bradford



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