Seasiders fall to away defeat


Felixstowe & Walton United slipped to a 2-0 defeat at local rivals Stowmarket Town in the Isthmian North. A penalty from Luke Brown on the stroke of half time and a good finish from Willie Clemons midway through the second half was enough to seal the win against a Seasiders team that was reduced to ten men during the second period after Joe Whight received a red card.


Felixstowe welcomed Joe Whight back to the starting line-up after a two month absence due to illness, Ollie Canfer was serving the last of his three match suspension and The Seasiders difficult task ahead was evident with Noel Aitkens, Callum Bennett, Lamell Howell, Jordan Matthews, Billy Holland and George Clarke all watching from the side line due to injuries and illness.

This was the teams’ first meeting at step 4 and the first at any level since the Suffolk Premier Cup Semi-final win for Felixstowe in March 2019. A decent crowd was in attendance, boosted by over a hundred Seasiders who had made the journey, but unfortunately they did not get an enjoyable afternoon as from the first whistle it was clear that the home side had done their homework and knew who the danger men were for Felixstowe. Stowmarket were doing all they could to cut off the supply of the ball to the likes of Zak Brown and Henry Barley, whilst man marking those players closely, in doing so removing the space they have been accustomed to this season. Chances in the first half were at an absolute premium for both sides in what was a poor game to watch, with just a few half chances at either end to try and warm the crowd, Clemons had a 2nd minute shot blocked on the edge of the box for the home side and Josh Hitter did not trouble the home goalkeeper too much with a long range effort on 3 minutes. A low stooping header from the edge of the box went wide following a Stowmarket corner on 11 minutes whilst Sam Nunn spurned Felixstowe’s best chance of the half on 14 minutes as he headed wide when positioned well to convert a Henry Barley free kick. Stuart Ainsley, up against his brother, and former Seasider Jack was unlucky with a 30 yard effort on 19 minutes that may have caused a problem for Bradbrook in the home goal if it went either side of him. Reggie Lamb headed weakly at Callum Robinson from a decent cross on 20 minutes and Clemons saw his speculative effort deflected well wide on 25 minutes as the chances well and truly dried up for the remainder of the half. Into first half injury time it was the home side that were given the chance to take the lead from what looked like a soft penalty decision, the forward going down too easily whilst under pressure from Sam Nunn in the box. Luke Brown tucked the penalty into the bottom left corner to make it one nil at the break.


If the first half had been difficult for the away side, the second was even harder as Stowmarket continued to stifle and determinedly defend their lead on the heavy looking pitch. Lamb spun and shot straight at Robinson on 49 minutes in what was the only action of the first 15 minutes of the second half before a two minute spell swung the game even further into the hands of the home side. Firstly Henry Barley finally found space and evaded the close attention of the defence on 63 minutes but he blazed his shot high over the bar, a minute later and Stowmarket scored the sucker punch second goal, Luke Brown sprinting down the left wing and crossing for Willie Clemons to slide in and poke the ball under the advancing Robinson. Barley curled a shot just over on 70 minutes after good work from substitute Charlie Warren and Joe Whight. The game was pretty much settled on 73 minutes when Felixstowe were reduced to ten men, Joe Whight tackling Tevan Allen in a central position to which the referee immediately produced his red card. Opinion after the game was that it was a one footed tackle and did not connect with Allen but you can usually judge a likely decision based on the reaction from the crowd and although it probably looked worse than it was, I don’t think any supporter of either side expected any other call. Henry Barley again tried his luck from distance on 76 minutes as the game opened up slightly with the reduced numbers and multiple substitutions being made for both sides, one of which was the introduction of Stowmarket Danger man Josh Mayhew who showed his class with three good chances in the last 15 minutes of the game, firstly spinning to fire towards the far corner, Robinson just getting a hand to it and diverting the ball wide. On 85 minutes it really should have been wrapped up as Mayhew burst forward through the defence and found himself one on one with Robinson, his shot was low and hard but Robinson pulled off a great save, and then again from the same man as Mayhew regained control of the loose ball and again tested Callum with a smart shot. Felixstowe had managed to create a little more space in the latter part of the game and Henry Barley had two perfectly positioned free kicks, the first looked goal bound until the defensive wall battered it away, and the second curled into the far post and found Tommy Smith who shot against the keeper.


Speaking after the game, Felixstowe Manager Stuart Boardley said. “We just never got going really, I think today was probably a bridge too far for us, we’ve been saying it for weeks, but we have got several players out and although I couldn’t fault how hard the lads worked today and their effort, we just came up against a Stowmarket side that were better than us on the day, it’s as simple as that. They got the big decisions today, we didn’t, and we didn’t play well enough, they were better than us so just we have to dust ourselves down and make sure we are as right as we can be for next weekend, The players injury list hopefully looks like it may be better for the game next week so that’s great, albeit we now lose Joe Whight for three games. Ollie Canfer will come straight back into the squad for the Peterborough game as will Jordan Matthews, alongside hopefully one or two others from injury. Looking ahead to the FA Trophy game, it is one we are really looking forward to and it’s almost a free hit for us as we go into it as underdogs, all the players are excited by it and there should be a good crowd in for what should be a good game.”




Match report by Stuart Daynes

Photos by Thomas Bradford

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