Seasiders continue their winning run


Felixstowe & Walton United made it four successive victories and continued an unbeaten run that has now reaped 16 points from the last 18, with an impressive, if narrow 1-0 win over Hashtag United. Josh Hitter scored the winning goal on 57 minutes to finish off a sparkling move for the Seasiders before he was stretchered off after suffering an ankle injury.

Callum Bennett was missing from the squad due to a hamstring pull during Tuesday’s home win over Great Wakering, whilst Stuart Ainsley was rested. Armani Schaar came back into the starting eleven with Joe Whight also back in the side. There was the encouraging sight of Zak Brown taking part in the pre-match and half time warm ups, a sign that the Seasiders striker is close to a return following his groin injury suffered 9 weeks ago.

Both teams were well supported at the Goldstar ground with a fantastic crowd of 622 inside as Hashtag kicked off and immediately showed they were going to be a different proposition to the side Felixstowe had comfortably beaten 2-0 in Essex earlier in the season. Carlos Flood fired narrowly over the bar after just 90 seconds and with much travelled striker Sam Bantick causing problems for the defence already; it took a few minutes for Felixstowe to settle and to start moving the ball around and out wide. It was end to end and a very fast-paced game but lacking in clear-cut goal scoring opportunities as the first half progressed, Henry Barley saw his 12th minute shot deflected wide and Bantick side footed straight at Robinson before Barley again cut inside from the right and curled a shot that the goalkeeper was right behind. Felixstowe were given a golden chance to open the scoring on 21 minutes, a deflection set Canfer free into the box and with only one defender racing back and the goalkeeper coming off his line, Canfs turned to his left instead of shooting and the defender managed to intercept and clear. Hashtag then missed their own best chance on 24 minutes, a good move down the right led to a decent cross into the centre of the box that fell to Joni Vukaj in space, but his stooping header went well wide of the left post, a really poor miss. Josh Hitter was having by far his best game since joining the Seasiders, he was in the thick of all the action, tackling superbly and his passing was a joy to watch as he linked up with Jordan Matthews and Henry Barley as the home side really started to control the game. Ollie Canfer had the ball in the net on 25 minutes after again some great play from Barley and Hitter but the offside flag was correctly raised. Billy Holland shot low and from distance on 26 minutes but was off target and on 33 minutes Barley created two opportunities for himself as his trademark burst into the box led to a first shot that was well saved on the line, he won the rebound and toe poked again towards goal but it was deflected out to safety. Jordan Matthews volleyed straight at the keeper from the resultant corner and Holland again shot wide on 42 minutes as the half ended goalless.

Similar to the first half, Hashtag had a golden early chance to take the lead, the Seasiders defence was caught out by a difficult bounce and Toby Aromolaran pounced to run free with the goal looming in front of him, he seemed to stumble and the ball was cleared, the away bench were not impressed and made it well known how wasteful he had been! The second half continued at a great pace with Felixstowe on top for the majority, some lovely passing moves were drawing warm applause from the crowd with Charlie Warren particularly looking good down the left side, the defence looking strong and the midfield running the show. Hashtag were now struggling to create anything at all and it was a succession of Felixstowe moves forward that was making for a very entertaining game. The crucial opening goal then came on 57 minutes as Felixstowe made the most of their superiority in possession, and what a goal it was! Henry Barley threaded a fantastic through ball between two defenders from a central position to Jordan Matthews on the right, his superb cross to the far post deceived every defender and the goalkeeper and there was Josh Hitter steaming in from the left to meet the ball from a narrow angle and he dived in to score with a great header. His joy turned to agony minutes later as he suffered a serious ankle injury, his ankle twisting in the turf and causing what turned out to be ankle ligament damage. There was a lengthy stoppage as both medical teams attended to him and he was stretchered off. The mood inside the ground had changed now with a subdued feel to the match after what had been a rip-roaring game up to that point. Hashtag then missed their best chance of the game on 70 minutes, Aromolaran found themselves one on one with Robinson, he shot well but Robinson pulled off a fine save which rebounded to another forward to fired towards the open goal, but the ball struck Aromolaran and was cleared. The Seasiders regrouped from there after the injury stoppage and killed the game, excellent game management and possession meant the game was seen out comfortably, despite the 9 minutes of added time at the end. No further chances came Felixstowe’s way as they were happy to control the game and keep the ball, Hashtag were short of ideas going forward, and were relying on set pieces as they looked to get back in the game, delivery from those free kicks and corners was poor and often found the first defender, making life for the home side fairly comfortable as they held firm to secure yet another three point haul.






Match report by Stuart Daynes


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