Seasiders six game winning league run ends with late defeat



 Felixstowe & Walton United suffered heartbreak at Heybridge Swifts, a late winner for the home side ending the Seasiders six match winning league run. Two early goals had the home side in control but Felixstowe’s good football and patience looked to have paid off with their own two goal burst in two minutes late on from Holland and Canfer. With the Swifts down to ten men it was Felixstowe who looked the likely winners until the late sucker punch.

Stuart Ainsley and Noel Aitkens started in place of Sam Nunn and Curtley Williams for Felixstowe, with Zak Brown serving his one match suspension for his red card last week against Hullbridge.

The home side were first out of the blocks for this game and raced into an early two goal lead, Lionel Ainsworth stunning the crowd on 4 minutes with a spectacular dipping shot from 35 yards that flew into the net from out wide. Two minutes later and it was Ainsworth again who let fly from 20 yards through a crowd of players and found the net for two nil. That goal actually seemed to settle Felixstowe down in a strange way and they started to play the ball around nicely and patiently, albeit without troubling the home defence too much. The Swifts were certainly living up to their name when they had the ball and were happy to bypass the centre of their lovely new 3G surface to fire long balls forward for their speedy attack force, whilst closing down the Seasiders at every opportunity, with particular attention being given to Henry Barley on the right who had the company of three players wherever he ventured. The home side broke on 15 minutes, but this time shot straight at Robinson. A minute later and Felixstowe had their glimpse of goal, a cross just eluding Ollie Canfer and Joe Whight as they lined up to head home on the edge of the six yard box. Barley lost his new found close friends on 21 minutes and sent in a beautiful curling cross that the defender did well to head out under pressure from Felixstowe’s now permanent new signing Charlie Warren. Anyone who knows the Manager at Heybridge, Steve Tilson, will be aware of his tactics at previous clubs Lincoln and Southend, and they were on show in full at this match, long balls, close marking, and some may say encouraging some “Dark arts” from his players, all designed to frustrate and gain any slight advantage over any player who rises to it. Felixstowe were doing their best to avoid getting dragged into this and continuing to play their own passing game as they looked for the games crucial next goal. Henry Barley was close to providing that on 39 minutes when he made a neat move involving Aitkens and Jordy Matthews, who was putting in a banger of a performance in the middle, Barley lost the last two men and shot just wide of the left post with the keeper beaten. Jo Whight headed wide from Barleys free kick on 44 minutes before the home side should really have wrapped up the game as half time approached, another speedy break up top left the defence for dead and somehow the ball was cleared as two attackers were waiting to convert from close range.

Rhys Henry was having a good match for the home side and finding plenty of space as the second half got underway, his good ball fed Ainsworth on 49 minutes whose wind assisted effort flew just over. Billy Holland came close on 52 minutes, turning and firing inches over the bar from 12 yards. Substitute Nwabueze  made an instant impact when he entered the field, his pace was quite extraordinary and it was that speed that caught out the home defence on 56 minutes to set up Aitkens who shot wide from distance. Most of the pressing was coming from Felixstowe with Holland, Aitkens and Matthews looking particularly good and starting most of the moves forward in search of that goal that would change the game. At the other end, Henry was involved in most moves and again set Ainsworth through on 59 minutes and he shot narrowly wide of the goal as he looked for his hat trick. Henry tested Robinson from an angle on 65 minutes but Callum parried the ball away well. The goal that Felixstowe and their large following of supporters craved came on 76 minutes, a brilliant cross into the box from Barley came to Billy Holland, his close range header was saved just under the crossbar and he was quickest to the rebound to side foot the ball into the net from 5 yards. The goal gave exactly the extra lift that the team and the fans needed and they were ecstatic just two minutes later when the equaliser came, Ollie Canfer beating the offside trap to race clear and as the goalkeeper came out to meet him, Canfs superbly steered the ball under him and into the gaping net, a great finish to mark an all action performance from the striker who had seen few sniffs at goal but had run all afternoon in his approach play and assists to others. Heybridge were losing their tempers and becoming victims of their own wind up tactics and sub Alan McCormack was shown a red card for his protests at the goal. The Seasiders really had their tails up now and were going all out for the win, whilst at the other end Heybridge were always looking dangerous with Ainsworth missing another golden chance on 82 minutes as he shot just wide when clear. Felixstowe were convinced they had won the game on 86 minutes, Aitkens shot from six yards seemingly crossing the line, later to be confirmed from those behind the goal that the whole of the ball was not over. Then came the sucker punch! 87 minutes and with three chances to clear the ball missed by Felixstowe, Fennell was left to smash home the third goal for the Swifts. Sam Ford came close to equalising once again on 91 minutes as his shot hit the crossbar and went over. The feisty nature of the game was further evidenced after the final whistle with a mass “disagreement!” keeping the officials busy as red cards were shown to Adam Topley for the home side and to Henry Barley for the Seasiders. So the winning league run is over and although the nature of defeat in the end was gutting, the supporters were proud to witness a tireless performance in challenging circumstances and a pulsating game from start to finish. Credit to the home side who were always lively up front and recovered well to score late on to record their second 3-2 win against the Seasiders this season. Next up is Brentwood Town at home on Tuesday, 7.45pm KO.





Match report by Stuart Daynes


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