Seasiders pull off vital victory in playoff race


Felixstowe & Walton United pulled off a crucial victory in the hunt for the playoffs with a tight single goal victory at fifth place Brentwood Town. Colchester United loanee Andre Hasanally scored the only goal of the game after 35 minutes, with Calum Robinson equally proving to be a match-winner with his penalty save a minute later.


Felixstowe were missing Billy Holland who was starting the first of a two game suspension for bookings received, but there was finally some good news for the squad with Noel Aitkens and Henry Barley returning to the starting line-up, Manny Osei finally getting to make his long awaited debut following his loan signing from Stowmarket a fortnight ago, and the great sight on the bench of both Leon Ottley-Gooch and Josh Hitter, both fighting back from long term injuries. The home side were dealt a major blow in the warm up, 19 goal marksmen Tom Richardson pulled up and had to be replaced.

The two sides had only met just over three weeks ago, Felixstowe surviving a second half onslaught that evening and scoring an injury time penalty through Joe Whight to grab the points. A win for Brentwood today would take them nine points clear of the Seasiders with the same amount of games played.


Neither side started well with plenty of poor clearances and attempted moves breaking down. Manny Osei created the first chance on 3 minutes with a break on the left, he fed Hasanally who found Jordy Matthews on the edge of the box but he sliced his shot wide of the goal. Brentwood’s first chance of the quiet opening came on 10 minutes, the always lively Rob Harvey crossing into a dangerous area, the defensive clearance only landed as far as George Craddock but his wayward shot only troubled visitors to the Antiques fair happening in the adjacent Leisure Centre (No expensive Vases were hurt).  The game remained a poor spectacle with neither side able to string too many passes together and create anything of note. That all changed in the space of two minutes with action at both ends, that in the end proved decisive. On 25 minutes it was Felixstowe who scored the crucial first goal, Andre Hasanally turning and firing home from 16 yards from a central position, the goalkeeper could possibly have done better with the shot but it was still a fine finish from the Colchester youngster. The celebrations were still ongoing amongst the away support when the referee pointed to the spot the other end, a soft nudge into a forward making a simple decision for the official. I’ll be honest and say the glare from the winter sun made it impossible for me to see who stepped up to take the penalty! But the sun didn’t block by view of the penalty save, Robinson guessing correctly to dive to his left to smother the low but weak attempt. On 28 minutes Osei broke again down the left to set up a cross for Stuart Ainsley, his pinpoint cross was met by the head of Henry Barley whose effort flew just over the bar. Harvey for the home side again found himself in a great position on 30 minutes but blazed his shot high and wide. A free kick on 42 minutes was crossed well into the box but the ball was cleared by Joe Whight and Robinson as several home shirts played head tennis in the six yard box but the ball would just not fall kindly for them. Ollie Canfer then had a golden chance to double the advantage, juggling the ball on the edge of the area and teeing himself up for a beautiful volley that flew inches wide of the left post with the keeper stranded. Osei then created a chance for himself but volleyed over from distance before Brentwood had a great chance to level as the clock ticked onto 45 minutes, Harvey again causing trouble down the right and crossing for Craddock whose shot from an angle was met with a great reactionary save from Robinson to tip it over the bar.


Brentwood started the second half strongly with Felixstowe seeing very little of the ball and the Blues front men looking dangerous, Ashley Nzala had a great chance on 48 minutes to level the score, he burst down the left and into the box, the angle was tight but his shot flew straight along the goal line, with no teammate able to convert. A minute later Freeman crossed well for Jake Gould who shot well over from a good position. Felixstowe then manged to stem the Brentwood flow and were able to remain fairly comfortable for long periods, Jordan Matthews pulling all the strings in midfield and the defence looking firm. Osei looked like getting his head on a decent cross on 65 minutes before the keeper cleared. A double change was then made by Boards and Crumpy with Charlie Warren and Leon Ottley-Gooch coming on for Osei and Hasanally, and it was Warren who had the next opportunity, a Brentwood attack was halted, and cleared out to Warren on the half way line, he set off on a clear run towards goal but a lightning quick defender caught up 25 yards from goal and won the ball back well. Chances were few and far between as the half seemed to fly by and the home side had to wait until the 85th minute for their next opportunity, Craddock spinning and firing low but Robinson was again behind it quickly. Five additional minutes were somehow found by the referee and it wasn’t until the last of those that Felixstowe were greatly troubled, a corner flew into a crowded box, made busier by the home goalkeeper in attendance, in the scramble for the ball a home player headed towards goal but it was cleared by Joe Whight.


Never a classic but a great win nonetheless, the win taking the Seasiders three points behind the Blues who still occupy that coveted final playoff position, with eight of the remaining twelve games for the Seasiders being at the Goldstar Ground, it could well be an exciting end to the season, starting with the home double against Barking (Tuesday 7.45pm) and Stowmarket (Saturday 3pm).




Match report by Stuart Daynes - Photos by Thomas Bradford

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