Seasiders leave it late..... but win again


Felixstowe & Walton United remain firmly in the Play-off mix after recording a third successive league win, their thirteenth victory in the last seventeen games. The game was far from being a classic and looked to be heading for a goalless stalemate until the 80th minute, Ollie Canfer producing a piece of pure magic to score the winner and secure a vital three points.


The Seasiders were looking for their first league victory over Witham Town since promotion to step 4, with three draws and one loss against the Essex side thus far, a Velocity Trophy penalty shootout win earlier this season the only sniff at a win in all competitions during that period. Witham came into the game on the back of an upturn in form, a superb away win at Maldon & Tiptree was followed by another good performance at Coggeshall, only a 90th minute equaliser denying Witham a second successive away victory.

Joe Whight missed out due to a leg injury sustained at Bury Town on Tuesday, whilst Noel Aitkens was absent due to illness. Curtley Williams and Ollie Canfer returned to the starting eleven.


From the first minute it was evident that the pitch conditions were going to have an impact on the game, although visually not too bad, it was hard and bobbly with soft areas, making passing and controlling the ball difficult for both sides. The first real chance of a quiet opening came on 10 minutes, Henry Barley curling in a free kick that Manny Osei connected with but he saw his effort cleared off the line, Curtley Williams picked up (not literally) the rebound but fired his shot just wide through a crowded area. Two minutes later Charlie Warren won the ball on the left and centred for Jordan Matthews who shot a foot over the bar from just outside the box. There was a scare at the back on 14 minutes when Witham broke for the first time in the match, the forward latching onto a loose ball and rounding Callum Robinson before shooting wide from a narrow angle. Robinson was the saviour on 16 minutes, saving well from close range as the Witham striker looked certain to score after another fast break on the left. Most of the pressing was coming from the away side during the half but the final ball was often lacking in a game that was not exactly a game for the football purists. A series of Felixstowe corners led to an effort from Osei on 24 minutes, his flicked header from 8 yards not troubling the goalkeeper too much as he saved comfortably. A Seasiders attack broke down on 30 minutes and again Witham seized on the loose ball and set a quick break going down the right, with a teammate waiting at the far post in space, the attacker instead tried to score from the angle but Robinson was again behind the shot to put it out to safety. Henry Barley came close to breaking the deadlock a minute later when he created and executed a curling effort that flew just wide of the right post, the shot being the last meaningful action of a poor first half.


The Seasiders had fantastic support at the ground and the 50+ fans were nearly celebrating the opener on 47 minutes, Manny Osei winning the ball and bombing forward before lifting his shot over the onrushing keeper, but his shot smashed against the crossbar. Osei again found himself in space on 54 minutes with the keeper this time getting to the ball first outside the area. Again, the play was proving difficult with the ball bouncing all over the place on the tricky pitch, one of those bobbles led to Witham breaking on 57 minutes, the forward again should have done better but could only find the side netting. A minute later Witham had another great chance, probably their best of the game, the ball was again lost in the centre and the attacker gobbled up the loose ball and found himself one on one with Robinson in a central position, his shot was hard and low but Callum pulled off another fine save to deny what looked a certain goal. There was yet another let off for Felixstowe on 59 minutes as again Witham broke on the left, but from a great position the forward screwed his effort bizarrely well wide of the post. Witham were certainly causing plenty of problems at the back, despite Felixstowe controlling play for long periods, wayward finishing letting down the home side on each occasion, the next chance on 62 minutes causing the driver of the 3:25pm Norwich to London Liverpool Street train more problems than Robinson. The game remained goalless and with results elsewhere not going Felixstowe’s way it was looking like a disappointing afternoon for the Seasiders……. Until Ollie Canfer lit up a poor game with a flash of magic on 80 minutes, the always lively Billy Holland teeing up Canfer on the edge of the box and he unleashed an absolute rocket of a shot from 18 yards that nearly broke the net as it found the top corner. It really was a special goal, worthy of winning any game, and that is evidently what it did, Felixstowe not troubled any further in the final ten minutes of regular play or the five minutes that were added on by the excellent referee.  A crucial three points earnt at a difficult place to play, Witham are clearly better than their league position suggests and on another day would have won the game with the chances they had. Felixstowe move on to a five game home stand, with AFC Sudbury first up on Tuesday in what is sure to be keenly contested local derby.





 Photos by Thomas Bradford

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