Seasiders get back to winning ways as Zak returns with a bang

Felixstowe & Walton United bounced back from two successive league defeats to put the race for the playoffs back in their own hands. Two second half goals from the returning Zak Brown condemned visiting Romford to relegation from the Isthmian North as both sides finished with ten men due to first half fouls.


The Seasiders were without a recognised striker in the first half; Ollie Canfer was unavailable whilst Zak Brown started on the bench following his near five month injury layoff. Joe Whight and Jordan Matthews missed out through injury but Armani Schaar was back on the bench after missing several games.

The disappointing thing from the afternoon was the size of the crowd, announced at 268, although a second half headcount showed well over 300. Despite offering free admission to celebrate Non-League day, the crowd was clearly impacted by the good weather, resurgence in interest in Ipswich Town, a high Covid case rate in Felixstowe and a five games in two weeks home stand. On a positive note the donation buckets were overflowing and the club thanked all who had donated towards the 3G pitch fund.


Felixstowe were in control immediately from kick off with Boards and Crumpy eager to set the tempo of the game in our favour, good build-up play and passing was pinning Romford back and it was looking likely to be a long afternoon for the visitors, even longer due to the A12 issues that had delayed kick-off and caused them to only arrive just after 3pm. Josh Hitter saw his 20 yard effort deflected just wide on 3 minutes and then the keeper deny him again on 5 minutes after great work from Andre Hasanally on the right set him up in the box. Henry Barley curled over the bar on 7 minutes and then crossed deep for Charlie Warren to head wide. Romford were reduced to ten men on 12 minutes, Hasanally raced clear and when 25 yards from goal, defender Exley Banks caught him in the face with his trailing arm. The referee indicated to the away bench that it was deliberate, it didn’t seem that way from my position but coupled with the clear run on goal, a red card was inevitable. Stuart Ainsley tried his luck from 35 yards on 18 minutes but saw his rising effort go high and wide. Charlie Warren put a great ball into the box on 22 minutes but the goalkeeper kept out Henry Barleys shot. Two minutes later and the one way traffic continued with Noel Aitkens performing the move of the match to beat several defenders and tee up Hasanally whose low shot was again saved. Despite the dominant performance, it was clear that Felixstowe’s lack of a recognised striker was an issue; time and again good build up play was wasted as a lack of a goal poacher in the box saw many chances spurned. Romford created their first opportunity on 29 minutes, a free kick was floated into the box and Eusebio da Silva stole in, in front of Robinson but headed over the bar. Charlie Warren saw his 25 yard snap shot well saved again by Robert Budd in the Romford goal who was having a blinder of a game. As the half fizzled out, the game was nearly turned on its head with a penalty being awarded to the visitors in added time. Curtley Williams brought down a forward in the box and although a clear penalty, the referee then decided to show a red card to even things up, a bizarre decision with two covering defenders between the foul and the goal. Da Silva stepped up for the last kick of the half but his penalty wasn’t great and it was well saved by Callum Robinson to keep the scores level.


Half time saw the introduction of Zak Brown to the game and his pace and power immediately made a difference for the home side. Brown was denied by the acrobatics of Budd on 48 minutes, Stuart Ainsley sent over a superb cross-field pass for Henry Barley who beat his man and crossed for Brown to head towards the top corner but Budd somehow kept it out. It only took ten minutes for Brown to get the opening goal, a scramble in the box led to the ball bouncing up on to the bar and although it looked like a defender may initially have diverted the ball into the roof of the net, it was Brown who had forced the last touch to claim the goal. Two minutes later and it was nearly two nil, a brilliant free kick from Hasanally was heading for inside the far post but again Budd showed unbelievable reactions to get across the goal and palm the ball wide. It was Barleys turn to be denied on 63 minutes, his goal bound shot was again spectacularly saved as Budd sprang across to his right at full stretch to claw it away with his left hand! Hasanally shot wide on 75 minutes before the crucial second goal came on 79 minutes. Charlie Warren broke quickly on the left and sent in a brilliant ball for Zak Brown who was steaming into the box and he slammed the ball inside the post to give the keeper no chance. Felixstowe seemed content to see the game out and conserve energy for the remainder of the game. Romford got themselves into good positions on three occasions but could not trouble the defence, although substitute Justin Bailey should have done better on 88 minutes when clear on the right but he shot well wide.



Seasiders Manager Stuart Boardley spoke after the game. “Any team at this level is going to be a challenge and Romford put up a good fight today, they certainly didn’t look like a side that had thrown in the towel. I thought we made hard work of it at times; we should have been two or three up early on but for good saves from their goalkeeper, who I thought was outstanding. So yes we made hard work of it but it was important that we were patient and eventually that first goal came and that settled us down. We had lacked a natural goal scorer first half as we didn’t have a recognised front man with Ollie Canfer being away at a wedding, although I add that Andre Hasanally was fantastic today, but he’s not a penalty box striker so I thought if we can get Zak on the pitch I always felt he would get us the goal. I think it’s done Zak good, he’s ready to start playing some minutes, certainly not ready to start a game yet, but he’s getting there. He felt good after, although tired, but he’s been out for four and a half months so he’s going to feel that and the important thing is that he hasn’t felt any ill effects in his groin”. Boardley went on to say. “Now we look forward to Tuesday, I said at the start of the season that if we can be ahead of Maldon and Bury in the league come the end of the season then I felt we’d be right up there, I don’t think that’s any different now as Maldon have got themselves together after a sticky patch and they’re going great guns at the moment and have strengthened with the introduction of new players so I’m expecting a really tough game here Tuesday”.




Report by Stuart Daynes

Photos by Stefan Peck

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