Stunning away performance as the Seasiders clinch a playoff spot in style


Felixstowe & Walton United produced the performance of the season this afternoon to demolish Maldon & Tiptree 5-1 away from home, in doing so sealing a place in the end of season Isthmian North playoffs with a guaranteed fifth place finish. Sam Nunn and Joe Whight had Felixstowe in control at half time and steamrollered the home side in the second half with goals from Ollie Canfer, Joe Whight and Kieran Twinn before a late consolation for Maldon.

The Seasiders were backed by a large following on this Bank holiday afternoon, all keeping one eye on events at Canvey Island where playoff rivals Grays Athletic were in action. One change was made to the side that beat Bury on Saturday, Ollie Canfer starting on the bench with Leon Ottley Gooch in the first eleven.

Maldon & Tiptree started the game quickly and were using the front three to good effect to try and capitalise on some smooth passing moves in the Seasiders half. The first chance came in the opening minute with a good break down the left, the forward cut in from the byline but wasted his effort by shooting straight at Robinson rather than utilising his colleagues in better positions in the box. Zak Brown did well to win the ball and power forward in the third minute, his cross from the left was just out of Noel Aitkens reach and the goalkeeper cleared the danger. Another good move from Maldon in the fifth minute led to Ade Cole firing towards goal from the right side of the box but Billy Holland diverted the ball out of play with his head. Felixstowe quickly made changes to stop the free flowing Maldon passing game that had been a feature of the opening ten minutes and from then on it was all the away side, a great chance was created on 16 minutes, Callum Bennett did brilliantly on the left to beat his man and deliver a great cross, Zak Brown headed the ball out to Andre Hasanally who looked to be lining up a cross but instead turned and fired a snapshot onto the left hand upright. Two minutes later and the opening goal came, Hasanally sending in a superb ball into the area and Sam Nunn stole in between two defenders to head the ball into the corner of the net. Shortly after the fans were in dreamland, with news filtering through of Grays being two behind at Canvey, Felixstowe found themselves two goals in front. Leon Ottley-Gooch had been sensational up to now and he won the ball 22 yards out and sent in a low powerful shot through a crowded box, the keeper could only spill the shot into the path of a waiting Joe Whight who gleefully smashed the ball into the net. Felixstowe remained comfortably in control for the rest of the half, Maldon were restricted to occasional breaks forward but the Seasiders defence looked in excellent shape and dealt with anything that did come their way. Felixstowe would have been happy to go in at half time two up, but were so nearly three ahead on 43 minutes, Noel Aitkens long range effort from 25 yards firing inches wide of the left post with the goalkeeper stranded on his line. There was time for one more break before the whistle, Josh Hitter did great to win the ball in his own box and sent the ball up to Hasanally on the half way line who turned and was free to run on goal, he checked back his run to keep the ball under control when he reached the 30 yards from goal mark and that allowed the defender to clear.

Talk at half time was how the next goal would be crucial, with Grays now 3-0 behind it was down to Felixstowe to determine their own fate from herein, Maldon had a couple of set pieces at the start of the half but the away defence was equal to anything thrown at it. Zak Brown broke on 52 minutes and similar to Saturdays winning goal, he burst in from the left, his shot was saved and spun out into space, unlike Saturday, this time there was no one to stab the ball home. That crucial next goal came on 58 minutes and it was Felixstowe again on the scoresheet, Billy Holland, Andre Hasanally and Josh Hitter were all involved in a scintillating move that led to a cross to Henry Barley, he laid the ball off for Ollie Canfer to expertly stroke the ball into the far corner out of the keepers reach. Sam Nunn was close with a header on 62 minutes and Hitter saw his shot cleared away as Felixstowe continued to terrorise the home defence. 74 minutes and it was four! A foul on twenty yards, set Joe Whight up for a free kick, his stunning effort into the right corner led to a moment of silent disbelief, including from the goalkeeper who was stuck to the spot, before a roar from the away end signalled a quite superb goal for his second of the game. 77 minutes and it was Kieran Twinn rising highest to head just wide from 18 yards, Twinn was not be denied though and from the clearance Felixstowe immediately sent the ball back forward on the half way line and Twinn burst through on goal and when he reached the edge of the box he slammed the ball past the keeper to spark delirium in the away end. Maldon tried to grab a late consolation as the minutes ticked down, a free kick on the right was diverted towards goal but Billy Holland was there to comfortably clear but on 88 minutes Ifeanyi did reduce the deficit, controlling the ball well in the area and twisting and turning before firing through several players into the net. That was the last of the action on an afternoon that will live long in the memory, a quite breath-taking performance of pure quality, passion, determination and some seriously impressive finishing for the five goals. Grays fell to a 3-1 defeat so a place in the playoffs was confirmed with a game to spare. The players rightfully celebrated with their supporters at the end before settling down to start to prepare for the extended season that now awaits.


Report by Stuart Daynes

Photos by Thomas Bradford

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