Seasiders win again on the road


Felixstowe & Walton United maintained their 100% winning start to 2023, coming from behind to beat lowly Tilbury at a chilly Chadfields ground. The home side took a surprise early lead through debutant James Ewington but Zak Brown equalised in the 31st minute, beating the offside trap and coolly finishing. George Clarke put the Seasiders ahead on 48 minutes from close distance before the away side lived dangerously for a ten-minute spell, Tilbury seeing the woodwork and a goal line clearance from Billy Holland deny them. Felixstowe’s win was confirmed on 83 minutes, Callum Harrison superbly beating two men and scoring low into the far corner.

Felixstowe were without Joe Whight due to a hamstring injury, Charlie Warren slotting into the left back role. Leon Ottley-Gooch was also missing due to injury alongside Stuart Ainsley. Tilbury started with four debutants and a new manager in the dugout after a poor run of ten defeats from thirteen matches.

From the first whistle it was clear that the bumpy pitch was going to limit flowing, passing football, but to both sides credit they adapted well and were both making good use of the space afforded to each team high up the field. Tilbury were unlucky not to score in the first minute when Ewington raced clear but he couldn’t finish, the striker, making his debut, was not be denied though on 5 minutes, receiving the ball from the centre and beating his man to find himself clear in the box and he calmly stroked the ball past Robinson for the opening goal. The match then turned into a stop-start affair for a period, with plenty of breaks in play, including Noel Aitkens having to make an early exit with what looked like a knee issue, and already, plenty of timewasting from the home side. A 30 yard volley was taken care of by Robinson on 13 minutes and George Clarke saw his 20 yard curling effort deflected just wide on 23 minutes. The opening half had not been pretty on the eye but the Seasiders soon loosened up after their enforced three week break and a through ball on 31 minutes saw Zak Brown beat the offside trap from near the half-way line to find himself one-on-one with the goalkeeper, any fears that he had too much time to overthink it were unfounded as he coolly slammed the ball past the keeper to equalise. The always involved Josh Hitter curled a free kick from distance just over on 35 minutes as the away side took control of the play and so nearly went ahead on 45 minutes, Callum Harrison had looked on fire since replacing Noel Aitkens and his superb play out on the far right saw him jink past the defence and deliver a pinpoint ball in to Zak Brown on the edge of the six yard box, he glanced his header towards the far post but saw it go agonisingly just wide. Another great chance was created just on the stroke of the whistle, Josh Hitter doing all the hard work before sending in a vicious attempt from 30 yards that the goalkeeper somehow got to and scrambled it round the post.

Felixstowe made a perfect start to the second half, taking the lead on 48 minutes, just after Zak Brown had seen the keeper get the better of him one-on-one in the box. A ball right across the goal line evaded the home defence and found Andre Hasanally at the far post, his shot from a yard out was somehow cleared, but only to George Clarke who smashed the ball into the net from close distance. That goal certainly woke the home side up and they had three unbelievable chances to equalise in the next ten minutes, a ball into the box on 51 minutes was side footed towards goal from 8 yards, the ball hit the inside corner of the post and crossbar, bounced down onto Callum Robinsons shoulder before being cleared to safety! Two more golden opportunities were squandered shortly after, with Billy Holland being the saviour with a stunning goal line clearance when a goal looked a certainty and some more desperate defending denying the Dockers once more. That brief spell of danger was all the home side could muster and Felixstowe again took control from then on, with Tilbury probably deflated at the sight of players like Ollie Canfer and Henry Barley being introduced off the bench, with both showing quality touches and assists. Callum Harrison again found space through the middle on 62 minutes but he shot wide, and Billy Holland headed just over from a corner on 72 minutes. Felixstowe had suffered a late equaliser at this venue last season, but fears of a repeat were quashed on 83 minutes when Harrison showed his class to score a third for the Seasiders. He beautifully beat two men on the edge of the box to create space for himself and he confidently found the far corner of the net to seal the points. A fourth goal wasn’t out of the question as first Zak Brown and Callum Harrison caused havoc yet again for the home defence who had chased them all game, Zak tried for goal when perhaps a pass would have been the better option, and Harrison curled a shot over from outside the area in injury time.


Report by Stuart Daynes

Photos by Thomas Bradford

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