Felixstowe & Walton United made it eight consecutive victories with a hard-fought 2-1 win at Enfield to go joint top of the Isthmian North with just eight games to go this season. Andre Hasanally scored the opener just after the break and Josh Mayhew nodded in the winner just before the hour mark after the home side had pulled it level.

It was a surprise the game was on, although Felixstowe were more than keen to play today and avoid a midweek trip to Hertfordshire later in the season. Enfield groundshare at National League North side Bishop’s Stortford at their impressive stadium just at the end of the Stansted Airport runway, and the pitch would have been deemed unplayable on most other occasions. We assume the pitch has reached a point where it will not improve this season so both clubs have to now just get the games played. Huge areas of the pitch were a combination of mud and sand where the ball would not bounce and this was certainly going to make playing our usual brand of quick, passing football difficult.

After a period of relatively good luck with injuries, Stuart Boardley was dealt a real headache after last weeks game with Charlie Warren having to undergo surgery midweek with a broken right arm, Joe Whight facing a lengthy layoff with an ankle injury and Henry Barley and Lamell Howell both suffering injuries too. Andre Hasanally started his third spell at the club in Charlie Warren’s usual position, Callum Harrison in his attacking role and Leon Ottley-Gooch returned from injury to partner Jack Ainsley in central defence. A notable inclusion on the bench was 16-year-old goalkeeper Zac Tuvey from the Seasiders U18’s side.

Felixstowe started the brightest and Billy Holland nearly gave the away side a dream start after just 2 minutes, taking the ball down on the edge of the six yard area from Josh Hitter’s cross but shooting wide. Callum Bennett sent in a great curling cross a minute later that seemed perfect for Sam Ford but he just could not connect. Josh Hitter created a good chance for himself on 10 minutes, stepping inside a defender, then the same again, to create space for a shot, but his effort was wide. Enfield had barely been in the Seasiders final third in the opening quarter of an hour, but they showed they could be a danger when Rob Clark made space 20 yards out but fired his blistering effort three feet wide. The 60+ Seasiders supporters had their hearts in their mouths on 20 minutes when a back pass to Josh Blunkell was misjudged, causing Blunks to race back to clear before a home forward prodded it home. The game was really struggling to get going due to the near impossible conditions underfoot with Felixstowe especially having to avoid large parts of the Enfield half and take perhaps a deeper sit-in and then having to try and bridge that gap between midfield and attack. Sam Ford did get the ball in the net with a smart finish on the half hour mark upon taking down a free kick into the area, but the referee had already blown for an apparent push in the box. Callum Harrison whipped in a menacing corner kick on 40 minutes that Jack Ainsley met at the far post, his bullet header flew inches over the bar with the keeper beaten.

The second half began with a bang with Felixstowe taking the lead on 47 minutes, Stuart Ainsley put a probing low cross in from the left, Sam Ford was first in line, he dummied it and it fell perfectly to the next in the queue, Andre Hasanally, who struck a sweet shot into the bottom left corner. The lead lasted just two minutes, two home corners were incoming and the second of these was not suitably cleared, allowing Jack Leech the opportunity to fire into the right of the net, via a deflection. The home sides tails were up briefly and they attempted an audacious effort from 35 yards shortly after, the superb shot beating Blunks but bouncing on to the top of the crossbar. Felixstowe then had a good spell and nearly scored on 55 minutes, Harrison’s cross was met by Ottley-Gooch but his goal bound header was deflected just over the bar. Josh Mayhew came on as a substitute a minute later and he scored with his first touch! Nodding into the roof of the net at the far post as he met a floating cross from the left. After a quieter spell, Mayhew had another opportunity on 73 minutes, taking the ball down in the box and doing a backwards movement with the ball that Michael Jackson would have been proud of, turning and seeing his shot blocked at the last second. Chances were at a premium for both sides for the remainder with Enfield making very occasional bursts forward, and to be fair looking fairly dangerous when they did so, and also causing some issues with the regular set-pieces they were winning. Felixstowe were catching them on the break but weren’t really looking like making one of them count and perhaps were guilty of wasting possession in the higher areas of the field. Billy Holland lashed a left-footer wide of the post on 80 minutes and Josh Mayhew had a good effort two minutes later, finding space on the right after a throw-in, and with options limited curling an effort that spun right across the goal line before being deflected out for a corner. The last chance of the game fell to Enfield in the 89th minute and they should really have equalised for a second time, a well-taken free kick was central and just going in under the bar before Blunks managed to change direction in midair and pull off a good save to tip it over the bar. There were a few more nervy moments during the added 6 minutes with Felixstowe finding it difficult to keep possession enough to ease those nerves, but hold on they did and they left the field to a great reception from the travelling Seasiders, with everyone delighted at yet another three points in the bag.




Report by Stuart Daynes

Photos by Tom Bradford

Team Line-Ups Here

Photo Gallery Here