Witham - Bostik North (Away)

Result: Witham 1 - 1 Felixstowe & Walton Utd
Date: 16 March 2019
Time: 15:00
Match Type: Bostik North
Attendance: 89


We all know that you can use statistics to prove almost any point you like but there are, nevertheless, some interesting stats developing in relation to games played since around Christmas. With only 1 defeat in 10 and just 3 defeats in 15, The Seasiders are clearly proving to be a tough nut to crack for opposition sides. Having said that, we’ve now chalked up 4 draws in our last 5 so it’s understandable that some of us might be feeling a little frustrated too.

For the healthy contingent of travelling fans at the windswept Village Glass Stadium, home of Witham Town FC, nestled in among a sparse 89 spectators, the feeling of frustration was clearly evident at the end of ninety minutes on a bobbly pitch in dreadful conditions. Credit to both sides for offering what was probably an exciting game for any neutrals in the crowd and credit too for there being just the two bookings, one for either side, during proceedings.

Josh Kerridge, with a minor injury, was made to sit this one out allowing Jamal Wiggins to fill in as part of the back three. Liam Hillyard came in for Darren Mills up front and Jordy Matthews started with Stuart Ainsley on the bench.

Luca Collins, the Witham keeper, started as he intended to go on, making some very impressive saves, but it was the number 9, Chinedu Vine, who opened the scoring just after the quarter of an hour mark, putting the home side ahead. Battling against the wind for much of the first half, we were soon on level terms with Callum Bennett powering his drive home from the edge of the box and keeper Collins, this time, unable to maintain The Town’s slender lead. From that moment on, it was a story of ‘Just when will we take the lead and secure the three points?’ Sadly, it wasn’t going to happen. 

The half-time break came and went and most of the second half action was in Witham’s own half with Collins, again and again, coming to the rescue. Despite constant pressure and some neat footwork, it could so easily have gone so horribly wrong. The conditions allowed, despite the pressure we piled on, for the possibility of either side taking the lead and it was only first a fine stop from Jack Spurling then a vital headed goal line clearance from captain Rhys Barber that kept things level.

With goal line clearances, shots bouncing off defenders and near misses, it seemed, just for a moment, that the much-deserved victory was going to come. Hillyard picked up the ball on the edge of the left hand side of the box, beat the keeper and saw the ball bounce off the inside of the post, only to, somehow miraculously, fall into the welcoming hands of Collins. The smile on his face as he grabbed and held on to the ball showed how well he knew he’d ‘got away with that one’.

And so it ended 1-1. There were mixed emotions among the fans with some simply delighted with how well the team had played and others who couldn’t believe we hadn’t nailed it. Cliché alert! That’s football, I’m afraid!

Speaking after the game, Watty said, “The conditions were awful but still we got the ball down and played. We dominated the game for 90 minutes. We didn’t pull the trigger at the right time with one or two too many touches in front of goal. Somehow we couldn’t quite finish them off.” He singled out Callum Bennett for special praise: “He was outstanding today. He had a complete game. We know he’s got it.”

Callum himself told Seasiders TV, “We didn’t think we’d be able to play the amount of football that we did given the conditions. Despite the fact that we didn’t win, we’re pleased because it shows progression again. Each week it shows that we’re getting better. We should have won the game quite comfortably. Looking to the Brentwood game, it’s a game we need to be looking to win. (That way) we get to know what we can do next season.”

We also spoke to Liam who made the point, “As a striker, in the 88thminute, they’re the ones you want to go in.” He acknowledged the competition in the squad, saying, “The fight for places is making us better as a team. You’ve got to fight for your place and be on the ball.”

The final words go to Danny Bloomfield, positive as always, “(I’m) really proud of our group. If we’d won 2-1, we’d have been saying what a performance! It’s fine margins and I don’t want to take away from the performance just because that didn’t happen. I’m really pleased with how we performed but disappointed not to win the game. I felt we deserved it. We dominated the game and we had chances to win it. We weren’t quite good enough in front of goal today to really win the game, but the overall performance deserved it. It’s what it is. The performances are important. (Yes) we are drawing too many games but we’re not losing and the performances deserve wins. It’s better doing that than hanging on and drawing. To perform how we did with the pitch and the wind as it was-I’m really pleased with our attitude toward the game.”

And so it’s Brentwood at home next week and time for friendly revenge. We led in that game back in December until the final twelve minutes when we conceded three. A win at The Goldstar Ground on Saturday would also set things up nicely leading into the Suffolk FA Premier Cup game on the Tuesday night against Stowmarket at the home of Hadleigh United. 


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