Felixstowe & Walton United earned a well-deserved three points against Hullbridge Sports following late goals from Miles Powell and Ollie Canfer, a result that sends the Seasiders up to seventh place in the table and stretches their unbeaten home run this season to five games, including four victories.

Felixstowe made just the one change from the side that ran out 5-0 winners versus Westfield last weekend in the FA Trophy, goal hero from that game Stuart Ainsley replacing the injured Curtis Haynes-Brown. Jake Alley continued to deputise in goal and Captain Josh Kerridge was watching from the side-lines following his recent surgery.

It was clear from the start that the home side were looking to dominate this game and get on the front foot; the visitors were trying their best to stifle Felixstowe and forcing them to go long on too many occasions. Despite this and with the blustery conditions making things difficult, it was Felixstowe who were creating the chances during the first half, the best of which came on 6 minutes and saw George Clarke fire inches over the bar from a great central position after Armani Schaar had done brilliantly to tee him up with a superb pass from the byline. On 16 minutes it was George Clarke again in the right place as Callum Bennett’s free kick on the right found the lively forward who diverted the ball towards the goal, but the goalkeeper was able to save at his near post. Stuart Ainsley looked keen on adding to his goal last Saturday and saw his long range effort on 20 minutes fly just over, before a minute later just missing the far post with a free kick from 22 yards. Hullbridge were barely in the game from an attacking point of view during the first period but they did have the ball in the net before half time following a smart finish but the offside flag had long been raised.

The Seasiders were again in command at the start of the first half; they obviously had a game plan to keep on playing their brand of good football and trying to create plenty of chances. Lamell Howell was unlucky not to open the scoring on 54 minutes when his header from a Callum Bennett cross found the side netting at the far post. Bennett was again the creator on 64 minutes, finding space on the right and firing across the face of goal for Ollie Canfer who looked certain to score but the ball just eluded his big toe, a minute later and again Canfer was unable to connect on a great ball in from Henry Barley as the large crowd of 395 collectively held their breath. The breakthrough finally came on 82 minutes and it was no more than the home side deserved, Henry Barley did fantastically well to win the ball on the right and his sideways run took out four or five despairing Hullbridge players as he laid the ball off to Lamell Howell on the right, his cross fell loose in the centre of the box and substitute Miles Powell was on hand to calmly slot home a low cool finish from 12 yards right through the goalkeeper. Felixstowe will have been conscious of the corresponding fixture last season when Josh Kerridge’s late goal looked to have secured a win before the visitors scored out of nowhere to grab a point, and it was hearts in mouths time on 85 minutes when Hullbridge finally showed some attacking intent, Fitzer inches away from an equaliser with a snapshot at the near post following a speedy run and cross from Walker. The pivotal moment in the game came on 90 minutes, Hullbridge won a free kick on the edge of the box as the rain lashed down, after a nervy few seconds there was relief amongst the soggy home crowd as Walker could only find the stand behind the goal, from the resultant goal kick, Jake Alley launched the ball forward, Jordan Matthews won the ball on the centre spot and threaded  a superb ball through for Ollie Canfer to beat the offside trap and beat Greene in the away goal with a great finish. It was Canfers fifth goal of the season and there was still time for him to nearly add to that tally with another one on one chance, this time it was Miles Powell with the exquisite pass in the centre that sent Canfer racing away towards goal, but on this occasion the goalkeeper was equal to Canfers shot.

Seasiders Assistant Manager Andy Crump spoke after the game. “We’ve been trying to make sure that we are in games of football this season, the first half, like last week wasn’t overly pretty and we probably got dragged into playing a style of football that we weren’t going out there to play, and forced into long ball football due to the wind, but we said to the players at half time that you’ve got to keep trusting the way that we want to play. We have cut out silly mistakes that in the past left us with uphill battles, that means like today, you give yourselves a good chance to be rewarded with late goals and to come on strong late in the game with confidence. The players are solid as a group and they feel the confidence in our play, work hard for each other and with the boys off the bench (Barley & Powell) making such an impact today it was great to see, Miles has had to sit frustrated on the bench lately but he took his chance today and that’s what we need them to do.” Looking towards Tuesday’s game at Bury Town, Crump went on to say. “Bury will be absolutely gutted at losing late on in the FA Cup today and like all good sides, the biggest thing they will want is a response. We could do without them having extra motivation! But if you want to play these big sides in big leagues then you’ve got to go and play at those places with confidence, stay in the game for as long as you can, and then take your chances when they come. We look forward to games like that, it’s huge in local football and they have had the upper hand on us since Stuart Boardley and I joined last season so it will be nice to go there and try and continue what we have been doing at this club.”



Match report by Stuart Daynes

Photos by Dave Francis



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