Felixstowe & Walton close in on second spot in Thurlow Nunn Premier, after Ely win

Stuart Ainsley celebrates with goal scorer Craig Jennings

Stuart Ainsley celebrates with goal scorer Craig Jennings - Credit: Photo:Stan Baston

Goals from Craig Jennings, Rhys Barber and Ryan Birchfield saw Felixstowe & Walton United tighten their grip on second place in the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division, with a 3-1 away win at Ely City.

Craig Jennings opens the scoring for Felixstowe

Craig Jennings opens the scoring for Felixstowe - Credit: Photo:Stan Baston

Matty Simpson replied for the hosts in an evenly-contested game at the Unwin Ground and, with one game of the season remaining, the Seasiders are now three points clear of Newmarket Town, next Saturday’s visitors to the Goldstar Ground.

The Jockeys, following their home draw with Kirkley & Pakefield, will need to defeat the Seasiders by four goals or more to claim the runners-up spot in the division.

Felixstowe manager Kevin O’Donnell made two changes with Matt Collins and Ethan Clarke replacing Dan Davis and Jordan Matthews.

The home side enjoyed the better of the early exchanges with Danny Crump in the visitors’ goal saving from Luke Mansfield and Lewis Hook, before Stuart Boardley blocked the former’s effort on goal at the expense of a corner.

An early change for the visitors saw Stuart Ainsley replace the injured Nick Ingram, and the substitute came close to opening the scoring, shortly after entering the game, firing over the home bar from the edge of the area.

On a hard, dry surface, both teams found ball retention challenging before Jennings broke the deadlock on the half hour, controlling Ainsley’s telling pass and striking the ball past the diving Harry Reynolds.

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Ely started the second half as they had the first and were level eight minutes after the restart. Ashley Walter’s shot being blocked and running into the path of Simpson, who finished well past Crump.

The game looked to be heading for a draw until a Felixstowe short corner enabled Birchfield to whip the ball in to the far post.

There, Kerridge headed back across the Ely goal for Barber to force the ball home from close range.

Kerridge then produced an excellent tackle to deny Mansfield in the Felixstowe area as Ely pressed for a reply before Birchfield made the points safe following a good flowing move involving Tom Winter and Clarke with 10 minutes of the encounter remaining.

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