Felixstowe & Walton edge out Walsham-le-Willows
- Credit: Archant
Victory for Felixstowe & Walton United maintained the status quo at the top of the Thurlow Nunn Premier table but saw the visitors drop into the relegation zone as Fakenham climbed above them.
On a glue pot of a pitch, Paul Smith’s side belied their lowly league position and might well feel hard done by with the result, having matched their hosts for much of the game. However, two quality finishes from Ethan Clarke and Rhys Barber, at the end of each half, ensured all three points stayed at the Goldstar Ground.
The visitors were the livelier side at the start, adjusting to the conditions much quicker than the Seasiders and Felixstowe’s Clarke did well to deny Andrew Wood in the 10th minute, blocking and diverting what looked a goalbound effort for a corner.
Two minutes later Michael Barwick lifted his effort over Danny Crump’s bar at the end of a sweeping move.
Having ridden out the early storm, the hosts began to threaten, forcing a couple of corners in quick succession, but they were guilty of being caught offside too often by a well-disciplined Walsham defence.
Miles Powell did produce an excellent shot on the turn at the end of a sweeping move in the 22nd minute but he lifted his effort over Liam Bryant’s bar from 20 yards.
As the half progressed so did the home side’s possession and they took the lead six minutes before the break at the end of a move started and finished by Clarke.
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The full-back played a couple of quick passes with Matt Poxon, and collected the second from a neat back heel to hit a low shot across the Walsham ‘keeper from the edge of the area and inside the far post.
It was Clarke’s first goal for the Seasiders but also marked his last action of the game as he stretched for the ball a minute after the restart and stayed down, seeing out the final minutes from the touchline.
Jamal Wiggins unsurprisingly was on for Clarke at the start of the second period and the home side looked far more comfortable than they had done in the first period.
Wood did see an effort loop just over Crump’s bar from a tight angle just, before the hour mark, but Bryant was much the busier goalkeeper and the home side might well have extended their lead on a couple of occasions, both times from corners.
Arran Sheppard headed just wide from the first and over the bar from the second.
In the end it was the home side’s captain Rhys Barber who secured all three points with six minutes left when he rose highest to plant a firm header beyond the Walsham custodian from Stuart Ainsley’s well flighted free kick.
Both sides competed well on a very difficult surface and produced good fare for a decent crowd.
On this performance the Willows look to have enough about them to collect the necessary points to secure Premier Division safety.