Felixstowe & Walton get back on winning trail at Newmarket Town
- Credit: Archant
Having been mugged in injury-time by the league leaders last week, the Seasiders scored twice in the final five minutes of this match to grab all three points and leave their hosts with a similar sense of frustration.
A missed first-half penalty for Newmarket was a crucial moment in the game and, had they scored, it might well have been the Jockeys who picked up the three points on offer.
The difference was Felixstowe’s Jordan Matthews, who posed a threat all afternoon and scored twice when the odds looked stacked against him.
His first was a finish of real quality and the second, in the 93rd minute, was a reward for chasing down what looked a lost cause, as a loose ball ran through to his former teammate, goalkeeper Dan Heath.
Both sides struggled to find any cohesion in their play on an unpredictable surface and in a swirling wind that was equally unpredictable when the ball was in the air.
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The home side had much the better of the first half with the wind at their backs but in the second half it was a distinctly more even affair, with the visitors edging the play.
The game was barely nine minutes old when referee Shaun Barry pointed to the penalty spot, indicating a handball by Felixstowe’s Arran Sheppard.
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The usually reliable Jamie Thurlbourne struck the ball well enough, beating Danny Crump, who guessed the right way, but the ball rattled the foot of the post before rebounding back to the taker who had another go, conceding a free kick for striking the ball twice.
Luke Thurlbourne picked up a yellow card for halting Callum Bennett’s run when he looked in on goal and Crump had to get down quickly at the other end to palm away a 30-yard effort from Jamie Thurlbourne before the break.
The crucial breakthrough came just two minutes into the second period when Josh Hewitt played in Matthews who got to the byeline and cut inside, before firing his shot into the roof of the net from what looked like an impossible angle.
That should have been a springboard for the visitors but Newmarket were back level 10 minutes later with a quality finish from Deakan Napier, the scorer getting between three defenders to produce a crisp strike from 12 yards.
The game looked to be fizzling out but that changed in the 85th minute when Stuart Ainsley put the visitors back in front, direct from a free kick that was fired low and hard into the bottom corner.
Matthews capped a fine individual performance by chasing down a loose ball that looked to be rolling into Heath’s arms, getting there fractionally ahead of the keeper and diverting the ball into an unguarded net.
Felixstowe’s assistant manager Ian Watson felt the scoreline flattered the Seasiders but praised the team for keeping going to the end and grabbing the points through their persistence.
“The game seemed flat – we huffed and puffed without ever really taking control of the game, but again the side’s commitment shone through with the late goals making it three points instead of one,” he said.