Managerless Hadleigh are a shade unlucky to lose to Walsham
- Credit: Archant
Hadleigh United 0 Walsham-le-Willows 1
Managerless Hadleigh United were a shade unlucky to lose 1-0 to high-flying Walsham-le-Willows in a Thurlow Nunn Premier Division clash at Millfield this afternoon.
The in-form Willows clinched victory in the 69th minute when left-back Sam Peters fired home a free-kick into the far corner of the net.
Hadleigh manager Shane Wardley had stood down, earlier in the week, but the home side acquitted themselves well and were unfortunate not to at least secure a point.
It was a goalless first period, but there were several good chances at either end.
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Top-four outfit Walsham almost broke the deadlock after three minutes, when Craig Nurse sprung the offside trap, only for his shot to be well blocked by keeper Nick Punter.
Hadleigh threatened first in the seventh minute. Kieran Turner’s strong run enabled Romario Dunne to burst through on goal, although he was denied by experienced keeper Steve Fenner.
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Walsham winger Ryan Gibbs, who saw a lot of the ball early on, cracked in an angled drive which was superbly pushed away by Punter in the 10th minute, while at the other end Dunne’s swirling free-kick almost wrong-footed Fenner, although the Walsham keeper was able to improvise by palming the ball to safety, much to the frustration of two home players lurking on the edge of the six-yard box.
The visitors pressed forward in the 20th minute. Striker George Bugg managed to round keeper Punter, but he ran out of space and so was unable to steer into an unguarded net.
The Brettsiders so nearly scored on 25 minutes, when Dunne delivered a strong cross from the right wing. Kieran Turner looked odds on to score, but he was denied by a wonderful block-tackle by centre-half Karl Saffrey.
Despite being second from bottom, and without a permanent manager, Hadleigh continued to look composed and confident. Kyle Cassell had a sight of goal in the 35th minute, but Fenner was able to smother down at his near post.
Walsham began to dictate in the second half, and they certainly finished the game the stronger, although their hosts for the most part kept them at bay.
Nurse was not far adrift with a 25-yarder, on the hour mark, while a header by defender Saffery, from a free-kick, was scrambled away for a corner just a minute later.
Then came Peters’ accurate free-kick, which handed Walsham a 1-0 lead with 21 minutes remaining.
Hadleigh searched for an equaliser late on. A header from Brett Crisp was caught by Fenner, under his bar, from a 75th minute corner, while Dunne’s 88th minute shot looped up and was also gobbled up by Fenner as the visitors held on the three points.
HADLEIGH: Punter, Ross, Knight, Barwick, Elliott (sub Howlett, 48), Rose, Dunne, Driscoll, Cassell (sub Crowe, 83), Crisp, Turner.
WALSHAM: Fenner, Warren, Peters, Saffrey, Cusack, Sim, Nurse, Twinn (sub Boulter), Bugg, McPhillips (sub Hammond, 65), Gibbs (sub Spampaneto 89)