Ipswich Wanderers rue missed chances in draw with Thurlow Nunn Premier rivals Felixstowe & Walton United
- Credit: Archant
Ipswich Wanderers manager Glenn Read, along with the majority of those watching, were left to wonder how the visitors had salvaged a point from a game that could and should have been wrapped up before the half-time whistle.
Had the home side found the finish to match their flowing approach play, the three points would have been in the bag long before their visitors produced a late rally and goal to extend their impressive away record that has seen them lose just once, and fail to score on only one occasion.
Wanderers made two changes to the side that had lost at Gorleston the previous week with Darius Laws and Luke Read coming into the starting XI against their former club, with Read the stand-out player on the park.
Seasiders’ central defender Rhys Barber was unavailable for the game, ending a run of 81 consecutive appearances where he had played the full 90 minutes of every match, and the visitors’ defence never looked comfortable in his absence against a home side that had clearly done their homework after watching the visitors’ midweek League Cup win.
Wanderers might well have been ahead after just two minutes when Laws fed leading scorer Craig Jennings, but his shot lacked pace and Jamie Stannard, returning to his former club, collected comfortably.
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Little was seen of Felixstowe as an attacking force and Read was a constant threat with his surging runs.
Stannard had to be alert to deny him with a smart save on the quarter hour mark, blocking his effort with Matt McKenzie firing the loose ball wide of the target.
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Read again tested Stannard, who produced a one-handed save, before Felixstowe forced their first corner of the match in the 21st minute with Jack Spurling turning away Brad Barber’s effort, and Dan Davis glancing his near-post header from the flag kick over the Wanderers bar.
It was brief respite for the visitors as Laws dragged a shot across Stannard’s goal, and Davis produced a goal-line clearance to deny McKenzie. Stannard again produced a save to keep out another Read effort as the home side kept the pressure on, and the goal they had threatened for most of the half finally came in the 44th minute. Following Laws’ searching crossfield pass, Ross Beech surged forward with space to produce an excellent finish from just outside the area, tucking the ball inside the diving Stannard.
Jennings twice sent efforts over the Seasiders’ bar and McKenzie had the ball in the net, but the assistant had his flag up for offside as the hosts continued to dominate the game after the break. But a double substitution from the visitors with 20 minutes left changed the pattern of the play.
Jamie Cole and Ryan Clark injected pace into the Seasiders’ attack, and for the first time the Wanderers’ defence found themselves on the back foot. Spurling first denied Clark, and then Ben Cranfield in the final 10 minutes, and with just two minutes left, Thrower worked an opening with Cole on the right to cross for the unmarked Duane Wright to head past Spurling. The goal marked his return to the Seasiders after a four-year absence and grab a late share of the spoils.
After the game, Wanderers boss Read was both happy and disappointed, feeling his side had played very well, producing some of their best football of the season, but disappointed they had not taken their chances, especially in the first half when they were dominant and carved out some excellent openings.
Seasiders boss Kevin O’Donnell was more reticent after watching his side grab the late equaliser, feeling they had kept going and shown resilience under pressure and was pleased to see Wright mark his return to the club with a vital goal.