Kirkley & Pakefield hit five as Seasiders and Clarets win

WITH the non-league season edging ever closer, several of our local sides continued their preparations for their new campaigns with warm-up games at the weekend. The stand-out result was arguably Kirkley & Pakefield’s 5-1 defeat of Wroxham, while there were also wins for Felixstowe & Walton United and Chelmsford. Bury drew with Brantham as did Needham Market with Histon.

Kirkley & Pakefield 5

Wroxham 1

ROSS King inspired Kirkley to an impressive victory, scoring a hat-trick and creating another in a 5-1 win.

The first goal arrived on 33 minutes as Kyle Baker’s cross was dropped by Wroxham goalkeeper Andy Plummer, allowing Ross King to tap home from close range.

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The lead was doubled three minutes later as King latched onto Scott Woodcock’s through ball and expertly chipped the advancing keeper from the edge of the box.

With a few changes at half time for both teams, it was the Royals who claimed the third goal as Plummer could only parry King’s effort into the path of Ross Catchpole, who was on hand to fire home the rebound.

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Wroxham were quick to respond as Jordan Smith was beaten after some good work from substitute Claudio Langlois to make the score 3-1.

Kirkley’s fourth arrived on 60 minutes as Ross King deservedly claimed his hat-trick after volleying home Russell Stock’s flick.

The scoring didn’t end there as Ryan Crisp’s shot flew in off the post on 74 minutes to compel Wroxham to their first pre-season defeat.

Felixstowe & Walton United 1

Felixstowe United 0

THERE were several familiar faces in the Trimley based side and seven who had worn a Seasiders’ shirt in previous seasons plus plenty with experience of playing at the higher level in the now re-named Thurlow Nunn League.

Both sides created half chances in the opening 45 minutes with Ben Cranfield firing his effort across Gary Hammond’s goal in the opening minutes and Jones touching away an effort from Morgan in the opening spell.

Pryke went close at one end and the visitors’ defence was at full stretch to deny Smy and then Cranfield in a goalmouth scramble. Felixstowe United broke quickly and Jones failed to hold the initial shot but trialist Tom Bradlaugh cleared off the line on the half hour.

The second half saw the home side gain the upper hand and the deadlock broken in the 49th minute as Smy and Capocci combined to play in Jordan Mathews who calmly lifted the ball over the advancing Hammond from 12 yards.

The visitors’ challenge diminished as the half progressed and the home side’s superior fitness began to tell although Pryke went close as his effort beat Jones but skimmed the outside of the post on the hour.

Mathews’ goal proved to be the deciding effort but both Smy and Cranfied should have done better on at least two occasions each as they failed to hit the target from good positions. Mathews looked likely to add to the score but decided to pass at the last moment when a shot looked the better option with just Hammond to beat.

Seasiders’ squad: Jones, Sheppard, Smith-Edwards, Bradlaugh, Buckle, Barber, Capocci, Young, Mathews, Smy, Cranfield, Haighton, Veitch, McKenzie, Laws (unused)

Felixstowe United squad: Hammond, Bennih, Kyle, O’Donnell, Peachy, Hunn, Smyth, Pryke, Morgan, Phillips, Rumens, Elliston, Greening, Dawson.

Needham Market 2

Histon 2

NEEDHAM entertained Histon from the Blue Square Bet North in the first of their four home pre-season friendlies.

In a very entertaining game Needham more than matched their higher league opposition in a 2-2 draw, with Histon only equalising in added on time.

In a very tight first half, Needham had plenty of the play against a very lively and energetic Histon team and at times it was difficult to tell which team played at the higher level.

All four goals came in the second half. Histon who took the lead from the penalty spot on 52 minutes after Leabon had tripped a Histon attacker.

On 71 minutes Needham made an inspired double substitution when Bloomfield and Hubbard were replaced by Newson and Nathan Clarke who was making his debut following a hernia operation.

Within 12 seconds of his arrival, Newson poked home a shot at the near post to draw the teams level.

It was Nathan Clarke who looked to have given Needham victory with a debut goal on 88 minutes, heading home a corner that crept inside the post via the keeper’s hand.

Victory was denied when Histon equalised in added on time.

This was a fine performance from the Needham squad with the new signings all settling in well.

Next up for Needham is a visit from Colchester United tomorrow (7.30pm).

Brantham Athletic 1

Bury Town 1

BURY Town were left to rue a succession of missed chances as they were held to a draw by their hosts on Friday night.

Sam Reed was the main culprit in front of goal, either side of Callum Kearns driving home a loose ball as Brantham failed to clear a corner in the 31st minute.

Brantham were level three minutes later, Dave Grimwood threading the ball through the visitors’ defence for brother Lee to race clear and beat Marcus Garnham.

Both sides made several substitutions in the second period, but it was Bury who should have won the match when they were awarded a 67th minute penalty after Evan Key was sent tumbling by Adam Bloss. However, Luke Ingram’s spot kick came back off the crossbar.

Chelmsford City 2

East Thurrock 1

Glenn Pennyfather was delighted with his Chelmsford City team’s 2-1 home victory over East Thurrock United for confidence purposes - but equally pleased with their ability to adapt to different circumstances after trying a different formation during the game.

Cliff Akurang and midfielder David Bridges netted second-half goals to respond to Reiss Gilbey’s 4th-minute opener for the visitors. Afterwards, the Clarets boss admitted that his side were cornered tactically on occasions during the last campaign, but he’s now preparing them to be able to switch their set-up during a game if necessary.

“That’s what pre-season is for - looking at players and formations,” he reacted. “It’s important that we have a Plan B so we’re not one dimensional. I think we found at home last year that we need to be able to change things round because teams do come here and sit nine or ten men behind the ball.”

Rocks’ skipper Gilbey put John Coventry’s side in front early on, taking advantage of City’s inability to clear by finding the bottom corner from a few yards. Team mate Tom Stephen then rattled the post in the 18th minute as the visitors continued to press, almost resulting in another just after the interval which was ruled out when former Chelmsford front man Sam Higgins was offside.

City’s main threat was from a 40th-minute Craig Parker blast but Akurang added to it, latching onto a deep ball on 58 minutes then dispatching low past goalkeeper Jamie Riley. Jamie Slabber couldn’t get enough on his 74th-minute effort when through on goal for the hosts but they did move in front within 60 seconds as Aiden Palmer’s in-swinging corner was guided into the net by Bridges at the near post.

Slabber was again in the hunt at the death as he poked home Akurang’s knockdown, and Parker fizzed narrowly wide from long range, but City had already done enough for the result.

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