POLL: Felixstowe & Walton United aim to pip Hadleigh United, Brightlingsea Regent, Gorleston and Godmanchester to Thurlow Nunn Premier title
Felixstowe & Walton manager Kevin O’Donnell is confident the experienced heads in his team can calm any nerves that the title-chasing Seasiders may have, going into the final two games of the season.
The Dellwood Avenue outfit lead the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division by a point from Hadleigh United, but the destiny of the title is out of their hands with third-placed Brightlingsea Regent, who have a game in hand, guaranteed to win the league if they win their remaining three games.
Tomorrow, Felixstowe travel to Norwich United who earned a point against the Seasiders earlier in the season and have taken four points off second-placed Hadleigh, before hosting Godmanchester who, with three games left to play, could still yet nick the championship.
It promises to be an exciting run-in, especially with Brightlingsea and Norwich set to go head-to-head in Essex on the final day too.
“Naturally there will be a few more nerves now we are top of the table, but we look to prepare for every game the same and take things game by game, week by week,” said O’Donnell.
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“Fortunately, we have some senior players in the dressing room with experience of being in this position before.
“The likes of Rhys Barber at centre-half, Bradley Barber in central midfield and Lewis Pemberton, won this league (in 2010) with Needham Market, while Danny Smy is a brilliant coach with lots of experience and, combined with the younger lads in the team, that is paying dividends.”
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The Seasiders shot to the top of the table last weekend – at the expense of long-term leaders Hadleigh – having lost just one game since December last year, and they are now the team everyone wants to catch.
“I have always said that if you want to be successful in this league, it’s important that you put a run together after Christmas,” revealed O’Donnell.
“We have been going about our business week in, week out and have not sung from the rooftops and it was a bit of a shock to suddenly find outselves in top position.
“We have just got to keep approaching our games in the same way. It’s not going to be easy and of course, there is nothing we can do if Brightlingsea win their final three games.”
A lot of the Seasiders’ success this season can be attributed to the form of prolific striker Ben Cranfield, who has plundered 30 goals in 44 appearances this season.
“If you don’t score goals, you are not going to win games,” added O’Donnell.
“Ben won the golden boot last year and is in contention again this time round. He has been one of the key players in our team this season and his goals have been important when things have not been going quite right for us.”
Cranfield’s goals have also helped the Seasiders into two cup finals, O’Donnell’s men meet Bury Town in the Suffolk Premier Cup, at AFC Sudbury on Tuesday, before going up against Newmarket, in the Red Insure Cup Final, at Diss Town, on May 5.
“I would be lying if I said I hadn’t thought about winning the treble,” said O’Donnell.
“It’s a nice target to aim for but regardless of what happens in our remaining games we’ve had a fantastic season and with the ambition of the club, it is a happy place to be.”
Felixstowe & Walton Played 36; points 78 (Games left 2)
Hadleigh Played 36; Points 77 (Games left 2)
Brightlingsea R Played 35; Points 76 (Games left 3)
Gorleston Played 35; Points 74 (Games left 3)
Godmanchester Played 35; Points 73 (Games left 3)