REPORT: Felixstowe & Walton slip up at Norwich United as Thurlow Nunn Premier title race takes another twist
- Credit: Archant
Thurlow Nunn Premier Division Norwich United 1 Felixstowe & Walton 0 The battle for the title will go down to the wire next Saturday with four sides still in contention as the Seasiders slipped up at Plantation Park, allowing long-time leaders Hadleigh United to climb back above them and regain pole position while Brightlingsea dropped two points at Diss.
Felixstowe’s manager Kevin O’Donnell has consistently said the Seasiders were not in the title race as they were reliant on other results going in their favour and that is still the case going into the final week of the season.
This game started brightly with the visitors on the front foot but the hosts had built a 13 match unbeaten run on a solid defence that had conceded just 11 goals in that run and Felixstowe were never able to get the passing game going on which they had built their own impressive run.
Former Seasiders ‘keeper Ben Nower turned away an early effort from Ben Cranfield to concede the game’s first corner but neither stopper was unduly tested in the opening 45 minutes that saw Norwich gain momentum as the half progressed, but producing only one serious effort which drew a 37th minute save from Danny Crump to deny Blake.
The decisive goal came three minutes into the second period when the Seasiders lost possession in their own half with some sloppy play and Matt Blake played a neat one-two with strike partner Paul Cook to create the opening. He finished clinically with a close range shot inside Crump’s near post for his 18th goal of the season.
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Cranfield headed straight at Nower on the hour when he found space from Barber’s free kick that Danny Thrower helped on and drove a shot into the ‘keepers body as the Seasiders looked for a reply.
Thrower had an effort cleared off the line but the home defence produced a solid performance to deny Felixstowe and extend their unbeaten run.
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The game was the start of a hectic ten days for Felixstowe that includes two cup finals and the Seasiders manager will have to pick his troops up quickly as they head into tomorrow evening’s Suffolk Premier Cup Final against Ryman League Premier Division Bury Town at AFC Sudbury’s King’s Marsh Ground.
It was not all gloom as news came through that the Seasiders reserves had overtaken Brantham Athletic to lift the Reserve Premier Division title at The Goldstar Ground for what is the first of a possible four pieces of silverware up for grabs over the next ten days.
Norwich: Ben Nower, Jamie Speller, Lee Mason, Gavin Lemmon, Steve Shipley, Andy Easthaugh, Jamie George (Ryan Britcher 90), Adam Bennett, Paul Cook, Matt Blake (Scott Woodgate 79), Gary Gilmore (Ben Jones 63)
Felixstowe: Danny Crump, Lewis Pemberton, Josh Hewitt, Miles Powell (Ryan Clark 66), Rhys Barber, Dan Davis, Tom Dew, Bradley Barber, Jordan Matthews, Ben Cranfield, Danny Thrower (Ryan Birchfield 81). Unused: Arran Sheppard, Andy Crump, Darius Laws.
Referee: Paul Burnham