Report - Felixstowe & Walton United 4 Diss Town 0. Ben Cranfield strikes a first-half hat-trick
- Credit: Archant
The Seasiders moved back into the top six as Ben Cranfield struck a first-half hat-trick against basement club Diss Town, whose relegation fears continue after shipping four goals for the third successive game.
The home side’s leading scorer was at his predatory best to grab his third hat-trick of the season with all his goals coming before the break, while Danny Bloomfield added the fourth six minutes from the end to mark his return after three months on the sidelines through injury.
It gave the hosts some Christmas cheer after five games without a win, and left The Tangerines rooted at the bottom, 12 points adrift of 17th placed FC Clacton.
Felixstowe started on the front foot with Jamie Cole heading just wide of Matt Powley’s right-hand post 30 seconds into the game, and the visitors ‘keeper was twice in action to deny Sheridan Driver with two sharp saves in the opening 15 minutes.
Danny Self sent a free-kick high over Ryan Bedingfield’s post in the 20th minute.
But the respite on the visitors defence was short-lived when Cole won a corner which Barber played short to James Ross, in an unfamiliar left-back role, and his whipped-in cross was flicked past Powley by Cranfield at the near post to give the Seasiders a 22nd-minute lead.
Tom Dew headed against the angle of post and bar and then had a surging run was halted abruptly in the area with referee Carl Pearse pointing for a corner as Ager got in a strong challenge.
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The pressure was mounting and Powley produced an excellent stop to beat away Brad Barber’s 36th-minute free-kick at the foot of his near post.
The second goal looked imminent and it came in the 40th minute when Cole latched on to a long clearance and made ground on the left before setting Cranfield to produce a clinical finish.
Two minutes later, Cole was again involved as he linked with Ross, who played the ball in for Cranfield to produce a smart finish for his hat-trick.
Diss improved after the break and enjoyed a much greater share of the possession as the home side took their foot off the pedal, but lacked the quality in and around the Seasiders’ area to cause to many concerns for the home defence.
Bedingfield, making his home debut, was forced into just one serious save, getting his body behind Self’s low drive from 20 yards in the 74th minute.
Ager was fortunate to escape with just a yellow card following a 77th minute challenge on Driver, Cranfield missed out on a fourth goal, looping his header from Thrower’s cross over the bar, and it was left to Bloomfield to mark his return with a goal in the 84th minute as he finished coolly at the near post from Thrower’s cross helped on by Dew.
Felixstowe: Bedingfield, Pemberton (West 46), Ross, Bradley Barber (Clark 72), Rhys Barber, Davis, Dew, Driver, Bloomfield, Cranfield, Cole (Thrower 65). Unused: Birchfield
Diss: Powley, Shadrack, Greenslade, Self, Edwards-King, Ager, Lake, Lewis, Dixon, Brown, Newton (Norman 64). Unused: Riches, Holmes.
Referee: Carl Pearse