Seasiders defence keeping Felixstowe & Walton on track for a top-four finish
Felixstowe & Walton United manager Kevin O’Donnell has hailed his side’s recent defensive displays, which has seen the Seasiders climb up to fourth in the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division.
O’Donnell’s men have gone from strength to strength in recent weeks and they have rapidly risen higher and higher up the league table.
With the weather largely hitting the non-league programme for six last weekend, Felixstowe took full use of their game to defeat Wivenhoe Town 1-0.
And although the Seasiders weren’t at their best, O’Donnell was more than pleased with the win.
“A win is a win,” said the Seasiders boss.
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“The conditions weren’t ideal but it was a good three points nonetheless.
“We kept a clean sheet to keep the good run going and the lads at the back can take a lot of credit for that – they’ve been magnificent for us this season.
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“People talk about the golden boots of Ben Cranfield and the rest of our attacking talents but if you can’t defend then you won’t win games and the centre-back partnership of Rhys Barber and Dan Davis has been crucial for us – they’ve both been fantastic.”
O’Donnell’s men are certainly enjoying quite a season.
As well as their league success, where they have only lost three times this campaign, Felixstowe are also in the semi-finals of the Suffolk Premier Cup and the quarter-finals of the Red Insure Cup.
“It’s been quite a season,” admitted O’Donnell, who joined the Seasiders as first-team boss back in October 2012.
“It’s been a massive transformation from when I first joined the club and from this stage last year.
“I said to the lads before the game on Saturday that if we win we’ll go into the top four whereas at the same stage last year, if we won a game we’d climb out of the bottom three.
“The boys have been fantastic, and to be where we are now is quite a significant achievement considering that 60 per cent of the squad is the same.
“Of course, I’ve added a few new faces but the nucleus of the squad has stayed the same.”
As well as his side’s defensive excellence, one of the other main reasons O’Donnell cites as being responsible for Felixstowe’s good form has been the togetherness at the club.
“Outside of football, the lads are all good mates,” said O’Donnell.
“Saturday was the prime example of that.
“On a heavy pitch with Wivenhoe pushing for the equaliser, the lads dug in for each other and weren’t just making tackles for each other as team-mates but as mates as well.
“It was great to see and team spirit has definitely been one of the key reasons for our success so far.”
Now that the Seasiders have got themselves into the top four, O’Donnell is looking to stay there.
He said: “We want to carry on in the same form and consolidate in the top four but we know there’s a long way to go.”
Felixstowe travel to Gorleston on Saturday, weather and pitch permitting of course.
If the game does go ahead, it promises to be an enthralling encounter with the earlier fixture this season seeing an entertaining 4-4 draw.
Meanwhile, Thurlow Nunn oufit CRC, the reserve side to Conference giants Cambridge United, have announced that they will disband at the end of the season and therefore leave the Thurlow Nunn League.