THURLOW NUNN LEAGUE REACTION: Hadleigh United 4 Walsham Le Willows 3
Hadleigh United manager Stuart Crawford was happy to record another three points, despite bemoaning aspects of his team’s display.
The Brettsiders emerged 4-3 winners against Walsham le Willows, fighting back from 1-0 down to lead 3-1, but were made to sweat as the visitors stayed in the game until the final whistle.
The unbeaten hosts remain top of the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division table, ahead of next Saturday’s FA Cup date at Billericay, but Crawford wasn’t entirely pleased with United’s performance.
“I was a bit disappointed with the way we let Walsham back into the game. We should have shut up shop at 3-1, played it simple, and made them chase the ball,” said Crawford.
“Instead, we panicked and made defensive errors and it was a nervy ending.
“We have had two or three clean sheets before this game and defended really well. We had an off-day collectively as a defence, but Walsham worked hard and gave an honest display.
“They out-played us in the first half and looked to be getting on top again in the second half before we changed things. In (Andrew) Wood, they have someone who is a sharp-shooter.”
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Wood was arguably Walsham’s best player and Crawford admitted he was keen to bring the former Mildenhall Town man to The Millfield in the summer.
“He caused us problems in the air which we addressed at half-time, and he scored a nice goal in the second half,” explained Crawford.
“I tried to sign him and his performance showed you why.”
n Walsham manager Paul Smith said mistakes cost his side but was not too disheartened as hosts Hadleigh edged a seven-goal thriller.
“I think we were a bit unlucky with the penalty and then individual errors cost us the game,” he said.
“We could not do much about (Neil) Calver’s strike but even at 4-2 we were still in the game and we could have earned a draw. Had we done that, it would have been fully deserved.
Luke Austin gave Smith’s team the lead before Andrew Wood and James Tatham twice reduced Hadleigh’s lead to one goal.
“We got the opening goal and we were on top,” Smith added.
“It’s about fine margins at the moment and, with a bit of luck, we could have got something from Hadleigh.
“We are in a rebuilding process, having lost nine players in the summer, but we have not been outplayed in any games.
“That’s football and my job is to keep the players’ heads up. I patted them all on the back after the game because they deserved something from it.”