Felixstowe & Walton United 1 v 0 Grays Athletic
A controversial penalty award seals Blues fate writes The Mariner
ON a drab afternoon the football on offer did little to brighten the day for both sets of supporters in a game that looked destined for a goalless draw. The outcome was eventually decided by a dubious penalty awarded by an official who had angered players and supporters of both teams throughout the 90 minutes with a display littered with inconsistency and frequent stoppages disrupting the flow of the game. For Felixstowe it marked their first league win since mid September and for Blues consigned them to a second consecutive league defeat. Frustratingly for Blues supporters it was a classic game of two halves, the first period saw them look comfortable and secure at the back, threatening going forward and coming close to scoring on a number of occasions. Unfortunately the second half was one to forget where although working hard they created little allowing the Seasiders back in the game. Danny Sambridge had been a virtual onlooker for most the game, the first direct shot on his goal coming from the hotly disputed penalty.
A nondescript opening period eventually led to Blues governing possession creating the first chance when a Macauley Joynes free kick caused panic in the home defence, forcing Jamal Wiggins to head goal wards – Danny Crump with a fingertip stop saved the defenders blushes.
Another Blues raid produced a corner played short to Joao Carlos he fed Mitch Hahn on the edge of the area whose first time shot rattled the bar with Crump clutching at air.
In control Blues looked sharp and eager, the defence looked secure easily dealing with the long ball tactics of their hosts, debutant Ryan Sammons looked comfortable combining well with Nathan Fox who was finding space out wide. Blues unfortunately were dealt a blow after fifteen minutes when the lively Michael Pindy succumbed to a hamstring injury replaced by Lewis Dark.
Felixstowe had their first sight of the Blues goal when Jordan Mathews picked up a loose ball but his shot sailed harmlessly wide of the woodwork.
Towards the end of the half Blues threatened, Sammons delivered a pinpoint cross to the head of Ashley Miller who glanced the ball wide of the upright. George Purcell dispatched a thunderbolt free kick producing an acrobatic save from Crump turning the ball behind, and then on the stroke of half time Carlos sprang on to a pass raced clear and should have done better when he blasted wildly high and wide from close range.
The opening minutes of the second period set the tone for the rest of half, Felixstowe looked sharper going forward pushing Blues back and enjoying territorial advantage. Apart from an early Purcell – Fox exchange of passes setting up Ashley Miller who fired over Blues lacked the urgency and control of the first half.
The Seasiders introduction of Josh Lee at half time proved decisive his movement dragged the Blues defence creating space but despite the pressure Sambridge was rarely called into action other than collected crosses under no pressure.
With neither side able to make a breakthrough the game was heading for a goalless bore draw with both defences on top. Blues had their moments when Steve King nodded downwards from a corner just eluding Purcell. The referee continued to baffle all and sundry with some of his decisions and in the 79th minute he awarded what looked a dubious penalty. Armani Schaar burst through, King shepherded him wide and there seemed little contact but the Felixstowe man went down and following vociferous appeals a spot kick was awarded. The official reasoning King had used both hands to bring his man down which clearly was not the case. Callum Bennet converted the kick.
The goal produced a late Blues rally sub Denzel Adebiyi blasted over as Blues looked to salvage something from the game but to no avail, although they did have the ball in the net when Manny Ogunrinde nodded past Crump only to be given offside.
Sambridge, Sammons, Joynes, Miller, King,Clarke, Pindy (Dark 15), Hahn(Adebiyi 71), Fox (Ogunrinde 83), Purcell, Carlos
Subs not Used: Pearce, Kayembe