Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Felixstowe and Walton United 3 v 0 Ipswich Wanderers

Monday 26th December 2016
Eastern Counties League Premier Division
Dellwood Avenue, Felixstowe
Admission: £6.00
Programme: £1.50
Attendance: 227
Match Rating: 2

I had originally planned to stay local this Boxing Day, but having woken up earlier than expected, I decided it would be better to travel up into East Anglia today for a double of new grounds rather than revisits, starting with this 11am kick-off.

Dellwood Avenue is situated just to the north of Felixstowe town centre and train stations, and from the road, spectators walk past a wooden cricket pavilion type building, which currently serves as the clubhouse and changing rooms and is full of character, but has seen better days, and is the process of being replaced by a much larger building which is under construction and located adjacent to the football ground. The entrance to the football ground is in one corner, with spectators paying at a wooden hut. All of the spectator facilities are located along this length, with a small wooden hut offering refreshments and club shop merchandise next to the entrance, then two modern metallic stands straddling the half way line, one being all-seater and the other covering a couple of steps of standing. In the far corner there is a wooden shed which serves as a hospitality area. Around the rest of the ground there is just hard standing, with wooden perimeter fencing generally set some way back from the pitch, as well as trees, enclosing the ground. In truth, this is not a particularly attractive ground and offers very little in the way of character, but is good enough for the level of football and may look better closer to the summer months. The programme is more expensive than most at this level but was of good enough quality to justify it, printed on good quality paper and in colour, and with plenty of information to provide a preview of the match.

Felixstowe and Walton United are one of four clubs to have applied for promotion to Step 4 at the end of the season, although there is very little chance of qualifying on the pitch, coming into this game in fifth place, with 12 wins and three draws from their 18 league games. Although they are five points behind second placed Stanway, with games in hand, Mildenhall are running away with this division, 16 points clear at the top. Ipswich Wanderers were in tenth place, with ten wins and a draw from their 21 league games.

On a beautifully sunny but chilly morning, this was quite a disappointing game for a local derby, with the visitors looking sluggish throughout and the home team taking control early on and then cruising to victory. They took the lead with just two minutes on the clock, a free kick from close to the right corner flag was lofted high over the goal, the keeper couldn't claim the ball and Rhys Barber bundled the ball in at the the far post. Ipswich had perhaps the best chance of the match on 12 minutes when Danny Thrower hit a shot from the edge of the area which fizzed just wide of the post. After a decent spell by the visitors, Felixstowe started to dominate again and on 32 minutes, they doubled their lead after a surge into the box from wide was blocked but the loose ball fell to Craig Jennings, who smashed the ball home via the palm of the keeper. On 43 minutes, the home side took complete control of the match with a third, Jordan Matthews taking advantage of some sloppy play by the visitors to take possession of the ball and run towards goal before firing the ball into the net, again via a touch from the keeper.

Barring something of a miracle, the game was as good as over at half time, although the visitors started the second half quite strongly without ever looking like they would get back into the game and indeed it was Felixstowe who had the better goalscoring chances and as the second half progressed, the more the home side cantered to a comfortable victory, and the visitors were also reduced to ten men when Ross Beech was shown a second yellow card.

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