Felixstowe almost made the perfect start but were denied an opening goal by an offside flag in the opening minute. It was United instead who scored first, Ben Pope converting Tom Chalmers’ cross. With half-time approaching Felixstowe equalised via the head of Samuel Nunn, and the same player completed the turn around with another header 10 minutes into the second-half. Zak Brown added a third when he was quickest to catch up with a long goal kick before firing past Louis Rogers.
How it unfolded
Saturday 30th October, the morning rain has cleared for this 3pm kick-off and we are left with sunny intervals and a swirling breeze. There are plenty of scarves being worn by both sets of supporters. The ‘U’s are in their home kit of claret shirts with white shorts and socks while the Seasiders wear dark/light blue shirts with navy shorts and socks (think of a retro Arsenal kit).
For United, Gary Elphick and Marcus Goldsmith are both missing from the back-four, while Ben Pope returns to lead the line. Ollie Black makes his 100th appearance.
Felixstowe start the game and an immediate foul on Sam Hasler goes unpunished. United are expecting a freekick but Felixstowe carry on and some nifty passing sees Brown go around Rogers to score within 25 seconds. Except the offside flag is raised and the ‘goal’ is chalked off. A let off for United and a sign of the visitors confidence.
From then, the opening 20 minutes belong to United. Chalmers, who has missed the last few games, looks eager to make up for lost playing time and tricks his way past two defenders before teeing up Hasler to shoot from 20 yards. It’s too hot for the goalkeeper to hold and the rebound falls to Pope who shoots on the turn but just wide.
On six minutes United take the lead. Hasler plays a lovely pass down the right wing for Chalmers who again ghosts past defenders and delivers the perfect cross for Pope to side-foot home from a few yards out. Not long after the restart the same two players combine again. This time a one-two gives Chalmers a shooting chance 10 yards out, but he slices wide with only the goalkeeper to beat.
The visitors begin to grow into the game from the moment they win a freekick on 20 minutes. Right wing Henry Barley runs at pace at the United defence and is clipped on the very edge of the area. One of those where the man running behind doesn’t make a challenge but causes the player in front to fall over. It must have been close to penalty too. The resulting shot is hard and low, and saved by the feet of Rogers.
United have a period of possession but without threatening and it is Barley who is beginning to look dangerous for the visitors. His deep cross is headed back across goal and it requires Craig Stone to clear off his own line. Back come United through Chalmers who beats his man again and pulls the ball back to Sam Adams who moves it onto Jack Dixon. His curling shot from 20 yards flies a foot wide.
Felixstowe draw themselves level with five minutes remaining of the first-half. Barley’s corner is cleared back to him, he makes himself someone space and delivers an excellent curling cross to the far post. Centre-half Nunn leaps highest and heads into the opposite corner.
Pope almost restores United’s lead immediately from the restart, he finds himself free in the area, but his shot is wide of the far post. Barley then shoots straight at Rogers before Brown’s shot is deflected the wrong side of the post by Stone. Brown has another shot in the fourth minute of added time, it’s a difficult chance and he side-foots a low cross wide.
It’s been an open and even game in an entertaining first-half, notable for the complete lack of Ollie Black long throws.
Half-time: Hastings United 1-1 Felixstowe and Walton United
United start the second-half with the main stand putting one side of the pitch in shadow while the far side is bathed in sunshine. As in the first-half there’s almost a goal within a minute. From the kick-off United immediately win a corner which Pope plays short to Adams and his cross is met by Black’s header which thumps against the far post.
The match swings the visitors way 10 minutes into the second-half. United have been keeping possession but a loose pass allows Felixstowe to break and win a corner. Barley sends over an inswinging cross and it is Nunn again who heads the Seasiders into the lead.
It nearly gets worse for United when Brown latches onto a pass out of defence and shoots against Rogers’ legs. From the resulting corner a Felixstowe header is wide.
The ‘U’s need to stir themselves and do so. Kenny Pogue flicks on a throw in and Hasler sets up Adams for a shot from the edge of the area which is off target. Black then spots an opportunity to release Pope with a long throw from his own half. Pope bears down on goal but shoots over from the angle.
As the home side push players up field in search of an equaliser they are caught out at the back. The defender’s adage ‘don’t let the ball bounce’ is ignored, a long goal-kick is allowed to bounce, the ball skids on and Brown is first to the ball. He’s closed down by Rogers but cuts inside and wallops a shot into the roof of the net to extend the visitors lead.
For the final 20 minutes United try and press, but Felixstowe put up two banks of four and the ‘U’s are limited to half chances. Azeez dances his way into the area but shoots wide of the far post. Chalmers heads wide under pressure and in the final minute of added time Adams’ shot bounces of the goalkeeper and is cleared as the referee brings an end to proceedings.
Full-time: Hastings United 1-3 Felixstowe and Walton United
Man of the match: Tom Chalmers. Energetic first half, repeatedly caused havoc down the right wing and set up Pope’s goal brilliantly.
Hastings United: Rogers, Black, Worrall, Stone, Chalmers, Dixon, Pope, Adams, Hasler (Bates 74’), Penn (Azeez 63’), Pogue (Martin 67’)
Felixstowe and Walton United: Robinson, Schaar, Ainsley, Knock, Nunn, Ottley-Gooch, Hitter (Warren 33’), Matthews, Brown, Henry, Barley (Whight 90’)
United goal: Pope (6’)
Felixstowe goals: Nunn (40’, 54’), Brown (68’)