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Runway leaders Felixstowe host in-form Villagers

PUBLISHED: 11:04 07 December 2017 | UPDATED: 11:04 07 December 2017

Ethan Clarke, left, is back at Felixstowe & Walton United. Picture: STAN BASTON

Ethan Clarke, left, is back at Felixstowe & Walton United. Picture: STAN BASTON

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Felixstowe & Walton face a tricky test when they host a Long Melford side that have hit a good vein of form in recent weeks - the Villagers will arrive at the Goldstar Ground on the back of two straight wins and four from their last six games.

The Seasiders tasted defeat on Wednesday for the first time since September when they lost a penalty shoot-out at Walsham-le-Willows in the League Cup - the game ended 2-2 after 90 minutes, with the Willows winning the shoot-out 4-3.

It’s strange how the fixtures fall, as Long Melford’s last win was against Walsham at Stoneylands last Saturday, so they will arrive at the Goldstar Ground full of confidence.

While the league remains the priority for joint managers O’Donnell and Watson, having a good run in cups is always a morale booster, and the league cup defeat is the third cup competition their side has slipped up in this season.

It still leaves the Suffolk Premier Cup but that involves a trip to Needham Market, where they will start as underdogs in Mid-February.

Fans favourite Ethan Clarke left many disappointed when he switched to newly promoted Stowmarket Town during the last close season, but they will be delighted to see him back in the Seasiders’ red & white stripes having re-joined the club at the start of the week.

Clarke played a cameo role in Wednesday’s defeat, coming on as a second half substitute, but should be available for selection for this game.

While Felixstowe have a healthy 19-point cushion over 2nd placed Coggeshall, they will be keen to maintain or increase that difference, and the Seedgrowers themselves have a tricky test, hosting a Fakenham Town side that have turned their fortunes around in recent weeks after looking relegation favourites for much of the season.

Both clubs have some difficult games coming up over the Christmas period, and both will look to take maximum points from this weekend’s games.

Three points against Melford would see the Seasiders reach 70 points with almost half a season left – which betters their season total from just two years ago!

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