Suffolk and Ipswich League Round-up

Brantham Athletic 0 Ransomes Sports 5RANSOMES started this bottom of the table clash in the best possible way taking the lead after only 10 seconds when a defensive error allowed Turnbull to shoot past the oncoming keeper.


Brantham Athletic 0 Ransomes Sports 5

RANSOMES started this bottom of the table clash in the best possible way taking the lead after only 10 seconds when a defensive error allowed Turnbull to shoot past the oncoming keeper. Brantham started to get back into the game and had a good chance 10 minutes later when a free-kick from Partridge was headed just wide by Burrows.

Straight from the kick Ransomes should have gone further ahead when another defensive error gave O'Brien a free shot at goal and with the keeper beaten the shot just went past the post. Turnbull was in action again a few minutes later when he turned his defender but somehow shot wide with the goal at his mercy.

The last action of the half came from Ransomes Markwell who jinxed his way past two defenders and his chip beat the keeper but again went wide.

The second-half started with Ransomes again pushing men forward and Turnbull fluffed a shot at the vital moment when it looked easier to score. Ten minutes into the half Ransomes increased their lead when the ball was squared to Bowman who turned his man and shot the ball into the top corner of the net. One of Brantham's best chances came on the hour when a free-kick from Michael was tipped round the post by the Ransomes keeper. Ransomes were making all the running now and they went further ahead when a ball was cleared to a Brantham defender who in turn pushed it back to his keeper and with the keeper stranded the ball went straight into the path of Turnbull who put it into the empty net.

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Ransomes added a fourth when Lowe was given all the space and time he needed to beat two men and again net. In the dying minutes Ransomes went nap when yet another defensive mistake allowed Bowman to go clean through a static Brantham defence and put the ball past the keeper. This was a game that Brantham gave the ball away in some vital area and in this came those mistakes cost them dearly.

Bramford United 3 Leiston St Margaret's 0

BRAMFORD United gained three valuable points against Leiston St Margaret's which keeps their hopes alive of staying in the senior league. Alan Ditcham was the hero for the Bramford team when he scored two of the goals which helped his team towards victory.

His first in the 67th minute was a superb 25 yard shot which dipped over the stranded Bloomfield in goal. His second was a poacher's tap-in after skipper Hammond had teed him up with a header. Leiston had enjoyed quite a bit of the first half and had gone close with Pilkington blazing the ball over the bar twice and Hall just missing the upright with a fierce shot.

Bramford defended well in the first half with Vale and Hammond outstanding. Leison on the other hand had to do their share of defending in the second half when the wind went to gale force and they could hardly get out of their own half with Bramford pushing forward relentlessly. Ford and Threadkell were impressive for Leiston and their defence had to continuously deal with clearances that came straight back at them.

Bramford had their tails up with Clennell and Isidore lively up front. Sandwiched in-between the Ditcham goals was a spectacular 18 yard left-foot shot from top scorer Potter who sent the ball crashing past the unlucky keeper.

Stonham Aspal 0 Grundisburgh 0

THE freak gale-force wind was blowing straight down the pitch, making any attempt at normal tactics a waste of time.

Goal kicks into the gale merely resulted in corner and attempts at goal sailed high over the adjacent A1120 if anything more than a tap was attempted. The fact that league leaders Grundisburgh could make no more progress than relegation haunted Stonham bore witness to the impossible conditions.

Neither side spent more than couple of minutes in their opponent's half during their respective sessions facing the elements. Stonham's goalkeeper Lay did not touch the ball during the entire first half and Brighty in tern picked up the ball twice during the second-half.

The sight of both side's supporters lining up to act as impromptu ball boys behind the besieged club house end goal was the most amusing spectacle of the afternoon. For the record Bennett struck the bar for Stonham early on and most efforts from distance fell to either Buglione or A Brown, neither of whom troubled Brighty. Buglione, Brittain and Moye missed easy chances to give Stonham the lead before the break.

Beaumont for Grundisburgh did put the ball in the net on the restart but was ruled off-side. Long-range efforts from Osborne and McAllister were ably dealt with by Lay whilst Cottam and Winshipp had easier chances to put Grundisburgh in front. Moye did at least force Brighty into a clearance when battling against the elements, which could not be said about Grundisburgh in the first half.

The sweepstake organised by the Stonham supporters on how many goals Grundisburgh would score in the second-half with the wind behind them never materialised and a crazy game ended goalless, a fair result on an impossible afternoon when the wind was the only winner.

Woodbridge Ath 1, Walsham le Willows 0

WHILST the wind blew referee Carl Smith stood firm amidst the constant complaints from Walsham to abandon the game. Athletic played well and broke the oppositions unbeaten league record.

Walsham had one clear shot on goal in the first half with the gale force wind as Musgrove's free kick was parried by Dixon and then Athletic's Broom shot wide after Mustoe miscued his clearance.

Broom scored after 46 minutes when Stewart chased a long ball along the by-line and his cross was volleyed in.

Athletic laid siege at Walsham's goal in the second half and Mustoe made five excellent saves from Stewart twice, Boutelle, Roberts and Adam Smith. In between Walsham seldom ventured into Athletic's area Musgrove had a cross sliced over for a corner and Paul Smith had a shot blocked.

Nick Dixon, Roberts and Rumnes were excellent throughout as was the remainder of Athletic's team and this result was no fluke as Athletic played with a spirit and determination lacking over past weeks to take three valuable points.

Achilles 1, Ipswich Ath 3

ATHLETIC'S two first half goals with the gale force wind behind them did not look enough after they came back from a goal down to Achilles in the ninth minute when Dean Taylor rifled in a pass from Barber.

Athletic's patient midfield build up came to nothing with the wind taking the final ball to keeper Vandercar or a succession of goal kicks. But they piled on the pressure and Brame missed from point blank range. Vandercar pushed a long range effort from May away for a corner and Ford clipped the crossbar as Achilles held on to their lead until the 35th minute when Smedley hit a free kick low to the near post and Mills was first to react to turn it in.

A minute later Smedley hit another free kick high to the far post and when Vandercar failed to hold on in the swirling wind Beddoes hooked the ball back for Mills to tap in. Achilles came back strongly before the break and Grimwood and Smythe hit the woodwork but after the restart the expected Achilles onslaught did not materialise.

Johns made a great diving save from Deller and a brave stop late in the game at Barber's feet but Athletic dealt with the elements much better than the home side and Mills gleefully slammed in the third goal to complete a well deserved 80th minute hat-trick.

Old Newton 0, East Bergholt 0

THERE was nothing enjoyable about this game, totally spoiled by the wind that howled across the pitch throughout. Early indications of the conditions came when Richard's lob for goal was blown at right angles across the East Bergholt six yard box. Andrews made a great save on 13 minutes from Bryant who had rifled in a low shot from the right.

Bergholt fought back with a quick ball from Pratt to Phillips but the striker failed to control and the chance was gone. A couple of left side corners spelt danger for the home side but direction was lacking by the Bergholt front men in front of goal.

Bryant, a lively front runner for Newton, had another good effort from the 18 yard line turned over by Andrews. Then, directly after the interval, it was Bryant again squandering the best chance of the game, striking the woodwork after rounding the keeper on the penalty spot.

Turner cutting in from the Bergholt right lashed a shot into the side netting then Grogan the sub almost scored with his first touch but Lambert recovered at the foot of the post in the nick of time. A point apiece was justice in this wind spoiled game.

Haughley United 1, Stanton 0

WITH players having to cope with the gale force wind blowing down the pitch this match was always going to be a lottery, a draw would have been a fair result.

Haughley, with wind advantage controlled play in the first half but poor finishing and numerous saves by Stanton keeper Mustoe denying them goals. The highlight being a reflex save to palm away a close range shot from Powell.

After the break Stanton were forced to defend with the Haughley attack looking sharper kicking into the wind a powerful shot from Kidd being well saved by Mustoe. As the visitors put together a number of good moves a shot from Hazelton was saved on the goal line by keeper Clarke at the second attempt.

Haughley broke the deadlock on the hour with Kidd netting a controversial penalty following a hand ball offence by a Stanton defender.

Stanton put pressure on a packed home defence in the closing stages with keeper Clarke palming out a volley from Lombardo and Ellis missing a simple chance for the equaliser when he failed to tap home with only the keeper to beat.

Felixstowe and Walton United 0 Newmarket Town 1

CHAIRMAN Tony Barnes made the long walk back from Dellwood Avenue pitch to Dellwood Avenue clubhouse convincing himself that there are positives to be found in relegation.

After watching his beloved Felixstowe and Walton United lose their 11th home Jewson League Premier Division game of the season, Barnes was honest enough to admit:

"We are not good enough to stay up. It is too late to avoid the drop now."

Confirming that he will stand by manager Paul Adams next season, Barnes looked ahead. "It will be the start of a brand new era for Felixstowe in the First Division.

"We have many talented players in the youth section and they will have more chance of coming through.

"After re-grouping we will hopefully be back in the top flight before long. Problems with our facilities, and whether they will allow us to be promoted again, can be overcome with grounds not appearing to be a priority when the Football Association introduces its radical changes to non-league football."

Saturday's game was played in such awful conditions that no blame should be attached to the players for the drudgery. It was awful, with no more than three passes being connected.

Newmarket celebrated the importance of Kevin Sobiechowski's 11th minute goal with understandable relish as the three points lifted the Jockeys some way from trouble at the wrong end of the table.

Swaffham are still below Felixstowe, but with more games played than most – only nine left, three at home – the Seasiders' dressing room was a much more subdued place – with Adams keeping the door locked for 30 minutes. The bottom two go down, with Ipswich Wanderers looking the one club that Felixstowe can still catch.

Barnes, former chairman of a Walton United club that merged with Felixstowe to bring better times to the town 20 months ago, had criticism for his players and also the bastions of Felixstowe industry.

"Inside five days we have lost at home to Harwich and Newmarket without scoring a goal," he said. "If we can't obtain points from two struggling clubs then we don't deserve to stay up.

"Not every player is giving every last effort. To be less hungry that our opposition is ridiculous, unless of course some feel they would rather be playing in a lower division where they may have more opportunities to shine.

"Not everybody agrees with Paul Adams' management style. But he works so hard and has Felixstowe in his blood. I for one will be standing by him.

"The players have worked hard under Paul and are fitter than last season. It is difficult to attract the right players without funds.

"Many clubs in the Premier Division have a Sugar Daddy. We struggle to get financial support and if Felixstowe cannot sustain Premier Division football then the First Division it has to be.

"We have not given up, but our results need to improve dramatically, and the situation is out of our hands."

Felixstowe can still claim some silverware this season. They beat Ipswich Wanderers in the first round of the Suffolk Premier Cup, and will play AFC Sudbury in the final if they beat Bury Town at Needham Market tomorrow.

There was a suspicion of offside over the all-important goal. Careless play saw Felixstowe loss possession unnecessarily and although the initial cross was half cleared, Brett Claydon set up Sobiechowski for a clear sight on goal. He drove the ball beyond the exposed Ross Charters – and to fair to the assistant referee there were few complaints from the home defence.

The opinion of Felixstowe some supporters was a different matter however, and the flagman was left in no doubt about his alleged crime at the end as he made his long walk back to the sanctuary of his changing room.

But Felixstowe did not deserve any reward. The closest they came to a goal was when Mark Hatley hooked away from the goal line after Andy Oxbrough misjudged a high ball when Felixstowe had the considerable advantage of the wind in the second period.

Another goal was never seriously on the cards with the youthful visitors going closest in their isolated raids into the home 18-yard box.

Felixstowe: Charters, Knights, Kyle (sub Crump 63 mins), Ager, Gibbs (Bolt 86), Barker, Bickers (Williams 85), Daniels, Howard, Fuller, Clarke. Sub: Andrews. Starman: Barker.

Newmarket: Oxbrough, Hatley, Winstone, Abbott, Jones, Sobiechowski (Nunn 80), Pilcher, Claydon, Stokes (Shaw 84), Rhodes, Challis (Tuck 70). Sub: Philp.

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