Willows score five goals to sink the Seasiders

PUBLISHED: 17:02 21 December 2019 | UPDATED: 17:02 21 December 2019

FC Clacton players (blue shirts) celebrate taking an early lead at Walsham-le-Willows. Picture: CARL MARSTON

FC Clacton players (blue shirts) celebrate taking an early lead at Walsham-le-Willows. Picture: CARL MARSTON

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Waksham-le-Willows 5 FC Clacton 2

Ryan Clark (yellow shirt) competes for the ball with Clacton's Charlie Thompson. Clark netted a fine equaliser for th Willows in the first half. Picture: CARL MARSTONRyan Clark (yellow shirt) competes for the ball with Clacton's Charlie Thompson. Clark netted a fine equaliser for th Willows in the first half. Picture: CARL MARSTON

Walsham-le-Willows ran our deserved winners in a high-scoring Thurlow Nunn Premier fixture against plucky FC Clacton at Summer Road this afternoon.

Walsham were 2-1 up at the break, responding to Karl Andrade's seventh minute opener by scoring twice via fine strikes from Ryan Clark and skipper Sam Peters,

Craig Jennings added the Willows' third, midway through the second half, and although Andrade netted his second to reduce the deficit to 3-2, winger Kieran Hagan made the game safe by scoring the home side's fourth in the 83rd minute.

There was still time for Hagan to net his second, and Walsham's fifth, from long-range in injury time.

Goalmouth action as hosts Walsham-le-Willows defender a corner during a Thurlow Nunn Premier clash against FC Clacton. Picture: CARL MARSTONGoalmouth action as hosts Walsham-le-Willows defender a corner during a Thurlow Nunn Premier clash against FC Clacton. Picture: CARL MARSTON

Walsham started brightly and earned four corners inside the first four minutes. Craig Nurse dragged a deflected shot wide from the third of these, while Matt Collins had a shot charged down inside the six-yard box from the next set piece.

Clark had a good chance to break the deadlock for the Willows in the sixth minute. Craig Jennings into Clark's path, but his low drive was pushed to safety by keeper Ben Porter.

Play quickly switched to the other end and within 60 seconds Clacton scored with their first real attack.

A defensive lapse allowed Jordan Larty to power down the right and the pick out an unmarked Andrade, who keep his cool to slot the ball past keeper Steve Fenner into an empty net.

Clacton had appeals for a penalty turned down in the 12th minute when Andrade went down under challenge by defender Ian Miller, but otherwise Walsham continued to boss possession and enjoy the better territory.

The Suffolk hosts were rewarded with an equalising goal on 20 minutes, thanks to a spectacular shot by Clark, whose 20-yarder soared into the top corner of the net.

Two minutes later and Clark peppered the target with a header which looped narrowly over the bar, while Jennings burst onto Clark's astute through ball and showed two defenders a clean pair of heels before pulling his final shot across goal and wide, with keeper Porter well off his liner.

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But the Willows did score a second goal, in the 35th minute, to ensure a 2-1 lead at the break.

Lee Hammond's cross from the right wing found its way through to Jennings, on the edge of the box, and the ball was rolled into the path of Peters, who let fly with a stunning angled drive that soared into the far corner of the net, via a slight deflection.

Both keepers were in action before half-time. Fenner protected the Willows' lead with an instinctive save on 43 minutes, while Porter did well to deny Jennings with a smart block in stoppage time.

The Essex visitors forced the pace at the start of the second half, with substitute Kevin Coyle going close, but the Willows gave themselves some breathing space when Jennings bagged their third goal, in the 66th minute.

Jennings sprung the offside trap and made no mistake with a lethal finish, from just inside the box.

However, Walsham's two-goal lead only last two minutes. Some slack defending allowed Andrade to crash home a low shot, from just inside the left edge of the penalty area.

But the Willows restored their two-goal advantage in the 83rd minute, with Hagan on target. Substitute Joe Boulter was the creator and, with keeper Porter hopelessly out of position, Hagan had the simple task of steering the ball into an unguarded net.

And Hagan scored Walsham's fifth with virtually the last kick of the game.

Squads

WALSHAM: Fenner, Sim, Peters, Miller, Saffrey, Collins, Hammond, Nurse (sub Norman, 59), Jennings (sub Spampanato, 85), Clark (sub Boulter, 75), Hagan. Unused subs: Warren, McPhillips.

CLACTON: Porter, Smith-Walter, Wales, Clampin (sub Coyle, 46), Gould, Marvell,, Lartey (sub Griggs, 84), Thompson, Andrade, McDonald, McKenzie (sub Hampson, 50).

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