GALLERY AND REPORT: Felixstowe & Walton United 4 Diss Town 1
PUBLISHED: 09:48 23 December 2013 | UPDATED: 09:48 23 December 2013
The outcome of this encounter was effectively decided inside the opening five minutes.
The Seasiders – still to be beaten at ‘Fortress Felixstowe’ in any match this season – swept into a two-goal lead.
That left Diss with a mountain to climb and one, quite frankly, they never looked anywhere near capable of scaling.
A second-half double courtesy of Ben Cranfield put to bed any remote thoughts of a Diss fightback before the second comedy goal of the afternoon gave the visitors a consolation.
Felixstowe went ahead after just three minutes, Matt West breaking up a Diss attack and finding Miles Powell in midfield. His pass picked out right winger Ryan Clark who squared the ball to the edge of the box where Cranfield laid it off for Jordan Matthews to sidestep a defender and fire into the roof of the net via the underside of the crossbar.
Worse was to follow for Diss two minutes later when Matthews miscued his shot and sent the ball spinning into the air towards goalkeeper Peter Haxell.
The young keeper allowed it to bounce and inexplicably evade his grasp as if trying to grasp a bar of soap in the bath and Clark nipped in behind him to score arguably the easiest goal he will ever net.
Seconds after Charlie Webb toe-ended the ball straight into the chest of onrushing Seasiders’ keeper Danny Crump, brother Andy Crump’s far-post header from Clark’s corner was this time safely clutched by Haxell.
Webb then got free down the right and Adam Burroughs could not stretch enough to connect with his low cross as the ball fizzed across the wet surface.
That was all inside a frantic opening ten minutes, but proceedings then settled down before the interval.
After two Diss defenders got in each others’ way Matthews dragged his shot wide, while mid-way through the half Roscoe Hipperson’s powerful header from an Adam Bellis corner found Danny Crump well-placed to gather the ball .
On the stroke of half time Haxell dived full length to his left to deny Andy Crump’s measured side-footed effort from 25 yards.
In addition to three times nearly adding a third, Andy Crump was instrumental in breaking up the visitors’ forward forays, and when they did find a way through the excellent Rhys Barber and no-nonsense Dan Davis were rock solid.
Seven minutes into the second period Burroughs shot from 20 yards and a minute later it was 3-0. Matthews mis-controlled a high ball and it fell kindly for Cranfield to shoot on the half-turn beyond the static Haxell.
Felixstowe then squandered two great chances in the space of five minutes. Powell, who made several surging runs, with and without the ball from the centre of midfield, arrived on cue to meet Clark’s pinpoint cross but headed the ball back across goal when it appeared easier to score, and then Haxell left his line to smother Clark’s close-range shot.
A flurry of substitutions followed before, with ten minutes remaining, Cranfield took his tally to 16 so far this term.
The league’s leading scorer last season latched onto Arran Sheppard’s well-weighted ball down the inside right channel. Realising he was one-on-one, he twisted and turned his marker inside out before stroking the ball low into the far corner for a high-quality goal.
From the sublime to the ridiculous as two minutes from time came the second contender for those DVD howler compilations that populate the shelves at Christmas.
Clark, running back towards his own goal, tried to hack clear as he went to tackle an opponent but succeeded in sending the ball screaming into the top corner of the net from 18 yards past a startled Danny Crump.