Spirited fightback for Witham
earns a much needed point at felixstowe
An enterprising and determined second-half performance gained a precious point for Witham Town after they had trailed twice in the contest. It was a much-improved performance by Witham and a good away draw against a side in good form. The visitors finished the better side and could have claimed all three points.
It was a cagey start from both sides, with Witham the first to present an attacking threat with a good shot from Johnny Ashman that went narrowly wide after 6 minutes. Two minutes later Luca Collins in goal for the visitors had to act quickly with a low save from Sam Ford.
Around the 15-minute mark, Kevin Coyle twice cleared from dangerous positions in the Witham penalty area. Witham were happy to contain the attacking endeavours of the hosts but were finding it hard to counter-attack. In the 24th minute Felixstowe’s pressure told when they were awarded a penalty after Luca Collins was adjudged to have brought down Jack Ainsley unfairly. Ainsley stepped up to convert the spot kick and put the home side a goal up.
In the 39th minute after a Witham corner, the ball was forced home by Johnny Ashman for the equaliser. Witham briefly looked the better side but conceded again on the stroke of half-time when Ainsley scored for the Seasiders for the second time following a dangerous raid on the right.
In the second half Witham came out on the front foot and took the game to their opponents. The visitors were looking more composed on the ball, with skipper Danny Norton and Michael Osei-Saahene showing their quality in midfield. Johnny Ashman and Sam Ashford on the wings were seeing more of the ball as Witham wrested control from the home side. With the Felixstowe defence looking vulnerable on the flanks, the pace and trickery of Ashford finally proved too much in the 54th minute when he was brought down in the penalty area. The England ‘C’ International despatched the penalty for Witham’s second equaliser.
Almost immediately Ashford was at it again, forcing a corner after a dangerous run and Osei-Saahene had a fierce shot deflected for another corner three minutes later after an enterprising run on the right by Luke Mallett. Both sides were going for victory in the best part of the game, but Witham were looking more likely to score than their opponents. They pressed forward confidently and the home defence were finding it hard to stem the attacking tide. Felixstowe were restricted to breakaway attacks but could not find a way past a determined Witham defence, with Pat Ahern and Andrew Tirivanhu resolute in the centre. One Felixstowe attack almost bore fruit as Luca Collins had to make a top-quality save from a header by Ainsley.
Sam Ashford almost scored the winner five minutes from the end when he was one-on-one with goalkeeper Jack Spurling, but his shot was beaten away. There was still time for Johnny Ashman to hit a fierce shot into the side-netting just before the final whistle.
A draw was no more than Witham deserved and they will take heart from the positive and controlled manner in which they responded with a very commendable second-half performance.
Witham Town team: 1 Luca Collins, 2 Luke Mallett, 3 Kevin Coyle, 4 John Watson (elias siligato
), 5 Pat Ahern, 6 Andrew Tirivanhu, 7 Johnny Ashman, 8 Sam Owusu (Michael Osei-Saahene), 9 Ayo Odukoya (Alfie Cerulli), 10 Danny Norton, 11 Sam Ashford. Unused subs: Jack Isherwood, liam whipps