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The First team travelled to the home of Whitton Utd FC to face Ipswich Athletic in what we knew could be a difficult match against a side who blows hot and cold, and scores lots of goals.

On a bumpy pitch we made a bright start creating a chance straight from kick off which Ryan Everington shot wide. We continued to have the better of the early play without quite creating any further clear cut chances.

After 20 minutes Athletic should have been down to 10 men as their winger jumped into a two footed challenge on Dan Blowers (sponsored by CDC Blowers Ltd). Yes he got some of the ball but it was a reckless challenge that could have seriously injured our player, yet all he got was a brief word from the ref and nothing more.

This then set the tone of the match which became quite scrappy as we struggled to get our passing game going, and Athletic looked dangerous on the counter attack, especially when turning possession over.

It looked like we were heading into half time at 0-0 but, shortly before the 45 minutes were up, some poor defending let the Athletic striker through on goal to put them 1-0 up.

The second half began with us searching for the equaliser and after 5 minutes Joe Miller headed just wide from a corner.

Our pressure paid off when, on the hour mark, a great passing move ended with Joe Moore (sponsored by Xtra Time Sports Development) firing into the roof of the net to make it 1-1.

At this point it looked like we would now go onto win the match but another mix up allowed them to take the lead again straight from the kick off, and undo all the good work.

So again we had to go searching for an equaliser. Despite a lot of possession, and a few long range efforts and crosses into the box we could not seem to create a clear opening. However with around 15 minutes to play a corner rebounded off a defender and fell nicely to Dale Pearse (sponsored by M&R Cars) to finish from close range.

We now pushed for the winner leaving ourselves open at times to the counter, which almost resulted in us falling behind again. However we were creating chances of our own as Joe Miller fired just wide.

The game was continually broken up with time wasting tactics which were not stamped down on and it was difficult to build any momentum. An injury to the Athletic keeper resulted in their sub keeper coming on, and almost immediately came the key moment of the match.

A long shot from Will Stebbings (sponsored by R&R Carpentry) was fumbled by the keeper on his goal line, with the ball going through his legs. The keeper turned and dragged the ball back over the line but the linesman, who saw everything else, of course kept his flag down, and the ref claimed he was unsighted so the goal did not stand. Inevitably the protestations led to yellow cards as the whole thing descended into farce.

Despite the feeling of injustice we continued to press, and Taylor Gissing (sponsored by LAF Construction) shot narrowly wide from long range with the keeper beaten.

With so many breaks in the match we had absolutely no idea how much time was left to play, and we continued to press but with no joy, and the final whistle brought a frustrating match to an end with a 2-2 draw.

On reflection it was not one of our better performances, but we showed character in twice coming back from behind. Two game changing decisions went against us and whilst it was a match we should have won, equally we could easily have lost, but is does feel like two points dropped. However it maintains our unbeaten run in the league since early November and we remain second in the table. We simply need to put it down as one of those days and move on.

The Reserves welcomed Capel Plough A to Carlton Park and finished with a 2-0 victory. The goalscorers were Jermaine Haynes and Eddie Hadley (sponsored by M&R Cars).

Next week sees the First team in Junior Cup action at home to high flying first division Cockfield, whilst the Reserves travel to Hadleigh Utd Brettsiders.


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