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Match Report: Saxmundham Sports Firsts 3 - 2 Achilles 23/09/2023

Another big crowd (we counted around 100) gathered at Carlton Park to watch the First team play Achilles, on another sunny warm day and with the pitch looking immaculate.

Our opponents had the first attempt at goal with a long shot over the bar after 2 minutes. We created our first chance on 10 minutes when Will Stebbings (sponsored by Whin Joinery) saw his header caught by the keeper.

On 13 minutes Achilles opened the scoring as the winger evaded two challenges to cross for the striker to pass into the net.

However only 2 minutes later we were awarded a free kick on the edge of the area and Joe Moore (sponsored by Xtra Time Sports Development) curled a low shot around the wall which squirmed in under the keeper at the near post. 1-1

We almost took the lead on 17 minutes a good move saw Will Stebbings break down the left but his cross shot was just out of reach of Stu Bolderston (sponsored by Westleton White Horse).

We now had control of the match and continued to press for the next goal. On 31 minutes Dale Pearse (sponsored by JM Soccer Stars) hit a fierce long drive which the keeper managed to palm away.

On 38 minutes Stu Bolderston drove into the penalty area only to be taken down for a penalty, which Joe Moore calmly slotted home for his second of the game. 2-1

The half ended 2-1 and we had done well to come back from the early set back, playing some good controlled football.

The second half started with Achilles on top, but without creating any real chances. They forced us back and we were relying on breaks. One such break saw Kyle Messenger (sponsored by Niki Jarvis) through on goal but the advancing keeper did well to block his shot.

On 68 minutes Achilles were awarded a penalty but the ref had not seen an offside flag from earlier in the move, so he correctly overturned his original decision much to the disgust of our opponents.

Achilles continued to press, looking for the equaliser, and on 75 minutes shot over the bar from close range. We still looked dangerous on the break and new signing Kian Wilson, who had come on as a second half substitute, saw an effort saved by the keeper. From the resulting corner the ball fell to Kian whose turn and shot hit the side netting.

On 80 minutes Achilles equalised after a very good move, and clever finish by their tricky winger. So a big final 10 minutes to come and at that point it felt that a draw was most likely.

No further chances of note were created until injury time. A throw in from the right was flicked on by Will Stebbings to find Kian Wilson in the penalty area. Kian turned smartly and rifled a low shot into the net to score a debut goal for the Club, and make it 3-2 much to delight of the crowd.

There was still time for Achilles to create a final chance which Louis Johnson saved, and the ref blew for fulltime to loud cheers.

In summary we can consider ourselves fortunate to have won all three points. After a strong first half we really struggled to get going after half time, and credit must go to our opponents who put us under a lot of pressure in the second half. That said the players should take credit for bouncing back after suffering the disappointment of the equaliser, and a shout out to 17 year old Kian Wilson for making an immediate impact.

This win keeps us in second place, although the league table will be adjusted for the unfortunate withdrawal of Bramford Road Old Boys, meaning we will lose the three points gained a few weeks ago. BROB are another long established club falling on hard times, and we hope they will be back in the near future. Along with the recent withdrawal of Bildeston, it shows the fragility of true grassroots football, and the need for the FA to act in supporting Clubs before we lose many more.

It was another fantastic day at Carlton Park with a great turnout, creating a wonderful atmosphere and again witnessing a very entertaining match with a late winning goal. The day was made even better as news of the Reserve scoreline filtered through. They returned from Stowupland Falcons A with a 10-0 victory, through 5 goals (again) from Ryan Everington, a hat-trick by Eddie Hadley (sponsored by Shaun Wright Tree Services), and goals apiece from Michael Pearse (sponsored by Dave Roberts) and Lewis Gladwell (sponsored by Shauns Auto Repairs).

There are no matches next week for either team, as we send our best wishes to vice captain Kyle Horner and his fiancée Alice for their wedding day.


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