By OLIVER MORLEY
STANWAY ROVERS saw off title-chasing Felixstowe and Walton 2-1 as the weekend’s Thurlow Nunn League programme started with a bang on Friday night.
Karl Duguid’s side dominated the first half and took an early lead thanks to a great volley from Shamido Pedulu.
Tanner Call then added a second, after the visitors had pulled one back from the penalty spot early in the second half.
After the opening goal, Felixstowe got frustrated and put in some rash tackles, which the referee let go unpunished.
However, Stanway soon got back on top and another chance went begging.
Felixstowe struggled with the blustery conditions while the hosts dominated.
In fact, Felixstowe only managed their first shot just before half-time.
The Suffolk side started the second half brightly, playing the ball on the deck, when, in the 50th minute, there was a coming together in the box which led to a Felixstowe penalty.
Nicholas Ingram left Stanway keeper Nick Punter no chance to make it 1-1.
Despite Felixstowe getting back in the game, frustration was beginning to creep in and a couple of their players went into the book.
On the hour, a good counter-attack down the right led to the ball being crossed to Call who controlled it, spun and fired past the helpless Felixstowe keeper.
Stanway had a great chance to add a third, after a mistake by the Felixstowe keeper.
It wasn’t taken but the hosts held on and saw the game out – much to the delight of most in the crowd of 196.
Rovers boss Karl Duguid said his team followed the game plan and showed great commitment.
And if they keep replicating this performance in their remaining games, a top-five spot should be the reward.
Elsewhere, there were two crunch matches for sides in the bottom three.
Third-from-bottom WIVENHOE TOWN lost 4-1 at home to Walsham-le-Willows.
The Dragons’ goal came from Joe McCracken, who tapped home after the Walsham keeper spilt a Jamie Baker shot.
However, FC CLACTON, hoping to bounce back from last week’s home defeat against Gorleston, won 2-0 at home to Kirkley and Pakefield.
Both goals came in the latter stages, with Kevin Coyle’s penalty followed by a second from Jamie Beecham.
Second-from-bottom Clacton are now just three points behind Wivenhoe, with the sides due to meet at the Rush Green Bowl on Easter Monday.
BRANTHAM ATHLETIC won 1-0 at home to Saffron Walden Town.
In division one, three of the Essex contingent were at home, with title-chasing COGGESHALL TOWN winning 3-1 against fellow high-flyers Framlingham Town.
HALSTEAD TOWN drew 3-3 at home to Downham Town while BRAINTREE TOWN RESERVES won 5-3 at home to Wisbech St Mary.
HOLLAND FC were on their travels at Haverhill Borough and lost 4-0.