Boardley concedes title race is over after flat Felixstowe slip up at home

By Derek Davis

2nd Apr 2024 | Local Sport

Josh Hitter's equaliser bulges the net (Picture: Nub News)
Josh Hitter's equaliser bulges the net (Picture: Nub News)

Felixstowe boss Stuart Boardley admits their title race is all but over after dropping points at home to relegation threatened Ipswich Wanderers.

A dreadful first half goal conceded by the usually reliant Josh Blunkell from Charlie Barker set the tone for a disappointing afternoon for the Seasiders in front of more than 500 spectators at the AGL Arena.

Although Josh Hitter hit a cracker to level, the Seasiders remain four points behind leaders Lowestoft, who were held to a goalless draw at home by Bury, with three games to go.

Josh Hitter scored against (Picture: Thomas Bradford)

Boardley accepts that going back to the top is too much of an ask but feels re-discovering the form that saw them go on a 12 match unbeaten run, keeping seven clean sheets in the process, is the priority and the lack of pressure could help.

"100 per cent it has gone," said Boardley. "There is no point in me pretending we can still do that.

"It has weighed on the shoulders and we have not had enough cohones to deal with that pressure over the past few weeks.

"Hopefully, now that pressure has gone we can move on and worry about ourselves and not look at the league table."

Another factor has been the weather battered AGL pitch, which has not been conducive to Felixstowe's preferred style of play.

Boardley said: "Pitch is very bobbly and that has made difference to our passing game over the past couple weeks.

"Maybe an away draw in the play offs would be better for us, who knows?

"The is no excuse for our quality of play because it was the same for Wanderers.

"That said, it does not create a good atmosphere for us to play our game."

So close to a late winner (Picture: Thomas Bedford)

Although Felixstowe have been a shadow of their former self of late, with a defeat at Lowestoft of draws against and draws against Bury and now Wanderers, they showed glimpses of what they are capable off.

However, flaccid free kicks, holding onto the ball for a touch too many, lack of composure, especially in front of goal and the occasional defensive lapse have hurt them.

Wanderers' goal came from a Felixstowe free kick, which was cleared down the Ipswich right flank, and only Barker will know if it was a shot, cross or something else, but either way Blunkell appeared to be caught out by the flight and the ball dipped in over his head and the under bar. Ironically, Blunkell picked up the Isthmian League's Golden Gloves award for February after the match. A timely reminder of how good he can be.

Boardley admitted: "We were just devoid of any sort of quality and it was difficult to know what to say to the boys.

"We had loads of the ball but just could not break them down. "We need to show more quality and make better use the ball."

Felixstowe are back at the AGL Arena on Saturday, April 13 when they take on Witham.

     

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