A perfect day for football, the sun was shining, still a bit of give in the ground, and a cup semi final to contest, couldn’t be better ! Sports made one change from Thursday’s league match, Jack Williams returned to lead the line with Dan Call switching wide. As the game started it was Westlands who dominated possession, moving the ball around quickly and keeping Parley pretty much on the back foot. Matt Day was looking sharp on the left and one strong run from the halfway line saw him outpace the Parley defence only for the keeper’s fingertips to prevent a brilliant solo effort. We did have the ball in the net after a goalmouth scramble but the official spotted an infringement and the goal was chalked off. On 25 minutes, however, we took the lead. A deep cross from the right was headed back across goal by Matt Day and Sam Farthing was on the spot to bury the ball in the back of the net. Parley forced a few corners but nothing that troubled our defence and at half time we were well worth our goal lead. The second half saw Parley try to up the pace a bit and they had a couple of shots that went wide but it was Sports who got that all important second goal. Steve McDaid fired in a cross from the right which seemed destined for the waiting keeper’s arms when Mike Rousell stole in to prod the ball into the empty net. A realpoachers goal this from a striker in form. Parley were struggling now and before long the third goal finished them off. A cross from the left was met full on the volley by Jack Williams from 20 yards out and the ball flew into the far corner with the goalie rooted to the spot. A cracking goal and with only five minutes to go, one that was the final nail in Parley’s coffin. But there was one final bit of drama to play out as, in the last minute, Stu Smith tripped the little Parley winger and the ref pointed to the spot. A consolation goal, we thought, but keeper Ben Cochrane had other ideas and, determined to keep another clean sheet, threw himself to his left to smother the spot kick. Another fine save by our stand-in keeper who has really impressed with his displays between the sticks of late. The final whistle kicked off jubilant scenes among the sports players and quite rightly so. We only enter two cups so to have reached the final of both of them has been a tremendous effort by all the lads. However, we ain’t wonnothing yet, so the players must now try remain injury and suspension free so we are able to field our strongest squad for the cup finals.
Saturday 3rd April, Dorset Premier League
CRANBORNE 1 WESTLAND SPORTS 5
The The pitch was in surprisingly good condition considering the amount of rain we had suffered and the lads were rubbing their hands when they saw an almost perfect playing surface. We started with Ben Cochrane again standing in as goalkeeper at short notice, demonstrating once again the great spirit that is running through the club at the moment. Ben has proved a great signing this season, looking a good prospect at centre half and proving a more than capable deputy in goal during our recent keeper emergencies. We also had Dan Call up front today with Steve Lindegaard on the right. Sports immediately took command, passing the ball slickly from man to man at a pace Cranborne just couldn’t match. In the sixth minute the opener came, Dan fed Mike Rousell who was unmarked 10 yards out and he slotted the opener past the keeper into the corner. Cranborne looked a bit bewildered then and we soon punished them with number two in the ninth minute. Danny Call this time was put clean through and he sidefooted the ball under the despairing keeper. Constant Sports pressure eventually saw a third goal in the 28th minute. Matt Day burst through the wilting Cranes defence, rounded the keeperand put the ball in the empty net. Sports were rampant now with Steve McDaid, Sam Farthing and Andy Smith having a field day in the midfield, Cranborne just couldn’t cope and on 40 minutes number four came when a pinpoint cross from Steve Lindegaard was turned past the keeper from close range by Dan Call for his second of the afternoon. To be fair Cranborne did have one chance in the half when their centre forward just failed to connect properly with a driven cross.
As often happens in games like this the half time break just disturbs the momentum and sometimes it is difficult to pick it up in the second half. This was the case here as Sports continued to dominate the game in the second half but failed to reach the level of the first period. Three subs were introduced fairly quickly, Stu and Andy Smith plus Mike Rousell all coming off and being replaced by Phil Wells, Jack Williams and Leo Hayward. Before going off Mike Rousell had added number five with a cracking angled drive into the top corner and before the end numerous chances were made but no more goals could be added to our tally. Just before the finish Cranborne got a consolation when, from a free kick on the edge of the box, the lad curled the ball round the wall into the far corner for a good goal. Three more points and we have now consolidated fourth place in the league.
Saturday 27th March, Dorset Premier League
WESTLAND SPORTS 3 BRIDPORT RES 1
Three points in the bag but another indifferent home performance in a season where three draws and two defeats at home have seen the loss of of 12 points which has severely dented our championship hopes. In contrast only 7 points (1 defeat and two draws) have been dropped away from home, so it can be seen that our home form has been the problem this season. The The game started with Ben Cochrane again standing in again as keeper, and Leo Hayward starting up front in the absence of Jack Williams.We dominated the early exchanges but seemed to be playing at a leisurely pace, knocking the ball around but not really putting the opposition under any pressure. A few half chances were made but it was Bridport who nearly opened the scoring after 20 minutes when a shot from 18 yards seemed to be heading for the bottom corner when Ben dived full stretch to clutch the ball just inside the post. An excellent save which should have been a warning for Sports but 10 minutes later things took a turn for the worse. A blunder in the defence left the Bridport forward clean through and he kept his head to score with a good shot. We muddled through till half time but it was a disgruntled group of supporters around the tea bar during the break. We were hoping for some improvement in the second half and sure enough, there seemed to be a bit more urgency in our attacks when play resumed but that equaliser was not coming and you just begin to wonder if its going to be one of those days! On the hour mark, just when we needed it, we got a little bit of good fortune. A corner came in from the left into the Bridport box and as the players went up to challenge the referee blew and pointed to the spot. Apparently there was a jersey being pulled as the ball came over, our good fortune was that we had a referee who was brave enough to award the penalty as these offences usually go unpunished. Mike Rousell buried the spot kick and a sense of relief swept round the ground. We had our tails up now and as the pressure built Dan Call came on for Leo and his pace began to trouble the Bridport defence, perhaps because he was pushing right up on the last man where Leo had been playing a more withdrawn role. Having found his way into the refs book, Dean Corden was also withdrawn being replaced by Steve Lindegaard who showed the quality of his delivery with some good crosses into the box. Anyway, on 80 minutes the breakthrough came with Mike Rousell netting to continue his hot scoring streak of late. That looked like the end for the young Bridport side but Sports made sure on 85 minutes when Andy Smith rose like a salmon to head in from another good cross. Three – one, three points and no complaints in the end as the lads have put in some sterling performances recently and one mediocre day can’t be helped sometimes. However that home form is a concern.
Saturday 20th March, Dorset Premier League
BLANDFORD UTD 1 WESTLAND SPORTS 3
This was an awkward fixture for Sports, a sloping home-team pitch and wet greasy conditions made this a potential banana skin of a match. Blandford had also held us to a draw at Alvington early in the season so we knew they could be a difficult side to beat on their day. Nevertheless, Sports had a couple of good wins under their belt recently so we went into the game with confidence. Stuart Smith, Steve McDaid and Rich Proctor dropped out from the side who won in midweek with Phil Wells, Dean Corden and Matt Day taking their places. In the early exchanges it was pretty even but we were not displaying our usual fluency and the first touch was not too great on the difficult surface. Sure enough, after nine minutes we went behind. Blandford had a corner on the left, we failed to deploy a player in the "guard" position in front of the near post and so the low hard driven corner was allowed to travel into the danger area where a lunge from the Blandford player was enough to send it into the roof of the net. This was a dangerous moment for us with our opponents cock-a-hoop but the lads responded well, driving into the oponents half with several good moves, and before long the equaliser came. Andy Smith got to the bye-line on the right and fired over a lovely cross which totally deceived the goalkeeper. As the ball dropped over his head Sam Farthing raced in to smash it into the net from point blank range. Nil-nil at half time was fair enough, but I think we had shown in the first forty five that we had plenty more in hand if we got ourgame going and we wondered if Blandford had much more to offer. As the teams emerged for the second half we were surprised to see Ben Cochrane wearing the keepers jersey, obviously something amiss with our latest signing ! Dan Call came on wide right with Ashley Powers stepping back to defence. We looked a lot brighter this half and were doing most of the pressing and eventually this paid dividends when Dean Corden charged down the right wing, cut inside two defenders and was tripped by the third who stuck out a foot. The referee had no hesitation in giving a penalty but the Blandford players were incensed by this award and had two players booked as a result of the melee which followed. Eventually the kick could be taken and Mike Rousell sidefooted it in off the right hand post. We were in command now, but the third and clinching goal had a bit of luck to it. Mike Rousell was in an offside position when put through the middle. As he raced goalwards he was brought down by the chasing defender in a tangle of arms and legs and the referee immediately pointed to the spot and sent the defender off much to the anger of the Blandford players and supporters. Although the referee was the target of all the abuse I don't think he did anything wrong, the linesman being the villian of the piece by failing to spot theoffside. Anyway, Mike Rousell again sidefooted in the penalty to clinch the three points for Sports which I think were heading our way anyway as I couldn't see Blandford scoring in the second half. Not a great spectacle then, but three points ground out in difficult circumstances and great credit to the lads for achieving that after losing our keeper at half time.
Wednesday 17th March, Dorset Premier League
WEYMOUTH RES 0 WESTLAND SPORTS 2
We were expecting a tough game here as most of this Weymouth side had played in the first team last Saturday against Welling Utd in the Blue Square Premier League, only losing 3-2. Having said that, our lads are in good form at the moment and we knew if we played to our best we could match anybody in the league. James Smith, our new signing from Sherborne, made his debut in goal with Ben Cochrane reverting to his usual defensive duties. With Steve Lindegaard injured, Ashley Powers appeared in an unaccustomed midfield role, apart from that it was the usual suspects. Weymouth opened brightly, knocking the ball around confidently but significantly never really making inroads into Sports box. Westlands, in contrast, were playing a more direct game, trying to get the ball in behind the Weymouth back line for Mike and Jack to use their pace. Sports tactics were creating more chances even although Weymouth had more of the possession so at half time the game was poised at 0-0. Our hosts opened the second half with a spell of pressure but they couldn’t make the breakthrough and the game settled again into a familiar pattern with Westland’s fast raids causing the Weymouth defence some problems. In the 60th minute Steve McDaid played a lovely through ball in behind the Weymouth defence to put Mike Rousell away and he raced through to drive the ball past the advancing keeper for the opening goal. This put our opponents on the back foot and although they had a few free kicks generously awarded by an over-zealous referee, they had no cutting edge and made nothing of them. With 5 minutes to go Sports put the game to bed. A long free kick from Ben Cochrane was flicked on at the edge of the box by Sam Farthing to Rich Proctor almost on the bye line and from an acute angle Rich smashed the ball into the roof of the net. A typical Rich Proctor goal and a fitting one to seal a good victory for Sports. Two points arising from the match, the good news was the clean sheet for James Smith on his debut, the bad news was the injury Stuart Smith sustained to his shoulder in the second half when after a heavy fall he had to leave the field. Hopefully no lasting damage as the games come thick and fast now until the end of the season.
Saturday 13th March, Dorset Premier League Cup, 2nd Rnd
HAMWORTHY REC 0 WESTLAND SPORTS 1
This was a difficult tie for Sports. Having disposed of Holt away in the first round we drew the short straw of the league leaders away in the second round. Apart from the fact that Hamworthy are unbeaten in the league all season, we do not have a particularly good record against them, a couple draws is all we have achieved in recent years. Nevertheless, we have great belief in our current teams ability and the added impetus of the cup could be the spur we needed. We started brightly, getting the ball out wide and making some progress with Steve Lindegaard and Rich Proctor on the flanks, but the first clear chance fell to Rec. A free kick was driven in from the left, Sports defence were flat footed giving Rec a free header, luckily it was directed wide. As the half progressed, it developed into a bit of a mid-field battle with Sports just shading it at this stage and pushing forward at every opportunity. The reward for having a go came after about half an hour. A good move down the right ended with Mike Rousell cutting inside and smashing the ball into the top postage stamp corner of the net. So, 1-0 to Sports at half-time and as the second half progressed it soon settled down into a fairly even match. At all times though, we had to be vigilant at the back as Rec can hurt you if given the opportunity, and in this department we looked pretty solid with Stu Smith prominent, particularly in the air where he seemed to win every header. Both sets of supporters had been puzzled by some of the officials decisions throughout the match but it was the westlands supporters who had their heads in their hands with three minutes to go when Recs sub wentdown in the box and the ref pointed to the spot. The sub himself took the kick and to our great delight blasted it wide. Only a few minutes left now and Rec were pressing. A cross from the right saw our keeper outjumped but as the header looped goalwards Ash Powers raced back to head off the line to safety. That was the last chance as Sports then got possession of the ball and played out time in the Rec half. Not the greatest game game of football perhaps but I think that possibly the workrate and commitment by both sets of players stopped the other side from playing the football we know both teams can play. We, of course, are well satisfied with the win which I think was well deserved on the day.
The weather was perfect for the semi-final, and the pitch looked to our liking. It was a big pitch, soft and heavy with a "crown bowls" slope, falling away to both ends from the centre. We felt this would be in our favour as Brislington looked to have an "experienced" side out, and we wondered if they would last the pace in what would be a testing match. Brislington opened up brightly and for virtually the first 15 minutes kept us on the defensive. During this spell they made two good chances, luckily on both occasions failing to find the target. Gradually, however, we began to keep possession and started building up a head of steam. This all boiled over in the 25th minute when their goalie came charging out of his goal and brought Jack Williams down for a penalty. Jack decided to take the kick himself but scooped the ball over the bar. A bad miss, and we had just taken our heads out of our hands when Jack was put clean through again with only the keeper to beat. This time the gloveman made a good block and another gilt edged chance was gone. This was the story of the rest of the half really as Sports continued to get men in behind their defence but found their keeper impossible to get past. Half time 0-0. In the second half with Brislington tiring, we took control and ten minutes in made the breakthrough. A lovely through ball from Jack put Mike Rousell through and this time the keeper had no chance as Mike slotted it past him for the opener. We looked quite comfortable then, until 10 minutes later when the referee gifted Brislington a bizarre equaliser. The official blew for a free kick against us just inside our own half. I thought our opponents hadn't heard the whistle as they appeared to be playing on. Anyway as our lads stopped playing their winger half heartedly rolled the ball into the corner of the net and to everyones amazement the referee signalled a goal. Apparently he had given permission for Brislington to take a quick free kick. Our fault then for notplaying to the whistle, but in this case the only whistle had been to stop play, and with the referees pre-match instructions being that kicks should not be taken until he blew, then I think we had cause for complaint. Nevertheless, the lads knuckled down and soon regained the lead. A long free kick by Dean Vincent was flicked on at the edge of the box to find Steve Lindegaard totally unmarked and he coolly lobbed the keeper to find the back of the net. As Brislington piled men forward it was our defences turn to stand firm and this they did quite comfortably with skipper Dean Vincent again Mr Cool at the back. EEventally the inevitable happened and Mike Rousell finished the match with 10 minutes to go when he turned in a cross from the right wing to make it 3-1. A great result and for the second year in a row we will contest the Somerset Senior Cup Final to be held on Bank Holiday Monday, 5th. May.
Wednesday 24th. February, Dorset Premier League,
HAMWORTHY UTD RES 0 WESTLAND SPORTS 2
Back on track again with three fairly easy points at Hamworthy in this our first floodlit game of the season, all previous attempts had been rained off. The ground was in quite good nick considering the weather and both teams set off at a brisk pace. The ball was going forward quickly from both defences so it was end to end but even in these early stages we looked to have that little bit more composure on the ball and the best passing moves were coming from Sports. In 20 minutes we broke the deadlock with a nice goal. Andy Smith sent a defence splitting ball through to Mike Rousell who for once managed to stay onside and he beat the onrushing keeper to the ball and slotted it neatly past him into the back of the net. Now we could relax and play and it was no great surprise when we increased our lead on the half hour mark. Matt Day raced down the left wing in an explosive run which left three defenders sprawling. Driving into the box he then cut the ball back to Jack Williams who did not connect sweetly but found the corner of the net with a bouncing shot. It looked game over at that point but things got even worse for luckless Hamworthy just before half-time when their centre forward had a kick at Ben and got himself sent off ! We sat back after the interval to watch a few goals going in against the 10 men but it was not to be. As you can imagine we had lots of pressure but to be fair Hanworthy stuck at it and battled away right to the end. The failure to put our chances away was a slight worry but there was never any doubt the three points were ours as long as we kept it tight at the back. There were a couple of dodgy moments but in the end the lads were content just to play out time and go home with the points. Dean Corden and Jack Williams returned to the starting line-up for this match with Leo Hayward and Steve Lindegaard dropping to the bench in what was a good performance all round.
Saturday 20th. February, Dorset Premier League,
WESTLAND SPORTS 1 POOLE BOROUGH 3
What a turn-round after last weeks good result. Whereas last week we came out with all guns blazing, this week we seemed content to sit back and let Poole have the ball in the early stages. This proved to be our undoing as Borough did exactly what we did to Chickerell last week and banged in two goals in the first eight minutes. Its a tall order to come back from two goals down and although we began to get into the game we were giving possession away too frequently by trying difficult passes rather than the simple option. Chances were created in the first half but our finishing was sloppy and it began to look like it might be one of those days. The second half was all Westlands but the elusive breakthrough would not come. A lack of movement by attacking players sometimes left us with no options and the move would break down. As Sports committed more and more men forward, the inevitable happened when Borough scored after Sports had given the ball away and then stopped playing to protest a foul that wasn't given. In the end our constant pressure paid off when Danny Call ran on to a nice through ball but was felled by the goalkeeper who came out and dived at his feet. Mike Rousell stuck the penalty away and the keeper got sent off for the foul, although it did look accidental to me, more an honest attempt to get the ball. Nevertheless, with five minutes to go there was a glimmer of hope. Sports then threw everything at Borough and there were several mad scrambles when the ball seemed sure to be heading for the back of the net but to no avail. A very disappointing day for Sports but credit to Poole for taking full advantage of our slow start and trying to be positive throughout the ninety minutes.
Saturday 13th. February, Dorset Premier League,
CHICKERELL UTD 1 WESTLAND SPORTS 2
Our opponents in this visit to the south coast were on a 10 game winningstreak so it was, to say the least, a daunting task for the lads to face. Nevertheless, there was an air of confidence in the camp in the hours leading up to the game so we were all in good spirits as the teams took the field. Pete O'Connor was back between the sticks for Sports, Ben Cochrane took up his normal position in the defence with player manager Stu Smith dropping to substitute. Steve Lindegaard, Ashley Powers and Leo Hayward were all given places in the starting lineup giving us a strong bench with Stu, Phil Wells, Danny Call and Jack Williams. When the whistle blew to start the game Sports were like greyhounds out the traps, immediately winning the ball and surging forward into the attack. Chickerell just couldn't get hold of the ball and in the second minute our tactics paid off. Steve Lindegaard swung in a dangerous free kick from the right, Ben Cochrane blasted a shot goalwards which was blocked, but the ever alert Sam Farthing was there to calmly sidefoot the ball into the back of the net for the opening goal. What a start, one up in two minutes, but better was to come. The pace of our two lads up, Leo Hayward and Mike Rousell, and their willingness to chase everything and harry their opponents was causing the Chickerell defence all sorts of problems. With Steve Lindegaard and Matt Day also raiding down the flanks the Chickerell defence was under constant pressure and in eight minutes game goal number two. Leo Hayward ran at their defence and when their defender fluffed his attempted clearance, the ball broke kindly for Sam Farthing who again sidefooted the ball into the back of the net for his second of the afternoon. This was a dream start but could Sports now consolidate and keep things tight at the back ? Yes was the answer, a couple of long balls did catch our defence napping but luckily the Chickerell attacker could not capitalise. For the rest of the half Chickerell had most of the possession but couldn't find a way through the Sports back line and at the break our goalkeeper had not really been troubled. It was obvious Chickerell would put us under a fair bit of pressure in the second half so it was good to see Stuart Smith lining up in defence for the kick-off in place of Ashley Powers. Ash had played well but Stu's experience would no doubt stand us in good stead for the 45 minutes ahead. Danny Call was also brought on for Steve Lindegaard who had performed admirably in that first half but again Dan's more defensive strengths would probably be required. As expected Chickerell had the most of the second half possession but quite honestly ran into a brick wall on the edge of Sports box. The defence, superbly marshalled by skipper Dean Vincent, won every header that came their way, made some tremendous last ditch tackles, and blocked any shots that were attempted, with the result that Pete O'Connor only had one save to make in the second half. Sports also had their attacking moments and remained dangerous throughout the game. Jack Williams came on for Leo and his ability to hold the ball up gave Sports their best spell with about 10 minutes to go. At this point we managed to keep the ball and for a good period kept our opponents penned in their own half. To be honest, I think Chickerell saw the writing on the wall at this stage as they were reduced to punting the ball forward hoping for something to fall for them. I had ninety one minutes gone on my watch when another long ball gave Chickerell
Saturday 30th. February, Somerset Senior Cup,
WESTLAND SPORTS 2 CUTTERS FRIDAY 0
When the main pitch was once again ruled out due to waterlogging we were slightly apprehensive about having to play on pitch 2 as we had underperformed on it two weeks previously in the loss to Swanage. However, there was nothing to worry about as Sports started on the front foot and were giving their Bristol opponents no time on the ball, particularly in midfield where Steve McDaid, Andy Smith and Sam Farthing immediately took control. The other significant factor was that with Leo Hayward partnering Mike Rousell up front we had plenty of pace, and this was utilised well by playing balls over the top for the lads to chase. Excellent tactics on a muddy pitch. It was no real surprise when, on 17 minutes, Sports took the lead. A high cross into the middle was headed down to Mike Rousell who controlled the ball on his chest before volleying into the back of the net. Just the boost we needed and although Cutters had their fair share of possession and passed the ball well, they seemed to lack a cutting edge and Sports were always more dangerous. This was demonstrated in the 25th minute when a tremendous run down the right by Steve Lindegaard was picked out by a superb 40 yard crossfield pass from Steve McDaid. Lindy raced into the box before firing a perfect pass across goal for Mike Rousell to convert at the far post. What a goal, but unfortunately our celebrations were cut short by the linesman who adjudged Mike to have strayed marginally offside. So, 1-0 at the break, so far so good. The second half followed much the same pattern as the first, with our defence looking secure, and our stand-in keeper, "Big Ben" Cochrane,
Saturday 23rd. January, Dorset Premier League,
PARLEY SPORTS 0 WESTLAND SPORTS 1
After last weeks disappointment, this was more like it from Westlands. Almost the perfect away performance, tight at the back and creating good chances up front. Unfortunately we only scored one but the clean sheet ensured three points from a very tricky away trip. Defender Ben Cochrane was back from suspension but we were a bit shocked when he lined up in goal due to Tim Pearse being selected for the league team in Jersey and Pete O'Connor being injured. Ben however showed his versatility with an impeccable performance, although to be fair, the Parley attackers never really tested him. Phil Wells was also on League duty in Jersey so this gave Ashley Powers the opportunity to start in the defence and he too had an impressive match. Dean Corden & Danny Call were also missing so all in all the squad was stretched to the limit but in securing the victory the lads who came in proved there is strength in depth in Sports squad.
Parley were a good footballing team and started the match on the front foot putting us under a bit of pressure but never really threatening the goal. It was Westlands who almost drew first blood when a Jack Williams shot came off the crossbar. Parley huffed and puffed but the next big chance again fell to Westlands. Mike Rousell cut in from the left but his shot across the keeper came off the far post and as Sam Farthing tried to sidefoot in the rebound the keeper somehow threw himself across to block the effort. More Parley pressure saw their best chance of the game when a cross was fired in from the left . For once the Westland defenders failed to clear and the Parley forwardprodded the ball past the post with the goal gaping. Soon after this we had a shot cleared off the goal line following a corner on the left. And so the half ended 0-0 and although we had created the best chances, Parley probably had more possession so we were a little uneasy over our half time tea.
The second half started with Westlands showing much more purpose and pace in their play. Parley were struggling to contain us and some brisk passing , particularly down the right side had them clearing desparately into touch. On the hour the breakthrough came. Some lovely passing saw Steve Lindegaard released down the right wing and his driven cross was headed home strongly by Mike Rousell on the run. A cracking goal, and, as it proved, a worthy matchwinner. With about 10 minutes to go we almost put the game to bed. Sam Farthing shot across the keeper, the ball hit the far post and rolled agonisingly back along the line before being cleared by a defender. So it remained 1-0 and although Parley tried hard all the way to the end, they could not pierce a resolute defence and did not seriously trouble our keeper who confidently dealt with anything that came his way.
So, So, the games come thick and fast now but the bonus from todays game was the confidence we can take that we have a squad which can produce results regardless of the starting eleven.
Saturday 23rd. January, Dorset Premier League,
WESTLAND SPORTS 1 SWANAGE TOWN 2
Our last league match was amazingly on the 31st October when we played Swanage away. That day we outplayed them and were unlucky to come away with only a point. This time however Sports gave us a lesson on how not to win a football match in three easy stages: 1. Present the opposition with two gift goals. 2. Squander gilt edged chances to score ourselves. 3. Fail to adapt to the prevailing conditions on the day. In the first case, the opening goal was presented to Swanage in the first minute of the game. A long punt upfield was well covered by a Sports defender, but he suddenly seemed to hesitate and allow the chasing attacker the opportunity to prod the ball into the far corner of the net. Was he expecting the keeper to come out ? Who knows, but it was the worst possible start to the match. The second goal came twenty minutes into the first half. We had been pressing a bit before then in the search for an equaliser when we shot ourselves in the foot once again. A corner from the right was allowed to fly across the area, was then completely missed by the keeper, and turned into the net by a Swanage forward. At this point things did not look good and that brings me to the second part of the lesson. At 2-0 down we started the second half on the front foot knowing that if we got one back the pressure would be on Swanage. Things looked good about ten minutes in when we were awarded a penalty after a goalmouth scramble. To our dismaythe normally reliable Sam Farthing had his shot saved by the Swanage keeper diving to his left. Five minutes later we did get one back when a Jack Williams free kick from the edge of the box took a wicked deflection off the wall and finished in the corner of the net. At this point Swanage were on the rack and when Mike Rousell was put clean through a couple of minutes later we expected the equaliser. However a moments hesitation gave the keeper the chance to rush out and smother the ball and another gilt-edged chance was gone. After this Swanage seemed to take new heart and came back into the game a bit, whilst our efforts to find an equaliser grew more desperate and you sensed it was going to be one of those days. That brings me to the third point of my critique, our seeming failure to adapt to the conditions. The referee switching the game to pitch number two definitely didnot help as it is a tighter pitch and was more suited to Swanage's physical style. But we seemed content in the first half to try to pass our way through a congested midfield where nobody had any space at all. In the second half, to be fair, we moved a midfielder up front in an effort to ease the congestion, but with the wide men failing to hug the touchlines and cutting infield with the ball all the time, the congestion was as bad as ever. We are a good footballing side and we all appreciate that but perhaps there are times when it is the best tactic to get the ball forward earlier and bring on some more physical players to battle for possession. A very critical report this week I'm afraid, written on the morning after the match, but looking on the bright side every team has its off days and I'm sure the lads will bounce back next week at Parley and show us their true form.
Saturday 16th January 2010 Somerset Senior Cup, Rnd 3
NAILSEA UNITED 0 WESTLAND SPORTS 1
After a five week break wth no football, it was good to see the teams take the field for this Senior Cup tie. The pitch was in surprisingly good condition, considering the recent weather, so great credit to the lads at Nailsea for their hard work on the pitch. This game turned out to be a carbon copy of last seasons tie against the same opponents in the same cup. One nil was the score that day and so it was yesterday in a match that swung from end to end and could have gone either way. Sports, however, produced the cutting edge to get that crucial goal and once again, as in the last round, it was our pocket dynamo Sam Farthing who notched the vital winning goal. In the 65th minute, Steve McDaid, who was operating in central midfield following the loss of Andy Smith to injury, slid a lovely through ball to the on-rushing Dean Corden. Dean's shot was well blocked by the Nailsea keeper but the ever alert Sam Farthing was on the spot to slot in the rebound. A well worked and well taken goal, worthy of winning the match. Both teams had chances for further goals but eventually the final whistle ended a very entertaining game which was played in a good spirit throughout, with only one player receiving a yellow card in the ninety minutes.
Saturday 12th December 2009, Somerset Senior Cup, Rnd 2
WESTLAND SPORTS 1 ILMINSTER TOWN 1 (AET) (Westlands won 4-3 on penalties)
What What a cliff-hanger at Alvington last Saturday ! With the scores level after extra time and the penalty count at 3-3, we had one penalty left to take with Ilminster having taken all their kicks. Up stepped the little man for the big occasion, Sam Farthing, to slam the ball past the despairing keeper’s dive and seal our place in the next round.
It had all started so well about two hours earlier when Sports scored in the first minute of the game. Danny Call bombed forward and drove his cross hard and low into the danger area where a defender turned it past his own keeper. A good start but perhaps too good. We never really got control of the game whilst Ilminster, with nothing to lose, were having a go, and at half time, although we led 1-0 there was nothing in it. The second half opened identically to the first but this time it was the visitors who scored in the first minute. A cross from the right found the number 11, who was a danger throughout, unmarked at the far post, and although Pearsy got his hands to the header he could only help it into the roof of the net. From here on both sides battled away gamely in conditions that were not ideal for good football, but neither side could make the breakthrough and so we went into extra time and the subsequent penalty kick drama. Tim Pearse was the hero saving Ilminster’s first two kicks, and although our lead was reduced when Steve McDaid missed, the final result was sealed when Sam Farthing scored. A game best forgotten really, but we got there in the end and now look forward to a trip to Nailsea United in the 3rd round.
Saturday 21st. November, Dorset League Cup, Round 2,
HOLT UNITED 0 WESTLAND SPORTS 2
In wet and windy conditions we ground out a good win down at Holt with a disciplined performance which was a credit to all the players and staff involved. I noticed we started with a back four which was a change from our usual but, as we faced the wind and rain in the first half, this proved to be an astute tactical move as we restricted Holt to a few half chances. Our defenders invariably got a block or a last ditch tackle in to deny the opposition attackers a sight at goal and surprisingly, although Holt huffed and puffed, and generally had most of the pressure, Pearsy hardly had a save to make. Up front, with Jack Williams missing we relied on Mike Rousell's pace, supported by Danny Call and Matt Day to create the odd half chance. Nil-nil at half time was according to plan and with the elements in our favour in the second half, the belief was there that we could go on and win this. As the half opened Holt werestill pressing but, in the 50th minute, we went ahead and had a slice of luck for once in our favour. Danny Call sprinted clear down the right and what looked like an attempted cross curved in the wind and deceived the keeper, ending up in the top corner. This goal was the start of a period of Holt pressure and, although we survived a couple of close shaves, the defence stood firm. As the match progressed and legs got tired, Holt were finding our fast attacks more and more difficult to contain and after a sweeping crossfield move Danny Call fired the ball into the net only for the linesman to rule it out for offside. Eventually in the 81st minute we sealed the victory. Another excellent one touch passing move ripped open the Holt defence, Taufik Ben Salem squared for Steve Lindegaard to smash the ball goalwards only to see the ball hit an opponents arm as he lunged in to block the shot. Sam Farthing despatched the penalty into the bottom corner and it was game over. Holt knew the writing was on the wall and it was Sports who finished the gamestronger winning several corners on the last 10 minutes.
All the omens pointed to a difficult afternoon in Weston-Super-Mare. An away tie, a team from a lower league, a bumpy pitch and several regulars missing seemed like the recipe for a possible shock but, in all honesty, that was never on the cards once the game started. With skipper Dean Vincent, Stu Smith, Dean Corden and Steve Lindegaard all missing from last weeks squad it gave the opportunity for Faisal Mali, Ashley Powers, Danny Call and Steve McDaid to start. A welcome face to return to the bench was Mike Rousell who made his first appearance of the season for Sports after his return from a spell coaching in the USA. Mike has been a prolific scorer for Sports in the last three seasons and his return is another boost to the team following the return of Steve McDaid last week. As for the match, well, this ran pretty much to plan. Our natural short passing game was proving difficult on a bumpy pitch, and with the midfield pretty congested both teams found it difficult to break through. Sports always looked the more dangerous side but perhaps the best chance of the early exchanges fell to the Worle centre forward who missed the target with a free header. It was no real surprise when, in the 25th minute, we took the lead. Sam Farthing fed Jack Williams on the edge of the box, Jack turned and his snap shot took a deflection and looped over the stranded keeper. Having got the crucial first goal, we pressed on with confidence and five minutes later we made it 2-0. Jack Williams was again the executioner, firing a low shot from the edge of the box into the far corner. The game was slipping away from Worle at this stage but a quick goal in reply gave them hope. The big centre forward cut across the box and fired a good shot back across the keeper into the corner. That hope was quickly extinguished in the 40th minute when Faisal picked up a through ball on the left and coolly rifled it into the far corner of the net to restore our two goal cushion. Mike Rousell and Matt Day came on for the start of the second half and looked sharp in several good raids down the left. But it was the big number nine who gave Worle hope again. He picked up the ball about 20 yards out, evaded a couple of tacklesand slotted the ball into the corner. Another goal was needed at this point and the lads soon obliged. Matt Day tore the Worle defence apart before picking out Steve McDaid at the far post and he rifled the ball into the roof of the net to give us some breathing space at 4-2. Our opponents were tiring and dispirited now and with 15 minutes to go we finished them off. Matt Day was put through, he rounded the keeper and rolled the ball into the net to make it 5-2. Not a vintage performance by the team but good hard-working individual performances all round made sure that we go into the hat for the second round.
Saturday 31st. October, Dorset Premier League,
SWANAGE TOWN 1 WESTLAND SPORTS 1
We started the match on the front foot at Day's Park and had Swanage defending from the kick-off. We were passing the ball nicely and Swanage were reduced to clearing their lines. Then the early goal syndrome struck again. Not quite so early as last week but in the tenth minute, in virtually their first attack, Swanage took the lead. A big high punt up the park, which was a feature of Swanage's play, paid off this time when the header was missed at the edge of the Sports box and the Swanage player was able to tap in. Despite this setback, we kept plugging away, passing the ball, and eventually drew level, Ben Cochrane, who had gone up for a corner, collected the ball on the edge of the box, beat two men and shot past the Swanage keeper with the help of a deflection. Now we were in the driving seat and Swanage were getting desperate and diving into tackles all over the place. Again these negative tactics seemed to have paid off for Swanage when Ben Cochrane reacted to a tackle and got himself sent off. This was just what Swanage wanted, but they did not have the skill to take advantage of the extra man. Instead of passing the ball they continued to hoof it forward and lose possession. The rest of the half therefore was fairly even, with a good header by Jack Williams cleared off the line being our best chance.The start of the second half saw the introduction of Sports new signing from Sherborne Town, old Westlands favourite Steve McDaid and with Faisal Mali also coming on to raid down the left, Sports were in total command, even though a man down. Unfortunately we could not find a finish to match our outfield superiority, and Steve McDaid and Sam Farthing both had one on ones with the keeper which were blocked. An amusing substitution for Swanage saw their manager put himself on in an act of desperation and promptly get himself sent off for use of the elbow ! Now down to level terms Swanage were quite happy to play out time and settle for a draw. Although we felt it was two points dropped, there was a lot of good football played by Sports and if we can putthe chances away, we have nothing to fear.
Saturday 24th. October, Dorset Premier League,
WESTLAND SPORTS 5 PORTLAND UTD 0
With both teams undoubtedly seeing themselves as championship contenders, a good game was on the cards and a decent crowd turned up to watch. Unbelievably, however, we managed, for the second home game in a row, to give the opposition a goal of a start. From the first attack a ball into the box was not cleared and with Westlands defence hesitating the Portland player smashed the ball into the net from 5 yards. Portland looked a well balanced side at this point and as the half wore on we found it difficult to create chances and so turned round at the break one goal down. It was pointed out at half time that the strong wind blowing end to end would now be in our favour so that was a positive thought as the teams came out for the second half. And what a turn round it was ! After only 5 minutes of the half we were level. Jack Williams created the chance for Sam Farthing who fired home. Five minutes later and we were 2-1 ahead and it was that man Farthing again. This time Leo Hayward turned his man and squared to Sam who slotted a nice shot along the ground into the net. We really had our tails up now, everyone wanted the ball and it was no surprise when we increased our lead. This time it was Sam who set up Dean Corden to thump a shot past the shell-shocked Portland keeper to make it 3-1. There was no stopping Sports now and to the great delight of the spectators Phil Wells cut the ball back for Sam Farthing to complete his hat-trick by slamming the ball into the top corner. Portland were stunned at this stage but, unbelievably, worse was to come for the Islanders. Jack Williams weaved his way through the leg-weary Portland defence only to be brought down by a despairing dive by the keeper. The penalty was given and the goalie received a red card to leave Portland to play the last ten minutes with ten men. Jack himself coolly despatched the spot-kick past the stand-in keeper to make it 5-1. Both teams then just played out time, Sports happy with an excellent result and Portland happy to keep it to five but no doubt wondering where it all went wrong.
Saturday 17th. October, Dorset Premier League,
COBHAM SPORTS 0 WESTLAND SPORTS 2
The weather was bright at Cobham, but could Sports provide a performance to match ? Well, the answer didn’t take long to come as, after six minutes, we took the lead, Dean Corden finishing smartly after being set up by Sam Farthing. Sports were dominant at this point and it was no real surprise when we extended our lead after 15 minutes. This time it was Jack Williams who smashed the ball into the roof of the net after a flowing move involving Steve Lindegaard and Leo Hayward. At 2-0 we sat back to enjoy a goal feast, but this was not to be and as the half wore on several gilt-edged chances were squandered.
The second half started as the first had finished with Sports well on top. Another couple of glorious chances were missed until with about 20 minutes to go things took a change for the better for Cobham. Surprisingly, this coincided with them having a man sent off for kicking a player on the ground, and the resultant re-shuffle along with a flurry of substitutions saw Cobham have their best spell of the game. The sub centre forward was a nippy little player who caused us a few problems and he had two open goals late in the match but failed to hit the target on both occasions.
All in all, a comfortable victory but those missed chances could have cost us dear if their sub had his boots on the correct feet !
Saturday 10th. October, Dorset Premier League,
WESTLAND SPORTS 3 HAMWORTHY REC 3
Hamworthy are always a difficult team to beat and Sports will feel they have never had a better opportunity than this to get a result. With Hamworthy reduced to ten men when their goalkeeper was sent off just before half time, Sports squandered the opportunity to turn the game around and eventually had to settle for a point. Hamworthy got off to the best possible start, a long cross into the box was headed back across goal and as the Sports defence stood still, the Hamworthy forward nipped in to score. It wasn't long before we were level, Dean Corden was put through and as he went round the keeper he was upended. No doubting the penalty but was the keeper a bit fortunate to avoid a red card ? Andy Smith converted the spot kick to make it 1-1. It was a good game now, end to end, but Hamworthy were next to strike. A good passing movement down the right carved open the Westlands defence and the final low cross was sidefooted home by the number 7. Then came the drama with the sending off, Hamworthy's number 8 assuming goalkeeping duties and with his first touch diving to turn a Rich Proctor free kick around the post. As the second half progressed it was Hamworthy who had the better of the exchanges for the first 25 minutes of the half, as Sports seemed unsure of how to utilise their extra man. Eventually however Sports began to exert some pressure on the visitors goal and when Dom Fallows set up Jack Williams he drilled it into the far corner for the equaliser. No sooner had we got level than we shot ourselves in the foot. A high cross into our penalty box was inexplicably handled by a defender and Hamworthy gleefully slotted the spot kick to go into the lead once again. With only about five minutes to go Hamworthy were quite happy to give away free kicks to allow themselves time to get men behind the ball and this caused some tension to creep into the proceedings. Nevertheless, Sports stuck at it and were rewarded with a couple of minutes to go. Andy Smith, who had been tireless in Sports midfield, got on the end of a Sam Farthing pass and slammed in the equaliser. So, another disappointing draw but a fair result at the end of the day.
Saturday 3rd. October, Dorset Premier League,
BRIDPORT RESERVES 0 WESTLAND SPORTS 4
Sports got back to winning ways with a convincing 4-0 win over Bridport Reserves at St. Mary’s Field on Saturday. Star of the day was Rich Proctor who made a rare appearance due to his RAF duties. Coming on after 50 minutes he caused the tiring Bridport defence all sorts of problems and finished with two goals to his account. All the goals came in the second half after a fairly even first half when the nearest to a goal came from Dean Vincent who rattled the bar for the second week in a row. Sports always looked as if they had something in hand however and they stepped things up in the second half when two goals in as many minutes finished the game as a contest. The first came after 60 minutes when Leo Hayward controlled a pass in the box and drove low and hard past the keeper. This goal was followed almost immediately by the goal of the game from Stu Smith. He hit the ball with his left foot from 25 yards out and it flew into the top postage stamp corner before the keeper could move. The game was now over but there was still plenty time for Rich Proctor to complete his cameo performance. In the 75th. minute he burst through from the left in typical
fashion, shrugging off a couple of defenders and firing low into the far corner. Then in the dying minutes he squeezed the ball home after being put through the middle and battling off a couple of challenges. A well deserved win in the end hopefully giving us a bit of a confidence boost after a lean spell of late.
Saturday 26th. September, Dorset Premier League,
WESTLAND SPORTS 1 BLANDFORD UTD 1
Another disappointing draw on Saturday, our third in six games. We went behind fairly early on, when the Blandford player struck a low shot into the net through a crowded penalty area. We huffed and puffed for the rest of the half, the main highlight being what looked like a nicely taken equaliser from Jack Williams chalked off by the linesman for some reason. In the second half, Sports dominated play, passing the ball nicely, but ran into a brick wall on the edge of the Blandford box. They were quite happy to defend in numbers and this was really limiting our efforts on goal. Eventually, an inspired substitution paid dividends. Having just come on, Danny Call burst through the Blandford defence and hammered the ball past the keeper for the equaliser. Unfortunately our opponents were still happy with a draw and continued to pack their defence at every opportunity. Dean Vincent nearly found a way through by thumping a 30 yard shot off the crossbar but that was the nearest we came to securing the win.
Saturday 5th. September, Dorset Premier League,
HOLT UNITED 2 WESTLAND SPORTS 0
We suffered our first defeat of the season on Saturday at the hands of Holt in what was, in all honesty, a poor match for two teams who would both hope to be challenging in the league this season. In the first half, Holt squandering a couple of clear chances, and Steve Lindegaard missing an open goal for Sports. There were some very odd decisions from the officials throughout the game but we appeared to let these distractions upset our focus and the dogged determination of the opposition was giving them the upper hand as the second half progressed. After 65 minutes we were one down, the Holt player evaded about three half challenges on the edge of the box before firing the ball through a crowd of players into the back of the net. The second goal came soon after and ended the game as a contest. Sports keeperTim Pearce came out to collect a long through ball, decided to kick it back into his area to pick it up but lost control and the Holt player scored the easiest goal of his career as he walked the ball into the back of the empty net. In 85 minutes Steve Lindegaard had our first shot on target of the half saved by the Holt keeper, apart from that we never looked like scoring and getting back into the game.
Saturday 29th. August, Dorset Premier League,
WESTLAND SPORTS 3 PARLEY SPORTS 2
Tuesday's villian became Saturday's hero as Ben Cochrane's thumping header in the dying minutes gave Westlands the three points in a nail biting finish at Alvington. The first half gave no clue as to the drama to follow as both sides seemed to cancel each other out and most of the play was a scrappy midfield battle. On the run of play in the first half Parley probably had the territorial edge but Westlands made some good chances on the break which should have been converted. Nil nil at half time was about right and it was obvious that the first goal would be crucial in this match. After a fairly bright start it was Westlands who finally broke the stalemate on the hour mark. A low cross from the right was met by Phil Wells who prodded the ball into the corner for the opener. Fifteen minutes later came number two, Dom Fallows finally breaking the Parley offside trap and rifling into the roof of the net. At this point it looked as if there was no way back for Parley, but Westlands seeming inability to adjust their shape and close out a game almost cost us dear. First a defender stuck out his leg to floor an attacker in the box and from the penalty Parley made it 2-1. Then a defender got too close to the Parley centre forward, who turned him beautifully and drove the ball across the keeper into the far corner for a classic finish. Some poor defending had now turned what seemed a comfortable win into a nailbiting finish. Then came that stunning winner, a free kick was driven across from the right and Ben Cochrane met it on the run at the far post. The game finished with the Parley team and staff complaining bitterly that the free kick had been taken from the wrong place. One could understand their disappointment at losing after such a spirited comeback from 2-0 down. Nevertheless, credit to our lads for not settling for a draw and believing they could get that all important winner and three points.
Tuesday 25th. August, Dorset Premier League,
STURMINSTER NEWTON 1 WESTLAND SPTS 1
This was another of these midweek away games that cost us dear towards the end of last season. On a hard bumpy pitch, against spoiling opponents, we seemed unable get our game going and in the end, self destructed. In the first half Sports had slightly the better of the play but having said that Stur had what looked a good goal chalked off when the referee spotted an infringement against the keeper. Although we didn't create a lot of chances we had a lucky break on the half hour mark when a long cross into the Stur box was missed by their keeper, hit a defender on the shins and trickled over the line. With few chances being made one goal could have been enough but as the second half started it was Stur Newton who were pressing. A series of long balls into the box were dealt with fairly confidently by the Sports defence until fate made its first move. Stuart Smith had to come off with a niggling injury and this involved a bit of a reshuffle, but with Phil Wells now in the back line we still looked reasonably comfortable. Then the second blow struck, Ben Cochrane, who had been foolishly booked for backchatting the ref in the first half, threw the ball away when Stur were awarded a free kick and was promptly sent off. We could have no complaints as only a few minutes before a Stur player was booked for kicking the ball away in a similar situation. Down to ten men, and with only three attackers on the bench as subs, we now began to struggle with the defence struggling to fend off constant Sturminster Newton attacks. We also had a couple of breaks when one shot hit the bar and another was cleared off the line. Then, just as we thought we might hang on for three points, the equaliser came, and a cracking goal it was, the Stur lad controlling a cross from the left before rifling it past the keeper. This body blow, however produced a bit of a reaction from Sports who finished the last couple of minutes strongly, Jack Williams grazing the post with a fierce shot and a series of corners forced. All to no avail, and one point it was.
Saturday 22nd. August, Dorset Premier League,
WESTLAND SPORTS 5 HAMWORTHY UTD 0
Another good result that puts Sports on top of the table, if only on goal difference. Once again we started with a bang, Ben Salem scoring with a diving header from a Danny Call cross in the first minute. This knocked thestuffing out of Hamworthy and it was constant Westlands pressure until eventually Matt Day went through to make it 2-0. Danny Call was running riot down the right and on 35 minutes Matt Day knocked in another of his crosses to make it three. The only real chance Hamworthy made this half was when their centre forward broke through but he shot wide. In the second half Hamworthy tried to make a game of it but Sports were just too strong and Dean Corden's tireless running was causing them all sorts of problems. On 60 minutes Dean himself headed home from a corner on the right and just before the end Andy Smith flattened their centre half to head in the fifth. On the whole, a good performance in what was a very sporting game, well handled by the officials.
Wednesday 19th. August, Dorset Premier League,
WESTLAND SPORTS 1 WINCANTON TOWN 1
A A most frustrating evening as Sports dominated Wincanton for most of the game yet only got a share of the points in the end. Westlands got off to a great start when Ben Salem headed in from a corner in the 5th minute. More pressure followed, but in a rare Wincanton attack, keeper Tim Pearse brought down their forward and from the resultant penalty, Leatherland equalised. Sports then had a good goal by Sam Farthing disallowed when the ref blew up for a free kick to Westlands on the edge of the box. The best chance of the half however fell to Dom Fallows when Sports were awarded a penalty. Dom tried to place the ball in the top corner but the goalkeeper guessed correctly and made the save.In the second half the pressure was intense on the Wincanton goal as chance after chance was scrambled clear or flew past the goal. The referee was brandishing yellow cards in an attempt to keep the lid on what was a very feisty game. Unfortunately he did not get a lot of help from his assistants, one of whom witnessed a Wincanton defender strike an opponent in the face and receive only a yellow card as punishment. Dean Corden smashed a shot off the crossbar, Dan Call drove just over the bar, and in the dying seconds an Andy Smith header from a corner just scraped the bar. So the game ended in a draw and two points dropped.
Saturday 15th. August, Dorset Premier League,
WESTLAND SPORTS 3 CRANBORNE 0
Our first match in the DPL resulted in a welcome three points but was a fairly uninspired performance. Despite a couple of pre-season warm up matches some of the lads still looked a bit ring rusty against a stuffy Cranborne outfit who set themselves up to frustrate and did so pretty well. The first half ended 0-0 with very few chances being created by either side, but in the second half both teams stepped it up a bit and some sustained Westlands pressure resulted in a Cranborne defender heading into his own net. Once the first goal had gone in Sports looked fairly comfortable and it was not long before Matt Day was put through the middle and he slotted number two. Shortly after this Sports were reduced to ten men when Taoufik Ben Saleem was sent off. After a bit of a collision Ben and the Cranborne centre half went "head to head" in a handbags situation that resulted in the Cranes defender falling to the ground poleaxed, clutching his head. Various Cranborne players then raced to the referee claiming a headbutt and this had the desired effect when Ben was shown the red card. At this point the centre half got to his feet and carried on with the game, seemingly non the worse. Sports retreated a bit after this and Cranborne had their best spell of the match. Particularly when a quickly taken free kick caught Sports defence napping but luckily the forward shot past the post. Westlands soon came back though and made it 3-0 when Dom Fallows netted fron close range. On to Wednesday then when Wincanton will be the visitors in what should be a cracking local derby.
UNDER 18s DORSET YOUTH LEAGUE DIVISION 1
11th April.'10, League:
PARLEY SPORTS 2 WESTLAND SPORTS 11
We have threatened to put a team to the sword all year and today was the day. From the moment we started we passed the ball with purpose, the movement was good and the team looked relaxed. Within ten minutes we were two up with goals from Haydn Binding, a smart volley and a well timed header from a corner. Unlike prevoius games we kept the tempo high and by half time we were four goals to the good with further strikes from Charlie Gay and Ant Herrin, both finishing off great team moves. In between the goal Parley created several chances which called for some smart keeping from Alex Watts. Max Harrington and Lewis Gullis were introduced at half time when Sam Hall and Jamie Burt both reported slight muscle strains.
Within minutes of the restart Matt Jackson picked up his regulation goal poking home from 3 yards, which was closely followed by Max Harrington adding another. Tom Salter replaced Matt and it wasn't long before he scored his first goals for the club with two well taken finishes, were it not for the post he would have had a hatrick. Haydn did score another to get himself a hatrick and Charlie used his searing pace to add two more to the tally to also record a hatrick. To be fair to Parley thay kept going and did mange to get themselves a couple of goals in the last twenty minutes, although defensively we had taken our foot off of the pedal. All in all a great weekend for Westland with two good results at the expense of Parley.
4th April.'10, League:
WESTLAND SPORTS 4 PARLEY SPORTS A 0
Against the odds we managed to stage the match on a very wet pitch...a lot of last minute forking by Brian at the top end of the pitch persuaded the ref to allow the game to carry on, however once started the pitch played extremely well. We started the game brightly and the Parley keeper made several smart saves in the first ten minutes to prevent us taking a deserved early lead. After such a great start it was surprising we dropped the tempo and allowed Parley back into the game, we lost our shape and the work effort seemed to disappear. It took some good battling by Haydn Binding and Matt Jackson down the right to set up Ant Herrin for a tap in after half an hour. 10 minutes later we were two up when Sam Carney jinked through a couple of tackles and put the ball in the roof of the net.
Early in the second half Dave Evans rounded off a fine move with a shot that just made it over the line. Charlie Gay , Tom Salter and Max Harrington were all introduced and added some fresh impetus to the team and fifteen mintues from the end we finally managed to beat the Parley keeper, who had an excellent game. Max picked the ball up 20 yards out and hit a great shot into the top corner.
Another convincing three points which were well deserved and keep us firmly in the hunt for second place and with a bit of luck challenging for top spot.
21st Mar.'10, League:
WESTLAND SPORTS 4 WIMBORNE TOWN 1
For only the second time in 2010 we had a welcome break from our travels with a home fixture. We welcomed back Alex Watts in goal which enabled Matt Morley to return to his more familiar outfield position. The game started with us kicking into a fairly stiff breeze and not much goal mouth action as both sides tried to get a hold on the game. Fifteen minutes in and Charlie Gay latched onto a great through ball from Sam Carney, winning the race with the keeper and lobbing into an empty net. Ten minutes later and Wimborne were level with an almost identical goal. Both keepers made several good saves before the break and Dan Newens replaced an injured Sam Carney, but the scores remained level.
Into the second half and it remained a tightly matched affair, another injury to Lewis Gullis let Haydn Binding off the leash and meant Sam Hall had to switch to full back where he finished the game strongly. Haydns more physical approach unsettled the opposition and within minutes he put Matt Jackson through one on one to slot past the keeper. The passing started to flow and the chances began to fall on a regular basis. Dan Newens poached a third after the keeper spilled a Sam Beard freekick and Dave Evans added a fourth with a shot from the edge of the box. Max Harrington came on for the final fifteen minutes and with a bit of luck could have added a couple more, which would have flattered us, but once again he showed he is more than capable ofperforming at this level. All in all a good afternoons work and another welcome three points which lifts us to second in the league.
14th Mar.'10, League:
BOURNEMOUTH POPPIES 0 WESTLAND SPORTS 2
We travelled to Bournemouth with a few regulars missing, meaning that Matt Morley took over between the posts, and new signings Tom Salter and Max Harrington were on the bench.
The game kicked off with us making our customary slow start and the Poppies getting stuck into us straight away, fortunately a combination of poor shooting and good keeping meant they weren’t able to capitalise and slowly we started to get a foothold in the game. The more we kept the ball on the deck the more likely we looked like causing problems. As the half wore on we did create some good opportunities with the best falling to Dan Newens but at half time the game was still scoreless.
Dan aggravated an injury from the previous week and had to be replaced by Max Harrington at half time, this caused yet more reorganisation with Dave Evans dropping back into the centre of defence where he had an excellent half. We started the half much brighter played some good football and controlled the game for the next 25 minutes. We created some great chances Ant Herrin shot wide, Matt Jackson should have set Max up for a tap in and Sam Hall managed to hit the post, but still the game remained scoreless.
Tom Salter was introduced with just over 15 minutes to go as Poppies started to get back into the game. With players tiring the game was getting stretched and once again Matt Morley was required to tidy things up for us along with some good defensive work from the back four.
Five minutes from the end we were awarded a freekick. Jacob Bromfield delivered a fantastic ball into the box that was met superbly by Dave Evans, one nil! Poppies responded with a couple of corners that were well defendedand back down the other end we went where Poppies were awarded a disputed goal kick. The keeper mishit the kick to Ant Herrin 40 yards out on the touchline, who controlled it and promptly dispatched it back over the keepers head for our second goal.
Three more valuable points from a game that looked like it was going to end in a draw and was settled by two late moments of quality.
7th Mar '10, Dorset Cup semi-final:
SHERBORNE TOWN 1 WESTLAND SPORTS 0
We arrived at Raleigh Grove in optimistic mood anticipating a tough game, and we weren’t disappointed. We kicked off against a big strong physical Sherborne side and for once were out of the blocks quickly creating a couple of good opportunities in the first ten minutes, neither of which were taken. After this the game settled into a more even pattern of play with neither side really creating any clear cut opportunities and the majority of the game taking place in the middle of the park. Two minutes before the break Sherborne scored the only goal of the game, a header from a well delivered corner, which gave us something to discuss at half time.
We upped the level in the second half matching Sherborne physically and we certainly started to get behind them on the left flank, which led to us creating more of the opportunities. We had decent efforts from Haydn Binding, Dan Newens, Dave Evans, Matt Jackson and Matt Morley but unfortunately we didn’t manage to work the keeper. On the one occasion we did create a one on one Matt Jackson was wiped out on the edge of the box by the last man as he burst through, although the ref only deemed it worthy of a free kick. At the other end of the park we looked defensively sound and defended well for the whole game even when we went to three at the back towards the end.
We finished the game as we started it slightly on top but not able to find the clinical finishing touch. It was a game of two contrasting styles with Westland trying to pass the ball around and Sherborne a little more direct, and for the third time this season the game was settled by the odd goal. We all gave 100% but unfortunately it was not to be, however the whole squad is young enough to come back and give it another go next year. Congratulations to Sherborne and we wish them the best of luck in the final.
21st Feb.'10, League:
HURN JETS 1 WESTLAND SPORTS 6
After last week’s committed performance at Sherborne we headed off to windswept Hurn in high spirits albeit without a goalkeeper who failed to show. Haydn Binding took over the keepers jersey and we started well on a bumpy pitch and dominated the game creating four or five good chances but failing to take any of them. As the half wore on the opposition came back into the game and our laid back defensive style gave them some half chances, but eventually after 35 minutes we took the lead. A good spell of possession and a well worked move down the left put Charlie Gay in on the keeper to finish comfortably.
At half time we talked about upping the tempo and being a little more clinical all over the pitch, so predictably it was no surprise when Hurn grabbed an equaliser five minutes into the half. This led to a fifteen minute period when the game could have gone either way, that was until Charlie Gay’s pace won us two penalties in quick succession that were both confidently converted by new signing Matt Morley, Ant Herrin then added a fourth following some good work by Sam Hall. Haydn swapped the goalkeepers jersey with Matt Morley who was immediately called into action when Hurn were awarded a penalty, which he saved. A strange hatrick ,scored two penalties and saved one. Haydn then got in on the action up front by first setting up a goal for Dan Newens and then the sixth and final one for Matt Jackson.
Another good three points to add to the total without reaching the performance level of the week before.
14th Feb.'10, League:
SHERBORNE TOWN 3 WESTLAND SPORTS 2
After last week’s poor performance we were hoping for a big improvement and we got it. Plenty of energy, tough tackling and a will to win. The game started fairly evenly on a small tight pitch, with chances few and far between. Ironically with all of the short sharp passing we had seen, Sherborne’s first goal came from a long hoof up the park that we didn’t deal with allowing the centre forward to lob the ball over the stranded keeper. Unlike last week we didn’t switch off and give up, we change formation to 4-4-2 and almost immediately responded when Dave Evans managed to hit a post.
We switched ends and started to take control of the game without creating many chances until Dave Evans was brought down in the penalty area. Matt Jackson had his penalty saved by the keeper, who then blocked the rebound from Matt, and also made a third save from Sam Carney who was following up. When we went two nil down 10 minutes later to a well constructed goal you could have forgiven the lads for thinking it was not going to be their day, but this week there was none of it. They picked the tempo up and took the game back to Sherborne and got their reward when Haydn Binding was up ended in the box. This time he took the penalty and scored…game on! It was end to end stuff until ten minutes from the end Sherborne took a quick freekick 35 yards out and planted it in the top corner of the net. Game over.…no chance back up the other end Dave Evans poached a second Westland goal from two yards and with almost the last kick of the game Matt Jackson rolled the ball past the keeper and shaved the outside of the far post, for what would have been a well deserved draw.
Difficult to single anyone out as it was such a great team performance however Sam Carney and Dan Newens were outstanding in the middle of the park, with the rest all getting a nine out of ten. From a management point of view it was exactly what we wanted to see and if we play like that in every other game we have we will have had a very good season……Well done lads!!
7th Feb.'10, League:
DORCHESTER RAIDERS 6 WESTLAND SPORTS 0
This turned out to be a bad day at the office from start to finish. Team selection was made easy when we ended up with only eleven players on the day due to player unavailability and one no show. With the players available we started with an unfamiliar formation and were competing fairly well in open play, but were sadly lacking at set pieces. So it was no surprise that we found ourselves two down after 30 minutes, one a free header from a corner and the other a direct freekick through a shambolic wall. Things went from bad to worse when new signing Tom Ringham picked up a knee injury 10 minutes before half time and had to go off. With Alex Watts repelling all that Dorchester could throw at him we had chances to reduce the deficit, the best of which fell to Charlie Gay. Fair play to Tom he tried to continue in the second half but only managed another 20 minutes before he called it a day. In the meantime we conceded four more goals at regular intervals to a team who really weren’t much better than us, they just wanted it more. The positive side of the day was the performance and attitude of the U16 keeper Alex Watts. The negative side was the attitude and desire of some of our so called better players….lets all hope for an improvement next week.
24th Jan.'10, League:
WESTLAND SPORTS 5 STURMINSTER MARSHALL 0
Following on from last weeks solid performance against Chickerell we were looking for a more flowing performance. The game started very evenly with both sides competing well in the middle of a heavy pitch although Westland always looked the more capable. With the defence being well marshalled by Sam Beard Westland gradually began to take control and threaten the Sturminster goal. After a couple of near misses Matt Jackson latched onto a neat through ball and drove a left footed shot through the keeper from the edge of the box after 30 minutes. This gave us that little bit of extra confidence and we finished the half playing some great football with Matt grabbing a second and Dan Newens adding a third, both following blocked shots from Dave Evans.
The second half started much as the first had finished with some neat football and plenty of opportunities. Matt grabbed his hatrick goal following good work by Haydn Binding, before being replaced by Charlie Gay who scored the fifth. All three subs were introduced early in the half to give everyone a good workout following the long break, so it was no surprise when we finished the game with ten men due to Sam Hall’s ankle injury. The ten men held out and kept a second clean sheet in as many weeks with U16 keeper Alex Watts not having a save of note to make.
A great performance capped with some well worked goals, roll on next week!
17th Jan.'10, Dorset Lge:
CHICKERELL UTD 0 WESTLAND SPORTS 1
After five weeks of inactivity at long last a game. The Chickerell pitch was in great condition considering the recent weather which allowed for a good passing game. We started very brightly down the hill moving the ball around well and dominating the possession, however the long layoff and Christmas Pud hadn't done much for our first touch. With Sam Carney and Dan Newens controlling midfield we created many half chances but wayward shooting and a keeper who kept getting in the way prevented us from scoring. Chickerell were restricted to a few chances from long punts up field but fortunately Rian Heather was equal to everything they threw at him.
With the second half following the same pattern as the first Rian again made some good saves to keep Chickerell at bay. We continued to huff and puff creating chances but not able to convert them. The introduction of Dave Evans and Charlie Gay pushed Chickerell back further and it was this combination that scored the only goal ten minutes from time. A mishit shot from Charlie bounced off the keeper and rebounded in off of Dave, not pretty but worth the three points. Shortly afterwards man of the match Jacob Bromfield crashed a 25 yard free kick against the bar but we couldn't add further to the scoring. Not a great performance but good discipline and patience got us over the line for a deserved win.
13th Dec.'09, Dorset Cup:
WINCANTON TOWN 2 WESTLAND SPORTS 3
After four weeks frustration at last a game, Wincanton Town in the quarter final of the Dorset Cup. The pitch was small, the grass was long and it resembled a peat bog. Needless to say the game turned into a battle. We started brightly tried to play some football but the ball just wouldn’t move across the surface quickly enough, and although we had plenty of the ball we didn’t create any chances. Wincanton on the other hand had several one on ones which were well saved by Lewis Stainer, but mid way through the half they went one up with a great lobbed finish. We responded well and created several half chances and from the resultant pressure Matt Jackson poked home the equaliser from a corner.
All square at half time and the game was there to be won for us, which looked even more likely when the ref reduced Wincanton to ten men. However the ten men battled even harder and deservedly forced the game into extra time thanks to some more excellent saves from Lewis and some misses at the other end. Both sides continued to battle and during the first half of extra time Dave Evans forced his way into the box and was brought down. Haydn Binding stepped up and rolled the penalty in off the post. Wincanton still came at us but we managed to hold on until the end to earn our place in the semi-finals. A hard working team display which was capped by Lewis’ excellent performance in goal.
8th Nov.'09, League:
WIMBORNE TOWN 2 WESTLAND SPORTS 3
We arrived at WimborneTown football Club in confident mood with a few squad changes giving both Tim Smith and Tom Gilbert a well deserved rest, unfortunately the mood changed when it was discovered that our new keeper had failed to arrive. Fortunately Haydn Binding demonstrated the great team spirit by once again volunteering to take the keepers jersey and demonstrating his excellent skills between the sticks. At times he performed well as a sweeper and again dealt with all the crosses superbly.
Wimborne started strongly and looked physically stronger than us which led to the opening goal after 10 minutes. The right winger started in his own half and ran through three fairly week challenges before slotting the ball into the net. It seemed to spur us on and we started to get control of the ball and the midfield. Charlie Gay looked really sharp and created several great opportunities that were not taken. Mid way through the half he received the ball with his back to goal turned across the box, and smashed an unstoppable shot in off the post, shortly after he added a second with a clinical finish. The lads were really buzzing now and it would not have been a surprise if we had added a couple of more goals, the only downside of the half was Kai Kirks booking for a rather agricultural challenge.
The second half started brightly with Dave Evans adding a nicely headed third goal from a free kick, which gave us total control of the game. This continued until twenty minutes from the end when Wimborne scored with a stunning 30 yard strike. It made for an interesting last period of the game with heavy pressure from Wimborne and good counter attacking football from us.Early in the second half saw the return of Dan Newens from injury with a performance that puts him into contention for next weeks game with top of the league Shaftesbury. Overall a good team performance with good passing, lots of determination, and good discipline.
1st Nov.'09, Cup:
LYTCHETT RED TRIANGLE 0 WESTLAND SPORTS 7
For the first time this season we were able to welcome Rian Heather back from injury to take his position in goal. We started in our normal slow manner but it was evident from very early on that the opposition did not contain the same quality. Therefore it was no surprise when inside 20 minutes roving left back Tim Smith slotted home a great opening goal, and Matt Jackson bundled home the first of his four goals after Sam Carney crashed a long range shot against the bar. The rest of the half was fairly uneventful. Ant Herrin was introduced at half time and ten minutes into the second half Kai Kirk and Charlie Gay joined him which quickened the pace of the game. Within minutes it was four nil with goals from Ant Herrin and Matt Jackson. Two more from Matt and a penalty from Lewis Gullis completed the scoring and put Westland into the third round. A good all round team performance without ever really being under pressure featuring some great quick passing football in the second half.
18th Oct.'09, League:
WESTLAND SPORTS 1 SHERBORNE TOWN 0
Once again due to injury and unavailability changes were forced onto the squad. Haydn Binding kindly volunteered to play in goal and was outstanding.
Unlike previous weeks we started fast and quickly got into our stride against a strong team. Defensively we looked confident and organised and the passing throughout the team was much improved, allowing us to have the edge in the early stages. Ten minutes into the game and Tim Smith ran onto a great through ball to slot home the games only goal. Westland maintained their control of the game during the first half an hour creating several good opportunities to increase the lead. However Sherborne then started to work their way back into the game and were awarded a soft penalty which was magnificently saved by Haydn. An injury to Kai Kirk forced the introduction of Jacob Bromfield who was still suffering the effects of flu as the remainder of the half remained fairly even.
The second half turned into the Haydn Binding show, several great saves, clean catching of crosses and even a run up the left wing reminiscent of Bruce Grobbelar all helped to relieve the pressure on the defence. Sherborne stepped up the pace and totally dominated the possession with Westland defending resolutely, and reduced to the occasional counter attack. These counter attacks produced several opportunities to kill the game off, but none were taken. Another Flu victim Lewis Gullis was replaced on the hour after running himself into the ground, but the shape of the game didn’t change as both teams battled hard to the end and Westland clung onto the three points showing some great team spirit.
11th Oct.'09, League:
STURMINSTER MARSHALL 4 WESTLAND SPORTS 4
Yet another slow start put us on the back foot once again. An inability to tackle, pass and play as a unit was very evident so it was no surprise to find the opposition three up within the first fifteen minutes, all of which could have been prevented. Maybe it was the realisation that this was turning into a rout, but all of a sudden we started to want the ball and began to work our way back into the game, creating a few half chances. Ten minutes before the break Sam Beard won the ball midway in his own half broke through several rustic challenges on his way into the opposition penalty area and smashed the ball into the net from an acute angle. At long last we started to get control of the ball and the game for the remainder of the half.
Half time brought a rather one sided chat and a few words of encouragement, and the introduction of Haydn Binding to add some life to the team.
Our control of the game continued and within twenty minutes we had drawn level with a fantastic chip from Charlie Gay and a Tim Smith penalty, won by Dave Evans. This prompted a response from the opposition and it turned into a very open game, although we still looked the more likely to score. So it was no surprise when the opposition scored another goal with a long punt down the middle, but again we pressed and deservedly scored another equaliser with ten minutes to go when goal machine Tim Smith rolled the ball into the net from 25 yards. It was one way traffic until the end and only a last minute goal line clearance prevented Matt Jackson from pinching the points. New signing Kai Kirk was introduced for the last fifteen minutes and proved to be a useful addition to the squad.
In conclusion if we had played the first thirty minutes like the last sixty we would have won the game comfortably, two points dropped!!! However it was a great effort to come back from three down.
4th Oct.'09, Dorset Cup:
PARLEY SPORTS 2 WESTLAND SPORTS 3
Injuries to Sam Carney, Jamie Burt and Haydn Binding meant we travelled to Parley with only one substitute. This weeks winner of the weekly draw for the goalkeepers jersey being won by Ant Herrin. The pitch was small, hard and bumpy which didn't help to make a great game but we started brightly going forward and created a few half chances which the Parley keeper did well to keep out, however defensively the whole team were half asleep. Midway through the first half a good turn on the edge of the box and a great curling shot put Parley one up. This seemed to wake the team up who then took control of the remainder of the first half and Dave Evans equalised shortly before the break. The first fifteen minutes of the second half saw us play our best football of the game and a fine strike from Tim Smith, followed by a great header from Sam Beard gave us a deserved two goal advantage, the Parley keeper then pulled off several outstanding saves to prevent the advantage getting bigger. Having thought the game was won Westland switched off and allowed Parley back into it, some good play and slack defending allowed Parley to score a second with fifteen minutes to go. Shortly afterwards Parley had a man sent off for stamping but still looked for the equalising goal and if it wasn't for Ant Herrin they probably would have got it. With two minutes to go Dan Newens was wiped out in the centre of the pitch damaging his back in the process which required a trip to hospital for a check up, fortunately he was discharged later in the evening. So both teams finished with ten men and Westland held on to win 3-2 and progress to the next round.
27th Sept.'09, League:
WESTLAND SPORTS 6 CHICKERELL UTD 1
After last weeks disappointing performance at Shaftesbury the lads bounced back with a convincing win. There were several changes to the squad and yet another willing volunteer, Jim Crisp, was found to fill the problem goal keeper position. Westland started well and created four or five great chances but unfortunately none were taken, and it was against the run of play when a long ball down the middle allowed a Chickerell player to open the scoring. Credit to the lads they kept trying to play football and were rewarded with strikes from Ant Herrin and a superb chip from Tim Smith to give themselves a 2-1 advantage at half time. Early in the second half a penalty from Tim Smith increased the lead and sparked a revival from Chickerell. Jim Crisp made several important blocks before Matt Jackson was put through to make the score 4-1. Mid way through the half saw the introduction of Dave Evans, Charlie Gay and Lewis Gullis who all made a good impact to the game and it was no surprise when Hadyn Binding and a stunning strike from Lewis Gullis took the final score to 6-1.
6th Sept.'09. League:
WESTLAND SPORTS 6 BOURNEMOUTH POPPIES 4
Westlands kicked off the match playing into the wind and quickly found themselves under pressure. Poppies took advantage of the slow start and went two up within the first 10 minutes. Westland finally started to get to the pace of the game and forced their way back into it. They were rewarded with strikes from Tom Gilbert (2), Matt Jackson and Ant Herrin to make it 4-2 at half time.
Injury forced the withdrawal of both Sam Hall and Ant Herrin at half time who were replaced with Lewis Gullis and Ciprian Vranceanu, or Chip to his mates. The game was now very competitive with half chances falling at both ends. 15 minutes into the half Poppies reduced the arrears and almost levelled with a free kick, forcing Hadyn Binding into making an excellent save. Westland regained their two goal cushion when Lewis Gullis volleyed in, and then increased it when Mike Buckey hammered in number six. Poppies kept on fighting and made it 6-4, 10 minutes from the end, but Westland capped a good first performance by comfortably playing out the remainder of the game with no further score.
RESERVES MATCH REPORTS - SEASON 2009-2010
Sat 5th. Dec 2009, Yeovil Charity Cup, Semi-Final:
WESTLAND SPORTS RES 0 TOR 2
With a soggy pitch, rain falling and a driving wind, it wasn’t a great day for playing football but, as it was a cup semi-final both teams put the effort in and made a game of it. In the first half, with the elements in our favour, Sports were very much in the ascendancy with most of the pressure, but that final ball into the box was invariably cleared by a Tor defender’s head or foot. The opposition goalkeeper also looked in form and made a couple of good saves to keep the score line even at half time. In the second half, with the rain still driving down the pitch, Tor, who looked physically bigger and stronger than the Westlands lads, gradually began to come into the game and have a few attacks. There was not really much threat to them though, and it was Sports who looked the more likely to score with one effort hitting the post. As we approached the ninety minutes and a stalemate looked the likely outcome, it was Tor who forced a corner in a last gasp effort to snatch victory. When the ball came over it fell at the feet of an unmarked Tor player who gratefully smashed it into the back of the net from ten yards out. Game over, or so we thought, but there was a final twist to rub salt in Westlands wounds. With the clock reading 99 minutes played the Tor goalie launched a clearance from hands into the Sports half. Aided by the wind, the ball took one bounce and soared over our stranded keeper into the back of the net ! What a finish, and our congratulations go to Tor who were organised and committed from start to finish. For our lads, well, it’s back to the drawing board, as four successive defeats have now severely damaged our hopes of silverware this season.
Sat 10th. Oct., Yeovil Charity Cup, 1st. Round:
WESTLAND SPORTS RES 3 CHARLTON UTD 2
Sports advanced into the next round but will not look back on this game with any pride. Their plucky opponents were second bottom of Division 3, and this looked like a foregone conclusion, but as we know, it does not always work that way. The team selection seemed to indicate the management thought this was an easy game as several regulars were left out of the lineup. This resulted in a disjointed and lacklustre display as Sports fell into all the traps that confront you when playing opposition from a lower league. Needless to say, we were 2-0 down after 40 minutes and heading for disaster. Chances were being squandered right, left and centre, until Jon Vance showed the first bit of composure of the afternoon by slotting a sidefooter into the far corner to make the score a more respectable 2-1 at half time. By all accounts the second half was much the same with chances going begging, until regular centre half Jason Sims came off the bench and played up front. This made all the difference and 'Simsy' swung the game Westlands way with two goals to seal the place in the next round. A final word of credit to the Charlton lads who battled all the way and, on another day, may have caused the upset of the round. As for Sports, well, lessons to be learned all round.
Sat 26th. Sept., Yeovil League:
WESTLAND SPORTS RES 4 BALTONSBOROUGH 2
Another three points in the bag but the reserves made heavy weather of this match against a ‘Boro team who have been struggling badly of late. Sports got off to the best possible start, Leo Hayward racing through the static ‘Boro defence to open the scoring in two minutes. This could have been disaster for Baltonsborough but to be fair, they knuckled down and got stuck in with the result that in 20 minutes they got the equaliser. With the Westlands defence posted missing their centre forward lobbed the keeper to make it 1-1. Ten minutes later, disaster struck. Sports defence, or rather those that could be bothered to track back, stood still and watched the big number 10 sidefoot the ball into the back of the net from six yards out. This setback gave the lads the motivation they needed to get a grip of the game and it wasn’t long before Haydn Binding equalised after some good play. Then just before half-time Sports took the lead. Jake Russell ran on to a long ball down the right and as the keeper came out, clipped it past him into the far corner of the net. So, 3-2 ahead at half-time, but although Sports were well on top in the second half, we squandered numerous chances and it was always a bit dodgy with only one goal in it. Eventually Haydn scored the clinching fourth goal, rising like a salmon to head home a corner from the left. With the three subs now on, Sports were well in control but couldn’t add another goal to their total due to some resolute defending by the visitors who battled right to the end.
Sat 19th. Sept., Yeovil League:
MILBORNE PORT 0 WESTLAND SPORTS RES 2
A good win at Milborne Port, which is always a tough place to get a result, got the reserves back on track after the unlucky defeat to Normalair last week. With several players injured, the reserves depth of squad is proving important this season, with the youngsters from the youth team proving more than adequate for the task. In the first half it was pretty even, the home team maybe having the edge on pressure but Sports always looking likely to breach the home defence. And with two minutes remaining to half time the prolific Leo Hayward, who had had a fairly quite first period, opened the scoring with a low shot into the corner. One-nil to Sports then at the interval, but as the second half got under way the Westland lads took control and for most of the half were exerting pressure on the home team’s goal. Highlights of the half were a thumping drive from Luke Peaty which cannoned off the crossbar and the all-important second goal, which was a bit of a gift, courtesy of the Milborne keeper. A long punt downfield deceived the goalie, who, under pressure from Haydn Binding, fumbled the ball and allowed Haydn to walk it into the net. Claims by the keeper that he was fouled were met with howls of derision from the Westlands supporters. Sports played out the last 20 minutes fairly comfortably, and with Ash and Gibbo looking sound at the heart of the defence, secured the three points.
Sat 5th. Sept., Yeovil League:
WESTLAND SPORTS RES 3 HENSTRIDGE 1
After the 14-0 thrashing of Pen Mill in their opening league fixture last Thursday, the reserves followed up with a good 3-1 victory over Henstridge. Leo Hayward was the hero, netting a fine hat-trick to follow his three against Pen Mill, making a six goal haul in three days for the young striker. Sports opened the game in fine style knocking the ball around with great confidence and putting the visitors defence under pressure. A goal soon followed. A good cross from Lee Peaty on the left eluded the Henstridge defender and Leo knocked in his first goal. The second came on 25 minutes, Leo curling in a lovely shot from the edge of the box. After this blow Henstridge came to life a bit and just before the break they pulled one beck after some slack marking allowed the attacker to scuff his shot under the Sports keeper. The second half was a bit more even but sports had the edge, hitting the woodwork on three occasions to Henstridge's one. Eventually Leo secured the points when he pounced on a defender's error and drove the ball past the keeper into the far corner. A good win which puts the lads top of the league on goal difference.