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MATCH REPORTS SEASON 2017/2018

 

Saturday 19th May 2018, Dorset Premier League Cup Final:

WESTLAND SPORTS 2 HAMWORTHY RECREATION 0

It was a lovely sunny day for the final and on the coach to Sturminster Newton the players looked relaxed but

determined not to let this chance slip. Westlands made one change from the team that beat Gillingham in midweek. Scott Morgan, who had put in a couple of excellent performances recently, was replaced by the more experienced Ollie Wake. Skipper Jamie Green was unfortunately suspended for this match so Adam Barratt continued in the midfield role and took the captain’s armband. Scott Smith was also fit enough to take a place on the bench after missing the last couple of games. The pitch at Barnett’s Field looked excellent, obviously a bit hard but there was a good covering of grass so in perfect shape.

From the kick-off Sports grabbed the initiative and attacked the Hamworthy goal. In the first minute a free kick from the left wing was drilled across the box but no-one could get on the end of it. A minute later another free kick picked out Josh Payne at the far post but his sidefoot shot went past the post. Then we had a corner and Josh got off a shot which was blocked on the line. A couple of minutes later Sports carved out another great chance. Josh Payne got past the full back down the right and cut the ball back to Henry Lawrence-Napier who blasted in a shot that the keeper saved with his legs. Phew, what a start and only 6 minutes gone !

The game settled down a bit now with Ham Rec having a bit of possession but it was Westlands who had the next chance in the 11th minute when Ant Herrin got on the end of a Phil Wells cross but he put his shot over the top. Five minutes later Hamworthy had their first real chance when a decent cross was sliced over the bar by their striker. Westlands were still on top but Hamworthy were beginning to get some balls forward into Sports half but they were finding the Westlands defence in mean mood and couldn’t really create any clear cut chances. In the 23rd minute Sports had another good chance when Jamie Irwin crossed to Josh Payne whose snap shot went inches past the near post. Then Henry Lawrence-Napier and Haydn Hodges combined but Haydn’s shot was well saved by the keeper. Westlands were pressing the opposition and forcing them to play long balls out of defence to clear their lines. Most of these were met by the head of Jonny Manley or were swept up by Ollie Wake who were a solid partnership at the back for Westlands. Subsequently Hamworthy’s prolific goalscorer up front was given virtually no service at all and Westlands keeper Sam Watts had not been tested. In the 31st minute Westlands deservedly went ahead. Josh Payne headed a deep cross from the left wing powerfully back across goal to HENRY LAWRENCE-NAPIER who bulleted a header into the roof of the net from close range. An excellent goal, all done at great pace, and what run by Henry to get into the box and finish off the move. Hamworthy tried to respond and had some possession in Westlands half but were still finding it hard to create a decent chance. Their best effort was in the 40th minute and came directly from a Westlands corner. A fast break saw Sports defence outnumbered but the final shot was over the bar.

The half time whistle ended an excellent half for Westlands, one goal up but it could have been more had we taken our chances. The worry is you will come to regret these misses but the reality was Westlands had dominated the half and looked pretty comfortable so the omens were good for the second half.

The first chance of the half fell to Westlands and was so near to the second goal. Josh Payne fizzed over a low cross from the right which flew right across the face of the goal with the lunging Jamie Irwin just failing to connect. Then in the 50th minute Jamie Irwin set up Josh Payne who made space for himself with some neat footwork, then belted the ball over the bar ! Haydn Hodges then followed suit with a shot over the top and on the hour mark Sam Watts had to make a save, diving on a low trundler. The next Westlands attack saw Josh Payne cut in and, guess what, put a left foot shot over the bar ! Then in the 62nd minute Westlands made one of the chances count. Haydn Hodges was fouled in the box but managed to slip the ball to Sam Plumley who was on the overlap and he drilled the ball into the far corner of the net. A good advantage played by the referee there to allow play to go on, and a great finish by Sam for his first goal of the season ! What a time to score it and also it meant Sports now had that two goal cushion. Hamworthy tried to respond but still couldn’t find a way through the Westlands defence. In the 70th minute the Sports bench began the “management” of the game by putting on some fresh legs up front. Ant Herrin, who had made an excellent contribution, was replaced by Dwayne Forshaw, whose energy would be another headache for the opposition defenders. In the 76th minute Westlands went close again. A free kick was put into the penalty box by Haydn Hodges and Henry Lawrence-Napier got up highest to head goalwards but the ball slipped just past the post. Hamworthy kept probing and Sam Watts fielded a couple of corners but no real danger. In the 85th minute another significant change by the Westlands management as they shut up shop with central defender Scott Smith coming on to replace Josh Payne, who had been a problem to the Hamworthy defence all game, I expect they were happy to see him go ! As Westlands went into their shell Hamworthy had their nearest effort of the match in the 88th minute. A good shot was drilled in from the edge of the box and hit the bar and went over the top. Sam Watts looked as though he had it covered and when the referee gave a corner I thought perhaps he had tipped the ball onto the bar but I was told later it had taken a slight deflection off a Westland player's foot. Anyway Sam came out and clutched the corner so the moment passed. In the dying minutes Malik Kamal was given a few minutes on the pitch, replacing Jamie Irwin, as Westlands played out time.

The final whistle sparked off the celebrations and rightly so, the team had put on an excellent display and deserved their moment. Everything had been right on the day, every player had done their job and the tactics were spot on. We had played a very good side who will probably be crowned league champions so an excellent Westlands performance everyone can be proud of.

The Man of the Match award is almost impossible to choose. I asked a few spectators after the match who they would pick and they all chose different players ! Jonny Manley was the league sponsor’s choice and well deserved but for the club award we’ve picked SAM PLUMLEY who gave his usual 100% performance and to save his first goal of the season for the cup final was a fairytale.

Westlands line-up: 1.S.Watts 2.S.Plumley 3.P.Wells 4.O.Wake 5.J.Manley 6.H.Lawrence-Napier 7.J.Payne 8.A.Barratt 9.A.Herrin 10.H.Hodges 11.J.Irwin 12.D.Forshaw 14.S.Smith 15.M.Kamal 16.S.Morgan 17.L.Irwin

 

Tuesday 15th May 2018, Dorset Premier League: WESTLAND SPORTS 4 GILLINGHAM TOWN 0

As we have had a few injuries lately it was good to see a strong Westlands teamsheet for what promised to be a tough match. Josh Payne, Haydn Hodges and Jonny Manley were all returned to the starting line up and we also had a very strong 5 man bench.

Another pleasant spring evening brought out a decent crowd to Alvington to see the game.

Westlands were first to threaten, forcing a corner in the 3rd minute which Josh Payne thumped over the bar. Two minutes later Haydn Hodges fired in a good shot with his left foot forcing the first save of the night from the Gillingham keeper. The visitor’s then replied with a shot on target that Sam Watts, Westlands keeper, saved. In the 9th minute Westlands went ahead with a cracking goal. Ant Herrin spotted PHIL WELLS overlapping down the left and played a lovely ball into his path. Phil took it in his stride and thumped a low shot into the far corner that the keeper got a hand to but couldn’t stop. What a goal and what a start by Westlands ! Gillingham tried to respond straight away and Sam Watts had to turn a shot round the post. Sports settled into a good rhythm then with some quick one touch passing keeping the Gill defenders on their toes. Josh Payne made a good run but his shot was blocked by a defender. After 25 minutes the visitors had a good spell and Sam Watts was called into action to make a save and then a snap shot on the turn cleared the Westlands crossbar. Westlands were soon back on the attack and Josh Payne went on a run through the Gillingham defence that ended with a left foot shot just wide of the far post. In the 35th minute Sports scored again. Haydn Hodges spotted the run of HENRY LAWRENCE-NAPIER into the box and threaded a perfect pass into his path. As the keeper came out Henry stabbed the ball past him into the net to make it 2-0 ! Westlands were in control now and kept the pressure on until the half time whistle.

The Westlands contingent were well pleased with the situation at half time. Not just the score, which was great, but the performance of the team had been excellent and they were good value for their lead.

Westlands really had a firm grip on the game now and the visitor’s couldn’t really make any impression on a resolute Sports defence. A feature of Gills attacking play was a long ball over the top but these were being gobbled up by Westlands #5 Jonny Manley who headed everything away. Ten minutes into the second half some clever quick passing between Haydn Hodges and Ant Herrin created an opening but Ant scuffed his shot over the bar. After 60 minutes, with Westlands still dominating, the first substitution was made with Dwayne Forshaw replacing Ant Herrin. Perhaps the manager now had an eye on Saturday’s cup final as 10 minutes later two more subs were sent on, Malik Kamal replaced Jamie Irwin and Louis Irwin made a welcome return to the colours replacing Haydn Hodges. In the 80th minute a nice through ball put Louis Irwin clear and his driven shot just whistled wide of the goal. Two minutes later Louis, who was looking very sharp, dribbled through the tiring Gillingham defence and put a shot just past the post. In the 87th minute it was that man Louis Irwin who caused havoc again, this time he drove down the left wing and squared the ball across to DWAYNE FORSHAW who turned it in at the far post. That made the score 3-0 to Westlands and two minutes later it was four ! Sam Plumley picked up a short corner out on the right and crossed low and hard for DWAYNE FORSHAW to thump in his second goal of the evening.

What a finish to the game and Gillingham looked a bit shell-shocked as the final whistle blew bringing down the curtain on a fine display by Westlands who had been solid in all departments. Everyone did their job well and that adds up to a good team performance.

The Man of the Match award goes to JONNY MANLEY for a cultured performance at centre half. He formed a solid partnership with Scott Morgan and, as indicated earlier, never missed a header.

Westlands line-up: 1.S.Watts 2.S.Plumley 3.P.Wells 4.S.Morgan 5.J.Manley 6.H.Lawrence-Napier 7.J.Payne 8.A.Barratt 9.A.Herrin 10.H.Hodges 11.J.Irwin 12.M.Kamal 14.O.Wake 15.D.Forshaw 16.J.Green 17.L.Irwin

 

Saturday 12th May 2018, Dorset Premier League: WESTLAND SPORTS 3 WAREHAM RANGERS 0

Hot day, hard pitch, not ideal conditions for this match considering also it was Westland’s fourth in seven days ! The injuries are beginning to kick in and all three of Sports regular central defenders, Scott Smith, Jonny Manley and Ollie Wake were ruled out with Jonny Manley being named on the bench just in case. Scott Morgan and Jamie Green formed a new partnership in central defence and with Josh Payne and Haydn Hodges rested Adam Barratt and Malik Kamal started in a much changed line-up.

Westlands took a while to settle but Jamie Irwin seemed to be enjoying his central midfield role and in the 11th minute he thumped in a shot from the edge of the box that bounced off the face of the bar with the keeper beaten. A couple of minutes later an Ant Herrin header from a corner flashed just past the post. Westlands were looking for the opening goal and in the 21st minute a Malik Kamal low cross just eluded his team mates. A minute later an Ant Herrin snap shot went just wide and we began to wonder if it was going to be one of those days ! After half an hour Scott Morgan came storming out of defence with the ball into the Wareham half. He exchanged a nice 1-2 with Malik Kamal but as he lined up his shot a defender dived in and blocked him off, conceding a foul. Dwayne Forshaw took the kick and hit in a low shot that the keeper saved fairly easily. Ant Herrin then beat 2 men in the opposition box but his shot was cleared for a corner. Just a minute before half time a Westlands corner caused chaos in the Wareham defence. Four shots were blocked, then a Jamie Irwin effort came off the post and was cleared.

Half-time 0-0. Westlands had chances in the first half but weren’t exactly setting the heather on fire so we were looking for them to go up a gear in the second period. Injury unfortunately caused Jamie Irwin’s substitution at half time so Haydn Hodges ‘rest’ was ended and he took the field.

The second half was only five minutes old when Westlands broke the deadlock. Ant Herrin did well out on the right and he squared the ball across to Haydn Hodges whose shot was blocked but DWAYNE FORSHAW picked up the rebound and smashed the ball into the net. The loss of the goal gave Wareham a bit of impetus and they put together a nice move that ended with a shot over the bar. Another good effort by the visitors a couple of minutes later was turned round the post by Sports keeper Sam Watts. With 20 minutes to go Malik Kamal chased a long ball down the right and laid it back to Henry Lawrence-Napier whose shot was beaten out by the Wareham keeper. Westlands then made their second substitution with Josh Payne replacing Dwayne Forshaw. Then came a disastrous moment for Westlands with skipper Jamie Green receiving a red card. Adam Barratt tried to play the ball back to him but mistimed the pass and it turned into a nice through ball for the Wareham #11 to run on to. Jamie Green lunged at him from behind and brought him down and we held our breath as the referee pulled out his cards. The incident was about 35 yards out from goal so we wondered if the referee would take the view that there was time for another defender to cover round. No such luck as he brandished the red card and the realisation slowly dawned on everyone that he would now miss next week’s cup final. What a blow for the skipper and for the team. As far as the game went, the dismissal seemed to inspire Westlands and the 10 men began to pile on the pressure. Jonny Manley was then brought on to shore up the depleted defence at the expense of Malik Kamal. In the 80th minute Westlands went 2-0 up. A nice ball down the right to Josh Payne was turned first time across goal where ADAM BARRATT was steaming in to score with a first time shot. An excellent goal that one, the pace of it completely opened up the visitor’s defence. In the 85th minute Josh Payne showed quick feet to bamboozle a couple of defenders but the keeper made the save, diving at his feet. Then Ant Herrin danced through and unleashed a tremendous shot but the keeper beat it away. With a couple of minutes to go great interplay by Haydn Hodges and Josh Payne saw the keeper make another good save. But the pressure was incessant and in the last minute Westlands made the score 3-0 with another excellent goal. Josh Payne made a good pass to Haydn Hodges and his cross was sIdefooted in by ADAM BARRATT.

That completed the scoring and ended the match with a convincing scoreline but at what cost ? The loss of the skipper for the cup final is a blow but the injuries are still mounting up. Nevertheless a seventh straight win for Westlands in just over 2 weeks so great credit to them for keeping it going.

The Man of the Match for this game goes to ANT HERRIN who led the line well, linking play well with his team-mates and always an eye for a shot.

Westlands line-up: 1.S.Watts 2.S.Plumley 3.P.Wells 4.S.Morgan 5.J.Green 6.H.Lawrence-Napier 7.M.Kamal 8.J.Irwin 9.A.Herrin 10.A.Barratt11.D.Forshaw 12.J.Payne 14.H.Hodges 15.J.Manley

 

Thursday 10th May 2018, Dorset Premier League: BRIDPORT RES 1 WESTLAND SPORTS 3

Westlands named an unchanged side for the match at St Mary’s Field after their good win at Swanage on Monday. There were a couple of changes on the bench with Josh Payne dropping out with injury and being replaced by Adam Barratt. Scott Morgan also took a place on the bench in place of Jake Wolfe. The pitch looked good and it was a dry but cold evening once the sun had gone down. It was also another ‘must win’ game to keep the pressure on the league leaders.

Bridport started brightly, forcing a corner in the first minute and generally keeping the Westland defenders on their toes with some long balls. Eventually, after 5 or 6 minutes Sports had their first real attack and they nearly made it pay ! Jamie Irwin made good ground down the left and passed the ball inside to Ant Herrin who lifted it over the advancing keeper but it dropped wide of the far post. Then a Westlands corner was palmed out by the keeper to Jamie Green who hooked the ball over the bar. The 2 Bridport strikers #9 and #10 were looking lively and #10 raced through and shot but it was straight at Sports keeper Sam Watts who gathered easily. In the 25th minute Henry Lawrence-Napier got in a good header from an early cross and the Bridport keeper just managed to tip the ball over the bar at full stretch. Immediately following this Westlands central defender Scott Smith had to leave the field injured and he was replaced by Scott Morgan. Looked a rather serious injury which is worrying at this time of the season and the cup final looming. A bit of a scare after this as a Bridport corner flew right across goal but their player screwed his shot wide. After half an hour Haydn Hodges tried his luck from a free kick but his shot flew just over the bar. Then Bridport had a go with a thumping shot flying just past the far post. As half time approached, in the 43rd minute, Westlands went ahead. Haydn Hodges put a dangerous free kick into the box and JAMIE GREEN had his header blocked by the keeper but managed to scoop the rebound into the top corner. The perfect time to score we thought but a shock was in store for Westlands seconds before the half time whistle. The ball fell to a Bridport player about 25 yards from goal out on the left wing and he just smashed in a shot that dipped and cannoned in off the far post. What a strike that was and I think it took everyone by surprise, but a great goal for the home side.

So, it was a shell shocked Westlands contingent who mulled things over at half time. To be fair, Bridport had given as good as they got in the first half and had looked a good, hard working side so the Westland lads would need to up their game in the second half. It was generally agreed Sports hadn’t played all that well in the opening 45 so there was plenty of room for an improved showing in the second period.

Bridport got on the attack straight away and their #10 hit the outside of the post with a shot in the 46th minute. After that attack it was Westlands who began to get on top and in the 52nd minute, they took the lead. A corner from the right was drilled low and hard across to DWAYNE FORSHAW out on the edge of the box and he thumped a shot through the crowded box into the corner of the net. A well taken goal and one that took the steam out of the home team a little. Bridport then made two substitutions and surprised us by taking off both front men, numbers 9 & 10, who had looked quite dangerous in the first half. However the Bridport boss knew what he was doing as the #16 he put on turned out to have electric pace and gave Sports full back Phil Wells a testing time for the rest of the game. Luckily most of his runs came to nothing with the Westlands back four mopping up everything that came their way but a threat nevertheless. Sports also made a substitution with Adam Barratt replacing Haydn Hodges in the midfield. In the 70th minute Dwayne Forshaw, who was on a final warning from the referee, was replaced by Malik Kamal in a straight swap. Westlands were looking solid now, just probing away at the Bridport defence, looking for that third clinching goal. We had to be wary though as Bridport were still capable of mounting dangerous attacks and one slip could spell disaster. In the 84th minute we scored again ! A free kick out on the right was curled in by Adam Barratt with his left foot and ANT HERRIN got the run in front of his marker and planted a header into the net from about 12 yards out. That was the one we wanted and made it three goals from set pieces for Westlands in this game. With 2 minutes to go Ant Herrin was put through but the Bridport keeper made a good save to prevent a fourth goal.

Another good win on the road for Westlands, not the greatest performance of the season, especially in the first half but in the end there was no doubt Sports were just a bit too strong for an excellent young Bridport side. A word of praise as well for Scott Morgan who played at centre back for the last 65 minutes of this game and never really put a foot wrong. Quite a feat considering he had put in 90 minutes for the reserves the night before ! I should also comment on the excellent discipline of the team tonight, nice to see.

However, the Man of the Match for this game goes to JAMIE GREEN, who worked hard in the midfield winning the ball and giving it to a team-mate, nice and simple. He also got us off the mark with the opening goal so a good night for the skipper.

Westlands line-up: 1.S.Watts 2.S.Plumley 3.P.Wells 4.S.Smith 5.J.Manley 6.H.Lawrence-Napier 7. D.Forshaw 8.J.Green 9.A.Herrin 10.H.Hodges 11.J.Irwin 12.A.Barratt 14. M.Kamal 15.S.Morgan

 

Monday 7th May 2018, Dorset Premier League: SWANAGE TOWN & HERSTON 0 WESTLAND SPORTS 3

Another scorcher down on the coast at Swanage as Westlands fulfilled a Bank Holiday fixture in the Dorset Premier League. This would be a tough one as the opposition had a home record of won 10 lost 2, so Sports knew only a good performance would reap any rewards here. A couple of injuries meant Adam Barratt and Ollie Wake were ruled out being replaced by Henry Lawrence-Napier and Jamie Green in the midfield. Josh Payne was also rested, giving Dwayne Forshaw a starting spot out on the right after his two-goal cameo performance on Saturday.

Malik Kamal and Jake Wolfe completed the squad.

In the opening couple of minutes both teams had opportunities with free kicks into the opponents box but both were mopped up by the respective defences. Swanage pushed forward and a header went wide of the post followed by a shot that was blazed well over. Jamie Irwin was first to show for Westlands as he cut in from the left and shot but missed the target. In the 17th minute Scott Smith got his head to a free kick and powered in a header, but straight at the keeper. A couple of minutes later Ant Herrin made ground out on the left and put the ball across to Dwayne Forshaw who laid it back to Haydn Hodges 20 yards out. Unfortunately Haydn got right under this one and ballooned it over but it had been a good build up and showed Westlands were getting into their stride. After 20 minutes we had a drinks break which I’m sure the players enjoyed in the hot sun but it just seemed to halt the Westlands momentum a bit and it was Swanage who attacked next and Sports keeper Sam Watts made a great save from a well struck shot. Westlands were soon back in control and a good pass from Dwayne Forshaw to Ant Herrin saw Ant let fly with a great shot which the keeper somehow beat away. In the 29th minute Westlands took the lead. Another good build up saw Henry Lawrence-Napier feed the ball out to DWAYNE FORSHAW just inside the right corner of the box and he drilled a low shot under the keeper into the far corner. Swanage were stung by the goal and immediately mounted a strong attack but were thwarted by a good block by Sam Plumley, good defending there. Then another shot was blocked by Sam Watts with his foot before we got the danger cleared.

On the front foot again Westlands left back Phil Wells made a strong run down the wing and slipped a nice pass inside to Ant Herrin who let fly with another sizzling shot which once again, the Swanage keeper saved. The ball went back out to Phil who put it back into the area where Ant got in a strong header from point blank range which the keeper somehow clawed away. Then Haydn Hodges slipped in Henry Lawrence-Napier and he raced in and got a touch to the ball as the keeper came out, trying to lift it over his head. Once again the Swanage keeper tipped the ball away, what a game he was having with 3 or 4 exceptional saves in the first half alone.

Half time was blown with Westlands leading 1-0 and good value for their lead.

We were expecting a big push by the home side after the break but it never really came as Westlands defenders looked comfortable dealing with a few long balls punted up for their #9. He did get a shot in but it was an easy save for Sam Watts. Westlands responded with Ant Herrin making a run through but again the Swanage keeper saved ! Then in the 58th minute Westlands struck. A long ball down the right by Henry Lawrence-Napier was chased and controlled by Ant Herrin who cut in and slipped a perfect through ball into the path of the onrushing DWAYNE FORSHAW and as the keeper came out he banged the ball past him into the net. A good goal and a crucial one as it gave Sports that 2 goal cushion. Westlands were looking fairly comfortable now and although Swanage kept trying to push forward they weren’t causing us too many problems at this stage. In the 67th minute Dwayne Forshaw tried to trip an opponent out near the half way line to “take one for the team” and foil a Swanage attack. Unfortunately he missed the bloke completely and then picked up a yellow card anyway for intent ! The attack was mopped up but Dwayne had to tread carefully now as the last thing we want are players suspended with the cup final imminent. Shortly after this the Swanage skipper made a lunging tackle at Jamie Green and was shown his second yellow card of the game and obviously a red followed ! The Swanage #9, who had been generous with his advice to the officials all afternoon now overstepped the mark and was sin-binned for dissent ! One rash tackle and suddenly Swanage were reduced to 9 men for the next 10 minutes and 10 men for the rest of the game ! Westlands made their first substitution a few minutes later and sensibly it was Dwayne Forshaw who was withdrawn, being replaced by the fleet-footed Josh Payne. Jamie Irwin had given the Swanage defence problems all game and in the 72nd minute he evaded 3 defenders but scooped his final shot over the bar. A minute later and Swanage had another man sin-binned for dissent leaving them with 8 men for the next 5 minutes ! With Westlands pressing forward Swanage pulled everyone back into defence and were slowing the game down as they waited for their sin-binned players to return. This suited Westlands perfectly as with a 2 goal lead they were in no hurry ! In the 80th minute we thought we had increased our lead ! A perfect free kick by Haydn Hodges was met on the run by Henry Lawrence-Napier who bulleted in a header from about 6 yards out and, unbelievably, the Swanage keeper got a hand to it and turned it away ! What a save that was, and what a performance by the Swanage keeper !

Haydn Hodges ws then replaced by Malik Kamal as we moved into the last 10 minutes. In the 83rd minute, Sam Plumley, out on the right, drove the ball low and hard across the face of goal and JAMIE IRWIN was on hand at the far post to sidefoot in. At 3-0 and surely game over Westlands made their final substitution with Jake Wolfe coming on to replace Henry Lawrence-Napier and steady the midfield. Nevertheless Swanage threw everything forward in a last attempt to score and they forced a couple of corners with Sam Watts pulling off an outstanding save to preserve his clean sheet. The final action of the match ended, predictably, with another great save by the Swanage keeper. Jamie Irwin bolted down the left wing and squared the ball to Josh Payne who met it sweetly but the keeper saved his shot from point blank range !

Another excellent result this for Westlands with every player playing their part in a well disciplined team performance. However, we move on now to the next game in 3 days time !!

Man of the match goes to DWAYNE FORSHAW who scored two excellent goals and looked a real threat down the right particularly in the first half. Good strikes for his goals and following 2 last Saturday he is a striker in form.

Westlands line-up: 1.S.Watts 2.S.Plumley 3.P.Wells 4.S.Smith 5.J.Manley 6.H.Lawrence-Napier 7. D.Forshaw 8.J.Green 9.A.Herrin 10.H.Hodges 11.J.Irwin 12. J.Payne 14. M.Kamal 15.J.Wolfe

 

Saturday 5th May 2018, Dorset Premier League: WESTLAND SPORTS 5 BLANDFORD UTD 1

A scorching hot day at Alvington saw the beginning of summer and we still have 8 games to play ! After a couple of good results we needed to keep the wins coming so it was a ‘must win’ match, as simple as that ! There were a couple of changes with Henry Lawrence-Napier and Dwayne Forshaw being rested and Adam Barratt and Josh Payne coming into the starting line up.

There was a kind of ‘end of season’ feel to the game which Westlands needed to dispel and make sure they took the points. They settled quickly and Ant Herrin set up the first chance with a good turn and cross which Josh Payne almost got his head to. Westlands were dominating possession but it was all done at a fairly leisurely pace and the visitor’s were getting men behind the ball and making it difficult to break through. In the 15th minute Ant Herring made a good run to the bye line and cut the ball back to Josh Payne whose shot was blocked by a diving defender. The ball looped up in the air and Josh got his head to it only to see his effort come off the face of the crossbar. Westlands were well on top and the next effort came from Jonny Manley who saw his header tipped over the bar by the Blandford keeper. In the 32nd minute Ant Herrin put the ball in the back of the net but was flagged offside then Ant had a shot blocked by the keeper after a good through ball from Josh Payne. Josh then put a header just past the post........ the missed chances were beginning to mount up ! A soft free kick conceded allowed Blandford to get a ball into the Westlands box but that was cleared for a corner that was headed away. Back down the other end Jamie Irwin cut inside but didn’t really get hold of his shot and the Blandford keeper saved easily. Then Josh Payne thumped a shot over the bar as the chances continued to be missed. At last, in the 40th minute we made the breakthrough ! Some quick passing between Ant Herrin, Haydn Hodges and JAMIE IRWIN ended with Jamie sliding the ball under the keeper to the far corner. A defender slid in and helped the ball over the line by booting it into the roof of the net. Having broken the deadlock we were expecting Westlands to put the game to bed fairly quickly now but instead the opposite happened ! Two minutes after the opening goal, Blandford equalised ! The ball fell to their #10 about 20 yards out and he hit a low bobbler that went under keeper Sam Watts diving body. That goal looked a bit of a soft one to concede but the damage was done and we were back on level terms. Westlands went back on the attack and Haydn Hodges had a shot turned round the post by the Blandford keeper who was having an inspired match. Just before the break, Ant Herrin neatly beat a defender and cut the ball back to Jamie Irwin who sliced his shot wide.

Half-time then, 1-1 and still a lot of work to be done. Blandford had made it difficult for us but we had played at a rather slow pace and our finishing was poor, a familiar story this season.

The second half started with Westlands awarded a free kick just outside the box. Unfortunately the shot was well over the bar, Adam Barratt the culprit this time. In the 53rd minute a lovely crossfield pass by Jamie Irwin towards Josh Payne was intercepted by a Blandford defender who belted the ball just over his own bar. Another good crossfield ball by Jamie picked out Sam Plumley and his shot was tipped over the bar. From the corner Josh Payne made good contact with his head and the ball was blocked on the line by the arm of a defender. The referee pointed to the spot for a penalty and showed the red card to the defender who handled. A double whammy for Blandford and just to make matters worse they had another player red carded for his opinion of the referee’s decision ! Just for good measure one of their team on the bench also received a red card for gobbing off ! So, when the dust settled, HAYDN HODGES calmly stroked the ball into the corner of the net to put Sports in front. Blandford were down to 9 men now and with nearly 30 minutes left on the clock surely Westlands would go on and score a few goals ? Josh Payne was substituted by Malik Kamal and Sports laid siege to the Blandford goal. Jamie Irwin had a shot, but put it over the top. Then Malik set up Henry Lawrence-Napier with a nice pass but he too, blasted over. With 20 minutes left Blandford had a free kick and put a good ball into the box that Sports keeper Sam Watts pushed for a corner and then came out and clutched the resulting kick. A Westlands corner was then met by the head of Jonny Manley but a defender made a good block. Then Jamie Irwin and Malik Kamal both had shots saved in quick succession as Westlands toiled to put the ball in the net against a resolute Blandford 9 men, 8 of whom were getting behind the ball and making life difficult for the home team. Another substitution was made and Dwayne Forshaw replaced Haydn Hodges as we moved into the last ten minutes. Then a most bizarre incident occurred when, with his team down to 9 men, the Blandford #8 decided he was going out for the evening so had to go ! Whereupon he left the field and reduced his team to 8 men, with 10 minutes still to go ! Westlands piled on the pressure now and Dwayne Forshaw had a good strike saved and then hit the post with a rasping shot. Jamie Irwin then had one saved before the pressure told and Sports made it 3-1. DWAYNE FORSHAW cut in from the left wing and drilled the ball into the far corner. A couple of minutes later Jamie Irwin put a header over the top. Blandford were out on their feet now, it had been a great battling performance by them and in the 88th minute it was 4-1. ANT HERRIN cut inside a defender and buried the ball in the top corner. Just before the end Westlands made it 5-1. A corner from the left carried to Malik Kamal out on the right side. Malik slid a pass to Jamie Irwin who squared it to DWAYNE FORSHAW and he thumped in the final goal of the game.

5-1 sounds like an easy game but this was far from that. Sports toiled in the hot afternoon sun, and although making lots of chances couldn’t get past an in-form Blandford keeper. The games are coming thick and fast now and we can’t expect top notch performances every match, however a 5-1 victory isn’t too bad for an off day !

Man of the match goes to ANT HERRIN who worked hard all afternoon and set up several good chances for his team-mates. A good performance was capped with a cracking goal.

Westlands line-up: 1.S.Watts 2.S.Plumley 3.P.Wells 4.S.Smith 5.J.Manley 6.O.Wake 7.J.Payne 8.A.Barratt 9.A.Herrin 10. H.Hodges 11.J.Irwin 12.D.Forshaw 14.H.Lawrence-Napier 15.M.Kamal

 

Wednesday 2nd May 2018, Dorset Premier League: GILLINGHAM TOWN 1 WESTLAND SPORTS 3

Nice evening at Gillingham, if a bit cold, and a good covering of grass on the pitch for this time of year. Sports made one change from the team that won so well at Ham Rec, Josh Payne being rested to the bench and Haydn Hodges taking his place. Westlands were kicking up the slope in the first half, which would normally be good but as the evening sun was setting it was shining directly into keeper Sam Watt’s eyes.

The home team showed their intentions straight away hitting a couple of long balls to test the Westlands defence who were looking a bit tentative in the opening minutes. In the 5th minute Gillingham had a throw in out on the left about 20 yards out. The ball was thrown to their #11 who controlled it, turned inside a defender and hit a thumping left foot that flew into the back of the net. 1-0 to the home team and an early blow for Sports. Not great defending either from a throw by the Westlands team who looked a bit bemused. A couple of minutes later Sports keeper Sam Watts came out for a long high punt, missed it completely and Sam Plumley had to head the ball over the bar from virtually on the goal line. We’ll put that one down to the blinding sun ! At last, in the 9th minute Westlands got a shot on target. Haydn Hodges cut in and fired in a shot but the Gillingham keeper saved fairly comfortably. The home side were having slightly the best of these early exchanges but after about 30 minutes the sun disappeared behind the Sports Centre next door so the long balls were not so effective now. Westlands began to make a few more attacks up the hill with Haydn Hodges prominent and from a Haydn free kick Jonny Manley headed over the bar. Then a close shave as a Gillingham attacker robbed Jonny in his own half and ran through on goal. As Sam Watts came out he fired his shot wide of the far post. In the 41st minute Dwayne Forshaw had a shot saved and just before the break Sam Watts saved from the Gill #17.

Half time, 1-0 down so lots to do in the second half. We hadn’t played well in the first 45, perhaps that was down to the quality of the home team, but we could see there was room for improvement from Westlands and kicking down the slope in the second half would definitely test the opposition especially as they tired later in the game. Westlands manager didn’t hang about and made two substitutions during the half time break ! Jamie Green was replaced by Adam Barratt and Josh Payne came on for Sam Plumley.

The first attack of the half was from Gillingham as their attacker burst through and fired off a shot that Sam Watts saved with his legs. However, in the 52nd minute Westlands got the early equaliser we were looking for. Adam Barratt put a high cross into the box and JAMIE IRWIN rose and headed the ball down into corner. Fine execution there by the Westlands striker. Gillingham tried to get back in front immediately and Sam Watts made a good save, tipping a diving header over the bar. Westlands began to turn the screw now as their passing began to click and in the 59th minute Henry Lawrence-Napier slid a nice through ball to Dwayne Forshaw and he made a good contact with his shot but it flew just past the post. A minute later Dwayne returned the favour as he squared the ball to Henry who had an open goal but he blasted the ball way over the top. Then Josh Payne and Dwayne Forshaw opened up the home defence but the final shot was blocked. This was better from Westlands and another goal looked on the cards until the officials took a hand. A long hold up ensued while the referee and his assistant discussed a decision. The outcome was a sin-bin for Adam Barratt for dissent ! Chaos followed as it was pointed out Adam had played no part in any incident. Another long discussion by the two officials resulted in Ollie Wake being brandished a red card for foul language to the assistant referee ! A quick upgrade of the offence by the officials with it being changed from a sin-bin to a red card ! Bizarre to say the least ! Down to 10 men could spell disaster for Westlands but they took on the challenge and went in front only four minutes later ! JAMIE IRWIN ran on to a ball over the top and drove towards goal. The Gill keeper came out and blocked his initial shot aimed for the far corner. However the ball rebounded to Jamie who found a gap between the keeper and two defenders who had rushed round to cover, and he calmly side footed the ball into the net. With still 20 minutes to go with only 10 men, we faced a difficult finish to the match but we had a lead to defend now ! At this point the manager made the final substitution of the game bringing Ant Herrin on to replace Dwayne Forshaw. We were under a bit of pressure now as Gillingham pushed for an equaliser but we were getting men behind the ball and defending well in numbers. In the 80th minute Ant Herrin turned his man and squared the ball to Henry Lawrence-Napier in front of goal but he again smashed his shot over the bar. Some desperate defending now for Westlands with the ball coming off the post in one goalmouth scramble and several crosses blocked or headed away. Anxious looks at the clock for the Westlands contingent but as we approached the 90 minutes we scored again and what a goal it was ! Ant Herrin picked up a clearance on the half way line and he held the ball up well waiting for support to arrive. That came in the form of Jamie Irwin bombing down the left and Ant picked him out with a perfect pass. Jamie cut inside a defender and played a slick little reverse pass to HAYDN HODGES who was tanking down the outside. Haydn took a touch and slotted the ball under the keeper to make it 3-1 and job done !

This was a good result, make no mistake, as Gillingham had won 10 and drawn 1 of their last 11 matches including a win over Holt and two defeats of Hamworthy Recreation ! So an excellent result for Westlands and great battling qualities shown after the harsh sending off had reduced them to 10 men.

Man of the match goes to JAMIE IRWIN, who is in top form at the moment, banging in the goals.

Westlands line-up: 1.S.Watts 2.S.Plumley 3.P.Wells 4.S.Smith 5.J.Manley 6.O.Wake 7. H.Lawrence-Napier 8.J.Green 9.D.Forshaw 10. H.Hodges 11.J.Irwin 12.A.Barratt 14.J.Payne 15.A.Herrin

 

Saturday 28th April 2018, Dorset Premier League: HAMWORTHY RECREATION 2 WESTLAND SPORTS 3

Westlands arrived buoyant following a midweek derby win at Sherborne Reserves. Ollie Wake stepped in to centre midfield, Jamie Irwin came in on the wing, Jonny Manley returned at centre half, with man of he moment Haydn Hodges taking a place on the bench.

Hamworthy Rec started the better, putting Sports under pressure, with midfield runners and wingers finding space. Thankfully no clear chances came about and Westlands gradually eased their way in the game. Sports front four looked a threat and started to create chances.

Ollie Wake played a through ball for Dwayne Forshaw, who failed to convert a one on one, with the keeper saving well. In the 20th minute, Josh Payne burst down the right wing, beat a couple defenders and cut back to HENRY LAWRENCE-NAPIER, who caressed the ball into the bottom left hand corner. 1-0 Sports !

Shortly after, Henry had another chance but this time his header went just over the bar. Westlands also had a chance cleared off the line.

Ham Rec then started to up the pressure, predominately down their left wing. Rec’s number 7 found space, played in to the box, Sports tried to clear with the ball ricocheting off a Rec player, into the path of their striker, who looked suspiciously offside. Sam Watts saved brilliantly at first but the ball fell kindly at the feet of the same player, who passed in to an empty net. Half time: 1-1.

Whatever was said at half time had an effect, as Westlands started the second half quickly, going forward with wave after wave of attack.

Sports could feel that the game was there for the taking and had a number of corners, which couldn’t be converted. Jamie Green had a chance cleared off the line and Scott Smith couldn’t convert two difficult chances. Finally the breakthrough came in the 60th minute. JAMIE IRWIN attacked down the left, bamboozled the Rec defenders with his foot work and finally unleashed a sweet strike in to the bottom right hand corner. 2-1, Westlands back in front ! As expected Ham Rec pressed and became more direct, with Sports defenders dealing with it well and allowing our attackers to hit on the counter attack. Ham Rec were awarded a corner in the 70th minute, which was delivered to the front post which was not cleared. It went through a number of players and fell to a Rec striker who lashed it in to the roof of the net. 2-2 ! Game on !

Following this Sports made their first change, with Ant Herrin replacing Jamie Green, who had put in a great shift even though he too was carrying a knock from wednesday. Sports knew that only a win would do in this top of the table clash and again went on the offensive. Another sub was made, with Haydn Hodges coming on for Josh Payne, who had caused their defence problems all game. Sports could smell blood and knew they needed a late goal to keep their title challenge alive. Time was running out. I’n the 88th minute, HAYDN HODGES picked up the ball in the centre of the pitch and beat a Rec player, which created an opening. He scuffed the ball “accurately” with the ball bobbling past the diving keeper, into the bottom left hand corner! 3-2! The players ran over to the dugout in celebration! What a time to score! The Westlands management team reacted, replacing Dwayne Forshaw with Malik Kamal, who would add fresh legs in the dying minutes.

Ham Rec, as expected piled on the pressure, with balls in to the box, which Sports dealt with in route one style. Finally, the full time whistle was blown and there were jubilant Sports celebrations! A massive win, that keeps the league alive !

Man of the match goes to JAMIE IRWIN, who looked a threat throughout and took his goal extremely well !

Westlands line-up: 1.S.Watts 2.S.Plumley 3.P.Wells 4.S.Smith 5.J.Manley 6.O.Wake 7.J.Payne 8.J.Green 9.D.Forshaw 10.H.Lawrence-Napier 11.J.Irwin 12.A.Herrin 14.H.Hodges 15.M.Kamal

 

Wednesday 25th April 2018, Dorset Premier League: SHERBORNE TOWN RES 0 WESTLAND SPORTS 2

A couple of changes in the Westlands team for the midweek derby match. Jonny Manley has a dodgy back so wasn’t risked for this one with Scott Smith returning to partner Olly Wake at the back and Adam Barratt made his first start of the season in midfield. With Ant Herrin unavailable, Josh Payne played up front with Dwayne Forshaw moving out wide.

Westlands made the first attacking move winning a corner in the first minute but from then on both teams went to sleep and it developed into a match of misplaced passes and poor first touches from both sides. Sherborne managed a long range shot at goal which went well wide but it was 20 minutes before Westlands had a shot. This one was fired high and handsome into the woods behind the goal by Josh Payne. That shot just about summed up the quality on show so far but it did waken up the Westlands team a bit and they began to push forward with a bit more purpose. In the 25th minute Sports had a corner and the resulting shot was palmed round the post for another corner. The second kick was swung into the box and was clearly handballed by the Sherborne centre-half. HAYDN HODGES stroked the spot kick into the corner to put Westlands one up. It was all still very scrappy with neither team really creating much. Sherborne had a pot shot from 20 yards that flew over the bar. Just before half time Josh Payne picked the ball up from keeper Sam Watts on the halfway line and ran at the Sherborne defence. Leaving two defenders trailing in his wake he cut in from the left and shot for the far corner but he screwed the ball past the far post.

Half time then and Sports ahead by a goal to nil so the game was far from won at this stage but you just felt Westlands hadn’t really got out of first gear yet so hopefully they would up the pace in the second half and put the game to bed.

It certainly looked as if Westlands had a wake-up call from the management at half time as they quickly took control in the second half and soon had the Sherborne team pinned back. A corner from Haydn Hodges was met on the run by Josh Payne but his shot whistled past the post.

On the hour mark Josh got down the right to the byeline and cut the ball back but there was nobody in position to take advantage. The pressure told in the 66th minute when Westlands went two up. Keeper Sam Watts fed the ball out to Dwayne Forshaw who put Josh Payne away down the left wing. Josh cut in to the byeline and drilled the ball across low and hard to HAYDN HODGES who smashed it into the roof of the net from close range. With a two goal lead Sports were in total command now and in the 68th minute Adam Barratt drove forward and hit a good shot just wide. That was Adam’s last action as he was replaced a couple of minutes later by Jamie Irwin, having got a good 70 minutes under his belt.

That substitution was soon followed by the second with Dwayne Forshaw being replaced by Malik Kamal. In the 81st minute Haydn Hodges squared to Jamie Irwin who shot low past the post. Then Haydn had a shot well saved by the Sherborne keeper. Finally with 7 minutes left Sports were reduced to 10 men with Jamie Irwin being sin binned for dissent. Sports were under no pressure at all so the game just petered out then.

Another win for Westlands which was crucial after the loss to Holt at the weekend and although not a great performance thay always looked comfortable against a team struggling against relegation.

Man-of-the-match is HAYDN HODGES, two goals and another match where he pulled the strings in midfield, particularly in the second half when Sports were well on top.

Westlands line-up: 1.S.Watts 2.S.Plumley 3.P.Wells 4.O.Wake 5.S.Smith 6.A.Barratt 7.H.Lawrence-Napier 8.J.Green 9.J.Payne 10.H.Hodges 11.D.Forshaw 12.J.Irwin 14.M.Kamal 15.S.Morgan

 

Saturday 21st April 2018, Dorset Premier League: HOLT UTD 1 WESTLAND SPORTS 0

Westlands had a couple of changes from midweek for this important clash. Scott Smith was unavailable and Olly Wake stepped in at the back. In addition, Dwayne Forshaw started at centre forward with Josh Payne switching to the right in place of Malik Kamal who was on the bench with Adam Barratt and the returning Ant Herrin.

Westlands were kicking down the slope and were soon putting on the pressure. In the 3rd minute we forced a corner and Henry Lawrence-Napier just failed to get a head to Haydn Hodges’ corner. A second corner was taken short but the final cross was blocked for another corner as Sports kept the pressure on. Dwayne Forshaw had a shot on target but that was well saved by the Holt keeper and he then tried to lob the keeper from 20 yards but that effort went well wide. Holt’s best chance to date was a deep cross from out on the right to the far post which found their #10 unmarked and Sam Watts, Sports keeper, had to dive and block. After 20 minutes a good passing move involving Henry Lawrence-Napier, Dwayne Forshaw and Jamie Irwin led to another corner but Haydn Hodges put the cross wide. Josh Payne then beat two men down the right and drilled the ball across goal for Jamie Irwin to sidefoot into the net but the ‘goal’ was ruled out for offside. Jamie Green then waded in with a strong tackle and got himself yellow carded. It was a hard match with both sides getting stuck in but Westlands were dominating, we just needed that crucial opening goal. A free kick after half an hour saw Henry Lawrence-Napier get a glancing header but it slipped past the far post. Then Henry had another chance from a corner but he blasted his shot over the bar. Jamie Irwin then tried a curler which flew wide of the far post. In the 40th minute Josh Payne again made headway down the right and put the ball across to Haydn Hodges whose shot was saved at full stretch by the Holt keeper. The last chance of the half saw Jamie Irwin set up Josh Payne with a great pass but Josh blazed the ball way over the bar.

It had been a good half by Westlands who had been well in control. Their strikers had been kept very quiet by Jonny Manley and Olly Wake and that had given us the platform to press forward. It was just a bit worrying that we had not taken any of our chances as Holt would now be shooting downhill in the second half.

These worries quickly came to fruition five minutes into the second half when Holt scored. For once their #9 managed to turn and slip in their #10 who was foiled by an excellent save by Sam Watts who turned the ball round the post for a corner. The kick came over and was headed clear but only as far as their full back on the edge of the box and he smashed a shot through the crowd and it finished in the back of the net.

After 55 minutes Dwayne Forshaw squared the ball to Henry Lawrence-Napier who put his shot just over. In the 65th minute Josh Payne put a shot over from the edge of the box, we were creating chances but couldn’t get a shot on target. Haydn Hodges was next to have a go and he was really unlucky not to score. Picking up the ball just inside the Holt half he drove forward and unleashed a rocket of a shot that cannoned off the face of the post and was scrambled away. At this point you think it’s perhaps not your day but with about ten minutes to go Holt had a player sin-binned so they were reduced to 10 men. Westlands immediately put on fresh legs with Ant Herrin and Adam Barratt replacing Dwayne Forshaw and Sam Plumley. Ant Herrin was immediately busy and he set up Josh Payne in the box with a nice pass but Josh again shot over the bar. Ant made inroads again and crossed for Josh who this time put his shot wide of the mark. Holt’s keeper was taking his time (!) with every goal kick much to the annoyance of the Westlands players. Don’t really blame him for that but the referee should really have had a word. Apparently he said he was adding on the time. Fair enough, but there is a point to be made here. The time was happening when Holt were down to 10 men but the time would be added on at the end of the game when they were back to full strength ! Also, having to wait for about a minute for every goal kick to be taken took the sting out of a situation when Westlands were pressing hard for an equaliser ! Not a criticism, just a point of view.

A last substitution in the dying minutes for Sports saw Malik Kamal replace Jamie Green but it was not to be and the referee’s whistle ended a disappointing afternoon for Westlands.

We had played well, no doubt about that, but you really have to take your chances in these tight games. We created several good situations but failed to even hit the target on most occasions.

Man-of-the-match is JONNY MANLEY who marked their dangerous centre forward tight all game and won just about everything in the air.

Westlands line-up: 1.S.Watts 2.S.Plumley 3.P.Wells 4.O.Wake 5.J.Manley 6.J.Green 7.J.Payne 8.H.Lawrence-Napier 9.D.Forshaw 10.H.Hodges 11.J.Irwin 12.A.Herrin 14.A.Barratt 15.M.Kamal

 

Wednesday 18th April 2018, Dorset Premier League: SHAFTESBURY RES 0 WESTLAND SPORTS 4

A nice dry evening at Shaftesbury and a firm pitch underfoot. Ant Herrin was unavailable so Josh Payne switched to centre forward with Malik Kamal starting out wide. A welcome face on the bench was Adam Barratt, who made his first appearance of the season after sustaining a knee injury in pre-season that required surgery.

Shaftesbury had the first attack which ended with a shot which flew well over the top. They then put a free kick into the area which eluded everyone and ended up going for a goal kick. A brisk start by the home team but gradually Westlands worked their way into the game and in the 5th minute Josh Payne had a shot blocked for a corner. A few minutes later Jamie Irwin made a good run down the left, getting past a defender and crossing to Malik Kamal who scuffed his shot. The pressure was building now and in the 12th minute Westlands took the lead. Jamie Irwin laid the ball back to Haydn Hodges who let fly with a piledriver that the keeper could only parry out. JOSH PAYNE was quickest to react and he blasted the ball into the back of the net from 12 yards out. Sports had a dominant spell now, keeping possession and knocking the ball around with confidence. In the 25th minute Malik Kamal set up Josh Payne but his final shot flew past the far post. After half an hour with Westlands having failed to add to their one goal lead, the home team had perhaps weathered the storm and began to push forward. Their two burly midfielders began to win some tackles and were able to turn the Sports defence. One ball in behind caused a bit of chaos as Sports keeper Sam Watts charged out of his box but didn’t manage to collect the ball so had to beat a hasty retreat back to his goal. The ball was cleared for a corner which flew across goal without anyone getting a touch. Westlands still had their moments, Jamie Irwin cut in and had a shot which the keeper saved and Malik Kamal headed over a free kick from a good position. The final action of the half saw Sam Watts make a save from a long distance shot.

It had been a good first half for Westlands, we had played some good stuff and always looked dangerous in attack. The only worry really was that we had failed to get that important second goal.

The second half began with Josh Payne dancing through the Shaftesbury defence and letting fly with a shot which the keeper palmed out. Unfortunately there was no Sports player on hand to take advantage. It was noticeable that the Shaftesbury keeper never held the ball, he always punched or parried, so perhaps there were opportunities there. Two minutes into the half we got the second goal we had been looking for. Haydn Hodges fired over a corner and JOSH PAYNE rose highest to power a header into the top corner. What a goal and with that buffer behind them the Sports team could relax a little. The home side tried to respond and forced a corner which their player scuffed wide. Shaftesbury had a 10 minute spell now where they had territorial advantage but they were never really able to create any clear chances. Westlands then decided to use their subs and Adam Barrett was first to take the field, replacing Malik Kamal. This was soon followed by Dwayne Forshaw replacing Josh Payne and Jamie Green replacing Haydn Hodges. With the home team also making substitutions the game got a bit scrappy for a while with neither side creating much of note. As we moved into the last 10 minutes Westlands settled into their rhythm again and really turned it on. First Dwayne Forshaw beat his man out on the left and, cutting in onto his right foot, bent a shot round some defenders which cannoned off the inside of the post, flew across goal and was cleared. The keeper never moved for that one, beaten all ends up ! In the 85th minute Adam Barratt put a lovely ball through to Dwayne Forshaw who controlled it well and slid a pass through to HENRY LAWRENCE-NAPIER who made a strong run from midfield and prodded the ball past the advancing keeper. That was game over but Westlands still had another sting in the tail in the 87th minute. Olly Wake picked up a crossfield pass and from about 25 yards rifled in a shot which the keeper parried. It was a real scramble then with Adam Barrett trying to get a shot away which, I think, hit a defender, rebounded off the post and fell to OLLY WAKE again who forced it into the net from close range. A rare goal for Olly which was the icing on the cake after a well disciplined and controlled Westlands performance. A clean sheet for the defence for the second match in a row was good news and the attack always looked dangerous. No injuries to report so a good night all round.

Man-of-the-match is JOSH PAYNE who looked in the mood tonight and scored two cracking goals.

Westlands line-up: 1.S.Watts 2.S.Plumley 3.P.Wells 4.S.Smith 5.J.Manley 6.O.Wake 7.M.Kamal 8.H.Lawrence-Napier 9.J.Payne 10.H.Hodges 11.J.Irwin 12.D.Forshaw 14.A.Barratt 15.J.Green

Sat 14th April 2018, Dorset Premier League: STURMINSTER NEWTON UTD 0 WESTLAND SPORTS 4

This was the theatre of dreams on Saturday with the sun splitting the skies and not a black cloud to be seen. Throw in a good win for Westlands, some excellent hospitality from our hosts, plus the Grand National to watch and it made for a good afternoon all round. (not to mention the cheap beer !)

Sports made only one change from last week’s team with Josh Payne taking Dwayne Forshaw's place out on the right. Sports took command from the start and only some excellent goalkeeping and some poor finishing kept them from opening the scoring in the first few minutes. In the 2nd minute Sam Plumley played a good ball down the right wing for Josh Payne who skinned the Stur full back and cut the ball back to Ant Herrin who half hit his shot into the keeper’s arms. Sturminster Newton replied with a shot from 25 yards that went well over the top. Then Henry Lawrence-Napier cut in and had a shot which the keeper turned away for a corner. Haydn Hodges took the kick but Josh Payne headed the cross over the bar on the run. Ten minutes gone and its been almost constant Westlands pressure. Next Jamie Irwin set up Ant Herrin but again the Stur keeper turned the ball round the post for a corner. Scott Smith got his head to the kick but put his effort over the top. A good passing move then saw Jamie Irwin fire in a shot but again the keeper saved. What a game he was having ! Then, inevitably, in the 12th minute, Westlands took the lead. A Haydn Hodges free kick into the box was flicked on by Jonny Manley for ANT HERRIN to head in at the far post. Henry Lawrence-Napier then set up Ant Herrin but once again the keeper turned his shot round the post. After 20 minutes Sturminster Newton had their best attempt so far with a 30 yard drive that drifted wide of the goal. In the 22nd minute Sports missed a sitter when Ant Herrin managed to head the ball over the bar from about 2 yards out after good play by Haydn Hodges. The home side were working hard to try and get into the game but they were too reliant on a hopeful long ball up to the lone striker who was well shackled by Jonny Manley and Scott Smith. Nevertheless, in the 34th minute they engineered a chance but the finish was again wide of the target. Three minutes later it was 2-0 to Westlands when Ant Herrin turned his man and made a good run into the box. He drove the ball low and hard across goal for JOSH PAYNE to turn in at the far post. A couple of minutes later Henry Lawrence-Napier fired in a good shot which the keeper parried. Josh Payne tried to turn in the rebound but his shot was deflected onto the post and behind for a corner. From the kick Jonny Manley had a free header but put it over the top.

That was the last chance of the half so we went in with a nice two goal lead but in all honesty it should have been a lot more. Credit to the Sturminster keeper though, he was having a blinder and was instrumental in keeping the score to two. That and some careless finishing by Westlands ! Sports looked as though they could go on and score a few more in the second half as the home team hadn’t troubled us at the back and keeper Sam Watts had not been asked to make a save.

Westlands came out with keeper Watts resplendent in his smart cap ready to face the sun in the second half for the first time in months. Sturminster made an effort in the first few minutes of the half but still couldn’t force Sports well dressed keeper into a save. After 7 minutes of the second half a superb cross field pass from Ant Herrin put JAMIE IRWIN in the clear and he drew the keeper and drilled the ball into the far corner to make it 3-0. In the 54th minute a neat pass put Josh Payne clean through. As the keeper came out Josh stroked the ball past him only to see it roll past the outside of the post ! A minute later Josh was through again but as he was about to shoot he was just clipped from behind and the ball was cleared. Then Henry Lawrence-Napier had an open goal but he took a swing at the ball and completely missed his shot. On the hour, Jamie Green was replaced by Olly Wake in a like for like change in Westlands midfield. Haydn Hodges then set up Josh Payne but he put his shot past the post. Another sub for Westlands in the 67th minute saw Josh replaced by Malik Kamal on the right wing. Malik got into the action straight away, cutting inside the full back and firing a shot past the far post. A minute later Malik set up Henry Lawrence-Napier who again duffed his shot in front of goal. After 75 minutes Jamie Irwin shot past the far post again after some good work by Malik Kamal. Then came Westlands final substitution with Jamie Irwin being replaced by Dwayne Forshaw. A couple of minutes later this proved to be an inspired substitution ! Jonny Manley strode out of defence with the ball and played a lovely ball over the top to Malik Kamal who drove down the right to the bye line and cut the ball back to DWAYNE FORSHAW who smashed it in off the underside of the bar. Sturminster tried desperately to get a consolation and got a shot on target which Sam Watts saved fairly easily. The last action was a run and shot from Haydn Hodges which was saved by the Stur keeper to cap an excellent game for him.

A comfortable win for Westlands and nice to get back to winning ways. Sports now face a hectic programme with eleven fixtures to complete before the end of the season so still everything to play for.

Man-of-the-match this week is SCOTT SMITH who had a solid game at the back for Westlands. Won every tackle and header and contributed to a fine clean sheet for the team.

Westlands line-up: 1.S.Watts 2.S.Plumley 3.P.Wells 4.S.Smith 5.J.Manley 6.H.Lawrence-Napier 7.J.Payne 8.J.Green 9.A.Herrin 10.H.Hodges 11.J.Irwin 12.D.Forshaw 14.M.Kamal 15.O.Wake

 

Sat 7th April 2018, Somerset Senior Cup, Semi-Final: WESTLAND SPORTS 0 CHILCOMPTON SPORTS 2

The pitch was fine after a morning inspection and the rain had gone off so we were all set for a good game and a decent crowd had turned out. Westlands made one change from the team that won last time out, Ant Herrin replacing Josh Payne who was struggling with a hamstring problem but was still included on the bench. Sam Plumley also had a hamstring problem but he surprisingly started the game suitably strapped up.

The visitors settled quickly and were knocking the ball around nicely in the early minutes. Westlands players looked a bit heavy legged but hopefully they would grow into the game. Chilcompton continued to push forward and got their reward in the 7th minute with the opening goal. Westlands were guilty of careless marking at a corner as the opposition #3 was picked out unmarked standing on the corner of the box. As he lined up to shoot Jamie Green rushed out and blocked the shot but it bounced up and back to the Chilcompton full back who had another go. This time he didn’t connect very well but the ball bounced through the crowd and ended up in the far corner of the net leaving the Westlands players standing looking at each other. A poor goal to lose and just what the visitors wanted, an early goal and they were well on top after this. In fact it was in the 25th minute that Westlands had their first effort on goal, an Ant Herrin shot that went past the post. Then we had the opportunity to push everyone up for a free kick but it was headed clear. In the 33rd minute we were staring defeat in the face when Chilcompton scored again. Again it was a corner from the left that was swung into the goalmouth. The opposition #9 made a run from back to front and headed the ball in from close range in the middle of the goal with Westlands players looking flat footed. That stirred Westlands up a bit and before half time they had a couple of decent chances. First Jamie Irwin picked out Dwayne Forshaw with a nice pass but his shot was well saved by the keeper. Then Haydn Hodges made a great run into the box beating several defenders but his final shot was beaten away by the keeper for a corner. From the kick Henry Lawrence-Napier headed just over the bar. A spirited response by Westlands but we needed a goal and the half time whistle ended our best spell in the match.

Not much to be optimistic about at half time as the visitors had been the better team and Westlands had never got out of first gear.

Two substitutions were made at half time with Sam Carney replacing Jamie Green and Josh Payne taking the place of Dwayne Forshaw. Josh began to cause the opposition a few problems down the right and his shot in the 50th minute was deflected over the top for a corner. 5 minutes later some more good dribbling by Josh set up Jamie Irwin with a chance but his shot was saved. Chilcompton were still very dangerous and a shot from a corner was deflected over. With about 20 minutes left came the last throw of the dice for Westlands with their final substitution being made. This saw Ant Herrin being replaced by Steve Ormrod to give us a more physical presence up front, although perhaps we should have kept them both on and taken off a defender ? To be fair Chilcompton were still controlling the game, and although Westlands were having a bit more pressure now I think perhaps the visitors were being a bit cautious and were protecting their two goal lead. With time running out and chances few and far between for Westlands it was Chilcompton who finished the game with a couple of decent chances, one flying past the post, another over the bar.

No complaints from the Westlands camp after the game, sometimes you just have to hold your hands up and admit you were beaten by the better team on the day. Chilcompton were up for it from the start, passing and moving when they had the ball and hounding Westlands into errors when they didn’t. An impressive 90 minutes by the visitors and I would put money on them lifting the trophy this year. Meanwhile its back to the drawing board for Westlands who had some weaknesses in the team exposed on the day.

Man-of-the-match is HAYDN HODGES who ran himself into the ground as usual. You can’t fault his effort and he is always looking to be involved in the game.

Westlands line-up: 1.S.Watts 2.S.Plumley 3.P.Wells 4.S.Smith 5.J.Manley 6.H.Lawrence-Napier 7.J.Irwin 8.J.Green 9.A.Herrin 10.H.Hodges 11.D.Forshaw 12.S.Carney 14.M.Kamal 15.T.Frampton 16.J.Payne 17.S.Ormrod

 

Saturday 17th Mar 2018, Dorset Premier League Cup, Semi-Final: WESTLAND SPORTS 3 BALTI SPORTS 1

The first of two semi-finals saw Westlands make two changes from the side that lost last week. Ant Herrin was replaced by Dwayne Forshaw and Haydn Hodges returned to replace Malik Kamal. The weather was fine and the pitch had been rolled and spiked so no problems there.

Westlands looked to be up for this one back on home soil and were soon pressing forward. After 5 minutes some excellent interplay by Jamie Irwin and Josh Payne down the right won Westlands a corner which Jonny Manley headed just past the far post. A few minutes later Dwayne Forshaw made a good run down the left and forced another corner. The kick caused a bit of a scramble in the Balti box with a shot being blocked then half cleared out to JONNY MANLEY on the edge of the box and he thumped a low shot through the crowd into the back of the net. Just the start Westlands were looking for and in the tenth minute it was very nearly two ! Dwayne Forshaw slipped a pass to Haydn Hodges who moved the ball onto his right foot and let fly with a piledriver that hit the inside of the near post and flew straight across the goal-line with the Balti keeper rooted to the spot. After a quarter of an hour we had Balti’s best chance so far with a header that went past the post. Then Dwayne Forshaw tried to lob the Balti keeper from about 30 yards with the ball dropping on the roof of the net. Another chance for the visitor’s on the half hour mark but again the effort missed the target, going well wide. In the 37th minute Josh Payne was brought down in the box and the referee immediately pointed to the spot. Not a lot of argument from the opposition about that one and HAYDN HODGES smashed the ball into the top corner to open up a two goal lead for Westlands. A few minutes later Haydn almost got on the scoresheet again. He burst down the right wing and miscued his cross, which flew towards goal forcing the keeper to dive up and tip the ball over the bar. With 42 minutes gone Josh Payne made another good run to the byeline and cut the ball across the face of the goal. Dwayne Forshaw slid in and got a touch but a defender just managed to get back and hack the ball clear as it crossed the line. Balti then had a chance but once again failed to find the target, the shot going past the post. The final action of the half saw Josh Payne create some space in the box but his shot was over the top.

A good first half for Westlands with a nice two goal lead which, with a bit of luck, could have been more. A nice sensible second half and we should clinch our place in the final, we just had to make sure we didn’t let the pace drop and let our opponents back into the game.

The second half started with Westlands almost conceding a goal straight away ! Jamie Green conceded possession in midfield and we were caught out with no cover for the defence. Luckily Westlands keeper Sam Watts was on his toes with an excellent save to prevent a disastrous start to the half for Westlands. Dwayne Forshaw then had a chance as he cut in onto his right foot but the shot was blazed over the bar. In the 51st minute Sam Watts again had to make a save, clutching the ball to his body as Balti carved out another shooting chance. The visitor’s, with nothing to lose, had upped their game in the second half and Westlands were looking a bit ragged. Then we had another setback which could have been costly when Haydn Hodges got himself sin-binned for continuing to argue with the referee despite several warnings. Balti Sports were encouraged by this turn of events and immediately piled forward and put several balls into the Westlands box. Some dogged defending and two good saves, one after the other, from Sam Watts kept them at bay. In the 60th minute a welcome attack saw Josh Payne shoot over the bar but it gave the Westlands defence a nice breather. Back came Balti and another shot flew just past the post. That was followed by a Balti attacker bursting through the Westlands backline but once again Sam Watts rushed out to dive at his feet and smother the ball. Sam Plumley then suffered a re-occurrence of the hamstring problem from last week and had to retire being replaced by the experienced Olly Wake. This was followed immediately by Haydn Hodges return from the bin so Westlands, back to full strength, looked to get back on the attack having survived a spell of Balti pressure. In the 70th minute Westlands put together a great move to score their third goal. Haydn Hodges started it with a great tackle in midfield to win the ball and he fed a lovely pass through for Jamie Irwin to take in his stride. As the keeper rushed out, Jamie took the ball past him to the byeline and chipped it across the face of the goal where JOSH PAYNE powered in a header that went in off the underside of the bar. At 3-0 the game looked to be safe now and surely Weslands would just shut up shop with no silly mistakes. With 15 minutes to go a bitter blow for the home side when Josh Payne went down clutching his hamstring and he had to be helped off, being replaced by Malik Kamal. Westlands had a chance a minute later when Dwayne Forshaw fired in a shot which the keeper parried but the ball fell to Malik but he screwed his shot wide. Then with 5 minutes left on the clock Balti were awarded a penalty when their forward was felled in the box. No real argument with that decision either although it did look as if the forward had handled the ball just prior to the penalty. Anyway, the kick was drilled in to make it 3-1. Dwayne Forshaw was then replaced by Tommy Frampton as Westlands looked to keep it tight for the last 5 minutes. With a couple of minutes to go Tommy was set up nicely by Haydn Hodges in front of goal but he scuffed his shot straight at the keeper.

That was the last action of the match and obviously a good victory as it gives us a cup final to look forward to, so congratulations to players and management. The downside was a couple of bad injuries at the busiest time of the season but, with top class replacements in the reserves, hopefully it will not cause too much disruption.

The Man-of-the-Match award this week goes to SAM WATTS who definitely bailed the team out when we were down to 10 men. Several good saves kept Balti at bay when they had their best spell of the match. Showed why he is the best keeper in the league.

Westlands line-up: 1.S.Watts 2.S.Plumley 3.P.Wells 4.S.Smith 5.J.Manley 6.H.Lawrence-Napier 7.J.Irwin 8.J.Green 9.J.Payne 10.H.Hodges 11.D.Forshaw 12.O.Wake 14.T.Frampton 15.M.Kamal 16.S.Carney

 

Saturday 17th Mar 2018, Dorset Premier League: DORCHESTER SPORTS 2 WESTLAND SPORTS 1

It was a bitterly cold day with some signs of snow, but the pitch was playable so we were glad the match was on. Sports had a couple of senior players, Olly Wake and Haydn Hodges, missing so Under 18 player Malik Kamal was given his first start upfront and another Under 18, Tommy Frampton, was given his debut on the bench.

Westland’s keeper Sam Watts was first in action with a fairly routine save in the 2nd minute but the Westland’s management were a bit perplexed when Jamie Green was shown an early yellow card for what looked like a good tackle. Sam Watts then made another fairly easy save as the home side made most of the early running. After 15 minutes Westlands began to respond and some good play by Josh Payne down the right led to Ant Herrin having a shot which the keeper saved. A minute later Josh cut in from the right wing and fired a left foot shot wide of the far post. After 20 minutes Westlands had a good chance to open the scoring when a sliderule Ant Herrin pass put Josh Payne clear through the middle. As the keeper came out, Josh skipped round him but, from an angle, put his shot into the side net. Dorchester’s next attack saw Jonny Manley harshly penalised for a good tackle with a free kick awarded right on the edge of the box. Thankfully the Dorchester player blasted the kick over the bar. On the half hour Jamie Irwin made a good run down the left and cut the ball back to Josh Payne who blasted his shot high over the top. Then Henry Lawrence-Napier had a header saved as the game swung from end to end. Another free kick conceded on the edge of the box gave Dorchester another chance but this time Jonny Manley headed clear. Then the home side were denied by a great save by Sam Watts from a point blank header and the first half ended with Jamie Irwin being yellow carded for kicking the ball away.

Half time, nil nil, and a pretty even game so far. Both sides had created chances so it was all to play for in the second half.

The half began with the sides exchanging shots that went wide of the target, Sam Plumley putting the Westland’s effort over the top. Then after we gave the ball away in midfield Sam Watts made a good diving save to turn the ball away for a corner which was cleared. However in the 52nd minute we conceded the first goal. A ball into the box was headed clear by Jonny Manley but only as far as a Dorchester player about 16 yards out and he volleyed the ball on the drop into the far corner. A well struck shot that gave the keeper no chance as it came through a crowd of players. Westlands immediately tried to hit back and only 2 minutes later missed a glorious chance. Josh Payne cracked in a shot which the keeper parried and the ball fell to Jamie Irwin’s feet with the goal gaping. Somehow Jamie managed to put his shot over the bar from about 5 yards out. Then a corner kick fell to Malik Kamal, but his shot went over as well. With just over an hour on the clock Westlands equalised. With the pitch cutting up a longer ball over the top looked a good option to exploit our pace up front. Scott Smith pinged one in behind the home defence and their goalkeeper came dashing out to the edge of the penalty area to clear. Under pressure he lost possession to JAMIE IRWIN who took the ball round him and walked it into the empty net. Just what we needed and could we now go on to win the points ? It was anyone’s game now and Westlands made their first substitution with Tommy Frampton replacing Sam Plumley who had pulled up with a hamstring problem. Westlands pressed on and, from a corner kick, Scott Smith thumped in a shot that came off the crossbar and was cleared for another corner. From the second kick Jonny Manley got his head to the ball and his looping header unbelievably came off the bar as well ! Then Dorchester had a great chance but the final shot flew inches over the top. Malik Kamal was replaced by Dwayne Forshaw as Westlands went looking for the winner. As we entered the last 10 minutes it was still in the balance and Dorchester had a dipping header that dropped just over the bar. That was followed in the 86th minute by a contentious incident. A through ball put Josh Payne racing through the middle with a couple of defenders in hot pursuit. As Josh prepared to shoot he was brought down and the ball rolled past the keeper and came off the post. It looked a certain penalty as from my viewpoint it looked as if Josh had his heels clipped by one defender and was pulled back by the other ! Considering some of the soft free kicks that had been given for tackles earlier this was nailed on. The referee then waved play on to the dismay of all concerned in the Westlands camp. If that incident had happened anywhere else on the pitch it would have been a free kick and possibly a yellow card so we were upset by that decision. But worse was to come as 2 minutes later Dorchester grabbed the winner ! A big kick by their keeper sailed well into the Westland’s half and Sam Watts came out to the edge of the area to clear. Unfortunately his clearance fell to a Dorchester player about 35 yards out and he fired a shot over everyone’s head into the back of the net ! What a disaster, having gone from a possible winning position to a losing one in 2 minutes was hard to take for the Westlands players and it was difficult not to agree with their sentiments.

That was it, another defeat on the road and a bitter pill to swallow, but that’s football for you ! We had numerous chances but didn't take them and on the day we didn't have much luck to be honest.

The Man-of-the-Match award this week it goes to JOSH PAYNE. Perhaps a slightly controversial choice considering he missed a couple of good chances, but he was always the danger man for Westlands and always looked our most likely match winner.

Westlands line-up: 1.S.Watts 2.S.Plumley 3.P.Wells 4.S.Smith 5.J.Manley 6.H.Lawrence-Napier 7.J.Payne 8.J.Green 9.M.Kamal 10.A.Herrin 11.J.Irwin 12.D.Forshaw 14.T.Frampton 15. B.Cochrane

 

Sat 10th Mar 2018, Somerset Senior Cup, Quarter-Final: WESTLAND SPORTS 5 STOCKWOOD GREEN 2

Despite heavy overnight rain the pitch was in reasonable condition with the going described as ‘soft’. Sports had only one change from the previous match with Josh Payne returning to the starting lineup.

Westlands drove forward straight from the kick-off and forced a corner. Haydn Hodges whipped it in and there was panic in the visitor’s defence with a defender almost turning the ball into his own net before it was eventually cleared for another corner. The second kick was hacked away for yet another corner which was eventually scrambled clear. What a start from Westlands with the opposition looking a bit shell shocked. It was pretty much one way traffic so it was no real surprise when HENRY LAWRENCE-NAPIER ran on to a through ball in the 10th minute and sidefooted it past the keeper to open the scoring. Westlands kept the pressure on and in the 15th minute a good run from Sam Plumley set up Josh Payne for a cross that was put over the bar by Jamie Irwin. A couple of minutes later Jamie returned the favour, cutting the ball back to Josh Payne who’s shot forced a good save from the keeper. Then Sports had a decent position with a free kick on the edge of the box but Haydn Hodges blasted it high and wide. In the 25th minute Jamie Irwin made a good run but his cross was cleared for a corner which the keeper did well to punch clear. The a free lick into the opposition box caused a bit of panic before it was eventually cleared In the 30th minute Jamie Irwin picked the ball up just inside the Stockwood half and sprinted clear. His final shot for the far corner was just clawed away by the keeper’s fingertips. Then Haydn Hodges was taken out on the near touchline by a reckless tackle by an opposition player who was lucky to escape with just a yellow card. From the free kick Henry Lawrence-Napier’s header was cleared off the line. A minute later Haydn Hodges had a header saved and as Westlands kept up the pressure only a mixture of wayward finishing and some excellent saves from the visitor’s keeper kept them at bay. However, as often happens, you get punished for not taking your chances. Against the run of play Stockwood equalised in the 36th minute. A good run down the right and a low cross into the box was not cleared properly and their striker drilled the ball into the back of the net. Ant Herrin then had a shot saved in the 43rd minute and 1-1 looked like being the half time score until just before the whistle when JOSH PAYNE got on the end of a corner and thumped it into the net to restore Westlands lead.

There was no doubt Sports deserved to be leading at the interval but really we should have been well ahead with the chances we had. The passing and tempo had been good in the first half and if Westlands could keep that up they should go on to win this one.

Five minutes into the second half Sports increased their lead with a lovely goal which drew murmurs of approval from the discerning spectators behind the fence. HAYDN HODGES played a ball to Josh Payne out on the right and continued his run into the box. Josh put a slide rule pass through into Haydn’s path and he drove it under the keeper. With a two goal lead Westlands turned up the heat. Ant Herrin made a great run down the left and put over a lovely cross into the path of Josh Payne who was following up. Josh tried to open up his body and knock the ball in with his right foot but only succeeded glancing the ball wide of the target. The visitors were looking weary now and some rash tackles started flying in. Westlands stayed cool and in the 75th minute JAMIE GREEN picked up a loose clearance 25 yards out and fired a lovely shot into the corner to make it 4-1. Two minutes later Josh Payne caught one flush but the ball just cleared the bar. In the 80th minute number five came when a Haydn Hodges cross was controlled and thumped in by DWAYNE FORSHAW. Obviously game over now but things began to deteriorate with some stupid tackles going in and the Westland players inevitably being dragged into it. The referee was struggling to keep control possibly as a result of letting some dodgy tackles go unpunished earlier. We had another incident where things almost boiled over when Sam Plumley took exception to being attacked by the opposition #9. All very poor but eventually we continued with the football and Westlands goalkeeper Sam Watts conceded a free kick after allegedly picking the ball up outside the box. The ball was chipped across the face of the goal where it was headed in off the underside of the bar. Was it over the line as it bounced down and out ? The referee didn’t think so and allowed play to continue but eventually gave the goal after the linesman flagged. In the 85th minute Dwayne Forshaw set up Malik Kamal with a good pass but he rushed his shot and put it over the top.

That was the end of the action and we were glad to hear the final whistle. A fairly comfortable win for Westlands really and it could have been more but for an excellent display by the visitor’s goalkeeper.

The Man-of-the-Match award is always difficult as everyone usually pulls their weight in a team performance. This week it goes to HAYDN HODGES, who took some rough treatment but was always willing to take the opposition on and got his usual goal to cap a good performance.

Westlands line-up: 1.S.Watts 2.S.Plumley 3.P.Wells 4.O.Wake 5.J.Manley 6.H.Lawrence-Napier 7.J.Payne 8.J.Green 9.A.Herrin 10.H.Hodges 11.J.Irwin 12.D.Forshaw 14.B.Cochrane 15.M.Kamal

 

Saturday 24th Feb 2018, Dorset Premier League: MERLEY COBHAM SPORTS 2 WESTLAND SPORTS 0

Always a difficult away trip this one, but we had a fine, if cold, day and the pitch looked in decent shape. Westlands had one change to the line-up from last week with Ant Herrin replacing Josh Payne up front.

Merley had the wind behind them and started as if they meant business and a deep cross to the far post in the second minute had to be cleared for a corner. That was cleared but not very far as Merley kept the pressure on and a good move saw a shot fly over Westlands bar. We were waiting for Sports to settle down and begin to turn the tide but at the moment it just wasn’t happening as the home team seemed to pick up all the loose balls. In the 7th minute a long throw in was flicked on and almost turned in at the far post. A minute later a deep cross was met by a Merley head but Sam Watts, the Westlands keeper, parried it away. A few minutes later another long throw was met by a Merley head and again Sam Watts turned it away for a corner. From the kick their player put a shot just past the post. All this and we had only played quarter of an hour. But at least now Westlands mounted an attack with Sam Plumley putting a good ball across goal which was cleared. Back up the other end and another free kick was scrambled away for a corner which was headed wide. Westlands defending had been a bit desperate at times but we were still holding out after 30 minutes so if we could hold out until half time at 0-0 that would be a good result. Then unfortunately, fate turned against us as we conceded the first goal. A great tackle by Jamie Green in the midfield was wrongly penalised and a free kick given. The ball was clipped into the Westlands box where Sam Watts looked to be impeded as he came out to collect. The ball went free, a Merley player had a shot that was blocked and it fell to another Merley player whose shot was also blocked but finally it was thumped through the crowd and found the back of the net. We had been under severe pressure but it was still annoying to lose a goal like that. Merley sensed they had us on the ropes now and they kept the pressure on to try and kill the game off. Another long throw was scrambled away but not fully cleared and when the ball was returned into the box again a Westlands player managed to scramble it clear. Moving into the last 5 minutes of the half another cross flew straight across the Westlands goal with no-one making contact. Then another free kick caused a bit of mayhem in the Westlands box before it was cleared for a corner. The corner came over and was headed over the bar. The pressure eventually told when we conceded the second goal. We lost possession in midfield and a Merley player battled through three challenges before feeding the ball through to his centre forward who took it first time and hit a blistering shot that flew into the top corner. The final action of the half saw Sam Watts pull off a good save and we managed to clear the resulting corner.

The general opinion at half time was that Westlands had not been at the races and could well have been 3 or 4 behind as the home side had numerous chances. There was some hope, however, as we would now have the wind behind us and we hoped the half time ‘chat’ would see an improved performance in the second half.

Sure enough, as the half began we were pushing forward and in the 48th minute forced a corner, possibly our first of the match. A high kick was cleared fairly easily by the Merley defence who had been dominant in the air all game. Perhaps a short corner might have paid dividends. Josh Payne was then introduced for Dwayne Forshaw as Westlands tried to get back into the game. A free kick into the Merley box was cleared for a corner. Again we crossed high and again the Merley defence cleared. Jonny Manley then damaged his wrist and had to be replaced by Scott Smith in a straight swap. Westlands huffed and puffed but were not finding a way through the home defence who seemed quite happy to defend their two goal lead. With 20 minutes to go the ball was laid back to Haydn Hodges and he hit a screamer from 18 yards that flew inches past the post with the keeper beaten. The ball was then played in to an unmarked Ant Herrin in the box but the keeper managed to block his shot and the chance was gone. Then Josh Payne made a good run down the right and fired a great cross to the far post. Ant Herrin met it with his head but he couldn’t direct his header away from the keeper who made the save. You just knew then it wasn’t our day. Malik Kamal then replaced Sam Plumley in a last throw of the dice for Westlands. We immediately put together a good move with Henry Lawrence-Napier putting Malik away down the right wing. Malik fired over a cross which went deep beyond the far post but Ant Herrin gathered the ball and laid it off to Haydn Hodges who’s shot cleared the bar. There was just time for Haydn to have another go before the final whistle but again he cleared the crossbar.

So ended our 7 match winning streak in the league and this was our second defeat to Merley Cobham this season. We didn’t do ourselves justice on the day, there is no doubt about that, and the manner of our defeat caused much soul-searching by the management after the game. This result is a severe blow to our title hopes but with still 14 league games to play there is time to go on another winning run and we still have all the other top sides to play who knows ?

In a flat performance by the whole team this week the Man-of-the-Match award goes to HENRY LAWRENCE-NAPIER.

Westlands line-up: 1.S.Watts 2.S.Plumley 3.P.Wells 4.O.Wake 5.J.Manley 6.H.Lawrence-Napier 7.D.Forshaw 8.J.Green 9.A.Herrin 10.H.Hodges 11.J.Irwin 12.S.Smith 14.J.Payne 15.M.Kamal

 

Saturday 17th Feb 2018, Dorset Premier League: HAMWORTHY UTD RESERVES 0 WESTLAND SPORTS 4

No weather problems this week as we were on the 4G pitch at the County Ground and it looked immaculate as the teams warmed up. Sports had only one change from the team that beat Parley last time out, Olly Wake returning to centre half to replace Scott Morgan. Ant Herrin and Scott Smith also returned and were joined on the bench by Steve Ormrod.

In Sports first attack Dwayne Forshaw was clobbered by the Hamworthy left back who was a bit lucky to escape with only a ticking off. From the free kick Haydn Hodges hit a wayward shot over the bar. A couple of minutes later Westlands had another free kick in a dangerous position but this time Haydn’s shot hit the wall and the ball was deflected for a corner. Haydn whipped the corner over and Josh Payne hooked the ball goalwards where the keeper parried it and eventually it was hacked clear. It took about 5 minutes for the home team to settle and they then began to test out the Westlands defence for the first time. A free kick to Hamworthy was hit straight into the wall and in the 10th minute the home side had a good effort by their centre forward with a run and shot that flew just over the bar. A bit worrying that the Westlands players had backed off and allowed the #9 to run about 20 yards deep into our half before he got his shot away. The Westlands management could be heard voicing their displeasure at this point ! In the 12th minute Haydn Hodges made room for himself out on the left and when his cross came over Josh Payne just failed to get a clean header on it. Then a superb passing move by Westlands (I counted at least 10 passes) ended with a rather tame shot from Dwayne Forshaw when the move deserved more. In the 19th minute came the breakthrough for Sports with the first goal of the match. Phil Wells fed the ball down the left to Jamie Irwin who took on the full back and left him trailing. A perfect cross from Jamie to the far post picked out unmarked skipper JAMIE GREEN and he thumped the ball into the net from close range. An excellent goal and one that stung the home side into a response with a couple of attacks but they were finding it hard to break down Sports defence. Their centre forward almost managed it in the 24th minute when he burst through only to be foiled by onrushing Westlands keeper Sam Watts who dived to block his effort at point blank range. After half an hour Dwayne Forshaw turned a Josh Payne cross into the net but the ‘goal’ was disallowed for offside. Then Sam Watts came to Sports rescue with another superb save. Hamworthy had a free kick just outside the box and the shot at goal took a wicked deflection and looked to be heading for the corner of the net. The Westlands keeper, who had been heading in the other direction, somehow managed to dive and turn the ball round the post. What a save that was and a couple of minutes later Sam was in action again, this time a fairly simple clutch from another free kick. In the 40th minute Haydn Hodges tried a curling effort but was just over the top and just before the break Jamie Irwin fired over an inviting cross but there was no-one there to turn it in.

A 1-0 half-time lead was just about right as the home side had put together some neat passing moves but Westlands had always looked more dangerous and carried more of a goalscoring threat. Most Westland supporters in the tea bar at half time seemed reasonably confident we would go on to win this one so we emerged in positive mood just as the teams kicked off.

Before I had time to make my way round to my vantage point on the far side Westlands scored ! Sports had come out in determined mood and a Hamworthy player was robbed of possession just inside his own half. The ball was quickly pushed through to Josh Payne whose run into the box was thwarted by a great sliding tackle by a Hamworthy defender. Unfotunately for him the ball went out to Jamie Irwin on the left wing and his driven low cross was turned in by HENRY LAWRENCE-NAPIER at the far post. A mistake by the home side had been ruthlessly punished by Sports and the players were jubilant as they knew the importance of that second goal. Westlands looked in control now and in the 55th minute came the first substitution with Ant Herrin replacing Dwayne Forshaw who I don’t think had fully recovered from that early knock. Ten minutes later it all went pear shaped for the home side when their #10, who had received a yellow card in the first half for a rash tackle, went flying in on Sam Plumley and picked up a second yellow and resulting red. In the 70th minute another substitution saw Josh Payne retire, being replaced by Steve Ormrod. Westlands pushed their defenders up for a corner and were almost caught out when Hamworthy cleared the ball upfield. The quick break was defended well with the final shot being blocked for a corner which Sam Watts came and clutched confidently. More drama in the 75th minute when the Hamworthy #12 was sin-binned for dissent and he then gave the referee another mouthful and got a straight red ! That really killed off any slim hopes that the home side may have had about a fight back and with 15 minutes still to play, there was an opportunity for Westlands to perhaps score another 2 or 3 to boost the goal difference. In the 80th minute Sports notched the third goal. With men over as they attacked, Jamie Green passed the ball to ANT HERRIN about 15 yards out and he drilled a low shot past the diving keeper. The final substitution was then made with Scott Smith coming on for Jamie Irwin. In the 85th minute, Scott made his presence felt when he powered a header goalwards from a corner kick. The keeper could only parry the header and as the Hamworthy players got in each others way JAMIE GREEN hooked the ball into the net for goal number 4. An opportunist goal by the skipper but not sure it merited the ‘Ronaldo-esque’ celebration ! Westlands seemed content with the scoreline now and were happy just to knock the ball around for the remaining minutes although in the dying seconds goal number 5 looked a possibility. Haydn Hodges played a good long pass out to Steve Ormrod who cut in from the right but found the angle too narrow and put his shot into the side netting.

That was it, an excellent four goal victory, a clean sheet and no disciplinary issues, so an excellent day all round.

The Man-of-the-Match award this week goes to SAM WATTS for an excellent display of goalkeeping, showing why he’s the league’s number 1.

Westlands line-up: 1.S.Watts 2.S.Plumley 3.P.Wells 4.O.Wake 5.J.Manley 6.H.Lawrence-Napier 7.D.Forshaw 8.J.Green 9.J.Payne 10.H.Hodges 11.J.Irwin 12.A.Herrin 14.S.Smith 15.S.Ormrod

 

Saturday 3rd Feb 2018, Dorset Premier League: WESTLAND SPORTS 5 PARLEY SPORTS 2

After 2 weeks of postponements there was optimism in the air with several dry (ish !) days leading up to the weekend, but steady rain on Saturday dampened our hopes. However a morning inspection passed the pitch as playable and a final pre-match inspection by the officials gave it the thumbs up, game on !

There were still some threatening black clouds around and it was bitterly cold as the teams came out in their short sleeved kits to line up for kick off ! Sports had a couple of changes from last time out at Mere. With both central defenders that day, Olly Wake and Scott Smith, missing Jonny Manley returned to be partnered by Scott Morgan who stepped up from the Reserves after some impressive performances. Ant Herrin was also missing today so Josh Payne took over the number nine shirt.

Westlands were kicking with the breeze in their favour and, before I had time to sharpen my pencil, they scored the opening goal. JAMIE IRWIN picked the ball up on the left wing, cut inside onto his right foot and let fly from about 20 yards with a dipping shot that flew over the keeper into the net. Parley were definitely caught cold there, particularly the keeper who had perhaps strayed a bit off his line. What a start for Westlands !

The match settled down now and it was obvious the conditions were “testing” but both teams were having a go and it looked like we were in for a good game. In the 10th minute Parley created their first opportunity with a ball up front to their #9, who laid it off for his team-mate to get a shot away that went just past the post. A minute later their right winger had a go but Sam Watts saved fairly comfortably. Westlands then had a free kick in a good position on the edge of the box, but Haydn Hodges put his shot just past the far post. Parley were mounting some good attacks, with their left winger in particular looking dangerous. It was an even game but in the 28th minute Westlands scored again. A through ball put Josh Payne clear and as he headed goalwards he was upended by the Parley centre half. No doubt about that one, definite penalty, and HAYDN HODGES stuck away the spot kick to give Westlands a two goal lead. Only two minutes later Parley were really suffering as Westlands scored a third goal. A bit of controversy about this one concerning a throw in that was awarded to Westlands out on the right wing. Parley players were adamant it should have been their throw and, to be honest, I had to agree with them. Anyway, as they moaned and groaned Westlands took the throw and Josh Payne got to the bye line and cut the ball back to HAYDN HODGES who just managed to get to the ball before a defender and smash it into the net. Parley protested furiously about the throw in decision and, to make matters worse, their skipper ended up in the sin bin. You could say he was a bit lucky actually as some of the verbals he was giving the referee was more ‘foul and abusive’ than ‘dissent’. Back to the game and as two players clashed out on the right the Parley player caught a flying arm in the mouth and received a bleeding lip. The lino, who was right on the spot, said it was an accidental collision but got an earful from the Parley player who was promptly sin-binned as well. I can’t say I’m a fan of this sin-bin, its just too confusing and nobody really knows whats going on. As you would imagine Westland were in control now and a lovely move involving Jamie Irwin and Dwayne Forshaw ended with Jamie shooting just over the top. Then just before the break Dwayne Forshaw made a strong run down the right wing and he cut the ball back to JOSH PAYNE who drilled it into the net to make it 4-0.

A four goal lead at half time was slightly flattering to Westlands as Parley had looked useful going forward in the early stages of the first half. Unfortunately they had lost their composure in the later stages and had been punished by the home side.

The conditions were strength sapping and the pace did drop a bit after the break with Westlands perhaps resting on their laurels having built up a comfortable lead. In the 59th minute Jamie Irwin shot wide for the home team but in the 65th minute Parley pulled one back. A simple ball through ball put their #10 away and he raced on, drew the keeper, and fired a neat shot into the far corner. This sparked Westlands back into life again and a good run and shot from Josh Payne drew a save with his legs from the Parley keeper. In the 72nd minute Haydn Hodges had a shot come off the post as Westlands kept the pressure on. Three minutes later a superb through ball from Jamie Green saw JAMIE IRWIN racing through on goal. He kept his composure, went round the keeper, and slotted the ball into the net from an acute angle. A cool finish from the young Westland player.

With 10 minutes remaining a Parley player skied a shot over the bar and then a few minutes later Malik Kamal had a shot for Westlands that went past the post . As the match headed for the 90 minutes Josh Payne hit the bar with a good shot. Still time though for another goal as Westlands Scott Morgan made a rather rash challenge to bring down a Parley player at the edge of the box. The lino was once again on the spot and he immediately signalled for a penalty so the Westlands players appeals fell on deaf ears. The Parley #10 slotted away the spot kick for his second goal of the game to make the score 5-2. One final attack by Westlands saw Haydn Hodges cross the ball for Josh Payne to head over the bar.

That was it, a 5-2 win, plenty of goals and some incidents to discuss in the post-match debate in the Airfield.

The Man-of-the-Match award this week goes to HAYDN HODGES who revelled in the conditions and drove Westlands forward, particularly in the first half. Two goals as well so a good day for Haydn.

Westlands line-up: 1.S.Watts 2.S.Plumley 3.P.Wells 4.S.Morgan 5. J.Manley 6. H.Lawrence-Napier 7. D.Forshaw 8.J.Green 9.J.Payne 10.H.Hodges 11.J.Irwin 12.M.Kamal

 

Saturday 13th Jan 2018, Dorset Premier League Cup, Rnd 2: MERE TOWN 0 WESTLAND SPORTS 5

The weather was fine and the pitch at Mere was looking good as we lined up for this League Cup tie. Our last couple of games here had been 0-0 and a 1-0 win so goals had been hard to come by on this pitch. Westlands made 4 changes from last week, Sam Watts returned in goal, Scott Smith replaced Jonny Manley, Jamie Green came in for Sam Carney and Dwayne Forshaw started in place of Josh Payne.

Westlands opened brightly and in the 2nd minute Haydn Hodges put a great pass over the right back’s head for Jamie Irwin to race onto and bear down on goal. The Mere centre-back, who is very quick, gave chase but his desperate tackle brought Jamie down and earned him an early yellow card. Haydn Hodges took the free kick but his shot was fairly easily saved. Nevertheless a good start for Westlands and it didn’t take long for the pressure to tell. Haydn again put a lovely ball through for Jamie Irwin to chase and once again the centre half had to sprint across and put the ball out of play. The home team went to sleep on the throw in and Ant Herrin fed it on to HENRY LAWRENCE-NAPIER and he deftly lobbed the advancing keeper to open the scoring. A well worked goal, beautifully finished and just what Sports wanted, that early goal. Westlands were dominating the midfield and in the 11th minute went 2-0 up. Ant Herrin burst into the box on the right side and squared the ball for JAMIE IRWIN to sidefoot in from 6 yards. In the 15th minute a Haydn Hodges free kick was head-flicked just over by Henry Lawrence-Napier as Westlands continued to press.

A minute later Westlands made it 3-0. A Haydn Hodges pass picked out DWAYNE FORSHAW and he controlled the ball and slotted it neatly into the far corner. This was a fantastic start to the game for Sports but there was still a long way to go and a lot of football to be played. With nothing to lose now the home side began to get into the game but found it difficult to find a way through the Westlands defence and subsequently keeper Sam Watts didn’t really have a serious save to make.

Half time came and with a 3-0 lead things looked pretty good for Sports but we did not want to concede an early goal in the second half and give the home side a lifeline.

Mere came out fired up to get that early goal and a header was easily saved by Sam Watts. Then a nice build up by the Mere forwards saw the final shot deflected for a corner which was cleared. Having weathered that little storm Westlands were soon back up the other end and forced a corner in the 49th minute that was cleared. A minute later, Haydn Hodges curled in a free kick from out on the right, Henry Lawrence-Napier head flicked it on and SCOTT SMITH came charging in at the far post to chest the ball into the net. At 4-0 the game looked as if it was beyond Mere but they kept plugging away and their #7 controlled a cross well and drove a shot past the post.

On the hour mark the Westlands management decided to make a couple of changes with the introduction of two subs. Dwayne Forshaw had taken a nasty one to the ankle a couple of minutes earlier so he hobbled off and was replaced by Josh Payne. Haydn Hodges had also put in a good shift in the midfield so he was also withdrawn and replaced by Malik Kamal. Josh quickly got involved and he combined well with Ant Herrin to open up the Mere defence and the final shot was scrambled off the line. The home side had a good five minute spell after that and their forward scuffed a shot wide when in a good position at a corner. A few minutes later a Mere free kick was delivered deep to the far post where it was headed wide. With Mere pushing forward Westlands punished them in the 75th minute with a lovely goal. Jamie Irwin broke away down the left and squared the ball to HENRY LAWRENCE-NAPIER who controlled the ball and smashed it low and hard into the corner of the net from 15 yards. The game was over as a contest, but in true cup tie tradition, both teams kept the pace up and gave us an entertaining last 15 minutes. In the 80th minute Sam Watts made a save from a good shot and a minute later, up at the other end, Scott Smith headed an Ant Herrin corner over the bar. Then Malik Kamal played a nice through ball to Jamie Irwin but the leeper rushed out and made the block. In the 85th minute the Mere keeper made a hash of a clearance and presented the ball to Josh Payne but he rushed his finish and smashed the ball wide of the near post. In a final flurry Mere had a couple of chances as they looked for a consolation goal. Their forward was clean through but put his shot wide of the target and finally Sam Watts kept his clean sheet safe with a comfortable save from a long shot.

So, a 5-0 win was more than we could have hoped for and we move into the quarter finals now. Also pleasing was the manner of the victory, as we played some good stuff and, on reflection, never really looked troubled by the opposition. A very dodgy chorus of ‘twist and shout’ in the changing room ended a very good day.

The Man-of-the-Match award this week goes to HENRY LAWRENCE-NAPIER who put in a power of work in the midfield. Two top class goals as well made it a match winning performance.

Westlands line-up: 1.S.Watts 2.S.Plumley 3.P.Wells 4.O.Wake 5. S.Smith 6. H.Lawrence-Napier 7. D.Forshaw 8.J.Green 9.A.Herrin 10.H.Hodges 11.J.Irwin 12. J.Manley 14. J.Payne 15.M.Kamal

 

Saturday 6th Jan 2018, Dorset Premier League: WESTLAND SPORTS 6 SHAFTESBURY RESERVES 2

With games falling thick and fast to the weather it was a relief to find the pitch in pretty good condition for this DPL fixture. The pitch was soft and the overnight rain had given it a greasy top but there was no standing water at all, a tribute to the groundsman’s rolling and spiking regime. As our last match had been a good win against Swanage, the manager stuck basically with the same squad for this game. A couple of changes were unavoidable with Jamie Green and keeper Sam Watts being unavailable so they were replaced by Sam Carney and reserve team stopper Chris Bennett. The weather was bitterly cold but no sign of any rain so we looked forward to a good game.

The first action in the 2nd minute saw a Josh Payne run open up the visitor’s defence. He fed Henry Lawrence-Napier out wide on the right and when his cross came over Haydn Hodges blasted it over the bar. A couple of minutes later Ant Herrin and Josh Payne exchanged passes but Josh’s final shot was blazed over the top. In the 10th minute Jamie Irwin had a shot blocked by the Shaftesbury keeper and a minute later Haydn Hodges again put a shot high over the bar. After 15 minutes Ant Herrin fed a nice through ball to Jamie Irwin but his final shot was wide of the target. Westlands were dominating the game but the chances were being wasted which was becoming a bit of a concern. These worries, however, were banished in the 20th minute when Westlands took the lead. Henry Lawrence-Napier laid the ball off to HAYDN HODGES who beat a defender before driving a low shot into the corner of the net. It was no more than Sports deserved and they kept the pressure on with Ant Herrin putting a shot just past the post in the 35th minute. After half an hour Westlands went 2-0 up with a brilliant opportunist goal that had the crowd on their feet (!). Ant Herrin caught Shaftesbury napping with a quick free kick which put Jamie Irwin away down the left wing. Jamie drove into the box and played a perfect square pass to JOSH PAYNE who made no mistake with a clinical sidefoot finish. Westlands then took their eye off the ball and only two minutes later Shaftesbury pulled one back. Lee Gale made a strong run down the right and chipped over a cross that their big striker Scott Sharp tucked away with a good header.

That made the half time score 2-1 which was a bit annoying as Westlands had dominated the first half and should really have been out of sight by now. Nevertheless Sports had played some good football in the first 45 and a repeat of that would surely reap some dividends in the second half.

Shaftesbury came out for the restart with their big striker Scott Sharp in goal, keeper Chris Fitzpatrick having taken a knock in the first half. Westlands went for the kill and the stand-in keeper did well to save an Ant Herrin shot with his legs. But in the 52nd minute Sports consolidated their lead with the third goal. Haydn Hodges drove into the box and squared the ball to JAMIE IRWIN who buried it at the far post. Westlands were in full cry now and unfortunately Haydn Hodges finished off an excellent passing move by putting his shot over the top.

In the 60th minute some neat inter-passing between Sam Carney and Haydn Hodges teed up ANT HERRIN and he thumped the ball in from 15 yards to extend the lead to 4-1. Only two minutes later it was 5-1 as ANT HERRIN drilled in a Jamie Irwin pass with the Shaftesbury defence all at sea.

With the game as good as won Westlands introduced 3 subs at this point. Seventeen year old Malik Kamal came on for his first team debut replacing Josh Payne, and Szymon Matuszewski and Scott Smith replaced Sam Carney and Sam Plumley. In the 76th minute Jamie Irwin made a good run down the left and fired a low pass across the face of the goal but no takers. In the 78th minute Westlands made it 6-1 with MALIK KAMAL marking his debut with a neat left foot shot from the edge of the box after exchanging passes with Jamie Irwin. Westlands then switched off and Shaftesbury hit back with a good goal in the 84th minute. It was a solo effort from their substitute Sam Harris who raced into the Westlands half, shrugged off a challenge, and drilled the ball into the far corner. The visitors almost added another a couple of minutes later when they had the ball in the net again but this one was offside. Awakening from their slumbers Westlands finished the match on the front foot with a final flurry which saw a Jamie Irwin glancing header deflected just past the post and the subsequent corner kick being headed over the bar by Jonny Manley.

A final score of 6-2 was obviously a good result and a welcome start to the new year. The team played some good stuff with everyone contributing so that makes the Man-of-the-Match award this week extremely difficult to choose. However the award goes to ANT HERRIN for an excellent performance in the number 9 shirt. He held the ball up well, the distribution was good and two clinical finishes as well so a top class performance.

Westlands line-up: 1.C.Bennett 2.S.Plumley 3.P.Wells 4.O.Wake 5.J.Manley 6.S.Carney 7.J.Payne 8.H.Lawrence-Napier 9.A.Herrin 10.H.Hodges 11.J.Irwin 12.S.Smith 14.D.Forshaw 15.M.Kamal 16.S.Matuszewski

 

Saturday 9th Dec ,Dorset Premier League: WESTLAND SPORTS 3 SWANAGE TOWN & HERSTON 0

Another must win game for Westlands against Swanage as we sat one place behind them in the league, one point adrift but they also have a game in hand. A defeat today would have put them 4 ahead plus the game in hand so we needed the win. With the winter snows blanketing most of the country Alvington was a little oasis of dry sunny weather and most of the regulars turned out in festive mood for what was anticipated to be an entertaining game. The pitch was in good nick, a little soft, but pretty decent for this time of year. The management made a couple of changes for this one with Olly Wake and Jamie Irwin replacing Scott Smith and Dwayne Forshaw.

Sports showed their intent from the start with a great ball from Jamie Green sending Josh Payne flying down the right wing. Josh drove a low hard cross into the box where Jamie Irwin was steaming in. Jamie ended up sprawled on the deck to huge claims for a penalty but the referee was having none of it and waved play on. A couple of minutes later Josh Payne again made good headway down the right and as he headed into the box he was barged to the floor by a defender. That looked a penalty to me, and most others around the ground, but again the referee waved play on. In the 7th minute, as Westlands continued to push forward, Josh Payne put a low shot past the post. It had been a good start by Westlands and it wasn’t until the 9th minute that Sam Watts, the Westlands keeper, was called into action as he dived to smother a low shot. Sports were really getting into top gear now and when the first goal came in the 18th minute it was no great surprise. Jamie Irwin and Ant Herrin combined well to set up JAMIE GREEN who was out on the right hand side of the penalty box. The skipper steadied himself and drove a great shot across the keeper and it squeezed into the far corner off the inside of the post. That opening goal was crucial and the celebration that followed showed what it meant to the Westlands players. Sports were flowing now and some one touch passing between Sam Plumley, Josh Payne and Henry Lawrence-Napier ended with Jamie Irwin just failing to get on the end of the final cross, what a goal that would have been ! Then, with 32 minutes gone, Haydn Hodges fired over a perfect free kick but Jamie Green managed to screw his header wide from in front of goal. Swanage then had a rare attack and Sam Watts, who hadn’t had much to do, saved the final low shot. In the 35th minute Westlands scored their second and it was a really well worked goal. ANT HERRIN put Haydn Hodges away with an audacious back flick. Haydn returned the compliment with a slide rule pass to Ant who despatched the ball into the corner of the net with a side foot finish from 15 yards. Great stuff and more was to follow only 2 minutes later and with the visitor’s reeling. And again it was that man ANT HERRIN who this time combined with Jamie Irwin to take his return pass on the run and smash the ball past the keeper from 20 yards out. This was great to watch for the home supporters and although Westlands kept the pressure on we were unable to add to our three goal lead by half time.

The half time tea tasted sweet as we reflected on what had been an excellent half from Westlands. They had produced some great football and that was reflected in our healthy 3 goal half time lead. The second half was going to be a bit tricky, should Sports shut up shop or try to keep playing that free-flowing football we had seen in the first half ? Swanage, with nothing to lose, would obviously come out fired up by their management to have a go so it would be interesting.

The visitors made some inroads in the opening 10 minutes of the second half and in the 53rd minute their #11 had a good run and shot but once again Sam Watts saved. Two minutes later Westlands had a free kick in the Swanage half and Haydn Hodges put a cross into the goalmouth. Henry Lawrence-Napier, with his back to goal tried to bring the ball down but it bounced free to Jamie Green who riflrd it into the top corner of the net. Unfortunately the referee ruled Henry had used an arm and disallowed the goal. The game was just developing into a bit of a midfield battle as Swanage tried desperately to get a foothold back in the game but they weren’t creating any real chances against a well drilled Westlands defence who were giving nothing away. A bizarre incident that didn’t help Swanage’s cause came around now when one of their players was sent to the touchline to have some blood wiped from his knee. As he tried to return to the pitch the referee spotted some blood on his white sock and informed him it would have to be changed as well. A few minutes later, as the Swanage player waved his sock in the air asking the official to show him where the blood was, he was then “sin-binned” for 10 minutes for dissent ! You couldn’t make it up ! After the game one of the Swanage management asked the referee for an explanation of the “bloodgate” incident, brilliant ! Anyway, back to the game, with an hour now gone Westlands introduced their first sub with Dwayne Forshaw replacing a wearyJosh Payne and this was quickly followed by Leo Hayward coming on in place of Ant Herrin. Dwayne Forshaw soon made his presence felt with a run to the bye line and a cross that ran along the goal line before being cleared.

The final substitution in the 75th minute saw Szymon Matuszewski replace Jamie Irwin. As the game drifted to its inevitable conclusion Sam Watts made a good save, diving on a low shot, to protect his clean sheet. And finally the Swanage keeper made a good save from a Szymon Matuszewski shot.

This was a good result and an excellent performance from Westlands particularly in that first half where some of the football was top class. Although the second half didn’t match that standard we never really looked threatened and comfortably saw the game out.

The Man-of-the-Match award this week goes to JAMIE GREEN who really led from the front in this match. He scored that crucial opening goal, had one disallowed and went close with a header while still managing to do his defensive work. An excellent all round performance from the skipper.

Westlands line-up: 1.S.Watts 2.S.Plumley 3.P.Wells 4.O.Wake 5.J.Manley 6.H.Lawrence-Napier 7.J.Payne 8.J.Green 9.A.Herrin 10.H.Hodges 11.J.Irwin 12.D.Forshaw 14.S.Matuszewski 15.Leo Hayward

 

Saturday 2nd Dec ,Dorset Premier League: WESTLAND SPORTS 6 BRIDPORT RESERVES 0

Another home game and another one we had to win to keep our challenge going. Leo Hayward was missing today but Olly Wake returned to the bench after injury so we had a strong squad of 14 on duty.

After a couple of minutes Westlands had the first shot of the game when a Haydn Hodges effort went past the post but in the early stages it was Bridport who were on top. They were dominating possession and several long balls in behind for their number 7 to chase had the Sports defence back-pedalling. Westlands forced a corner in the 14th minute and from the kick Bridport broke fast out of defence and only a heavy touch from their centre forward saved the day. A minute later, Westlands opened the scoring. Haydn Hodges gathered the ball out on the left, cut back onto his right foot and put a good cross over to the far post where JOSH PAYNE scored with a diving header. A quality goal, if somewhat against the run of play at this point in the game. Gradually Westlands began to get a grip on the match and the chances began to come. Dwayne Forshaw rushed a shot and put it wide and then a neat dummy by Henry Lawrence-Napier put Josh Payne in but he also missed the target with his shot. We really should have been testing the Bridport keeper as he was a bit short in stature for a goalie but so far he hadn’t been tested apart from the goal. In the 32nd minute Dwayne Forshaw skinned his full back and got to the byeline where his lay back was scuffed wide by Jamie Green when it looked easier to score. After 40 minutes an excellent move from Sports cut open the Bridport defence but Haydn Hodges miscued the final ball into the box and the danger was cleared. Four minutes later the mounting pressure eventually told with Westlands scoring again. Josh Payne cut inside on an excellent run, ghosting past two defenders before flicking the ball out to Haydn Hodges on the wing. Haydn fired a low hard cross across the face of the goal where HENRY LAWRENCE-NAPIER was steaming in to force the ball over the line at the second attempt.

A great finish to the half for Westlands and with a two goal lead they now looked firmly in the driving seat.

The second half started as expected with Sports dominating possession and after 10 minutes it was no surprise when the third goal came along. Josh Payne made a break down the right and fired a shot for the far post that was cleared for a corner on the left. Haydn Hodges put over an inswinger and HENRY LAWRENCE-NAPIER leapt highest to head in from only 6 yards out. In the 65th minute Westlands made it 4-0 with another close range header. Haydn Hodges was again the provider sending over a free kick that JAMIE GREEN rose to head in. Shortly after Haydn Hodges was replaced by Szymon Matuszewski but in the 70th minute Haydn found himself in action once again, taking over from one of the linesmen who retired with a calf injury ! A couple of minutes later Jamie Irwin replaced Josh Payne as the management tried to give everyone some game time. The game was as good as over now with only ten minutes left but Sam Plumley managed to get himself in the referees book for a silly challenge. Bridport’s keeper, who had taken a knock earlier, couldn’t cerry on and was replaced between the sticks by an outfield sub. It wasn’t Bridport’s day as the sub keeper miscued a kick straight to SZYMON MATUSZEWSKI who thumped it into the empty net to make it 5-0. In the 88th minute DWAYNE FORSHAW made it 6 when he cut inside and smashed the ball into the far corner. Westlands kept pressing and Jamie Irwin ran on to a nice through ball from Ant Herrin but put his shot over the bar. Then Ant tried to get his name on the scoresheet with a shot that flew just wide.

A good afternoon for Westlands, six goals and a clean sheet is always welcome. It had been an entertaining game, well refereed by Mr Brokenshaw, but one I’m sure Bridport will want to forget as nothing went right for them.

The Man-of-the-Match award this week goes to HAYDN HODGES who had an interesting afternoon. He provided the crosses for our first four goals, was then substituted, and finally ended the game running the line after an injury to one of the linos.

Westlands line-up: 1.S.Watts 2.S.Plumley 3.P.Wells 4.S.Smith 5.J.Manley 6.H.Lawrence-Napier 7.J.Payne 8.J.Green 9.A.Herrin 10.H.Hodges 11.D.Forshaw 12.J.Irwin 14.S.Matuszewski 15.O.Wake

 

Saturday 25th Nov ,Dorset Premier League: PARLEY SPORTS 2 WESTLAND SPORTS 3

An away game for a change this week so we had to make sure there were no slip ups as away games to any opponents are tough in this league. It was sunny but bitterly cold as the teams lined up and Westlands showed a couple of changes from last week. Dwayne Forshaw was given a starting slot in place of Jamie Irwin who was on the bench and Henry Lawrence–Napier replaced Sam Carney in the midfield. Jamie Green returned to the squad but had to make do with a seat on the bench.

Westlands made a good start with a long diagonal ball from Ant Herrin putting Dwayne Forshaw away down the left but his low driven cross was fielded fairly easily by the Parley keeper. The next major incident was a fairly long stoppage while a Parley bloke found a shovel to remove some dog mess from the pitch ! Grass roots football ! That was followed by a corner for Westlands, Haydn Hodges got a shot away but it was blocked. After 10 minutes the home side mounted an attack which ended with a Parley player scooping a shot just over the top after a bit of a scramble in the Westlands goalmouth. The game then settled down to a period when neither team could put a move together and there were no good chances created. Westlands had a couple of efforts, Josh Payne heading a corner wide and Haydn Hodges having a low shot saved. In the 25th minute came the first of several contentious incidents. Leo Hayward raced into the Parley penalty area and was sent sprawling. Stonewall penalty we thought but the referee waved play on ! In the 32nd minute Leo had a good shot at goal saved as Westlands began to get on top. However, in the 34th minute we were rocked when Parley scored. A good through ball put their player in behind the Westlands defence and he held off a challenge to slot the ball in the far corner. A well taken goal but it did look as if Westlands had overcommitted for an attack at the other end and when the home side broke we were always struggling. Parley had their tails up for a few minutes now and had another shot go just wide before Westlands regrouped and forced a corner. When it came over Henry Lawrence-Napier made a great leap but put his header just over the top. Then with 5 minutes to go before half time came more drama as Westlands captain Scott Smith was sin-binned for querying a referee’s decision. Two minutes later Haydn Hodges was also sin-binned when he showed his displeasure at another decision. Suddenly things had taken a turn for the worse and we played out time and ended the half 1-0 down and reduced to 9 men !

This was an unbelievable groundhog day moment for me, and those of you who read the Weekend Preview will understand why. Luckily enough, back in 2010 we had to play the whole second half with 9 men, this time it was only for another 6 minutes.

We came out focussed to get through the time and we did it fairly comfortably in the end with the home team only creating one chance, a header from a corner that Sam Watts in the Westlands goal saved fairly comfortably. So, in 51 minutes we had a shot in the arm when we were restored to 11 players and it seemed to kick-start Westlands who finally began to put some decent moves together. In the 60th minute we equalised. Henry Lawrence-Napier made a strong run into the opposition half and released JOSH PAYNE with a lovely pass and he ran on and smashed the ball past the advancing keeper. Westlands tails were up now and 10 minutes later some prolonged pressure brought the second goal. Phil Wells made a good run down the left and put the ball low into the box where HAYDN HODGES picked it up but was pulled back as he turned a defender. Haydn took the spot kick himself and tucked it away to put Westlands in front for the first time in the match. I think perhaps everyone in the Westlands camp thought we had the game in the bag now because only 5 minutes after taking the lead we found ourselves pegged back to 2-2. It was another nice finish by the Parley forward who picked up a simple through ball and buried it in the corner of the net. To be fair Westlands hit straight back and in the 78th minute scored a third goal to take the lead again. JAMIE IRWIN, who had replaced Dwayne Forshaw, made a great run across the box to the near post and when Josh Payne put the ball over Jamie smashed it into the roof of the net. Great joy from the Westlands players and management but perhaps more a feeling of relief as we had got our noses in front again. There was still 15 minutes to go but Westlands were in control now and had three more chances before the final whistle blew. Henry Lawrence-Napier again got his head to a corner but put it over the top and Leo Hayward tried his best to get on the score sheet but the Parley keeper made a couple of good saves to keep him out. Nevertheless it was a relief when the final whistle blew after about 10 minutes of extra time on my watch and we could reflect on three good points gained.

It had been a tough match and Parley had fought all the way but the over-riding feeling was that Westlands had a narrow escape by falling foul of the sin-bin rule but to be fair it’s only the second match this season where we have had players sin-binned. However, lessons must be learned but I think perhaps I should save my thoughts on this new rule until the end of the season. Can’t fault the Westland players though as they kept battling and that battling quality is result of the team spirit within the club and is something money can’t buy.

The Man-of-the-Match award this week goes to JONNY MANLEY who provides a dominating presence at the back for Sports.

Westlands line-up: 1.S.Watts 2.S.Plumley 3.P.Wells 4.S.Smith 5.J.Manley 6.H.Lawrence-Napier 7.J.Payne 8.H.Hodges 9.L.Hayward 10.A.Herrin 11.D.Forshaw 12.J.Green 14.J.Irwin

 

Saturday 18th Nov ,Dorset Premier League: WESTLAND SPORTS 4 BALTI SPORTS 1

Playing against the side currently 2nd in the table, Westland's needed a win to stay in the race for the league title so the stage was set for a good game. We were without Olly Wake and Jamie Green but Jonny Manley reported fit so we had a strong side. Manager Harry Gibbs was also unavailable for this one so Ben Cochrane took over the reins for the day.

Westlands were quick out the traps and when Leo Hayward made a great run to the byeline and cut the ball across goal it looked as if the ball must finish in the back of the net. A melee ensued with a defender almost putting the ball in his own net at one point and Jamie Irwin unable to force it home. An early let off for Balti but Westlands had their tails up and kept the pressure on. In the 6th minute a corner swung in from Leo Hayward was met on the run by JOSH PAYNE and he powered a header into the back of the net to make it 1-0. A minute later Leo almost made it two with a great run and shot that was parried by the Balti keeper and then seemed to run along the line before being cleared.

What I start for the home team and they could have been three up in the first seven or eight minutes. As it was, with only one goal in it, the visitor’s then began to get a foothold in the game and their first attempt at goal in the 12th minute flew just past the post. A few minutes later they forced a corner and put a header just wide. A decent response by the visitor’s and in the 16th minute, they equalised. A through ball was played out to their right winger and he scored from 25 yards with a curling inswinger that deceived Westlands keeper Sam Watts and dropped in at the far post. There was a big shout for offside by the Westlands players but the referee waved the protests away after a word with his assistant. Its all to do with first and second phases apparently ! All to play for now with the teams on level terms and the next good chance came Westlands way in the 25th minute. A good passing move down the right wing, a good cross from Josh Payne and a Leo Hayward header just over the bar. Great effort but there was better to come in the 32nd minute. Good skills by HAYDN HODGES saw him burst into the box and fire a low shot towards the far corner of the net. The Balti keeper got a hand to the ball but couldn’t keep out so 2-1 to Westlands. Home keeper Sam Watts was called into action 10 minutes later when the Balti #7 got a good shot away but Westlands were soon on the attack again and could easily have scored 2 minutes before half time. Haydn Hodges put a dangerous free kick into the box and once again Josh Payne powered in a header that came off the post with the Balti keeper beaten all ends up. Then Leo Hayward raced through the Balti defence, rounded the keeper and from an acute angle sidefooted the ball goalwards. Agonisingly the ball rolled along the line past the far post and continued towards the corner flag before being booted clear.

That was the last action of the first half and although we had to be pleased with a 2-1 half time lead, it could have been more with a bit of luck.

Within 10 minutes of the restart Balti fell foul of the new sin bin rule to go down to ten men. Westlands quickly took advantage when JOSH PAYNE ran on to a nice through ball and thumped in goal number 3 across the keeper into the far corner. Balti's discipline problems continued and they now found themselves down to nine men with another player banished to the sin bin for dissent. This time Westlands couldn’t take advantage and with Balti eventually back to full strength Sam Watts made a good double save to keep them out. However in the 76th minute Westlands made sure of the points when SZYMON MATUSZEWSKI volleyed the fourth goal into the top corner after some excellent play down the right wing had opened up the Balti defence. Play got very scrappy now with substitutions being made by both sides so the last 15 minutes produced very little in the way of chances and I think both teams knew the points were in the bag for Westlands.

A good result that keeps the title hopes alive and good discipline shown by the players throughout.

The Man-of-the-Match award this week goes to JOSH PAYNE for some clinical finishing. Composure in front of goal has been a bit of a problem at times this season but Josh showed how it should be done with two excellent goals and only the post prevented him from notching a hat-trick.

Westlands lineup: 1.S.Watts 2.S.Plumley 3.P.Wells 4.S.Smith 5.J.Manley 6.S.Carney 7.S.J.Payne 8.H.Hodges 9.L.Hayward 10.A.Herrin 11.J.Irwin 12.S.Matuszewski 14.H.Lawrence-Napier 15.A.Murphy 16.D. Forshaw

 

Saturday 4th Nov, Somerset Senior Cup, 3rd Rnd: WESTLAND SPORTS 4 WATCHET TOWN 2 (AET)

After last week’s disappointing result we were looking to get back to winning ways and no better time to do it than in the Senior Cup with the visit of last season’s Somerset County League Premier Division champions. A couple of changes were made, Jonny Manley, Olly Wake and Ant Herrin all started at the expense of Haydn Hodges, Henry Lawrence-Napier and Jamie Irwin.

The first real attack of the match came after 3 minutes when the Westlands players backed off the Watchet #9 and he ran about 20 yards before having a shot which flew well over the top. The #9 had been identified as a danger man before the game so some slack play by Sports to allow him that time and space. Westlands first chance came when they forced a corner in the 7th minute. Leo Hayward swung it in and Jonny Manley headed over. It was an even contest but after 20 minutes the Watchet #9 was again given too much space but his chip shot went just over. In the 25th minute Jonny Manley conceded a free kick on the edge of the box and was booked for his efforts but the kick came to nothing. The next chance fell to Jamie Green who blasted off a shot which was blocked. As half time approached Westlands produced the move of the match so far and took the lead. SAM CARNEY laid the ball off to Josh Payne whose neat back heel return pass put Sam in a shooting position about 15 yards out. His shot for the far corner was helped into the net by a desperate lunge by a defender but he only succeeded in looping the ball over the keeper. That goal gave Westlands a slim half time lead which they just about deserved in what was a fairly evenly matched game.

The visitor’s were fired up for the second half and the #9 blasted a shot over the bar. Then as Westlands pressed Jonny Manley tried a hook shot which went over the top. On the hour mark Josh Payne was withdrawn and was replaced by Szymon Matuszewski. A few minutes later an Ant Herrin through ball picked out Szymon but his shot found the side netting. Then Sam Carney had a good break but as he tried to slip the ball through to Szymon a defender’s foot got in the way. With nothing to lose, Watchet pushed more and more men forward and this paid off in the 70th minute with the equaliser driven in from close range after a low cross from the left wing. Buoyed by the equaliser the visitors kept on the attack and another good cross and shot forced a diving save from Sam Watts. Just as we began to think the tide had turned against us we scored. A corner dropped to ANT HERRIN in the 80th minute and he smashed it in to make the score 2-1. With only 10 minutes left Leo Hayward was withdrawn and Henry Lawrence-Napier took the field. This looked like ‘shut up shop’ time for Westlands and this was soon followed by Jamie Irwin coming on to replace Ant Herrin. Watchet were not finished yet and with their big centre half pushed up front they made one last big effort and it paid off ! Another low cross into the danger area, an attempted clearance and finally the ball was forced over the line to great joy from the visitors. So, 2-2 it was and into extra time.

In the added 30 minutes it was Westlands who put their disappointment behind them and began to get on top but they were finding it difficult to put the finishing touch to some decent chances. Jamie Irwin was causing the Watchet defence some problems and he set up Szymon Matuszewski but his shot was blocked by the goalkeeper. Szymon was finding space down the right and just before the turn round he ran through the tiring Watchet defence but delayed his shot and a defender made a saving tackle.

Into the second half of extra time and again Szymon Matuszewski burst through the Watchet defence. The keeper got down to save his first shot and the second effort went just wide of the post. At this point a second yellow and subsequent red for a Watchet defender didn’t help their cause and Westlands kept up the pressure. With two minutes to go, maybe less, Jamie Green had a good shot turned round the post for a corner. The kick was half cleared out to Jamie Irwin on the right wing and he put over a peach of a cross that SCOTT SMITH headed in to put Sports ahead again. Watchet’s heads were down now and the icing on the cake came in injury time. SZYMON MATUSZEWSKI latched on to through ball and from close range smashed the ball into the roof of the net off the keeper’s legs to make it 4-2 and put the match beyond doubt.

A real thriller at Alvington and great credit to Westlands for battling through a tough spell in the second half and coming on strong in injury time.

The Man-of-the-Match award this week goes to SAM CARNEY for an excellent performance in Westland’s midfield. Sam showed good composure on the ball and very rarely loses possession so he keeps things ticking over in the engine room. Also the first goal was crucial and he was instrumental in that.

Westlands lineup: 1.S.Watts 2.O.Wake 3.P.Wells 4.S.Smith 5.J.Manley 6.S.Carney 7.S.Plumley 8.J.Green 9.L.Hayward 10.A.Herrin 11.J.Payne 12.S.Matuszewski 14.H.Lawrence-Napier 15.Dwayne Forshaw 16.J.Irwin

 

Saturday 28th Oct, Dorset Premier League, WESTLAND SPORTS 3 MERLEY COBHAM 5

Westlands defence, who had previously not conceded more than one goal in any match, shipped five as they slumped to a 5-3 defeat to Merley Cobham at Alvington. Aided by a goalkeeping blunder Lee Wilkins opened the scoring for Merley after only 10 minutes and when Josh Pickering put Merley two up after a swift attack in 13 minutes the home side had their work cut out. Westlands huffed and puffed and created a couple of good chances that were squandered, both of these in the ‘sitter’ category. Half time 0-2.

When Asa Phillips punished another mistake to put the visitors three up in the 52nd minute it looked like game over but Westlands briefly fought back to 3-2 after 70 minutes with goals from LEO HAYWARD, with a shot on the run, and HAYDN HODGES from a free kick. However a quick reply by Lee Wilkins, who hooked in a corner kick, restored Merley’s two goal lead and when Asa Phillips cashed in on another goalkeeping error with a fifth goal in the 87th minute the game was effectively over. A late penalty by HAYDN HODGES added a bit of respectability to

the score but this was not Westland's day and Merley Cobham took full advantage to record a good win.

The Man-of-the-Match award this week goes to HAYDN HODGES for another all energy performance capped by t

Westlands lineup: 1.S.Watts 2. S.Plumley 3.P.Wells 4.S.Smith 5.J.Green 6.H.Lawrence-Napier 7.J.Payne 8.S.Carney 9.L.Hayward 10.H.Hodges 11.J.Irwin 12.S.Matuszewski 14.A.Herrin 15.D.Forshaw 16.M.Watson

 

Sat 21st October, Dorset League Cup Round 1, WESTLAND SPORTS 1 BRIDPORT RESERVES 0

Weather warnings were out for gale force winds and rain so it was one eye on the sky as the teams lined up for this one. Westlands had a bit of a blow when Jonny Manley had to pull out just minutes before kick off when his back siezed up during the warm up. Luckily we had a top class replacement on the bench in Olly Wake so he stepped into the starting line up. Josh Payne was also a non-starter after being injured playing for the league representative side last week so Szymon Matuszewski deputised and with Dwayne Forshaw at a wedding there was also a starting spot for Ant Herrin who played up front. Sam Carney and Leo Hayward gave us a strong bench.

We kicked off with a strong wind blowing across the pitch and it was obvious this was going to have an effect on the game and these are the days when you get shock results so we were hoping we wouldn’t get the forecast downpour as well. As the teams tried to get the measure of the conditions, some final passes were going astray and balls in the air were very risky and the first chance fell to the visitors when a back pass from a Westlands defender was short. A Bridport player nipped in but thumped his shot well over the top. Westlands started to get into their stride after this and with quarter of an hour gone Ant Herrin put over a lovely cross which seemed destined for Haydn Hodges head until a defender just managed to touch the ball away for a corner. Nothing came of that and it was Bridport who had the next chance. A free kick was fired in and flew past Sam Watts far post. Back down at the other end Jamie Green got a good head to a corner but saw his net-bound effort cleared off the line. Once again Bridport responded and a well hit shot from their #9 was tipped over the bar by Sam Watts. It had been a decent first half hour considering the conditions but going into the last 15 minutes Westlands started to put the pressure on. Haydn Hodges started it off with a lovely pass inside the fullback for Szymon Matuszewski to run on to. Szymon met it on the run and his drive for the top corner whizzed just past the angle of the goal. A couple of minutes later Haydn repeated the move with another defence splitting pass through to Szymon. This time he took the ball on and fired it low and hard across the face of the goal where Jamie Irwin just failed to connect. In the 35th minute some neat inter-passing between Haydn Hodges and Ant Herrin created a chance but Haydn’s shot went over the top. The final talking point in the half was a couple of minutes before half time when Szymon Matuszewski ran on to another pass from Haydn Hodges and was barged to the ground. Large shouts for a penalty from all round the ground but the referee was having none of it.

So, 0-0 at half-time was a bit disappointing as Westlands had come on quite strong in that last 15 minutes but if we could keep that up surely the goals would come ?

Bridport had put on a Brazilian sub at half time and he soon showed his pace with a good run but his shot missed the target. In the 50th minute another good chance for the visitors but this time the final shot slipped by the far post. A good opening five minutes for Bridport but Sports were soon back knocking on the door at the other end. Jamie Irwin ran on to a through ball and as the keeper came out he tried to sidefoot it past him but the shot was weak and the keeper saved. Again on the hour mark Jamie Irwin had a chance but again the keeper saved his shot. Just after this Szymon Matuszewski was replaced by Sam Carney. Szymon hasn’t played for well over a year so it was a good hour of competitive football for him and he received a good round of applause as he came off. In the 65th minute a good run and cross by a Bridport attacker gave his team-mate a chance but he blazed his shot over the top. Then a bizarre incident occurred which saw a Westlands player being “sin-binned” for the first time this season. Haydn Hodges tried to take a quick free kick on the halfway line but a Bridport player who was 2 yards away stuck out a leg and blocked the kick. Haydn picked the ball up expecting perhaps a yellow card for the Bridport player but was amazed when the referee gave a free kick against him for hand ball ! Haydn’s subsequent complaints saw him banished to the sin-bin for 10 minutes. The referee explained post match that if you try to take a quick free kick the opposition are entitled to block it no matter how far from the ball they are ! It’s news to me !!! And when is a quick one not a quick one ? The management made another sub at this point bringing on Leo Hayward in place of Ant Herrin. This gave us a different style up front with Leo’s hard running offering a different option to Ant’s back-to-goal hold up style. The opposition defenders were a bit shaken up as Leo began to immediately cause them a few problems with his pace. With Sports pressing now we forced a corner in the 75th minute. Leo Hayward curled an inswinger to the far post where SCOTT SMITH rose to plant a header into the net. A good goal from Scott, his second in two games. A couple of minutes later a free kick to Westlands was fired goalwards by Leo but the keeper made a good save. In the 83rd minute Leo Hayward showed an audacious bit of skill to nutmeg a defender out on the right wing. He then cut inside and as the keeper came slipped the ball past him but it agonisingly hit the post and bounced out. That was the last real chance in the game and Westlands closed the match out with no more problems.

Not the most convincing of results for Sports but sometimes you just have to grind out a win and that is what we did. The strong wind hadn’t made it easy for the players but they gave the spectators quite an exciting game nevertheless. We are through to the next round of the League Cup so we have to be pleased with the result at the end of the day.

The Man-of-the-Match award this week goes to HAYDN HODGES despite his history making sin-bin. Haydn’s hard work and commitment on the pitch was outstanding and he was influential in most of Westland’s attacks, especially in the first half.

Westlands lineup: 1.S.Watts 2. S.Plumley 3.P.Wells 4.S.Smith 5.O.Wake 6.H.Lawrence-Napier 7.S.Matuszewski 8.J.Green 9.A.Herrin 10.H.Hodges 11.J.Irwin 12.S.Carney 14.L.Hayward

 

Sat 7th Oct 2017, Somerset Senior Cup Round 2, WESTLAND SPORTS 3 MIDDLEZOY ROVERS 1

The County Cup always brings a new challenge and we were expecting a tough match from a side well placed in the county league Premier Division. Regarding team selection, from last week, Sam Plumley replaced the injured Olly Wake in defence and Dwayne Forshaw came in to replace the unavailable Leo Hayward up front. On the bench, Sam Carney and Ant Herrin returned and Charlie Gay made his first appearance of the season.

A blistering start saw Westlands race into a two goal lead inside the first ten minutes. Josh Payne posted an early warning to the visitors in the 2nd minute when he raced clear and rounded the keeper, only to see his final shot from an acute angle drift wide of the far post. But the first goal wasn’t long in coming and in the 7th minute SCOTT SMITH went up for a free kick, lost his marker with a good run, and thumped a powerful header into the net. What a start for Westlands and more was to come. Only 2 minutes later HAYDN HODGES made himself some space in the box and fired a low right foot shot into the far corner of the net. The visitors were rocked but gradually they began to settle into the game and began to show their quality. After 22 minutes Sam Watts in Westlands goal was called into action for the first time when he made a good save from a low shot. It was a fairly even contest after this but 5 minutes before the half time break Middlezoy pulled one back. Westlands keeper Sam Watts came charging out for a cross and only got a hand to it. A shot from a Middlezoy player was blocked but the rebound was thumped into the back of the net. That was a good time to score for the visitors as they could go into the break knowing they were back in the game after their slow start.

Middlezoy came out for the second half with renewed belief and tested Sam Watts with a low shot that he gathered by the post. Westlands hit back with a Dwayne Foshaw shot that was turned round the post by their keeper. In the 55th minute a deep cross into the Westlands box was missed by Sam Watts but fortunately a Middlezoy player blasted his shot well over the bar. Once again it was a fairly even match but Westlands always looked the more likely side to score and so it proved in the 62nd minute. Henry Lawrence-Napier fed a nice through ball to JOSH PAYNE who took a touch and drove the ball across the keeper into the far corner. The third goal took a bit of the sting out of the visitors and they resorted to long balls, mainly by their goalkeeper, that were mopped up by the Westlands back division. Sam Carney came off the bench for Westlands now and his calm precise passing set the tone as Westlands just lowered the tempo and played out time. One last chance for Sports to increase their lead fell to Charlie Gay (who had replaced Josh Payne) when he got on the end of a low cross only to see his shot hit the post and rebound into the keeper’s arms.

The final whistle signalled another good result for Westlands against difficult opponents. That win takes us into the third round of the competition for the first time in several years so we now look forward to a good run.

The Man-of-the-Match award this week goes to JAMIE GREEN for a hard working performance in the midfield. Playing a more defensive role is not the most glamorous but is an important part of the team tactically, and the skipper was solid in the position.

Westlands lineup: 1.S.Watts 2. S.Plumley 3.P.Wells 4.S.Smith 5.J.Manley 6.H.Lawrence-Napier 7.J.Irwin 8.J.Green 9.J.Payne 10.H.Hodges 11.D.Forshaw 12.S.Carney 13.A.Herrin 14.C.Gay

 

Saturday 30th Sept, Dorset Premier League, WESTLAND SPORTS 3 DORCHESTER SPORTS 1

This looked like a tough match with the visitor’s currently lying in second place in the league. Westlands line up showed two changes from last week with Scott Smith returning at centre half and Henry Lawrence-Napier replacing Ant Herrin in the midfield. Sam Plumley returned after suspension but had to make do with a place on the bench. Dorchester tried to confuse with numbers 15, 16, 23 & 77 in their starting line-up whereas Westlands stuck to the traditional 1-11.

Dorchester were on the front foot straight away with their right back cutting in and letting fly with a shot that was deflected for a corner. The kick came over but was scooped well over the bar. Nevertheless an early warning for Westlands who responded with a Henry Lawrence –Napier shot that was blocked by the goalkeeper. Dorchester were giving the Westlands defence some problems with their fast raids another attack in the 18th minute was defended for a corner. The visitor’s took a quick one and caught the Westlands players at sixes and sevens. The ball was played across to their unmarked #4 about 25 yards out and he smashed a dipping volley into the far top corner of the net. Sam Watts, Westlands keeper, had no chance with that one but the home defence were caught a bit on the hop there. The next chance came to Dorchester and Sam Watts saved a header from a cross as they continued to press. Westlands were trying to put together some attacks and the best of these was when Leo Hayward raced clear of the defence and was unceremoniously hacked down from behind. The referee only gave the culprit a yellow card which was generous to say the least as Leo was clean through with an obvious goal scoring chance. When Haydn Hodges put the resulting free kick over the bar the injustice was complete. Just before the half time break Olly Wake was forced to come off with a shoulder injury and he was replaced by Sam Plumley.

It had not been a good first half for Westlands, the visitor’s looking much sharper and #23 in particular causing us some problems with some strong runs from midfield. Westlands defence had been hard pressed at times with some timely interventions and tackles from Jonny Manley keeping the visitors at bay. We had looked a bit sluggish and needed to up our game in the second half if we were to get anything from this match.

Whatever the management said at half time had the desired effect as Westlands definitely upped the pace in the second half and were soon pressing forward. A free kick into the box was headed over the bar by Henry Lawrence-Napier as Westlands went looking for that equalising goal. And we didn’t have long to wait as it came in the 55th minute. Henry Lawrence-Napier, out on the right, chipped a lovely ball to LEO HAYWARD that took out two defenders. Leo steadied himself with a touch and thumped the ball under the diving keeper to make it 1-1.

Westlands were dominating the midfield now with skipper Jamie Green prominent and continued on the front foot. The effervescent Haydn Hodges put over a swirling cross that deceived the keeper and bounced off the top of the bar and was scrambled away. In the 67th minute Haydn picked the ball up about 25 yards out and drove into the penalty box where he was upended for a stonewall penalty. HAYDN HODGES took the kick himself and blasted the ball high into the top corner to put Westlands in front 2-1. We were almost caught napping a couple of minutes later when a Dorchester player was given a free header but he put it wide of the post. The next chance came to Josh Payne but he shot over. In the 82nd minute Westlands got the crucial third goal that virtually put the game to bed. Leo Hayward was the provider, setting up JAMIE IRWIN who provided his usual clinical finish, driving the ball into the far corner. That goal was well received around the ground and although the visitors tried hard to respond time was running out for them. A subdued Josh Payne was then replaced by Dwayne Forshaw as Westlands made their second sub of the day. With only 2 minutes left a Dorchester player was put clean through but Sam Watts made a great save to protect our lead. Will Ireland then replaced Leo Hayward to complete the substitutions. Westlands were perhaps getting a little complacent now and Haydn Hodges headed a shot off the line after a corner kick. Dorchester continued to throw men forward and were almost caught on the break in the final minute when Dwayne Forshaw raced clear but was thwarted by the Dorchester keeper who dived to save with his legs. An excellent save by the keeper as he had been injured a few minutes earlier and could hardly walk. That was the last action of the game and the final whistle ended an exciting last few minutes.

Post match the general view was that Dorchester had been the better team in the first half and that Westlands had turned the tables in the second period and in the end just deserved the victory. It was a win we needed to keep in touch with the league leaders so a good result for Westlands to beat a very good Dorchester Sports outfit.

The Man-of-the-Match award this week goes to Westlands goalkeeper SAM WATTS who looked in dominant form throughout. He had no chance with the goal we conceded but made several good saves and generally spread confidence in the defence.

Westlands lineup: 1.S.Watts 2.O.Wake 3.P.Wells 4.S.Smith 5.J.Manley 6.H.Lawrence-Napier 7.J.Payne 8.J.Green 9.L.Hayward 10.H.Hodges 11.J.Irwin 12.D.Forshaw 14.W.Ireland 15.S.Plumley

 

Saturday 23rd Sept, Dorset Premier League, WESTLAND SPORTS 2 HAMWORTHY UTD 0

Another grand day at Alvington for the visit of Hamworthy Utd Reserves who have been picking up a few useful results recently. Sam Plumley was still suspended and Scott Smith was unavailable so Olly Wake moved back into central defence with Will Ireland taking over the right back spot. One other change saw Jamie Irwin getting the nod out wide on the left.

Hamworthy made the first chance in the opening minute but their centre forward skied his shot. Then Westlands attacked and a good through ball from Ant Herrin was cleared for a corner. Jonny Manley got his head to the cross but couldn’t get a clean header and that too was blocked for a corner. The next cross caused a bit of a melee in the goalmouth and several efforts were saved or blocked before the ball was hacked away. Hamworthy bounced back and had the next chance with a good shot that flew past the post. With 15 minutes on the clock Ant Herrin fired in a daisy cutter and the Hamworthy keeper dived low to smother the shot. It was a good contest and the visitor’s were showing their mettle with some good approach play. Westlands however always looked the more dangerous but were a bit wasteful with the chances they created. Haydn Hodges had a free kick saved, Phil Wells put a 20 yarder over the top, and Leo Hayward followed suit before the referee blew the whistle for half time.

This was a well poised match and the feeling was that the first goal could be crucial. Westland’s had probably shaded the first half but with no goals to show for it they needed to up their game a bit now and take their chances.

Sports looked quite lively in the second half and in the 59th minute almost opened the scoring with a lovely move which opened up the Hamworthy defence. Jamie Irwin knocked a nice pass over to Haydn Hodges who squared the ball back across goal to Leo Hayward whose shot hit the post and rebounded to safety. A few minutes later Josh Payne cut in and fizzed a shot past the far post. Westlands were beginning to test the Hamworthy defence now and eventually the pressuretold and the deadlock was broken in the 70th minute. Haydn Hodges fired over a low corner to the front post where JOSH PAYNE drilled the ball into the back of the net. Sports continued to turn the screw and in the 75th minute Ant Herrin put a header just over the top. A minute later it was 2-0 and another cracking goal from Westlands. Jamie Green clipped a good ball into the box, Haydn Hodges cleverly let it run to JOSH PAYNE who took a touch and smashed a shot into the net from about 12 yards out. Westlands looked to be in total control now and the focus was on not conceding as we now had the two goal lead. As a result the game kind of petered out although with a couple of minutes to go Hamworthy did create one last chance but their centre forward thumped the ball into the side netting.

The final whistle ended what had been a tough match and the Westland players can be pleased with the way they had managed the game. The visitor’s are a good side, the best I’ve seen in Hamworthy colours for a few years and they will make things difficult for any side in the league this season. On the day, Sports looked solid in all departments and another clean sheet is always a bonus.

The Man-of-the-Match award this week is a bit of a foregone conclusion and goes to JOSH PAYNE for a starring role in the team victory. Josh is in top form right now and his two goals were quality strikes. Apart from that he always looked dangerous out on the right wing, lurking like a cobra ready to strike !

Westlands lineup: 1.S.Watts 2.W.Ireland 3.P.Wells 4.O.Wake 5.J.Manley 6.H.Hodges 7.J.Payne 8.J.Green 9.L.Hayward 10.A.Herrin 11.J.Irwin 12.D.Forshaw 14.S.Carney 15.H.Lawrence-Napier

 

Saturday 16th Sept, Dorset Premier League, BLANDFORD UTD 1 WESTLAND SPORTS 3

After a good win at home last week, we were looking to take that good form on the road for our away trip to Blandford. Always a bit tricky at Blandford with the side to side slope having an effect on the game. There is always much more room up on the 'high' side as play generally graduates down the hill. Westlands made three enforced changes from the team that banged in five last week. Regular keeper Sam Watts was working so Chris Bennett was between the sticks. Sam Plumley was suspended so Scott Smith was restored to the central defence with Olly Wake moving over to right back and Sam Carney had picked up an injury so Haydn Hodges was given the playmaker role in central midfield.

Sports made the early running and forced a couple of corners one of which was headed well over the bar by Josh Payne. Then a bit of a let off for the home side when their keeper spilled a Haydn Hodges shot at Ant Herrin's feet but his shot was blocked for a corner. When the ball came over it was headed into the net but the ‘goal’ was disallowed for an infringement. Then in 17 minutes Blandford broke through and Chris Bennett had to be quick off his line to clear. Scott Smith then headed a free kick over and a Blandford long throw was blasted high over the top. Then a Blandford tried his luck from 30 yards but again it was well over the top. In the 26th minute Westlands broke the deadlock when they scored the crucial opening goal. Leo Hayward drove a corner across low and hard and JOSH PAYNE neatly slotted home at the near post. Blandford tried to hit back in the 32nd minute with their favourite tactic of a ball over the top for their speedy #11. He was in behind our defence which was a bit square but luckily the combined efforts of Chris Bennett and Scott Smith managed to block his shot for a corner. Worryingly, only three minutes later we were caught square again and once again #11 broke through only for the final shot to be blocked once again. A couple of minutes after these scares Josh Payne squared the ball to Ant Herrin in front of goal but he just scooped his shot wide. Then Haydn Hodges made a good run beating three men but his final shot was ballooned over. Chances for both teams in the 1st half with Westlands having the greater share of the pressure so it was Sportss who went in with a deserved one goal lead at the break.

A decent first half for Westlands, a couple of dodgy moments at the back but generally we had controlled the game so the omens looked good for the second half.

Westlands were soon pushing forward after the break and a good cross into the box was met on the stretch by Leo Hayward about 5 yards out but his effort went wide.The 2nd goal for Westlands came in the 53rd minute and a cracking goal it was Josh Payne laid the ball back to Olly Wake out on the right and he delivered pin-point cross into the box that was hooked first time into the far top corner of the net by LEO HAYWARD. Sports looked fairly comfortable now and continued to press. Dwayne Forshaw turned the full back inside out and squared the ball to Ant Herrin who fired a shot just past the far post. Then Haydn Hodges hit one from 20 yards that just went wide as Sports kept the pressure on. Josh Payne was up on the high side this half and with the benefit of the extra space, he was leading the home defence a merry dance. In the 65th minute he romped past the beleaguered Blandford defence and cut a ball across the front of the goal that was just begging to be knocked over the line. Unfortunately no-one had kept pace with our twinkle-toed wide man and so the chance went begging. A minute later Blandford had a break but the final shot was an easy save for Chris Bennett. The 66th minute saw the first substitution with Jamie Irwin replacing Dwayne Forshaw. That was soon followed by a sensible second sub with midfielder Will Ireland replacing Leo Hayward as Sports looked to consolidate their two goal lead. In the 72nd minute Jonny Manley got his head to a corner but the keeper saved. Then Josh Payne had a great run and shot that the home keeper saved well, tipping the ball over for a corner. Five minutes later another shot from Josh was saved again at the expense of a corner. In the 81st minute Westlands were given a bit of a wake up call when a free kick into the box wasn’t cleared and Blandford’s Rob Manson slammed the ball into the net to reduce the deficit to one. Oops, this wasn't in the plan, but Sports had soon stretched their lead to two again with a well crafted goal in the 85th minute. Haydn Hodges perfect through pass put JAMIE IRWIN in behind the home defence and he produced a cool finish to slide the ball into the far corner. There was one more chance for Sports before the final whistle when Josh Payne shot just over the bar.

A 3-1 victory on the road is always a good result and although we made heavy weather of it at times all 14 players can be congratulated for a job well done.

The Man-of-the-Match award this week goes to HAYDN HODGES who really took hold of that central midfield and the way he ran at the Blandford defence caused them a lot of problems. He also provided the pass for the third goal to cap a man of the match performance.

Westlands lineup: 1.C.Bennett 2.O.Wake 3.P.Wells 4.S.Smith 5.J.Manley 6.H.Hodges 7.J.Payne 8.J.Green 9.L.Hayward 10.A.Herrin 11.D.Forshaw 12.H.Lawrence-Napier 14.J.Irwin 15.W.Ireland.

 

Saturday 9th Sept, Dorset Premier League, WESTLAND SPORTS 5 STURMINSTER NEWTON 0

A couple of changes in the Westlands line-up for this one with Josh Payne replacing the injured Matt Day and Jonny Manley restored to the back line. Difficult to know what to expect from any team at this time of the season but today’s opponents had made a decent start with 3 wins, 3 losses and a draw so they occupied a safe mid-table position. Some heavy rain showers seemed to clear as the match kicked off so the conditions were almost perfect.

Early pressure by Westlands soon had the visitors on the back foot and in the 7th minute the pressure paid off with the opening goal. Leo Hayward whipped over a corner and skipper JAMIE GREEN rose unmarked to power in a header. Westlands kept the pressure on and a good sweeping move from right to left saw Jamie Green again get his head to the final cross but the effort just cleared the bar. In the 12th minute Dwayne Forshaw had a shot blocked but a minute later came the inevitable second goal. Some neat inter-passing out on the right wing created an opening and when the cross came over DWAYNE FORSHAW smacked it into the roof of the net. It was nearly three when Jamie Green hit the bar from another corner after 21 minutes so with still 25 minutes to go until the break it looked as if Sports could rattle in a few more. Then Josh Payne’s quick feet took him through the visitor’s defence but his final effort was toe-poked just past the post. On the half hour mark Dwayne Forshaw was put clean through but he blasted his shot over the top. A minute later a superb passing move, ending with a sublime flick by Ant Herrin, put Sam Carney clean through with only the keeper to beat but again we missed the target. In the 44th minute Ant Herrin burst through, rounded the keeper and squared the ball across goal where Jamie Green just failed to connect.

Half time and the 2-0 score line did not reflect Westland’s superiority as once again we had squandered several good chances after taking an early two goal lead.

Any thoughts of a possible fight back by Sturminster Newton were quashed straight after the interval. A clever ball dinked over the top by Jamie Green was chested down by DWAYNE FORSHAW and buried in the far corner to make it 3-0. Five minutes later Ant Herrin was again the provider as he neatly slipped a through pass to Jamie Green but his shot was wide of the post. Sturminster then had their best attempt so far with a well struck shot from distance but Sam Watts in the Westland’s goal clutched it securely. Then the visitor’s had another shot which was deflected just past the post. Then it was the Stur keeper who had to dive and turn a Leo Hayward shot round the post. With an hour gone it was sub time and Josh Payne was first to make way, being replaced by Haydn Hodges. That was followed by Jamie Irwin replacing Dwayne Forshaw. In the 70th minute Haydn Hodges was clean through with only the keeper to beat but he tried a side foot shot which the keeper blocked. With 15 minutes to go Ollie Wake was replaced by Tom Budden as Sports made their final substitution. Then a moment of madness from Sam Plumley who copped a straight red for verbally abusing the far side lino who was, in fact, the Sturminster Newton club linesman as we had only a referee appointed this week. Bit of a shortage of officials I believe but not ideal when you have club linesmen. Anyway, with about 15 minutes to go Stur Newton took advantage of Westlands temporary reorganisation to mount an attack and Sam Watts made a great save from a well struck shot from 20 yards. Then the visitors had a good header from a corner fly over the top as they continued to press. Westlands were still dangerous and with 5 minutes to go put the game beyond any doubt with the fourth goal. Leo Hayward sprinted down the right wing and fired over a vicious cross that the keeper came for and missed. Like a thief in the night HAYDN HODGES was lurking at the far post to plunder an easy goal knocking the ball into the unguarded net from close range. Haydn was on the rampage now as he jinked through the Stur defence and fired a shot just past the far post. Then in the final minute, it was HAYDN HODGES who put the icing on the cake when he cut in from the left and drilled a shot into the far corner to make it 5-0.

The Man-of-the-Match award this week goes to skipper JAMIE GREEN who led from the front with a hard working ninety minutes. He set the team on the road to victory with the opening goal and could have had a couple more with a bit of luck. Add to that a nice assist for the third goal and it all adds up to a man of the match performance.

Westlands lineup: 1.S.Watts 2.S.Plumley 3.P.Wells 4.O.Wake 5.J.Manley 6.S.Carney 7.J.Payne 8.J.Green 9.L.Hayward 10.A.Herrin 11.D.Forshaw 12.Scott Smith 14.J.Irwin 15.W.Ireland 16.T.Budden

 

Saturday 2nd August, Somerset Senior Cup, HUTTON 1 WESTLAND SPORTS 6

A glorious day up at Weston-super-Mare as Sports took on Hutton in the County Cup first round. A lovely country setting with the ground looking pristine for this, the home sides first season in senior football. Westlands starting eleven was upset with Scott Smith dropping out with an injured shoulder sustained at home. Then fellow central defender Jonny Manley felt a twinge in his groin whilst warming up so he too was dropped to the bench. The versatile Jamie Green dropped back to centre half where he was supported by Ollie Wake. Sam Carney and Matty Day both returned to the midfield with Leo Hayward getting the nod up front.

Westlands soon settled to the task and an early corner followed by a free kick saw dangerous balls delivered into the Hutton box. Then after 10 minutes, the injury jinx struck again as Matty Day went down clutching his knee after an innocuous challenge. An old injury that has plagued him for the past few seasons reared its ugly head once more and will no doubt mean a lengthy lay off. Haydn Hodges deputised and Sports went back on the attack. In the 12th minute Dwayne Forshaw made a good run into the box but when he looked like he had an open goal he chose to pass to Leo Hayward whose shot was wide of the mark. Then Leo made a great run to the byline and drove the ball low and hard across goal but Haydn Hodges couldn’t connect at the far post. In the 20th minute we opened the scoring, and it had been coming. Sam Carney won the ball in midfield and drove into the opposition half. His final pass to ANT HERRIN was sliderule and a sidefoot into the bottom corner finished the job. A few minutes later the Hutton keeper made a hash of an attempted clearance and presented the ball to Leo Hayward whose lob towards the unguarded goal bounced off the post. On the half hour mark their keeper made a good save from an Ant Herrin header and then saved another Ant effort. But eventually, in the 34th minute he was beaten for goal number two. The ball was played out to DWAYNE FORSHAW on the left and he cut inside two defenders onto his right foot and drilled a daisycutter into the far corner. Two minutes later the keeper made another blunder and this time he was punished. An attempted pass out to a defender went straight to ANT HERRIN who knocked the ball into the open goal from 40 yards to make it 3-0. With 40 minutes gone Haydn Hodges swung in a corner, Ant Herrin glanced a header goalwards but a defender cleared off the line. In the 44th minute Sam Watts had to make his first save when he clutched a free kick that cleared the wall. There was just time for one more effort from Westlands before the break. A good passing move down the right saw Sam Plumley square the ball to Leo Hayward who looked to have an open goal but he scooped his shot over the bar from 10 yards out.

It had been a good first half for Sports and the game looked to be beyond the home side now.

Westlands continued to attack and a good ball from Haydn Hodges put Ant Herrin through but the keeper made a good diving save to block his shot and then dived again to save Leo Hayward’s follow. In the 55th minute we went 4 up. Sam Plumley raced to the byeline and cut the ball back to ANT HERRIN who completed his hat-trick with a sidefoot finish high into the net. Five minutes later Ant was subbed and replaced by Josh Payne ! The home defence were looking rather leg weary now and the chances were coming thick and fast. A free kick on the edge of the box was chipped over the wall into the keeper’s arms by Jamie Green before we made it 5-0 in the 67th minute. A good passing move saw the home defence carved open and the final dinked lob from LEO HAYWARD over the keeper into the top corner was exquisite. Then Haydn Hodges missed a sitter followed by Josh Payne who cleared the bar from about 10 yards after being set up by Will Ireland’s downward header. Then Leo was put clean through, a shot looked on but he passed to Josh Payne who tried another pass and the chance was gone. Then Leo charged down the right and squared to Josh in front of goal and again the final shot went over the top. With all the Westlands player going gung-ho for goals we didn’t need, we were caught short handed at the back when Hutton had a breakaway attack and their number 10 ran through to score neatly. A lack of discipline there and a reminder if you lose your shape you are always likely to lose goals. Sam Watts, Sports keeper, was fuming (as were the bench!) but Westlands went down to the other end and scored immediately to placate the anger. Dwayne Forshaw muscled his way down the right and squared the ball to JOSH PAYNE who got his finish spot on as he rifled the ball into the roof of the net. That goal completed the scoring but Sports created four more good chances before the final whistle. First Sam Carney hit a piledriver that the keeper managed to tip onto the crossbar. From the resulting corner Will Ireland rose highest to power a header goalwards that crashed off the bar then Leo Hayward thumped in a shot that smashed off the post and finally, in the last minute, Haydn Hodges ran right through the whole Hutton defence but as the keeper came out he fluffed his attempted chip into the keeper’s arms.

So, 6-1 and a job well done for Westlands who progress into the next round. It could have been more with a bit of composure in front of goal, so still some work to be done.

The Man-of-the-Match award this week goes to PHIL WELLS who never put a foot wrong all afternoon. No lack of composure in this department with good reading of the game and when he got the ball he passed it quickly to a team mate.

Westlands lineup: 1.S.Watts 2.S.Plumley 3.P.Wells 4.O.Wake 5.J.Green 6.S.Carney 7.D.Forshaw 8.W.Ireland 9.L.Hayward 10.A.Herrin 11.M.Day 12. J.Payne 14.J.Manley 15.H.Hodges 16.S.Smith

 

Wednesday 30th August, Dorset Premier League, MERE TOWN 0 WESTLAND SPORTS 0

A 6.30 pm kick off at Mere, which is a 45 minute drive from Yeovil, is not ideal on a late August evening when it gets dark at about 8pm ! Can't really understand why we have to do this.

On the team front we had one change from the Holt game, Henry Lawrence-Napier starting at the expense of Leo Hayward.

We eventually kicked off about 5 minutes late (!) and Westlands immediately poured forward into the attack winning a free kick just outside the box. The ball into the area was glanced away by a defender's head for a corner kick. The ball was swung over to the far post where Scott Smith directed a firm header goalwards but the defender on the line managed to head it away. Westlands had the home side pinned in their own half and although the pressure was constant we were already finding it difficult to create clear cut chances. However, in the 12th minute Dwayne Forshaw ran onto a cross from the right and met it flush with his head but the ball rebounded from the crossbar to safety. Four minutes later a free kick from Haydn Hodges was head-flicked goalwards by Ant Herrin but it was an easy save for the keeper. After 30 minutes Mere had their first shot at goal when their player had a pop from about 40 yards which Sam Watts caught easily. Then Henry Lawrence-Napier hit a low daisy cutter that took a deflection and finished going past the wrong side of the post. We continued to press until half time but a lot of moves were breaking down before we could get a shot away and the Mere defence were defending doggedly.

The 0-0 half time score did not reflect play but there was just a slight worry about our failure to convert our possession into goals.

The second half started as the first had ended with Westlands totally dominant. The first good chance came in the 50th minute with a good run and shot from Dwayne Forshaw that the keeper dived to save low down at the post. A minute later a free kick from Haydn Hodges was headed over the bar by Henry Lawrence-Napier and a couple of minutes later a Josh Payne shot went over the bar as well. In the 60th minute we thought we had made the breakthrough. Sam Plumley put over a perfect cross to Dwayne Forshaw who met it on the volley at the far post but the ball agonisingly whistled past the far post with the keeper beaten. With the score still even the home side were gaining in confidence and in one of their sporadic attacks Sam Watts had to dive full length to turn a deflected free kick round the post. Westlands then brought on Leo Hayward for Dwayne Forshaw in an attempt to find a goal. In the 70th minute a good passing move between Sam Plumley and Josh Payne put Sam in on goal but his well struck shot was well saved by the keeper. In 78 minutes Haydn Hodges came off and was replaced by Steve Ormrod as Sports desperately looked for a way to break the deadlock. The game was getting very scrappy now and constant free kicks were stopping the flow of the match which suited the home team who were now in time-wasting mode as they were happy to hang on for a draw. This was very frustrating for the Westland players as the game was constantly being stopped and the whole game was developing into a bit of a farce as darkness fell. A moment to savour was when Sam Plumley took a quick throw in from outside the fence and the referee stopped play and awarded the throw to Mere ! Wrong on both counts there I think but anyway just an indication of the way the game was going. (There was more silliness but I won't say any more or I may get into trouble). Still there was time for Westlands to create another good chance. Steve Ormrod got up well to a cross and nodded the ball on to Leo Hayward whose header was well saved by the keeper. That was it, a 0-0 draw and a disappointing result for Sports as it was a game we should have won.

One good point was another clean sheet for the Westlands defence who never really gave the opposition a sniff all evening and for that reason the Man-of-the-Match award goes to OLLIE WAKE who strolled through the game with good positional play and some excellent distribution.

Westlands lineup: 1.S.Watts 2.S.Plumley 3.P.Wells 4.O.Wake 5.Scott Smith 6.H.Lawrence-Napier 7.J.Payne 8.J.Green 9.A.Herrin 10.H.Hodges 11.D.Forshaw 12. L.Hayward 14.J.Manley 15.W.Ireland 16.S.Ormrod

 

Saturday 26th August, Dorset Premier League, WESTLAND SPORTS 1 HOLT UTD 1

Another fine sunny afternoon for the visit of current league champions Holt Utd to Alvington Lane. Westlands had won their two previous matches and the visitors were undefeated so a good match was in prospect and a decent crowd turned out in the sun to watch the spectacle unfold. Westlands were without centre half Jonny Manley with a groin injury and so there was a return to the Westlands team for Ollie Wake who lined up alongside Scott Smith at the back. Jamie and Louis Irwin were also unavailable so it was a bit of a blow when Sam Carney also pulled out after the warm-up with a niggling injury ! We still had a strong line-up on paper but having to change things around every game doesn’t help develop any continuity.

Nevertheless, it was Westlands who settled quickest and in the 5th minute Josh Payne cut inside a defender and fired in a shot that the keeper saved. Then a few minutes later a peach of a ball from Leo Hayward over the top put Josh in behind the Holt defence but his final shot was a bit weak and again the keeper saved. Holt began to settle into the game after this and in the 15th minute their player fired a good shot just past the post. That gave them a bit of a boost and in the next attack Scott Smith picked up a yellow trying to stem another attack. The warning signs were there and in the 20th minute the visitor’s took the lead. Holt’s number 9 Mike Haskell is a real target man for them and when they had a free kick out on the right just over the half-way line he was the man they were looking to pick out. Unfortunately, once again he won the header and knocked it back across for an unmarked team-mate to plant a header past Sam Watts in the Westlands goal. A simple, well worked goal but a disappointing one to lose as it was a bit predictable and we failed to set up properly to deal with it. The next chance came when a Holt player burst through and shot just past the far post. A good spell for Holt but Sports were still having their moments and the opposition #2 picked up a yellow card when he flattened Dwayne Forshaw. Just before the break Westlands had a good chance with a free kick awarded on the edge of the Holt penalty area but Haydn Hodges chipped the ball over the wall into the keeper’s arms.

Half time and 1-0 down was not according to plan but we had given a good account of ourselves and this match could still go either way.

For the second week running the half time pep talk seemed to do the trick as Westlands came out buzzing and scored straight away. After some excellent interpassing down the left with Ant Herrin, HAYDN HODGES burst through the Holt defence and as the keeper came out slotted the ball past him into the corner of the net. A great goal and just the boost Westlands needed and with the scores now level it was end to end stuff. Haydn had another snap shot saved in the 51st minute and a few minutes later Holt’s #9 again won a header but his team-mates shot was saved by Sam Watts. In the 58th minute a free kick into the box caught the Holt defence flat footed and Scott Smith ran in totally unmarked but missed his header with only the keeper to beat. On the hour mark we were pleased to see the Holt #9 limp off as he had caused us a few problems and this seemed to be the signal for all out Westlands attack. Ant Herrin tried a hook shot from a free kick but the ball went wide then Leo Hayward had a shot on the run that was saved. In the 65th minute Sports made their first substitution with Henry Lawrence-Napier replacing Dwayne Forshaw. Leo Hayward took on the Holt defence as he charged into the box but he took too long to get his shot away and was crowded out. Then a blunder by the Holt defence put Leo in again but this time he was foiled by a great stop by the keeper who also then saved the rebound from Haydn Hodges. In the 75th minute Steve Ormrod came on in place of Leo Hayward to give us a bit more of a physical presence up front. In the 83rd minute Steve headed down a cross to Ant Herrin whose shot was saved. In the dying minutes Holt sensed an opportunity to nick the three points and Sam Watts had our hearts in our mouths as he charged from his area to tackle a Holt player out on the right wing. A final shot by Holt was over the top and that signalled the final whistle.

The 1-1result was not what we wanted but having been one behind at the break it had been a good second half from Sports. The chances were there to win the game but on the other hand, Holt had always looked dangerous so perhaps the draw was about right.

The Man-of-the-Match award goes to SCOTT SMITH for a solid performance at the back.

Westlands lineup: 1.S.Watts 2.S.Plumley 3.P.Wells 4.O.Wake 5.Scott Smith 6.A.Herrin 7.J.Payne 8.J.Green 9.L.Hayward 10.H.Hodges 11.D.Forshaw 14.T.Budden 15.H. Lawrence-Napier 16.M.Watson 17.S.Ormrod

 

Tuesday 22nd August, Dorset Premier League, WESTLAND SPORTS 5 SHERBORNE TOWN RES 0

A fine evening at Alvington Lane and a good turnout for the local derby, which, in years gone by, could have been been staged in the Roman Coliseum ! Unfortunately, tonight’s offering was a much more tepid affair and a bit scrappy to be honest. Westlands manager Harry Gibbs decided on some squad rotation for this one and so there were starting slots for Dwayne Forshaw, Josh Payne, Sam Carney, Ant Herrin and Tom Budden at the expense of Matty Day, Henry Lawrence-Napier, Jamie Irwin, Phil Wells and Leo Hayward. We had played well on Saturday to beat Ham Rec so a few eyebrows were raised when 5 changes were made. Nevertheless Westlands were still strong favourites for this clash as our opponents had yet to pick up a point from their first three games.

Sherborne looked a little nervous at the start and Sports were quick to cash in, opening the scoring in the 3rd minute. It was a well worked goal started out on the right where Josh Payne ghosted past two opponents like a latter day Nureyev and slipped a nice ball to Sam Carney who had made a good run into the box. Sam looked up and picked out ANT HERRIN at the far post and he did the needful with aplomb. That really took the wind out Sherborne’s sails, (which were looking a bit droopy anyway !) and it was no surprise when Westlands made it two in the 20th minute. Haydn Hodges drove into the Sherborne box and went to ground in Tom Daleyesque fashion when he was clipped. ANT HERRIN stepped up and put away the penalty although the keeper guessed right and got a hand to the ball but couldn’t keep it out. The match went into a bit of a lull for a while as both sides were giving away possession too frequently but it was Westlands who were always in control and eventually, in the 43rd minute we had another goal. And it was another good passing build up that gave Dwayne Forshaw a sight at goal and he hit a piledriver that came off the crossbar and fell to HAYDN HODGES who despatched it neatly into the far corner. That made it 3-0 at half time and, in all honesty, I don’t think there was anyone in the ground who thought Sherborne could come back from that score.

Sports came out in the second half on the attack and Ant Herrin drove a shot just past the post. Then Sherborne had a crack with a shot going wide but at least we were now getting a bit of goalmouth action. Will Ireland had replaced Jonny Manley at half time and he hit a 30 yard screamer on target but the keeper turned it round the post. In the 61st minute Ant Herrin picked out Sam Carney who burst through the Sherborne rearguard and thumped the ball past the keeper only to see it come off the post. Luckily SCOTT SMITH was following up (what was he doing up there ?) and he tucked the ball away into the net to make it 4-0. A flurry of subs from both sides disrupted the game at this point but in the 71st minute Westlands went nap with goal number five. A corner kick was knocked beyond the far post where Scott Smith headed it back across goal where ANT HERRIN headed the ball in to complete his hat-trick. Westlands were in full cry now with the subs on looking for goals. An Ant Herrin header from a Dwayne Forshaw cross was well saved by the Sherborne keeper and then a Jamie Irwin rocket crashed off the crossbar. In the dying minutes Leo Hayward raced through the tiring Sherborne defence and went round the advancing keeper but a heavy touch allowed a defender to cover round and make the block.

Final score 5-0 to Sports and a job well done. Not one of our best performances but the lads did what they had to do and a clean sheet as well as five goals is a good night’s work regardless of the opposition. Also the manager obviously knew best as his rotation plan gave more players some game time as we will need our large squad as the season progresses.

The Man-of-the-Match award has to go to our hat trick man ANT HERRIN. A good all round performance from a player who can deliver from several positions, tonight he was the main striker and proved he can do a job up front.

Westlands lineup: 1.S.Watts 2.S.Plumley 3.T.Budden 4.Scott Smith 5.J.Manley 6. S.Carney 7.J.Payne 8.J.Green 9.A.Herrin 10.H.Hodges 11.D.Forshaw 12. L.Hayward 14.W.Ireland 15.P.Wells 16.J.Irwin 17.L.Irwin

 

Saturday 19th August, Dorset Premier League, WESTLAND SPORTS 1 HAMWORTHY RECREATION 0

Our first home match of the season saw a decent turnout on a fine but blustery afternoon. You have to go back to season 2012 to find the last time Sports beat Ham Rec in a league game so we were keen to end that run. In addition, our poor result on the opening day of the season meant we really had to get something from this match or we would be playing catch up for the rest of the season. We had four changes from the Wareham game with Scott Smith, Jamie Green, Jamie Irwin and Haydn Hodges being given starting places in what looked a strong line up.

The early sparring was fairly tentative but it was the away side who created the first goal scoring threat after 8 minutes. A free kick out on the left was pumped into the box where keeper Sam Watts went up to catch. Unfortunately he dropped the ball at the feet of a Hamworthy player who lobbed the ball goalwards where it hit the face of the bar and rebounded into the grateful keeper’s arms. It took Westlands 12 minutes to get a shot on target, Jamie Irwin’s effort being easily saved. In the 16th minute Sam Watts had to be on his toes when another free kick was headed goalwards. Ham Rec were employing a neat short passing game whereas Westlands tended to use the pace of the attackers to run at the opposition defence and this was paying off with several good raids. In the 33rd minute a timely block by a Sports defender stopped an unmarked Hamworthy attacker from getting a shot on target. Then just before the break Leo Hayward raced off down the right wing and drove over a cross that the onrushing Haydn Hodges just failed to reach at the far post.

Although we hadn’t seen any goals it had been an entertaining game and the draw at half time was about right. Ham Rec had played some nice football but hadn’t caused our defence too many problems and at the other end it was the same story, Westlands had mounted a number of attacks with Haydn Hodges prominent, but the opposition defence had been pretty solid. With good goal scoring chances few and far between and defences mainly on top, it didn’t look like we would see many goals but it was an intriguing game nevertheless.

Westlands came out the traps quickly in the second half and in the 47th minute caught the Hamworthy defence napping. A free kick on half way line was taken quickly to Henry Lawrence-Napier, and with the visitor’s defence in disarray, he set off for goal. As he reached the penalty box his shot was blocked by a last ditch tackle but the ball fell to LEO HAYWARD who controlled it and drilled a shot hard and low into the far corner. A couple of minutes later Haydn Hodges had a shot blocked by a desperate challenge after Leo Hayward had set him up with a good run and cross. As time moved on it was a bit of a stalemate with both sides finding it hard to create an opening. In the 67th minute Henry Lawrence-Napier head flicked a free kick but the ball slipped past the far post. A few minutes later a good run and shot by Matty Day brought a good save from the Ham Rec keeper. Moving into the last 10 minutes Westlands went into their shell a bit to protect the one goal lead and the visitor’s began to press looking for the equaliser. In the 84th minute a dangerous free kick was punched clear by Sam Watts in a crowded box. Ham Rec then created another opening but the final shot went way over the bar. Westlands defence was standing firm but in the 87th minute Sam Watts had to rush out and dive at a player’s feet to clear a dangerous situation. That was the last chance of the game and the final whistle was celebrated by the Westland’s players who had battled hard all afternoon and I thought they just deserved their victory. It was a great team performance with everyone giving everything they had to give us the win we needed.

The Man-of-the-Match award goes to SAM WATTS. After that early mistake he never put a foot wrong and pulled off a couple of crucial saves late in the game when Rec were pushing for an equaliser.

Westlands lineup: 1.S.Watts 2.S.Plumley 3.P.Wells 4.Scott Smith 5.J.Manley 6. H.Lawrence-Napier 7.J.Irwin 8.J.Green 9.L.Hayward 10.H.Hodges 11.M.Day 12. D.Forshaw 14. S.Carney 15.L.Irwin 16. W.Ireland 17.A.Herrin

 

Saturday 12th August, Dorset Premier League, WAREHAM RANGERS 2 WESTLAND SPORTS 1

Another new season and a nice sunny afternoon for the kick-off at Wareham. We had beaten our hosts twice last season so with some new faces in the squad, confidence was high for the league opener. Westlands were soon pushing the home team back and the first chance was created when Will Ireland fired in a low cross that Dwayne Forshaw just failed to connect with at the far post. A few minutes later a good passing move from Westlands ended with the keeper saving Dwayne Forshaw’s shot. Sports were giving the Wareham defence a testing time down the flanks with Dwayne Forshaw and Matt Day proving a handful. In the 15th minute Westlands took the lead with good finish. Sam Plumley made good headway down the right and his cross found its way to LEO HAYWARD who turned and smashed the ball into the net from 15 yards giving the keeper no chance. It was no surprise really as Westlands were well on top with Wareham’s only outlet a long ball over the top to try and put their speedy winger away. Still Westlands pressed and should have increased the lead when Dwayne Forshaw blazed over from about 10 yards out. In the 23rd minute Wareham had their best chance of the half when another long ball put their winger clean through, but Sports keeper Sam Watts rushed out to dive at his feet and block the final shot. A reminder however for Westlands although up until then the back four had looked very secure with Jonny Manley looking dominant. After this minor scare it was back to Westlands pressure and another unbelievable miss. Sam Plumley made a great run down the right and crossed to the near post. Matt Day came racing in and met the ball flush with his head about two yards out. Unfortunately he caught it flush in the face and the ball flew inches past the outside of the post when it looked as if it had to finish in the back of the net ! Before the break we fashioned a couple more chances but couldn’t add to our lead. First Jonny Manley headed a Will Ireland free kick over the top and then Leo Hayward drove a shot on the run past the far post.

A half time lead is always good but we had squandered several chances in the first half so we hoped we wouldn’t live to regret these misses!

The second half started much as the first half ended with Westlands trying desperately to find that second goal. Matt Day was first to try his luck with a run and shot that the keeper saved easily. Then Dwayne Forshaw worked himself a good shooting chance but blasted his shot over the bar. Then a real let off for the home side. Leo Hayward latched on to a Phil Wells through ball and raced clear of the home defence into the box. A defender grabbed his shirt and tried to haul him back but Leo shrugged him off, stayed on his feet but put his shot wide of the target. The referee had put his whistle to his mouth when he saw the tug but didn’t blow as presumably he gave Leo the advantage as he stayed on his feet. However when the subsequent shot was missed surely the penalty should have been given ! In the 58th minute, a great Sam Plumley cross picked out Leo Hayward free at the far post but he fluffed his shot. We were now 15 minutes into the second half and Westlands had created four chances without scoring so at this point the first substitution was made with Leo Hayward being replaced by Louis Irwin. Ant Herrin moved up front with Louis taking his midfield slot. In the 67th minute we almost got the goal we were looking for. Matt Day blasted a shot at goal which the keeper turned round the post at full stretch. From the corner Henry Lawrence-Napier got in front of the keeper and powered a header into the roof of the net. The sigh of relief from the Westlands contingent was stifled when the referee disallowed the ‘goal’ and blew for a free kick to Wareham. At this point we began to feel a little concerned as you just have a feeling sometimes that this is not your day ! Wareham brought on some subs and began to find some space in midfield to pass the ball around and gradually they began to push forward. Another substitution for Sports with 15 minutes left saw Josh Payne come on in place of Dwayne Forshaw as we still looked for that elusive second goal. Perhaps we should have settled for the one we had as in the 80th minute the home side equalised. A Wareham player shot and the ball fell kindly to one of their subs who coolly took the ball round the keeper and slotted into the empty net. A nice bit of composure from the Wareham player there, something that had been lacking in the away team’s efforts. Westlands responded with an attack down the right. Will Ireland put over a cross which Ant Herrin flicked goalwards with the outside of his boot. The keeper was beaten but the ball hit the far post, bounced out and was cleared. Sports were struggling a bit now as Wareham had overloaded the midfield and Westlands were still pushing men up looking for another goal. We paid the penalty with three minutes to go. A deep cross from the left was put back into the centre where a Wareham player was first to react and he drove the ball into the net for the winning goal.

A cruel blow to Westlands but we had sufficient chances to have been out of sight in this game but couldn’t find that finishing touch in front of goal. Wareham, to their credit kept plugging away in the second half and when their chances came they took them. We were also on the wrong end of a couple of decisions which kept it at 1-0 keeping the home sides hopes alive. Not the start to the season that Westlands had hoped for but maybe the wake up call they require, we shall see.

The Man-of-the-Match award goes to JONNY MANLEY for a solid debut at the heart of Sports defence. Some good defending and good distribution of the ball kept Sports on the front foot especially in the first half.

Westlands lineup: 1.S.Watts 2.S.Plumley 3.P.Wells 4.H.Lawrence-Napier 5.J.Manley 6.S.Carney 7.D.Forshaw 8.W.Ireland 9.L.Hayward 10.A.Herrin 11.M.Day 12.J.Payne 14.T.Budden 15.L.Irwin

 

 

 

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