This was our last match of the season and after our good win on saturday we wanted to finish the season in style with another three points. Being a Bank Holiday some players were missing, so we had four changes from saturday's side with Stu Smith, Pete Ireland, Tom Coggins and Jake Wolfe returning to the starting line-up. Okeford needed the points in their battle to avoid relegation and they started well with Luke Silcox in Westlands goal having to make a smart save in the opening minutes. A few minutes later an Okeford player headed over from a corner as the visitors continued to have the upper hand. Westlands were a bit sluggish but after 11 minutes we almost managed an attempt on goal with Sam Farthing just failing to connect properly with a hard driven corner. Four minutes later Sam just failed to make full contact with another corner, heading just over. Just after this Luke Silcox, who has been in good form lately, saved a low drive from an Okeford forward. On the half-hour mark the breakthrough came. A deep cross from Tom Coggins out on the right wing was headed by Sam Farthing back into the danger area to SAM CARNEY who brought the ball down, sidestepped a defender and scored with a low shot. Sports settled down a bit then and in the 32nd minute Stu Smith tried his luck from 25 yards but the keeper pushed his effort over the bar. Sam Farthing was next to test the visitor's keeper with a shot which he dealt with quite comfortably. At the other end Luke Silcox saved a good drive from the edge of the box as Okeford showed they were still very much in the match. The final action of the half saw Sam Farthing hook a shot wide of the post.
The second half saw Okeford come out looking determined and although they were finding it difficult to create clear cut chances they were certainly looking the more likely side as Sports went back into 'end-of-season' mode. In the 60th minute Okeford equalised when a long throw was headed on into the box where an opposition player smacked it into the back of the net. It had been coming and five minutes later they should have been ahead when their player sliced his shot wide when unmarked at the far post. This seemed to act as a bit of a wake-up call to Westlands as they began to get their passing going and took control of possession. In the 70th minute Sam Farthing (who else !) got his head to a cross but the ball hit a defender and went over. Two minutes later a good cross from the right wing by Steve McDaid was headed in at the far post by JAKE WOLFE who had escaped his marker. That made it 2-1 to Westlands but Okeford were still fighting and their player missed a sitter when he headed past the post from point blank range. Westlands hit back and Pete Ireland headed over the bar from a corner. In the 80th minute we got the third goal which gave us a bit of breathing space. A perfect through ball from Pete Ireland put ANT HERRIN through and he slotted the ball confidently into the corner of the net. Sports were in control now and a lovely passing move put Ant in again but this time the keeper saved his effort. Just to keep us on our toes an Okeford player blazed a shot over the top when facing an open goal. Lucky their finishing wasn't too hot as they had missed three golden opportunities in the second half. With time running out Westlands put a bit of icing on the cake with a fourth goal. Another inch perfect pass from Pete Ireland put Steve McDaid away down the right. When Steve crossed the ball in there was ANT HERRIN on the spot to stick it away. The final whistle then ended our season with a another win and added to saturday's victory made it a nice final weekend for everyone.
Although officially an away match, this fixture was played at Alvington as our opponents couldn't get a pitch. It was a nice sunny day but there was a deceptively strong wind blowing across the field and this had an effect early on as both teams struggled to keep control of the ball. Upwey & Broadwey set the early pace but didn't really trouble the Sports defence which was well marshalled by Phil Wells ably supported by Matt Watson and Wes Gullin. It was 15 minutes before we had an attempt at goal, a header by Sam Farthing going well wide. It was fairly even now with both sides creating half chances but neither defence unduly troubled. The closest scare came just before half-time when a last-ditch tackle by Matt Watson took the ball off an Upwey player's toe right in front of goal. The ball then fell to another Upwey player whose shot was pushed wide by Luke Silcox. From the resulting corner there was an almighty scramble in the goalmouth before the ball was eventually booted clear. I thought the visitors had looked the more likely team in the first half but we had competed well and were definitely still in the game. Sports made one change at half-time, Jake Wolfe coming on for Jake Russell.
Upwey & Broadwey opened the second half with a couple of shots which went wide of the mark before Sports replied with a lovely three man move which ended with Sam Carney shooting over the top ! In the 55th minute Sports made another change with Cian Cabell coming on to replace Sam Gibbs. This proved to be an astute substitution when, in the 60th minute Cian curled a free kick to the far post. Matt Watson headed it back across goal where HENRY LAWRENCE-NAPIER sent a looping header back across the keeper into the top corner. Sports had a spring in their step now and the third, and final substitution of the day saw manager Stu Smith come on in place of Wes Gullin. Again this proved a masterstroke as in the 65th minute a corner from the left was headed in by STU SMITH to make it 2-0 to Westlands ! Our opponents were not expecting this and the tackles began to fly in. Nevertheless Sports stood strong until the 80th minute when they scored to make it 2-1. There was some slack marking at a corner and their diminutive midfielder glanced the ball into the far corner. Things were getting a bit heated now and Henry Lawrence-Napier caught a flying elbow and had to be taken off with a badly cut mouth. With Henry despatched to hospital for stitches Westlands were now down to 10 men for the last ten minutes of the match. It was backs to the wall but we defended well and when shots came in, our keeper Luke Silcox was in fine form. In the 87th minute he clutched a high shot, a minute later he tipped a bouncing ball over the bar and in the final minute he dived to save a low shot which was heading for the corner. The final whistle was welcome and capped a good win for Sports considering we had been beaten by the same side only two weeks ago. After 180 minutes without a goal it was good to find the back of the net even although it was two defenders who did it !
A midweek trip to Gillingham saw a couple of changes from the side which lost to Upwey & Broadwey. Stu Smith was unavailable and Phils Wells dropped back to centre half with Jake Wolfe coming in up front. Wes Gullin also replaced Jake Russell who dropped to the bench. Having lost the toss Westlands had to kick up the hill and into the sun but we were soon in command, pushing forward and dominating possession. In the 5th minute Sports had the first corner of the game but the Gillingham keeper came out to clutch confidently. A couple of minutes later Steve McDaid, who was returning to his old stomping ground, put over a good cross but no-one could get on the end of it. The match continued in the same vein with Westlands pushing on up the hill but the moves were breaking down around the edge of the box. Then came a bit of a shock in the 19th minute when Gillingham scored in their first real attack of the match. As they pushed into our half there was some loose defending and all of a sudden their player was clean through and he slotted the ball into the far corner. The next 20 minutes were again dominated by Sports, in the 24th minute a good move carved the Gill defence open but the move ended with a tame shot. Four minutes later Sam Carney shot over the bar and in the 34th minute two Westlands corners ended with Pete Ireland shooting just over. In the 37th minute another good move gave Pete Ireland space for a shot which the keeper managed to block. The ball came out to the right where Steve McDaid fired over a lovely cross which was met on the run by Sam Farthing who bulleted a header just over. Another good move down the left saw Jake Wolfe break into the box but he was just crowded out. As we moved into the last few minutes of the half Gillingham had a couple of chances. Luke Silcox made a good save from a header and from the resulting corner a Gill player headed just over the top. Slight concern that they were winning these headers in our box but on reflection at half-time the general concensus was that we were unlucky to be 1-0 down.
The second half was more even than the first with both teams having their moments. Westlands showed their hand after 10 minutes when all three subs were introduced, Jake Russell, Cian Cabell and Ant Herrin replacing Matt Watson, Steve McDaid and Jake Wolfe. In the 65th minute a good crossfield pass from Pete Ireland found Sam Farthing in front of goal but he sliced his shot wide. In the 79th minute Jake Russell and Pete Ireland both had shots saved by the Gillingham keeper who was proving unbeatable on the night. We had pushed Jake Russell up front now as the latest player to try his hand as a striker. We huffed and puffed but to be honest we were beginning to run out of ideas and with 5 minutes to go Gillingham put the game beyond us with the second goal. A player broke free down the right and fired in a low hard cross which was blasted in from close range. Heads went down a little then and a couple of minutes later their striker was allowed to head in a corner from two yards out to complete our misery. This made the scoreline a comfortable looking 3-0 to the home side and ended a disappointing night for Westlands when our same old failings were once again evident.
Lovely day for football, sunny sky, pitch looking a picture, and two teams who, on paper, looked quite evenly matched. After a couple of impressive sub appearances Henry Lawrence-Napier was given his first start with Cian Cabell dropping to the bench. Right from the start our opponents took charge and after only 2 minutes their forward had a chance but shot wide. Upwey were looking a good side and they went in front after 6 minutes. Westlands gave the ball away on the edge of our own box and an Upwey player thumped a dipping shot into the net from 20 yards. The visitors continued to dominate and it was in the 20th minute before Sports had a sniff at their goal. Matt Watson got up highest for a corner but failed to connect properly and the chance was lost. It was a hard battle and the Westlands lads were finding it tough against a very strong team but as we passed the half hour mark there were signs we were getting to grips with it. Pete Ireland made a run down the right and Henry Lawrence-Napier showed some endeavour to get on the end of his cross but the keeper saved easily. Nevertheless, the signs were encouraging and in the 40th minute Phil Wells looked to be through but the ball bounced up awkwardly and hit his hand resulting in a free kick. The next chance came from Sam Gibbs but unfortunately it was at the wrong end with Luke Silcox having to tip over his miscued clearance. Just as we were thinking Sports had done well to get through to half-time only one goal down we shot ourselves in the foot. We overplayed at the back and eventually conceded a corner. The kick was well flighted and it was an Upwey player who wanted it, powering a header into the net to make it 2-0 at the break.
The second half saw Sports come out on the front foot and within a couple of minutes a nice through ball put Pete Ireland clear but he blasted over. After 5 minutes of the half the Westlands management decided to go for broke by bringing on all three subs. So, Cian Cabell, Jake Wolfe and Wes Gullin took the field and in place of Henry Lawrence-Napier, Phil Wells and Jake Russell. In the subsequent re-shuffle it was Sam Carney who was the latest player to have a go up front in our problem position. Still Sports pressed and from a free kick just outside the box Cian Cabell thumped in a low shot which the keeper parried. Sam Farthing knocked the rebound goalwards but the keeper saved again. Two minutes later Sam Carney went storming down the right wing and cut the ball back to Sam Farthing who was following up. Sam's shot was eventually grabbed on the line by the keeper at the second attempt. A minute later Sam Gibbs powered a header goalwards from the edge of the box which the keeper tipped over. Four good chances for Westlands and our failure to convert any of them was crucial. Gradually Upwey came back into the game and when a Westlands defender completely missed his header their lad was through but luckily shot wide. In the 70th minute Sam Carney had a chance but put his shot well over the bar. A minute later Pete Ireland had a shot diverted for a corner and from the kick Matt Watson headed over. With only 10 minutes left the spirit seemed to drain from the Westlands players and Upwey & Broadwey took command again. One of their forwards ran through, beat 2 defenders and with only the keeper to beat, missed the target. In the 89th minute, Luke Silcox saved the day after a defender had given the ball away and in the final minute it was our keeper who came to the rescue again after some sloppy play at the back.
On reflection a 2-0 defeat at home may seem a poor result but I thought the lads acquitted themseves pretty well against a very strong side. It was a hard match played at breakneck speed throughout and nobody really had any time on the ball. This highlighted a little lack of composure in the Westland ranks at times but they were committed throughout and who knows, had we got one back just after half time, it may have been a different game.
On a pouring wet afternoon the pitch was surprisingly firm but obviously a bit slippy on top. There was also a blustery wind so under the circumstances both sides served up an excellent game of football. Understandably the players took a few minutes to settle but it was Westlands who made the first chance, some slick passing giving Pete Ireland some space but his effort was blocked. A couple of minutes later Steve McDaid had the first shot of the day on target but the visitor's keeper saved comfortably. The game settled now with Sports having the majority of possession but Piddletrenthide working hard to make things difficult. Westlands back line were looking solid, not giving the Piddletrenthide forwards a chance to get a strike on goal but Sports, on the other hand, were creating chances and the visitor's defence was having to work hard to keep us at bay. In the 20th minute Phil Wells squared the ball to Sam Carney in a central position but he shot over. Sports keeper Luke Silcox had to be on his toes shortly after this to save a goalbound shot after a home defender completely missed a through ball. On the half hour Steve McDaid made a good run down the right after being put clear by Sam Carney. His low cross was met on the run by Phil Wells but was deflected over the top by a defender's desperate lunge. Five minutes later Westlands were awarded a free kick about 22 yards out and slightly to the left of centre. SAM FARTHING took a shot at goal which deflected off the wall, wrongfooting the keeper who could only palm the ball into the corner of the net. Definitely worth a pop at goal from that distance as you never know what will happen, especially in these conditions. Westlands had a bit of a spring in their step now and just before the interval made it 2-0. A defence-splitting pass from Phil Wells saw PETE IRELAND racing through on goal. The keeper charged out and got a touch on the ball which ricocheted over him allowing Pete to walk it into the empty net. Under these conditions a 2-0 half-time lead looked a good effort from Sports and one sensed Piddletrenthide had to find another gear if they were going to turn this one round.
As the second half started it was Westlands who had the first attack and Cian Cabell shot just past the post. But the visitors were showing a bit of fight now, pushing players forward and just putting Westlands on the back foot. One of their forwards had a chance to pull the trigger but he blasted over the top. In the 52nd Sports chose to make all 3 subs and Ant Herrin, Jake Wolfe and Henry Lawrence-Napier took the field. At this point the visitors were having their best spell of the match and on the hour mark they silenced the crowd with a goal to make it 2-1. A missed challenge out wide let the winger get his cross over, our keeper and a defender seemed to go for the same ball and it fell to their forward who smashed it in. Just for a moment they had us worried but within 2 minutes Sports struck back to regain the two-goal cushion. Henry Lawrence-Napier won a good header and knocked the ball out to Pete Ireland whose cross was steered into the net by SAM FARTHING. The third goal knocked the stuffing out of our opponents and Westlands looked fairly comfortable now. In the 67th minute Jake Wolfe hit the bar with a long range effort and with 10 minutes to go we added a fourth goal. A lovely passing move involving at least 6 players carved the Piddletrenthide defence wide open. HENRY-LAWRENCE-NAPIER ended the move by stepping inside the final defender and thumping the ball into the top corner giving the keeper no chance. Two minutes later Ant Herrin powered a header just wide as Westlands went looking for more goals. In the 85 minute the fifth and final goal came when Henry Lawrence-Napier put in a low cross (or was it a shot ?) which PHIL WELLS stooped to head low into the corner. A nice finish to the game and a well deserved victory for Westlands in the end. A final word from the referee who praised both sides for a good game of football under tricky conditions and I think everyone who was present would agree with that.
Unbelievable, our fourth 1-0 away defeat of the season and I don't think we deserved to lose any of them. Not turning our chances into goals has cost us dear this season and in each of these games we spurned opportunities to score and got caught by a sucker punch. Back to saturday's match, last week I commented on the picturesque setting at Okeford but this week surpassed that, its definitely the first time I've seen thatched changing rooms ! Unfortunately, although it looked good the pitch was extremely small and this did not suit Westland's style of play. Lacy are a very physical team and in the confined space they were able to get at us and the number of free kicks in this game was ridiculous. A shock when Westlands took the field was the sight of Phil Wells in the number 9 shirt in the absence of Ant Herrin and Jake Wolfe. Wes Gillum returned to the side to take Phil's normal place at the back.
Sports were first on the attack and some crisp passing between Phil Wells and Sam Farthing ended with Pete Ireland shooting over the top. Kingston Lacy then had a chance with a free kick but that too was put well over. In the 10th minute Lacy's big number 9 climbed above Wes Gillum and scored with a header, fortunately the ref ruled it out for a foul on Wes. He did climb all over him but I've seen these given, so a bit of luck there. Back came Sports and Sam Carney sliced his shot wide after some good build up play. A couple of minutes later Sam Farthing set up Sam Carney again but this time he scuffed his shot wide. In the 17th minute a Westlands defender completely missed a header but fortunately the opposition forward shot past the post. In Lacy's next attack, one of their forwards appeared to handle the ball, a Westlands defender stopped to appeal and the forward was allowed to have a free run on goal. Luckily Sports keeper Luke Silcox was on his toes and he pulled off a tremendous save. On the half hour mark, Sam Carney curled a free kick over the wall but the ball hit the far post and bounced to safety. This was the second time in three games he has done this as he had similar misfortune against Weymouth Sports last saturday (perhaps he should be taking all the free kicks ?). Halftime and a 0-0 scoreline was probably fair enough as it had been an end to end game.
We started the second half on the front foot and within a minute Pete Ireland was put through but their keeper pulled off a good save. A couple of minutes later Pete was put through again, and again the keeper blocked his effort. The home team then applied a bit of pressure and a couple of half chances were put wide. As we moved into the last half-hour Sam Carney got his head to a Pete Ireland cross but put it over. A crunching 50/50 tackle then saw Sam Farthing take a nasty knock and he had to be carried from the field. A blow to Westlands as the only sub we had left was Andy Smith and he was injured ! A quick reshuffle took place with Andy going in goal, our keeper Luke Silcox went up front and Phil Wells dropped back into midfield. Perhaps at this point we should have gone into our shell and played for the point but that's not our way and another spell of pressure saw the ball break to Phil Wells who blazed over. In the 87th minute came the killer blow when a Kingston Lacy player cut in from the right and hit a low shot into the far corner. A bitter pill to swallow as we had given as good as we got throughout the game. After this things got a bit silly as Kingston Lacy tried to waste time and this all boiled over when Stu Smith decked their centre forward who would not move away and let him take a free kick. All the players rushed in and the handbags were out, but in the end order was restored. Stu escaped with a booking and after the game the ref explained that their player deserved what he got so fair enough ! I was a bit disappointed that two further Westland players were booked for their part in the melee, whilst the opposition players, who had shown a lot of aggression as they piled in, escaped scot-free. Sports had one more chance when we were awarded a free kick halfway inside their half. With everyone up in the box the ball was disappointingly put straight into the keeper's hands, a bit of a waste. The referee was glad to blow the final whistle to end proceedings and, disappointingly, another 1-0 defeat for Sports. Not our day today but it was a tough game and circumstances were against us, so we'll put that one behind us and look forward to the remaining five matches.
Our first trip to Okeford was a pleasant surprise. A nice little ground set in the rolling Dorset hills with all the facilities you could want - tea, beer etc. The pitch itself was soft and soggy and set on a slight slope from end to end. There were a couple of changes from saturday's lineup, Sam Gibbs and Callum Denman dropped out and were replaced by Cian Cabell and Ant Herrin. Westlands skipper Sam Farthing chose to kick up the hill against the wind which, in my view, is always a good choice as you face the elements while you're still fresh not later in the second half when you're a bit weary and heavy legged. We were, therefore, half expecting a defensive display in the first half but Sports had other ideas and were soon attacking up the hill. In the third minute Pete Ireland went storming up the right wing and fired over a great cross but no-one could get on the end of it. A couple of minutes later Sam Carney shot over as Westlands warmed to the task and were first to every ball. After 10 minutes we had two corners in quick succession. The first was blocked but from the second Sam Farthing (!) rose highest in the box and headed just over the bar. Ten minutes later Steve McDaid fired in a good effort which was blocked by the keeper. Ant Herrin was on hand to knock in the rebound but was offside. In the 26th minute Okeford had their first attempt when their winger cut in dangerously from the right but his shot only found the side netting. On the half hour mark, Pete Ireland, who was having a stormer out on the right, again fired over a great cross but again there were no takers. At last, in the 33rd minute, we opened the scoring. Ant Herrin and Jake Wolfe both had shots blocked before the ball rebounded out to STEVE McDAID on the edge of the box and he thumped it through the crowd into the corner of the net. Westlands kept attacking and a good ball put Cian Cabell away down the left. He fed Ant Herrin who tried a lob but it was over the top. Then, just before the interval another deft chip by Ant Herrin went just wide. That was the end of the half, and the one goal lead for Westlands was a just reflection of their superiority.
With the slope and wind now in our favour, we hoped Sports would go on and win the match and they set about the task straight from the kick-off. After a few minutes Ant Herrin shot over the top then another good passing move saw Steve McDaid put one over. In the 53rd minute we were confident enough to make a double substitution with Jake Wolfe and Cian Cabell making way for Nat Carney and Henry Lawrence-Napier, two youth team players making their league debuts. Pete Ireland moved up front to partner Ant Herrin and their pace and movement soon had the Okeford defence in trouble. In the 54th minute the home side had an opportunity when a free kick gave them the chance to get some players in our box. When the ball came in it was an Okeford head that got to it but he couldn't direct his header on target. Four minutes later Westlands realistically put the game beyond doubt with the second goal. Steve McDaid put a peach of a ball into the path of Pete Ireland who raced into the box and cut the ball across where ANT HERRIN slammed it into the back of the net. A fast attack done at pace with a clinical finish, lovely to watch. In the 63rd minute Pete Ireland shot wide when put through by another defence-splitting pass and in the 75th minute Henry Lawrence-Napier had a good goal disallowed. Steve McDaid swung in a corner to the near post where Henry outjumped the keeper and a defender to head for goal. The ball was blocked on the line (or was it over ?) before Henry stabbed the rebound into the net. Unfortunately the Okeford keeper had fallen over after failing to cut out the cross and the referee saved his blushes by giving him a free kick ! In the 82nd minute Luke Silcox in the Westlands goal had to look sharp to block a shot with his foot down by the post. Once again Sports replied with a fast attack which ended with Ant Herrin shooting past. Finally, with only three minutes left, Pete Ireland again outstripped the Okeford defence, got to the byeline and cut the ball across goal where NAT CARNEY made it a debut to be remembered with a tap-in. This was a solid performance from Sports and some of the football on a soft pitch was good stuff. The fast one-touch passing, especially in tight situations, was first class, and it was noticeable that when the two young subs came on they quickly slotted into the system and kept the ball moving quickly. It shows the work being done on the training pitch is paying dividends and is a credit to all our coaches. The victory completed a good six-point haul from our two Easter games and moves us up to 4th place in the league table.
A fine day at Alvington, cold but dry, and the pitch looking pretty good so a decent game was in prospect. Sports had manager Stu Smith and Sam Carney back in the side with Wes Gillum and Cian Cabell dropping out. The early exchanges were fairly even but Westlands soon began to press forward and the first shot of the match came from Steve McDaid who fired his effort over the bar. Sports kept up the pressure and Stu Smith got his head to a corner but unfortunately his header went straight to the keeper. Weymouth were getting stuck in and with the referee being fairly strict there were lots of stoppages and the flow of the game suffered. In the 21st minute Callum Denman struck the outside of the post with a fierce shot from a tight angle. Perhaps the cross would have been the better option here but a good effort nonetheless. Westlands were racking up the corners at this stage while at the other end our keeper Luke Silcox had not been tested. In the 35th minute Sam Farthing got his head to a Steve McDaid free kick but the header went wide. Two minutes later he made amends to put Werstlands in front. A deep angled cross to the far post from Stu Smith saw SAM FARTHING outjump the keeper with a tremendous leap to head into the net. A fantastic goal and just reward for Westland's pressure. Weymouth kept battling but it took until the 45th minute before Luke Silcox had to save a shot at his near post.
The second half saw Sports still on the ascendancy and within ten minutes came the second goal. A lovely passing move down the left wing saw Sam Carney finally square the ball to JAKE WOLFE who cleverly guided it into the corner with the outside of his foot. Westlands kept attacking and Sam Farthing shot straight at the keeper in the next attack. In the 56th minute we were unlucky not to make it three when a beautifully struck free kick from Sam Carney curled over the wall but hit the far post with the keeper beaten. Jake Wolfe was next to try his luck but his shot was easily saved. A rare Weymouth attack saw Sports 16 year-old keeper Luke Silcox flying through the air to make a brave save. We should have been home and dry at this stage but at 2-0 you are never really safe and, sure enough, in the 77th minute, a Weymouth player glanced a cross from the left into the corner to make it 2-1. This had the Westlands supporters looking at their watches but we needn't have worried as Sports were still in control of the game and kept the ball up at the opposition end. In the 80th minute Stu Smith made a foray forward down the left wing but his inviting cross was missed by everyone when only a touch was needed. In the 85th minute Sam Farthing had another header from a corner tipped over the bar by the Weymouth keeper and the final action in injury time saw a Weymouth forward have a go but his shot was well wide.
A good three points for Westlands, well deserved and with a bit of luck we could have had a more comfortable scoreline. This win keeps us in 5th place in the league table and we now look forward to our next game on Easter monday at Okeford.
Considering all the heavy rain that had fallen, the pitch at Sturminster Marshall was in surprisingly good nick. OK, it was soft going but there were no puddles or standing water. The major disruption was the strong wind which was blowing from end to end and spoilt the game really. From last week’s side Sports were without Stu Smith, Sam Carney & Tom Coggins but Steve McDaid returned and there were starts for two youth team players Callum Denman and Cian Cabell. For the first few minutes the players were just finding their feet and the first real incident came in the 5th minute. The Sturminster keeper picked up a back-pass just inside his area and the ref awarded us an indirect free kick. Sam Farthing thumped a shot towards the far corner which the keeper saved. (Yes, I know it was indirect !) . Anyway, with the strong wind behind them the home team pushed forward and won a couple of free kicks which were easily fielded by Sports keeper Luke Silcox. Westlands began to take control and in the 22nd minute Steve McDaid swung in a free kick and Sam Farthing headed just wide. Four minutes later Pete Ireland was put through and his shot on the run was tipped onto the crossbar by the Sturminster keeper. In the 32nd minute a home team forward had their first attempt at goal when he shot past the post but aminute later, they took the lead. There didn’t seem much danger when a Stur player picked the ball up about 40 yards from our goal. However he was allowed too much time and space but when he thumped a high looping shot goalwards it looked as if it would sail over the bar. To keeper Luke Silcox's surprise (and ours ! ) the ball dipped on the wind and finished up in the back of the net. Fair play to the lad for having a pop with that wind behind him but perhaps we could have closed him down a bit quicker. Westlands responded with a Steve McDaid free kick that was well saved and the final action of the half saw Luke Silcox get down well to collect a volley at the far post.
A goal behind at half time did not seem like an insurmountable problem for Sports as we would have the strong wind behind us in the second half. It was noticeable Pete Ireland was pushing forward more this half as he had tended to drop a bit deeper in the first 45 minutes. Ten minutes in this move nearly paid off when a Steve McDaid pass put Pete in behind the Stur defence but he blasted wide. A couple of minutes later Sam Farthing got a header in from a corner but the ball hit a defender on the line and was cleared. Westlands then had two more corners in quick succession which were scrambled away. On the hour mark Matt Watson headed just wide from another corner as Westlands turned the screw looking for the equaliser. With 61 minutes gone, the keeper saved a Cian Cabell free kick, in 62 minutes a ball over the top saw Pete Ireland net but given offside. With 64 minutes gone a Steve McDaid free kick was tipped over the bar and in the 65th minute another corner was cleared after a goalmouth scramble. Surely a goal would come as we pressed and pressed ! In the 75th minute Cian Cabell hit the bar with a cross-shot and four minutes later Pete Ireland blasted over when put through again. In the 85th minute Pete had another chance when he cut in from the right but he dragged his shot wide of the far post. The final attempt came two minutes from time when another Matt Watson header from a corner was again scrambled off the line. Unbelievable !
In the final analysis the Westland players couldn’t really be criticised too much for the defeat as they worked hard in testing conditions and dominated the game, especially in the second half. OK, it was a game we expected to win but Sturminster Marshall are fighting relegation and they worked their socks off to get the result. I definitely think if we had scored in the second half we would have gone on to win the match but the longer it went on the more belief they gained. It has to be said our finishing was lacking composure but with a little bit of luck it could have been a different result.
Only one change from last weeks line-up for the visit of table-toppers Mere, Steve McDaid was unavailable and Jake Wolfe stepped into the midfield. Straight from the kick-off the visitors got hold of the ball and Westlands were pinned in their own half. In the 3rd minute a Mere forward tried a chip which went over the top and in the 7th minute Mere's tricky right winger cut in and shot just past the post. Mere continued to press with the winger causing Sports defence problems and in the 13th minute he fizzed a cross along the six-yard box, luckily no-one got on the end of it. In the 31st minute Wes Gillum had a shot for Westlands which went well wide but is worth comment as it was our first shot at goal ! It was mainly Mere atacking for the rest of the half although their keeper had to punch away a dangerous Sam Gibbs free kick. Mere finished the half with a header from a corner which went over the bar. The 0-0 half-time score definitely flattered us but we were hanging on and you never know.Sports made a positional change for the second half, Sam Farthing dropped back into midfield and Jake Wolfe pushed on. I don't know what manager Stu Smith said to the players at half -time, but whatever it was it worked as Sports looked a different team after the break. Stu led by example, heading just past from a Sam Gibbs corner after only 2 minutes. A couple of minutes later Sam Farthing rattled the Mere crossbar with a good effort as Sports piled on the pressure. But in the 51st minute, disaster struck when we went behind. A long deep cross found a Mere player unmarked at the far post and he sidefooted in to make it 1-0 to the visitors. The first substitution of the day saw Ant Herrin replace Jake Wolfe up front for Westlands. Sports showed good spirit despite the loss of the goal, and 7 minutes later drew level. Sam Carney made some room for himself out on the left wing and when his cross came over ANT HERRIN was on the spot at the far post to belt it into the roof of the net. The match could go any way now but home supporters were growing in confidence that Sports could go on and clinch the three points. Luke Silcox had to look sharp to save a free kick in the 65th minute and a minute later Ant Herrin had a header saved by the Mere keeper. In the 70th minute Luke Silcox again made a good save from close range and almost immediately up at the other end Sam Carney broke through but their keeper rushed out to save with his legs. The next chance fell to Mere as their player ran through a static Westlands defence but keeper Luke Silcox came to the rescue with a good double save. In the 76th minute came the decisive moment. Westlands gave the ball away in midfield, the Mere player ran on and delivered a hard cross which was sidefooted on the run into the corner of the net. We were punished for a sloppy mistake and although Sports tried hard, there was no way back as Mere got men behind the ball and kept us at arm's length.
The 2-1 defeat was disappointing as we had battled hard in the second half and we felt maybe deserved a share of the points. On the other hand, some of our passing was poor, particularly in the first half, and once again individual errors have cost us dear.
This match started fairly low key as a bit of a midfield battle and it was 10 minutes before we had a shot at goal. The visitors were the first to have an attempt with an effort which went past the post. Five minutes later Tom Coggins shot wide for Westlands and in the 20th minute Luke Silcox in the home goal saved a header from a free kick. The next chance fell to Westlands with the Stur keeper saving a Phil Wells header. In the 35th minute Sports broke the deadlock with the opening goal. The ball came over from a corner and was headed clear by a defender. Stu Smith hooked it back into the danger area where their keeper went up under pressure from Sam Farthing and the ball fell to PETE IRELAND who knocked it in from close range. Until then there had not been a lot between the sides but the opening goal knocked the wind out of Stur's sails and within 2 minutes they were 2-0 down. Matt Watson came galloping out of defence with the ball. Over the halfway line he went, striding past two defenders and eventually he squared the ball to PETE IRELAND who smashed it into the top corner. Six minutes later and its 3-0. PETE IRELAND picked up the ball 25 yards out, turned and smacked another one into the top corner. Unbelievable, suddenly we're 3-0 up and Pete has notched a hat-trick in 18 minutes. The last action of the half saw Steve McDaid shoot just wide.
The second half opened with Sturminster Marshall on the front foot, having nothing to lose they were pushing forward and a cracking shot came off the Westlands crossbar in the 50th minute. At this point (55 minutes) Sports manager Stu Smith shook things up and made three substitutions with Jake Wolfe, Cian Cabell and Jake Russell replacing Sam Carney, Phil Wells and Matt Watson. This paid immediate dividends when some nice interplay between Cian and Steve McDaid out on the left wing ended with Steve putting over a lovely cross which PETE IRELAND stooped to head in at the far post. At 4-0 Sports understandably took their foot off the gas and the visitors had most of the pressure at this stage. In the 63rd minute Luke Silcox tipped over a goalbound shot and five minutes later a driven cross flashed scross the Westlands goalmouth with no-one able to get a touch. A couple of minutes later a Stur forward was again off target with his shot. In the 75th minute a rare bit of pressure by Sports saw them make it five. A corner on the right was flicked on by Steve McDaid and JAKE WOLFE headed in. This seemed a bit harsh on Sturminster as they had been on the offensive but their finishing was wayward while Sports was lethal. In the last minute Luke Silcox had to dive to turn a shot round the post. So, a 5-0 victory was delivered in clinical fashion by Westlands but I thought Sturminster showed a lot of fight and we will have to be careful in the return at their place in two weeks time.
Westlands took the field at New Grove Corner showing just one change from the team that won well last weekend. Pete Ireland replaced Jake Wolfe and he partnered Sam Farthing up front in the continued absence through injury of Leo Hayward and Andy Smith. The pitch was good, if a little bumpy, and the weather was perfect for football, if a little parky for the spectators. Westlands started briskly, knocking the ball around and created the first chance of the game in the 3rd minute. A penetrating through ball from Steve McDaid sent Pete Ireland into the box and his square pass was almost forced home by the lunging Sam Farthing. A couple of minutes later we had the ball in the net, Sam Farthing heading in, but it was disallowed for a foul on the keeper. Sports were dominating and with Steve McDaid prompting in the middle of the park the chances kept coming. In the 12th minute Sam Farthing headed just over the bar from a Pete Ireland cross. The next chance came when keeper Luke Silcox launched a huge kick downfield which cought the Portland defence napping. Pete Ireland was clean through but the keeper managed to block his shot. Portland rallied a bit after this and forced a couple of corners but we were never in any trouble. In the 40th minute another Portland corner was thumped over the bar in what was the hosts best chance so far. Back came Westlands and just before the half time whistle Pete Ireland had another shot saved by the home keeper. Some Portland fans said at half time that the game had been fairly even but I thought Westlands were easily the better team and should have been a couple of goals up.
In the second half Portland were shooting in their favourite direction, towards the clubhouse, and they came out fired up. Luke Silcox was soon called into action with a good save from a free kick, but as the minutes passed Sports began to take control of the game again. In the 55th minute we took the lead. Pete Ireland made a good run into the box and had his heels clipped. Sam Farthing stepped up to take the kick and to the astonishment of the Westlands crowd smacked the ball off the crossbar. Luckily SAM CARNEY was first to react and as the ball bounced down from the bar and up into the air he rushed in to plant a header in the far corner. At last we had broken the deadlock and surely we could go on now and put the game to bed. Unfortunately that was not to be as Portland hit back within 4 minutes of us taking the lead. A free kick into the box was not attacked and we paid the price when the Portland number 8 sent a looping header over the keeper into the net. Portland had their tails up now and for the next 7 or 8 minutes we couldn't get any possession and they seemed to be first to the loose balls. In the 65th minute Luke Silcox had to look sharp to beat away a well-struck shot. Sports then made a couple of substitutions to freshen things up. Adam Priscott came on for Sam Gibbs and Cian Cabell for Wes Gullin and gradually Westlands began to push forward again with both the subs working hard and with Pete Ireland's pace and movement causing the Portland defence big problems. In the 70th minute Pete was put through but scuffed his shot past the post with only the keeper to beat. Just as we were beginning to think these missed chances were going to cost us dear, PETE IRELAND redeemed himself. Another perfect through ball put him in behind the Portland defence and this time his shot was spot on as he drove the ball into the far corner of the net. Portland pushed forward immediately looking for another equaliser and Sports keeper Luke Silcox had to push a thumping shot round the post. Sports then had to defend a couple of corners, but safely saw out the last few minutes until the final whistle blew to give us the three points. It had been a tough match in the end, but once again, had we taken our chances, it could have been a lot easier. Nevertheless three points away from home is always a good result and I think all 13 players must be given great credit for their contributions.
Another guest match report this week from player/manager Stu Smith :-
"Good result, but could have been a lot more !!
It would be fair to say that we faced a Blandford side that were not at full strength, however the team they put out did work hard and kept going throughout the game. To summarise our performance on the day, it was a mixture of very impressive passing football, with the occasional well worked and well finished move, broken up by a display of first class Ronny Rosenthal style composure in front of goal.
We took a little while to break them down, but a well worked move and cross from the right was finished off by the ever hungry and industrious SAM FARTHING. Before this however, Sam Carney and Jake Wolfe seemed to be having a “who could miss the easiest chance” competition, a contest that most present would say Jake won hands down, but as some say….you have to be there to miss them !
The second goal came from an unlikely source, when PHIL WELLS (playing a more attacking wing back roll) finished off a twenty or so passing move with a cultured left foot low drive into the far corner of the goal, and at this point you could see us increasing the gap between us and our opponents. Blandford however had read a different script and responded with a slightly fortuitous but spectacular goal when their centre forward turned Matt Watson and let a shot fly from 30 yards. Luke Silcox, our keeper, didn’t really stand a chance as the ball scraped the bottom of the cross bar as it entered the net. My team talk at half time focussed mainly on our quality in front of goal, as this was our only obvious weakness of the half.
It wasn’t surprising that as the visitors had gone in at half time on the back of a goal, they came out with their spirits high, and in the first 10 minutes of the second half put us under some pressure, which we managed to absorb. Cian Cabell, Jake Russell and Pete Ireland all came on early in the second half, and both Pete and Cian made very quick impacts. Our third was set up by a very good run from Cian, a very composed turn, and a decent ball into the box that was finished by SAM CARNEY. The next 5 minutes we managed to increase our goal tally by two goals with another good finish from SAM CARNEY and a composed rounding of the keeper by SAMMY FARTHING.
In the last 15 minutes of the game everything that we had put right over the previous 10 minutes seemed to fall apart, and it seemed like everyone had decided to gate crash Jake Wolfe’s and Sam Carney’s first half game as we created and missed chance after chance. If we had won the match 10-1, I think this would have been fair reflection on the chances we created. Let’s hope in the bigger games we don’t pay a high price for our inadequacies in doing what is supposedly the hardest thing in the game….putting the ball in the net !
Today we have a guest match report from our player/manager Stu Smith :-
"Although this wasn’t the top of the table clash we hoped it would be this far into the season, it was certainly a game we had been looking forward to, which made our first half performance all the more disappointing.
It was obvious from the start that Mere were up for this game, and unfortunately for the whole of the first half we did not match their attitude and application. It would be easy to say that the heavy pitch didn’t suit our style of play, and we struggled to get any kind of football going for the first 45 minutes, but it was personal mistakes, and lack of commitment and concentration that led to their 2 goals. One a fortunate scuff from the edge of the area after 10 minutes, and the second a well worked but badly defended cross and finish.
With players returning from injury and a number of younger players in the team, I do have to be a little more accepting before being too critical, but if we want to mount a serious challenge for titles and have any success at this level, we need more individuals to stand up and take responsibility for their own performances and mistakes. That criticism isn’t just levelled at our younger players.
On a positive note the second half performance was a lot more pleasing, and I thought we gave a much better account of ourselves, and was unlucky not to at least get a consolation goal. We also saw a seasons debut for a returning Steve McDaid, who was been at the club off and on over the last 10 years, and it was quite obvious that his experience and composure will be a real asset to us.
Although we were more than a match for our opponents during the second 45 minutes, it was Mere that managed to net a third, with another mildly fortunate miss kick. However at the end of the game, we can have no complaints as Mere were worthy winners on the day."
At last a game after many weeks of frustration due to the weather. The pitch was soft and testing and the weather was fine and sunny, if a little cold for spectators. Both teams started brightly and the omens looked good for an entertaining match. Sam Watts in the Westlands goal was the first keeper called into action and he had to look sharp to block a shot after a cross was allowed to bounce in the box. Sports replied with a good run by Leo Hayward who outpaced a defender and crossed but Sam Farthing just failed to get on the end of it. In the 8th minute another pacy run and cross from Leo was just missed by Andy Smith. Then Leo smashed a shot into the top corner but was flagged offside. Back came the visitors and a well struck shot from the edge of the box flew over the Westland's crossbar. A couple of minutes later a Witchampton forward found himself with the ball at his feet 8 yards out but he scuffed his shot wide. Next Sam Watts had to make another smart save as Witchampton went looking for the opener. In the 20th minute the deadlock was broken but it was Westlands who broke quickly upfield and Leo Hayward slipped a nice through ball to SAM FARTHING who drew the keeper and drove the ball into the corner. Excellent composure shown by Sports leading goalscorer. Sports had their tails up now and two minutes later Leo outstripped the Witches defence again but blasted over the top with only the keeper to beat. In the 33rd minute a nice move ended with Sam Farthing shooting over. At the other end their no. 9 headed just past the post from a corner and that was the last action of the half. Both sides had their chances in the first half but we felt we deserved our 1-0 half time lead as we had made the most clearcut openings.
The second half was 8 minutes old when the first keeper to be called into action was Sports Sam Watts who made a great save from a header from a corner. Witchampton had some big lads in their team and corners were proving a bit of a problem for us. However we responded in the best possible way by making it 2-0. Leo Hayward again outpaced the Witchampton defence, he squared the ball across the box to Sam Farthing who laid it off nicely for TOM COGGINS to rifle a right foot drive into the bottom corner from the edge of the box. A lovely move by Westlands well finished. Witchampton had nothing to lose now and threw men forward in an attempt to get back into the game. On the hour mark we had a close shave when Sam Watts tipped a shot onto the bar and the ball rebounded to safety. Then a corner was put into Sports box which was eventually cleared after an almighty scramble. After all this determined defending when the goal came it looked surprisingly simple. A corner was put in to the near post where their lad scored with a simple header. We looked as if we were tiring at this stage, so the three subs were sent on to give us fresh legs. New signing Wes Gullin came on at the back, Pete Ireland in midfield and Ant Herrin up front with Jake Wolfe, Andy Smith and Matt Watson coming off. The visitors were now on top but Ant and Leo were still causing them problems on the break and in the 80th minute Ant volleyed just over from Pete Ireland's cross. Just as it looked like we would hold out for the three points, disaster struck. We gave the ball away and a Witchampton attacker fired a shot in at goal. Sam Watts blocked the shot but another forward followed up and forced the ball over the line from close range. We were pretty much out on our feet now and the final whistle was a welcome sound. A 2-2 draw was probably a fair result in the end but it just felt like points dropped as we were 2-0 up at home and you should win from that position. To be fair though, the visitors had managed a game the previous week and I think their strength and fitness showed in that last 20 minutes. Overall a good performance by Westland's and I'm sure we'll come on strong after that outing so looking forward to the trip to unbeaten league leaders Mere Town next saturday.
Considering the circumstances this was an excellent result for Westlands on a day when the odds seemed stacked against us. We arrived at the ground with a full complement of 14 players but unfortunately none of them was a goalkeeper ! Ant Herrin stepped up and took the keeper's jersey so we were ready to play. Or so we thought ! In the pre-match warm-up skipper Sam Gibbs pulled a muscle in his calf and had to cry off, Pete Ireland taking his place in the starting eleven. The re-shaped side also saw the welcome return of Leo Hayward up front after a long lay-off. He was partnered by Andy Smith with Sam Farthing dropping back into midfield and taking the captain's armband. Despite all this, when the game kicked off it was Westlands who settled quickly, dominating possession and probing for an opening. It didn't take long to come, in the 10th minute Tom Coggins played a lovely ball down the right over the top of the Weymouth back line who had pushed up. LEO HAYWARD raced onto it and with the outside of his right foot curled a looping shot over the advancing keeper into the empty net. A magnificent goal which had the crowd on its feet. Weymouth were stung into action and seemed to flood the midfield which gave them a lot of possession but they were unable to trouble our stand-in keeper. Westlands, on the other hand, always looked dangerous going forward and the Weymouth No 4 made several last-ditch tackles to stop Leo's runs. The half ended with Ant Herrin making his first save of the day, an easy shot which he collected at the second attempt !
Westlands came out for the second half with manager Stu Smith having shuffled the pack again. Andy Smith took over between the sticks with Ant Herrin going up front. As expected the home team came out fired up for the second half and for 15 minutes they pressed hard, forcing several corners but unable to make that final telling pass. One dangerous cross flashed across the goalmouth and their best chance came when a free-kick eluded Andy in goal but their centre forward headed wide at the far post. Gradually we weathered the storm and started to get our passing going again. In the 70 minute we fashioned our first real chance of the half when a Sam Carney shot flew over the bar. A few minutes later Sam Farthing was put in but his first-time shot grazed the post. Weymouth were still having their fair share of possession but Westlands were getting numbers behind the ball and with Stu Smith imperious at the back they didn't really look like scoring. On 80 minutes Tom Coggins tried a shot with his 'swinger' which went wide and finally Sam Farthing latched on to an Ant Herrin pass and tested the keeper with a shot. Late on Andy Smith had to dash from his line to smother a through ball at the edge of the box and that was the final significant action of the game.
To sum up, this was an excellent result for Westlands and, considering we didn't have a recognised keeper, to keep a clean sheet was quite remarkable, well done to the two lads who stepped in. To be fair our defence screened them well throughout the match with a steady performance. It was also great to see Leo back in action, we've missed him, and it was good to have Sam Farthing back in that midfield where he excels. Lots of positives then to carry forward into our next match which is against runaway league leaders Mere Town.
There was a crucial difference between these two sides and that was in the way the teams were selected. We have a small squad and have had a few injuries so we have had to promote lads from the youth team to play. None of these lads have let us down but at the end of the day it is a step up for them and sometimes they take a little time to adapt. Our opponents, however, were in a different position. With their first team not having a game on saturday they were able to strengthen their side with a few Toolstation standard players. In the end that was probably the difference as we were partial to make the odd mistake and they punished us for them. Gillingham started the match well, and after only three minutes took the lead. A free kick from way out was crossed into the box where Sports defender Matt Watson rose unchallenged to head past his own keeper into the net ! A poor goal to lose and and the worst possible start against a strong side. To be fair the lads knuckled down and for the the next ten minutes gave an excellent display of possession football. Ant Herrin was looking sharp up front and it was he who eventually got us back on level terms in the 13th minute. Another good passing move saw the ball sent out to Jake Russell on the right wing and he fired in a lovely cross which ANT HERRIN glanced past the advancing keeper. We were looking good at this point but within four minutes we were rocked back on our heels by the loss of a second goal. A corner for Gill was headed clear to one of their players 30 yards out and he just let fly. The ball flew over keeper Sam Watt's head and dipped into the back of the net. Two ways to look at a goal like that but we'll give the lad credit and congratulate him on a wonderful strike. There was still half an hour to go in the half and both sides contributed to some excellent football, played at pace and not lacking commitment. Ant Herrin put Sam Gibbs through on goal but the keeper raced off his line to block the shot with his legs. As the half ended Gillingham had a couple of fast breaks which caught our defence out but the finishes were off target.
A goal down at the interval meant it was anyones game but after only five minutes of the second half we conceded the crucial third goal. A throw in out on the left was headed on into the box where an attacker just got his foot to the ball and it seemed to roll agonisingly into the corner past the goalie's despairing dive. Poor defensive work really to allow them two touches from the throw in. As the half progressed two subs, Jake Wolfe and Adam Priscott, were introduced and although we were holding the opposition attack we were finding it difficult to create any good chances ourselves. With 20 minutes to go Sam Carney was replaced by third sub Andy Smith who was returning from injury. Unfortunately Andy only lasted 5 minutes on the pitch when he had to come off leaving Sports with only 10 men having used all the subs. As expected, we were up against it now and Gillingham held on fairly comfortably until the final whistle. On the day I think they just about deserved their win and deserve credit for a hardworking display. As for Westlands, we just didn't have any luck going our way but the lads put in a battling display and some of the football they played was top drawer. We just need to be a bit more consistent and if we can cut out the silly errors we will start winning games. Once again it was nice to see a good turnout supporting the team and once again they saw an excellent game even though the result didn't go our way.
The sun was shining and a good crowd had turned out for what was our first home match since 29th September. There were two changes from the team that drew at Sturminster Newton last week, Andy Smith and Pete Ireland dropped out through injury and were replaced by Luke Jackson and Adam Priscott who was making his first start in the senior team. Westlands started well and for the first 15 minutes dominated the play. Phil Wells was prominent with some driving runs down the left and Adam Priscott was showing some good control up front but Stourpaine were well organised and didn't let us create any clear chances. After that initial spell of Westlands pressure Stourpaine gradually found their feet and began to mount a few attacks but they found Sports central defence of Stu Smith and Matt Watson in commanding form and so Sam Watts in the Sports goal wasn't really troubled. That was until the 44th minute when we had a bit of a fright. A long ball out to the Stourpaine right was gathered by their forward who blatently pushed a Sports defender out of the way before running on to thump in a shot which came off the far post. Apart from that late scare we looked fairly comfortable in the first half but it looked like this may be one of those games where the first goal is crucial.
It didn't take long in the second half for the deadlock to be broken. Two minutes in and Sam Carney was poleaxed by the Stourpaine keeper as he tried to get on the end of a cross from the right wing. The referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and SAM FARTHING squeezed the ball into the corner with the keeper getting a hand to it. That was the goal we wanted and hopefully we could now press on and get the three points. We had another scare shortly after this when a cross-shot squirmed through keeper Sam Watts' hands and rolled just past the post. I'll give him the excuse the sun was in his eyes but maybe a cap would help in these circumstances ? On the hour mark we killed the game off with the second goal. Jake Russell bombed forward and drove in a stinging shot which the keeper could only parry and SAM FARTHING (who else ?) was on hand to bury the rebound. New signing Carl Morris was introduced at this point and he looked the part on the left side of midfield. Westland continued to dominate proceedings and in the 75th minute were rewarded with the third goal. SAM FARTHING chased a defender to the byeline, robbed him of the ball then cut inside another defender before thumping a left foot drive into the back of the net. A cracking goal to give him his hat-trick and a perfect example of chasing a "lost cause". Sports were able to introduce another two young debutants at this stage with Callum Denman and Calum Loveday coming on and injecting some pace and enthusiasm to the team. Stourpaine created a couple of half chances but their shooting was wayward and they failed to hit the target with two or three efforts. A good win for Westlands and a good day for striker Sam Farthing whose hat-trick took him to ten goals for the season so far and hopefully many more to come.
The sun was shining, the pitch good, so we were all set for a good match. We had beaten Stur at Alvington earlier in the season so they would be out for revenge and we knew they were a good side. It was also good to see a fair size crowd in the ground as kick-off approached. On the team front Westlands were a bit short as the teams came out. Having had a couple of late call-offs, manager Stu Smith took a gamble and travelled with only two subs, a decision that would come back to haunt him as the game unfolded. Nevertheless, it was a strong lineup for Sports at the start with Andy Smith making a welcome return to join Sam Farthing up front. The early exchanges we fairly even with both sides a bit tentative but it was Sports who forced the first two corners of the match. The second of these was swung into the near post where Sam Farthing glanced a header over the bar. On the half hour Stur forced a corner and a strong header flew just over the top. Next chance came to the home side again and a free kick from just outside the box flew past the post. Then, with five minutes of the half remaining we had the sad sight of Andy Smith limping off with a calf strain to be replaced up front by debutant Junior Adekoye. Sturminster were looking the most likely team to break the deadlock at this stage so we were happy to get to half-time with the score at 0-0.
When the teams came out for the second half Sports made an immediate substitution, Tom Coggins had to retire with a dead leg and he was replaced by Luke Jackson. Sports were a bit unsettled by the loss of two experienced players and Stur began to exert some pressure on our goal. Their left winger was proving a bit of a handful but it was from the other flank that the opening goal came. We found ourselves short of numbers at the back and although our defenders got in a couple of blocks in the build-up, the attackers always had that extra player to keep the move going and eventually when the ball came over there were two Stur players unmarked in front of goal and the ball was quickly despatched into the back of the net. We went through a bad patch after the loss of this goal but some determined defending, plus a slice of good fortune now and then, stopped them from wrapping the game up. In one incident a home forward was unmarked 2 yards out but took a mighty swing at the ball and missed it completely. Sam Watts made a couple of good saves and some very poor finishing by the home team kept their lead to one goal. At this point Jake Russell went over on his ankle but with no more subs left he had to soldier on after some treatment from physio Pete Smith. Sports weren't totally on the back foot however, Sam Carney was pulling the strings for us in midfield and the eager Luke Jackson and Pete Ireland were working hard down the flanks so as long as it stayed at a one goal deficit we always had a chance. In one attack a long diagonal ball put Junior Adekoye away but his thumping shot was beaten away by the keeper's legs. Pete Ireland was the next casualty, also with an ankle injury but he too had to soldier on and limped on the wing for the rest of the match. As time wore on and we were holding them at the back, we were hoping for just one more chance to get the equaliser. With two minutes to go a good passing move saw the ball cut back to Sam Gibbs 15 yards out but unfortunately Sam blazed the ball over the top and we thought our chance was gone. But no, fate was on our side and with the clock at 90 minutes Pete Ireland somehow forced a corner for us out on the left. Sam Gibbs swung over a lovely deep cross which Stu Smith met on the run and his bullet header looked to be heading goalwards when a Stur defender stuck out an arm. The ref pointed to the spot and despite heated denials by the player concerned it was a penalty and it was noticeable there was no great argument from the home supporters. SAM FARTHING picked the ball up and sent the keeper the wrong way as he slotted the ball neatly into the corner of the net. Nerves of steel but you expect nothing less from our diminutive striker. That was it, a point definitely gained against all the odds and although the opposition felt they should have had the game sewn up, the Westland lads never let their heads go down, kept battling, and they were rewarded in the end.
As seems to be the case most weeks, we were forced to make a couple of big changes to the starting line-up for Saturday's game. Unfortunately, Andy Smith seems to be losing the battle against Mother Nature at the moment, and had to rest due to his aging knees, and Ash Powers, who was losing the battle against his expanding waist line, has decided to take a job in Texas for 2 years. On a positive note we were able to start the second young keeper at the club, Sam Watts, which now means we have two promising youngsters able to do a job between the sticks.
After facing a little trouble locating the pitch, and hence a more efficient warm up, we started the game fairly well, although it was evident from early exchanges that we were up against a side with more experience and physical strength, but this is something we’ve come to expect. It is fair to say we looked fairly comfortable without really threatening our opponents goal, but we also looked in control at the back, with the home side resorting to a long ball over the top, which we dealt with fairly well. After 20 minutes or so, Witchampton created the best chance of the game when Sam Watts had to come off his line and close down an onrushing forward, which he did faultlessly, however this chance was a warning of what was to come. With Westland’s in control of the game and the ball, when we lost possession it was punted forward by our opponents defence. This eventually paid off as we were caught out of position and their centre forward took it around our keeper, and managed to squeeze the ball into the net from a tight angle to make it 1-0. We responded very well to this disappointment and managed to control the game for the remaining 15 minutes of the half, but again without really creating a clear chance.
In the second half, we came out and arguably played our best 45 minutes of football so far this season. After 5 minutes Ant Herrin came on up front, and we pushed Pete Ireland back to his more customary roll at left midfield. To a man we out worked, out battled and out played our opponents for the entire second half of this game. Mark Perkins was introduced to the game with 30 minutes to go, and Jake Wolfe came on with 20 minutes still to play, and both these players stepped up and helped maintain our dominance. It’s hard to pick out our clearest chance of the half, we played so much football, and managed to get the ball into our opponent’s box so many times throughout the 45 minutes that the only thing we didn’t manage to do was ‘stick it in the net’.
To give credit where it’s due, Witchampton did defend resolutely, and earned their 3 points, but I imagine these will be their most rewarding 3 points so far this season. As a team we had a real go at them, and couldn’t have given anymore. To take positives from another frustrating result, Sam Watts looked very steady in his first league game for us and Matt Watson is growing in confidence with each outing. We started the match with one 17 year old and two 16 year olds on the pitch, and in a 14 man squad on Saturday, only 5 have played senior football regularly before. There is a very good atmosphere in the changing rooms, and we are all looking forward to next Saturday’s game.
A new venue for us at Westonzoyland and although the pitch looked a bit small it was reasonably flat and fairly firm considering the overnight rain. As indicated in the headlines, Sports had a major setback before the game even kicked off when player/manager Stu Smith pulled a muscle and had to withdraw from the team. Sam Carney took his place and as the game got underway there was an obvious clash in the styles and tactics on display. While Sports tried to play their usual passing game, Middlezoy got the ball forward immediately from back to front, pumping long balls into the wide areas behind our defence. It was Middlezoy who forced an early corner and the ball was flashed across our box with nobody touching it. Soon after a cross into our box led to a mix-up in the Sports defence which could have been punished. In the 13th minute, Westlands took a leaf out of Middlezoy's book and almost took the lead. A long kick down the right wing from keeper Luke Silcox put Pete Ireland away. Pete outpaced the fullback and drove the ball across the face of goal where Sam Farthing's lunge went wide of the post. Back came the home side and a long ball put their winger in the clear but luckily he missed the target with his shot. After half an hour the home side went ahead. A deep cross from the right back dropped at the far post and the home winger glanced a diving header into the net. Apart from the early Sam Farthing effort Sports were having difficulty creating any chances and were being stifled by the home teams hard work closing us down all over the pitch. The long balls were also causing us a few problems and just before half time they went two in front. A cross from the left saw a Middlezoy forward get across the keeper to head in. That was the end of the half and at 2-0 down it looked as if the writing was on the wall.
We came out in the second half and made a couple of early substitutions, Sam Gibbs and Jake Wolfe coming on. Sam Farthing dropped back into the midfield and Pete Ireland went up front as manager Stu Smith tried to shake things up. The first chance of the half fell to Middlezoy but Luke Silcox in the Westlands goal made a good save. In the 53rd minute we got the crucial goal we needed to keep ourselves in the game. As a high cross came into the box, their keeper seemed rooted to the spot and failed to come for the ball. As he hesitated SAM FARTHING nipped in to head the ball into the back of the net and make it 1-2. Unfortunately we fell for the sucker punch as 2 minutes later Middlezoy scored to extend their lead to two again. Luke Silcox went down to gather a low shot, the ball seemed to bounce in front of him, up off his arms and a Middlezoy forward headed in from close range. Although we were two behind, Westlands were definitely on top now and Andy Smith had a shot on the run which went wide. Our opponents were beginning to look tired now, perhaps their first half exertions were catching up with them, and in the 70th minute we pulled another one back to make it 2-3. A deep cross from the left wing carried all the way to PETE IRELAND at the far post and he smashed the ball into the roof of the net. Once again though, we failed to consolidate and four minutes later conceded again when a shot from the edge of the box looped over our keeper into the top corner. I'm not sure the lad meant it, I think the shot actually came off his shin but that was just typical of our luck on the day. But, at 2-4 down, Sports went back on the attack and a Jake Wolfe shot went past the post in the 78th minute. Two minutes later, we scored again when PETE IRELAND ran onto a through pass, lobbed the ball over the keeper, ran round him, and scored from an acute angle. That put us right back in it at 3-4. With 10 minutes left surely this time we could go on and equalise ? The answer came five minutes later when a long ball split our defence and a home forward ran on unchallenged to give them a two goal lead again at 3-5. It really was a case of "you score, we score" in this half as in the 88th minute we struck back again when SAM FARTHING hooked in a cross from the right to make it 4-5. We threw everything forward now in a frantic attempt to equalise but despite forcing a couple of corners, couldn't make them count. The final drama came in the dying seconds when Andy Smith burst clear down the right. He got to the byeline and as his driven cross flashed across the goalmouth Phil Wells just failed to turn it over the line. That was the final chance and when the whistle blew it was a case of "if only" for Sports. A great second half fight back in which we scored four times was spoiled by our inability to keep out the goals at the other end. Funny old game, keep a clean sheet last week, let in five this week ! At the end of the day it was a cracking game of football, especially for the spectators who enjoyed a feast of goals in an end to end cup tie. Great credit to both sides for that.
Sat 27th Oct 2012, Dorset Lge Senior Div,
BLANDFORD UTD RES 0 WESTLAND SPORTS 4
After last weeks disappointment Westlands bounced back with a good win on the road at Blandford. There were a couple of changes from last week with youngsters Luke Jackson and goalkeeper Luke Silcox starting and Andy Smith pushing up front to partner Sam Farthing. This partnership had looked very effective the last time they played together against Sturminster Newton but had not featured in attack together since. What was also evident this week as they lined up for the kick-off was a change of formation and team shape from previous matches this season. Nevertheless, the team looked settled in the new shape as they quickly got on the front foot and forced the first corner of the game after 5 minutes. The Blandford defence scrambled the cross away for another corner which was also cleared for a third effort. This time Tom Coggins got a shot on target but the keeper blocked it. A couple of minutes later Andy Smith had a shot saved when he connected with a crossball. In the 10th minute there was another scramble in the Blandford box when yet another corner for Sports was headed clear to Pete Ireland who crossed it back in. Andy Smith got his head to the cross but his effort was blocked and the rebound was put wide. Sports kept plugging away and Luke Jackson just failed to connect with a cross from the left with the goal at his mercy. On the half-hour mark we went ahead. Sam Farthing burst through and his shot was blocked by the keeper. The ball bounced out to Luke Jackson, he cut it back to TOM COGGINS who let fly from 20 yards and his daisycutter flew into the far corner. A cracking goal and no more than Westlands deserved at this stage. As Sports continued to set the pace Andy Smith tried his luck but his shot went straight to the keeper and Ash Powers just failed to connect with a corner in the 40th minute. A couple of minutes later it was 2-0. Luke Silcox, the Sports keeper, made a good kick-out to Luke Jackson out on the right and he quickly popped the ball over the top to ANDY SMITH who cut in, turned inside the covering defender, and drove the ball under the advancing keeper into the back of the net. Another good goal and one which saw us enjoy our half-time teas with a nice two goal cushion.
As expected really, Blandford came out fired up for the second half and Luke Silcox had to pluck a header out the air as our hosts threw everything at us. Next a Blandford player was put clean through but he missed the target with his shot and immediately after this effort another home forward put his shot past the post. Gradually, however, Westlands began to get hold of the ball again and it looked as if we had ridden the storm, so much so, that in the 55th minute we made two substitutions with Jake Wolfe and Cian Cabell coming on, the latter for his league debut. On the hour mark Matt Watson got his head to a corner, his effort was cleared off the line, Cian Cabell fired in a shot from the rebound but that was blocked by a defender's desperate lunge. In the 63rd minute a cross from the right by Pete Ireland was almost headed into his own goal by a defender. The keeper clawed it away from under the bar but CIAN CABELL dived through the crowd of players to head into the net. At 3-0 it looked all over but Blandford kept battling and Luke Silcox made a good save which led to a couple of corners, the attack ending with their big number 5 heading over. At the other end, Pete Ireland was put through by Sam Farthing but dragged his shot wide and a couple of minutes later he he was put clear again, this time by Andy Smith, but again missed the target with his shot. In the 82nd minute Pete returned the favour to Sam Farthing, setting him up for a shot but it rolled past the far post with the keeper beaten. A minute later we put the final nail in Blandford's coffin by scoring goal number 4. The Blandford keeper slipped and completely missed a crossball giving PETE IRELAND the easy task of slotting the ball into the empty net. Still the action continued, Sam Farthing had a shot saved by their keeper, a Blandford player blasted a shot over the bar and finally Stuart Smith blazed a Sam Farthing pass over the top. A last minute drama occurred when a frustrated Blandford player tried to throttle Phil Wells who showed remarkable restraint not to retaliate, unfortunately the referee said he didn't see the incident ! The final whistle brought to an end an excellent away display by Westlands. A good four goal haul and a clean sheet endorsed the manager's change in formation. Add to this the developing partnership up front and the fact we had four of our under 18 youth team on the pitch, and it makes it a very positive day for Sports.
Before the match we thought this was a game we could win and after the match it was a case of this was a game we should have won. For the first 10 minutes the contest was fairly even but after that Sports pretty well dominated but didn't have the cutting edge to finish off some good build-up play. The first chance of the game fell to Westlands in the 3rd minute, Andy Smith dragging his shot wide. A few minutes later a dangerous ball across the goalmouth had the Westlands defence scrambling to clear and on 9 minutes a free kick from Piddletrenthide eluded the Westlands defence but the attacker headed over. After this Sports took control forcing several corners to no avail. Any shots we did manage on target were well saved by the home goalkeeper and he had to look sharp to turn efforts from Stu Smith and Pete Ireland round the post. Just as the half drew to a close Piddletrenthide had an attack but the final header was straight into Jason Bundy's arms.
Sam Gibbs had to retire at half time with a rib injury and he was replaced by Jake Russell. Piddletrenthide had the first effort of the second half with a well struck effort from 20 yards which Jason Bundy tipped over the bar. Sports were soon back in control and Pete Ireland let fly from the edge of the box only to see the keeper tip his effort over. Westlands then had the welcome sight of Leo Hayward coming on after a break of 6 weeks with a foot injury. Leo immediately got involved and Sports next chance came when Stu Smith got on the end of a free kick from the right but again the keeper saved. Their goalie was keeping his side in the game at this point, pity he had so much to say ! In the 54th minute Leo Hayward went on a storming run down the right wing beating a couple of defenders before his attempted cross was blocked for a corner. From the kick Andy Smith headed the ball back across the goalmouth but Ashley Powers headed over the bar from point-blank range. Shortly after this Leo took on the fullback on the left and as he went for the byeline he collapsed in a heap. Unfortunately the foot injury had broken down and Leo was replaced by Luke Jackson. Still Westlands dominated possession and some of the one touch passing was excellent but we always ran into a brick wall along the edge of the box as the home team got men behind the ball. In the 70th minute disaster struck. We gave the ball away in midfield and with the defence flat footed the Piddletrenthide player got the ball on the left in the clear and finished well into the far corner. To be fair the home side had always looked as if they had a bit of pace in attack but they hadn't caused us too many problems and the goal was definitely against the run of play. With the Sports defence looking a bit shell shocked, they switched off a couple of minutes later and the home side could easily have made it 2-0 as their forward was allowed a clear run through on goal. Jason Bundy however raced out to dive at the player's feet and gather the ball. For the rest of the match Sports huffed and puffed but couldn't break down the resolute home defence and in the end the final whistle put us out of our misery. As we all know, you have to put the ball in the back of the net and we were unable to do that despite long spells of pressure. Our lack of firepower has been a bit of a problem all season but in this game cost us dear and the further injury to Leo Hayward gives manager Stu Smith a bit of problem to solve.
After the disappointment of a late cancellation last week we travelled up again to find the referee had passed the pitch playable. This was not Congresbury's first pitch, which was still waterlogged, but their reserve team pitch which was not the best but we were just glad to play the game. We started the match a bit tentatively and the hosts immediately grabbed the initiative. They were winning most of the 50-50 balls at this stage and getting the ball forward early which was causing our defence some uneasy moments. A couple of times the ball over the top let them in behind us but their finishing was poor. It took us a good 20 minutes before we made a decent attack and a Sam Farthing shot went just wide. In the 33rd minute a through ball put their forward in and Jason Bundy in the Sports goal made a good block. Two dangerous corners followed with Jason getting a fist to the ball each time and the defence covering well to get the ball clear. A couple of minutes later another pass over the top put their player through and as our keeper came out to challenge the lad threw himself to the ground. Unfortunately the referee, who was some distance away, gave a penalty much to the dismay of the Westland players. The opposition tucked away the spot kick to make it 1-0 to Congresbury, a lead they probably just about deserved at that moment. That goal seemed to wake us up a bit and for the last ten minutes of the half we got our foot in and enjoyed a lot more possession than we had previously. The half ended with another Sam Farthing shot flying wide as Sports began to push for the equaliser.
Although we were a goal down at the break, we had seen enough of the opposition to know that if we upped our game in the second half we could get back into this match. Manager Stu Smith made one substitution at the break, introducing Tom Coggins for Matt Watson in a bold attacking move. Tom Coggins immediately showed he was up for it in the 46th minute when he burst through the Congresbury defence, just failing to pick out a team-mate with his final ball. Four minutes later Jake Wolfe had a shot saved by their keeper as Westlands began to pile on the pressure. Two minutes later Stu Smith fired a free kick over the crossbar and Congresbury were looking a bit shaky now. Ant Herrin was then introduced for Jake Wolfe and he quickly got involved and troubled the opposition defenders with his close control. In the 65th minute came the goal we had been waiting for. Westlands were awarded a free kick out on the right wing, Sam Gibbs fired over a peach of a cross and ANDY SMITH rose highest to head home. A cracking goal and a well deserved equaliser at this stage. As expected Congresbury battled back but found our defence standing firm this half and although they had a few attacks our keeper wasn't unduly troubled. Andy Smith came off at this stage with a knock and he was replaced by Luke Jackson. With 10 minutes to go Westlands made a sustained effort to find that winning goal. Three corners were forced in quick succession and although there was a bit of panic in the home defence they eventually cleared the danger. Both teams tried hard but neither side could carve out a clear opportunity and the game ended at 1-1 and we had to face 30 minutes extra time. The first 15 passed with both teams a bit nervous of losing the game but Sports were still making chances so we were still in with a shout. The second half of extra time kicked off with Sports down to 10 men with Luke Jackson having to leave the field and all our three subs already used. Having already played 90 minutes plus 15 of extra time some Westlands players were clearly in some discomfort so 10 men was not ideal. But amazingly it was Sports who grabbed the initiative in the final 15 minutes, putting the tiring home defence under pressure until finally they broke. Westlands forced a corner out on the left, Sam Gibbs sent in a vicious inswinger which caught their keeper out and there was ASH POWERS diving in to head the winner from a couple of yards out. With only 4 minutes to go there was no way back for the home side and the referee's final whistle ended a dramatic match and the congratulations went to the Westlands team and well deserved too. One hundred and twenty minutes on a soggy sanded pitch was very testing and to go on and win the match in the last minutes when playing with only 10 men showed the fantastic commitment of the players. A spirit epitomised by Ash Powers who struggled with his back throughout the game and had to be helped off the field for treatment at least three times. Nevertheless he battled on and then made sure he got on the end of that cross to score the winner, a great effort.
Sat 29th Sept 2012, Dorset Senior League,
WESTLAND SPORTS 3 STURMINSTER NEWTON 1
On a blustery day at Alvington, Westlands lined up with with only one change from last week, Ash Powers returning to the defence and Andy Smith moved forward to make up a "little & large" strike force with Sam Farthing. With the wind in their faces Westlands were on the defensive in the early stages with the visitors pressing forward looking for the opening goal. We held them at bay for 20 minutes before the pressure eventually told and we conceded. A cross to the far side of our box found an attacker in space. With no defender in the vicinity to make a challenge Sports keeper Jason Bundy raced out to the edge of the box and dived to gather the ball. Unfortunately the ball skipped away from him and the Stur forward composed himself and lobbed the ball into the unguarded net. A good finish this as the lad was outside the box at an angle and there were defenders trying to get round to cover on the line. So 1-0 to the visitors and things didn't look particularly good for Westlands, but as we approached the half hour mark, things began to change with Sports gradually getting hold of the ball and pushing into the Sturminster half. We made our first chance of the game in the 30th minute when Andy Smith got up to meet a cross but headed just wide. Just four minutes later we equalised and it was that man ANDY SMITH who did the damage. He picked up the ball about 40 yards out, and in his languid style ghosted through the Stur defence, a drop of the shoulder and a shimmy leaving a couple of defenders floundering. As the keeper came out Andy stroked the ball into the corner of the net to finish off an excellent solo effort. Sports were quickly back on the attack, and only two minutes after the equaliser we went ahead. SAM FARTHING was tripped in the box as he tried to turn and he picked himself up to deftly despatch the penalty into the corner. What a turn-round, but the shell-shocked Sturminster team reacted well and came back with a couple of attacks in what was now an end-to-end tussle. No further score before half time saw Westlands go in with an interval lead which was unlikely in that first half hour. With the wind now behind us it looked promising for the second half.
The first real chance of the second half fell to Westlands. In the 57th minute Pete Ireland put Sam Farthing through and his shot was tipped round the post by the keeper. Three minutes later a Tom Coggins rocket was pushed onto the bar by the keeper as Westlands tried to turn the screw. Just to remind us how dangerous they could be a Stur forward grazed the post with a good shot and then Jason Bundy made a good save from a low drive. Back came Sports and Pete Ireland had a shot saved by the Stur keeper who was keeping his team in the game in the second half. Eventually, however, we got that crucial third goal in the 83rd minute. Jacob Bromfield thumped in a blistering shot which the keeper could only parry and SAM FARTHING (who else ?) pounced to thump the ball into the net. Stur went for broke now and pushed men forward leaving themselves dangerously exposed at the back. With a bit of composure we could have added to our tally but when the whistle blew for time-up we were very happy with the 3-1 scoreline. This was a good performance from Westlands this week, more pace to our game and generally more energy all round.
As the team lined up in perfect conditions at Stourpaine there were several changes after last weeks loss to Portland. Jason Bundy returned in goal, Andy Smith made his first appearance of the season at centre half, and with Ant Herrin off to University and Leo Hayward injured, we had a makeshift attack of Sam Farthing and Pete Ireland. Nevertheless Westlands quickly took control of the ball and for the most part of the first half, dominated the game. Unfortunately we couldn't get a decent ball up to our strikers so we never threatened the opposition goal. Stourpaine didn't have a lot to offer at this stage although they did force the first corner of the game after 22 minutes ! The first half ended predictably 0-0 with neither team having had a shot on target.
A poor first half by both teams, but Sports had looked the better side so we were hopeful for the second half. Stourpaine, as expected really being the home side, upped their game in the second half, pushing more men up and getting the ball forward early in an attempt to break the stalemate. Unfortunately, from Sports it was much of the same old thing, passing the ball around until we gave it away. After 10 minutes of the half, a ball over the top got in behind our left flank and the Stourpaine forward ran onto it and smashed in a shot which cannoned off the post. An onrushing attacker knocked the ball goalwards but Andy Smith was in position to clear off the line. This was the first real chance of the game and the danger signs were there for Westlands. In the 67th minute, the goal came. A diagonal ball found us exposed down the right side this time and the lad had plenty time to steady himself and shoot into the far corner. There was still 20 minutes to go and there was still time to make a fightback, but unfortunately we were not capable of making a telling pass in the final third of the pitch. We huffed and puffed but couldn't threaten the Stourpaine goal. Into the final minute of play we got hit by a sucker punch. The big Stourpaine centre forward picked the ball up on the halfway line and took off towards goal. As the challenge came in he hit a shot from 35 yards which looped over our keeper's head into the net. 2-0 was a bit flattering to Stourpaine but they deserved to win for their second half effort and the mere fact they managed four attempts at goal. As for Westlands, we played some nice passing football but with no end result as we did not manage one shot on goal all afternoon. We seemed a bit unbalanced with players having to play out of position all over the park and subsequently we just didn't perform. A bit disappointing really to capitulate so easily in our first away fixture as there are stiffer tests to come.
With a couple of players missing today we were forced into changes for the visit of the league champions to Alvington. Luke Silcox took over between the sticks in Jason Bundy's absence and Sam Carney took Tom Coggins place in midfield as Sports lined up in glorious sunshine once again. Portland had the first chance of the match when a break down the left ended with a shot that went just over the bar. But it was Westlands who were looking more relaxed in the early stages, getting the passing going that is now their trademark. In the 7th minute we took the lead. Jake Russell went bombing down the right wing and fired over a deep early cross which PETE IRELAND met on the run and headed back across the keeper into the corner of the net. We were looking quite comfortable now but five minutes later we shot ourselves in the foot. The ball was given away carelessly in our own half and to be fair Portland were quick to punish us. They picked up the loose ball and a quick pass to the centre forward saw him drive the ball into the far corner. It was a game of contrasts really, Portland had a big centre forward who they tried to hit early while Westlands tried a more patient passing game. In the 18th minute Stu Smith got his head to a corner and their keeper tipped it round the post. At the back we were coping quite well with any Portland attacks and the next real chance again came from Sports, Ant Herrin hitting the bar with a good header from a Leo Hayward free kick. Portland began to come into the game more now and Stu Smith was prominent at the back for Westlands, winning most of the high balls coming into the box. Nevertheless in the 42nd minute Luke Silcox had to make a diving save to tip a shot round the post and from the resulting corner a shot cannoned off the bar. A 1-1 draw at half-time was a reasonable result although we felt we had made more chances than our opponents so a good second half was in prospect.
The second half was a bit tighter than the first with both sides struggling to create goalscoring chances. In the 58th minute Ant Herrin had a chance for Sports but the visitors keeper rushed off his line to save at point-blank range. In the 70th minute Luke Silcox pulled off a good save to keep the scores level and a few minutes later a Pete Ireland shot was saved. Then came a crushing blow in the 85th minute. The big centre forward easily turned his marker just inside the Westlands half and set off towards goal. From about 35 yards out he decided to try his luck and as Luke Silcox dived to make the save the ball bounced and skipped up over his outstretched arms into the back of the net. Westlands made a desperate attempt to salvage something from the game and forced a couple of corners in the dying minutes. From the second corner the ball fell to Jake Wolfe but he blazed it over and the last chance was gone. A final score of 2-1 to Portland was a bit of a disaster for Sports as both their goals were a direct result of basic errors. Still, we must learn from these and the most positive thing about the game was our performance against one of the best sides in the league. The question is can we produce this form week in, week out, in the cold and in the wet of winter ? Time will tell.
This being our first match in the Dorset Senior League the team started a bit tentatively and it was Kingston Lacy who looked more relaxed early on. In the second minute they had a good shout for a penalty when their speedy winger went sprawling in the box but luckily the referee waved play on. Soon after their other winger beat a Westlands defender, cut into the box and squared the ball across goal. A frantic melee took place in the goalmouth before the ball was eventually hacked clear. After these early scares we began to settle a bit and had periods of possession without really threatening the visitors goal. After 10 minutes the Kingston Lacy defence missed a long kick and the ball was once again cleared after a scramble. The next clear chance came in the 20th minute and this time it was the visitors who had an effort, Jason Bundy clutching a well struck shot to his chest. In the 28th minute Sports had a good chance to break the deadlock. Pete Ireland fired in a shot which the keeper only palmed out but unfortunately nobody was alert and on hand to take advantage. In the 35th minute a Jacob Bromfield free kick was met on the volley by Stu Smith but his attempt flew over. Just before the break a wonderful passing move from Westlands ended in a corner kick but the kick was poor. That was a feature of the first half, we had forced several corners but failed to get a decent delivery into the box. At half-time most people felt the score of 0-0 was about right. From a Westlands point of view, we had played well enough but just lacked a bit of bite in the final attacking third of the field.
Leo Hayward, who had taken a knock, failed to come out for the second half and he was replaced by Sam Carney with Sam Farthing moving up front. Sports started purposefully in the second half and after a couple of minutes a rasping shot by Jacob Bromfield stung the keeper's hands. Great joy erupted around Alvington when Westlands took the lead in the 51st minute. Pete Ireland drove into the box and cut the ball back to SAM CARNEY on the edge of the box. Sam turned one way, then the other and finally drove a low shot through a crowd of defenders into the net. A lovely goal and a worthy one to get our league campaign off the mark. The visitors tried to respond but when the Sports defence completely missed a long ball their attacker shot high and wide when clean through. Four minutes later, and with 64 minutes on the clock we scored again. A lovely passing move carved the opposition defence open and when the final ball put SAM FARTHING in he buried the ball in the corner of the net. A crucial second goal for Westlands but could Kingston Lacy come back from that hammer blow ? Well, they tried hard, pushing Sports into defence and Jason Bundy made another good save from a well-struck shot. Westlands came back with a quick raid in the 70th minute and a Jacob Bromfield shot just went past the far post. Sports introduced two subs at this point, Jake Wolfe and Luke Jackson replacing Pete Ireland and Ant Herrin, and although Lacy were pushing forward we were holding them quite comfortably. Really we should have seen the game out at this point but there was one final twist in the tail when, in the last minute, a Westlands defender dived into a tackle in the box and brought their player down. The ref pointed to the spot but Jason Bundy rounded off an excellent performance by diving to his right to save. And that was it, 2-0 to Westlands and a great start to the league season. Not our best performance, still a few things to sort out, but in the final reckoning a good win and one that can give us some confidence for the weeks ahead.
Sat. 1st September 2012, Somerset Senior Cup 1st Rnd,
WESTLAND SPORTS 11 TIMSBURY ATH 0
An easy passage for Westlands into the second round of the Senior Cup as Timsbury failed to provide a challenge and Sports were ruthless, particularly in the first half. Westlands took the lead in the 5th minute when SAM FARTHING had an easy sidefoot finish after a scuffed attempt by Leo Hayward rebounded off a defender. In the 10th minute ANT HERRIN had his first attempt blocked but smashed his second effort into the roof of the net to make it 2-0. Timsbury's heads were down now and Leo Hayward ran 20 yards but saw his shot hit the post and the same player then had an chip shot go just over the bar. It was Ant Herrins turn next to shoot over as Sports pressed for more goals. In the 24th minute the third goal came when PETE IRELAND deflected an Ant Herrin shot into the corner. The floodgates were well and truly open now and three minutes later it was 4-0, ANT HERRIN volleying in a cross from the right. Two more minutes and it was five, Sam Farthing slotted a perfect pass through the defence and TOM COGGINS ran through to slide in a lovely goal. In the 32nd minute Tom Coggins swung over a nice cross, Sam Farthing headed against the bar and ANT HERRIN headed in the rebound to make it 6-0 and complete his hat-trick. In the 33rd minute TOM COGGINS smashed in a cross from the right wing making it 7-0 and to complete the first half scoring PETE IRELAND dribbled past five defenders and stuck the ball in the corner. The half-time whistle was a welcome sound for Timsbury but at 8-0 things looked pretty bleak for them.
As often happens, in the second half the game died a bit. Westlands brought on their three subs and the pace and urgency shown in the first half was quite understandably not there. Sixteen year old JAMES HALL was one of the subs and he was next on the scoreshheet, running on to a nice through ball by Leo Hayward and firing it past the keeper. That was in the 57th minute and in the 65th minute he struck again. Sam Farthing played JAMES HALL in down the left and with everyone expecting a cross he smashed the ball into the top corner to make it 10-0 to Westlands. Quite a debut for the youngster and he turned provider for the last goal of the game in the 83rd minute, putting over a perfect cross for ANT HERRIN to head in his fourth and Westland's eleventh goal. Not a lot to add in summing up this match, we did what we had to do, passed the ball well and were pretty ruthless in front of goal so a good start to the season, hopefully a sign of things to come.
MATCH REPORTS - DORSET YOUTH LEAGUE (UNDER 18)
Sunday 7th April 2013, Dorset Youth League,
POOLE BOROUGH 3 WESTLAND SPORTS 2
Finally our last game of the season, on a bumpy pitch on a very cold and windy day. Yet again it proved difficult to get a team, and we ended up with just 12 players. A sorry demonstration of our commitment this season.
We started the game kicking into the wind with specific instructions to play the pitch and conditions neither of which we did. It was a day to start by doing the basics well and building into the game. Poole did this and put us under lots of pressure by playing the ball into areas rather than play a pretty passing game. 7 minutes in and Poole opened the scoring when we failed to clear a corner, the ball dropping to an unmarked opponent 5 yards out. 3 minutes later we went down the other end with a move involving Louis and Cian who set JOE TAYLOR up for a crisp finish from the edge of the box. The game then settled into a pattern of us over playing in midfield and Poole trying to catch us on the break, our lack quality kept them in the game. 10 minutes before half time another cracking move down the left saw Cian deliver the ball to Sol who had his effort stopped on the line only for LOUIS IRWIN to follow up and thump it into the back of the net. Perhaps we thought this would open the floodgates but it didn’t. We eased off the gas and allowed our opponents to equalise right on half time, however the ref did miss a clear foul on Callum Marles.
2-2 at half time, some harsh words said, but all to no effect. We still couldn’t get to grips with the ball in midfield and seemed to be frightened to put our foot through it at the back to clear our lines. So no surprise when we allowed Poole to take the lead again with half an hour to go. We changed things around, brought on Tom Hallet, pushed Cian up front and gave Joe a deeper role. Several chances came and went, Nat, Louis and Cian all went close. With 10 minutes to go we thought Louis had got us out of jail when he won a penalty, Sam Smith stepped up but the keeper saved it. Overall I think Poole deserved their victory they battled for everything and worked their socks off, in flashes we played well and created more chances, but our work rate was poor... you get what you deserve!
All in all a disappointing end to what I think has been a disappointing season. Having said that some of our performances have been outstanding and there is definitely optimism for next season with the number of younger players we have. We have finished with a squad containing four U16’s and we hope they will all stay for next season. We will add a few more into this to replace the lads finishing this year and should have a more than capable group, but they have to understand that they need to be on their game every week, not just when they feel like it!
Thanks from Pat and myself for the support from all parents, I’m sure the lads appreciate it, Wayne for running the line (a massive help to us), and last but not least the two Julies’ for making us all a nice half time cup of tea.
We came into our last home game of the season looking for a final flourish on what proved to be an extremely cold day. Yet again it proved difficult to get a full squad of 14 but it did give us an opportunity to get new signing Sol Carney into the squad, and with Henry Napier and Adam Stanhope arriving after kick off due to work commitments we ended up with an extremely strong bench.
For once we started the game on the front foot, which was just as well as the numbers available meant we started with a back three of Callum Loveday, Luke Jackson and Callum Marles, and it only took us 6 minutes to go in front. Some good work down the flank from Dan Quirke and LOUIS IRWIN (2) arrived in the centre to find the net. 5 minutes later and the same combination put us two up, netting his second. 10 minutes later SAM SMITH got on the end of a Cian Cabell corner and at the second attempt managed to force the ball over the line. 3 nil and cruising, time for us to take the foot off of the gas and allow our opponents a glimmer of hope. They created several half chances and with the help of the swirling wind created some problems for us but fortunately we coped well. 10 minutes before the break Callum Denman started off a move that went through Nat Carney and Adam Priscott before LOUIS IRWIN finished off his hat-trick. 4 nil at half time, we couldn’t ask for more.
Dan Quirke had to be replaced at half time due to an ankle injury and on came Sol Carney for his first game. Almost immediately he was involved in a move that finished with Callum Denman producing a great cross for CIAN CABELL to score. Sam Smith and Luke Jackson were replaced by Henry Napier and Adam Stanhope and we really started to play some nice football in our opponents half but we had to wait until the 75th minute before we started to score again. LOUIS IRWIN scored his fourth of the afternoon following another good move down the right. Now the flood gates opened, CIAN CABELL picked up a second following a twice taken penalty on 79 minutes. In the 82nd minute CALLUM DENMAN scored a fine individual goal. In the 84th minute ADAM PRISCOTT finished off another move inside the six yard box, and a minute later ADAM STANHOPE blasted a cracker in from 25 yards. Just before the final whistle ADAM PRISCOTT picked up his second of the game with another cool finish.
In fairness our opponents weren’t any match for us today but on a bitterly cold afternoon we showed a far better attitude than in recent games and produced the kind of team performance we expect every week. One more game left in two weeks time and I can’t help feeling that as a team we have underachieved this season. Having said that some of our performances have been outstanding and there is definitely optimism for next season with the number of younger players we have.
Sunday 10th Mar 2013, Dorset Youth Cup Semi-Final,
HAMWORTHY UTD 2 WESTLAND SPORTS 1
With our ever lengthening injury list and work commitments we couldn’t field a full squad of 14 so had to travel with 13 players. Matt Watson had recovered from his illness but we lost Sam Watts, who had played most of the previous week with a broken finger, Adam Stanhope and Matt Lawrence with further injuries. Luke Silcox stepped in for Sam, we had a back four of Callum Marles, Henry Napier, Matt Watson, and Callum Denman. Across the middle Cian Cabel, Luke Jackson, Nat Carney and Adam Priscott, and upfront Louis Irwin and Dan Quirke who for some reason missed most of the warm up as he went to Bournemouth Poppies ?? (who we beat in the last round !) Joe Taylor and Callum Loveday completed the squad. On paper a team that was more than capable of getting a result providing we improved on last weeks performance.
It wasn’t the greatest surface and with a swirling breeze was difficult to produce good football, but to be fair both teams gave it a go. Our opponents were out of the traps very quickly and penned us back into our half which we defended quite well. The only thing we were really guilty of was trying to play too much at the back, but no matter how hard we tried we couldn’t get into the game in midfield which meant that Louis and Dan were feeding off scraps. 15 minutes into the game disaster struck Luke Silcox swept up from the right back position and instead of clearing the ball over the stand he tried to play it down the line and only succeeded in finding the opposition, who controlled it and chipped it back into the unguarded net from 40 yards. The rest of the half followed a similar pattern of play with Hamworthy playing with the wind and keeping us in our half, although not creating any clear cut chances. As we got towards the end of the half we began to get more of the game and created a couple of half chances. The best of which saw a Luke Jackson effort nearly hit the left corner flag and Adam Priscott cleared the stand and the boundary fence on the other side of the goal.
We changed ends and tried to get our wide guys Cian and Adam further up the field but 10 minutes into the second half we conceded a second. The left winger cut through our right hand side far to easily and coolly slotted past Luke, now we were really up against it. We reverted to three at the back, pushed Callum Denman up on the right hand side and played Adam just off of the front two. With the way we played the next 35 minutes maybe we should have changed the formation earlier. All of a sudden it was the Hamworthy goal under threat. Cian, Henry, Adam and Louis all had half chances and with 20 minutes to go LOUIS IRWIN got away from his marker on the edge of the box and slotted a low shot in the corner for a deserved goal. Nat Carney had a pop from 25 yards which was comfortably saved by the keeper before he and Dan were replaced by Callum Loveday and Joe Taylor. We gave it our best in the final quarter but just couldn’t find an equaliser. Joe was unlucky not to win a penalty but he was penalised for backing in when he had a defender on his back holding him around the neck !!! Strange decision. Hamworthy just about held on and on balance just about deserved their place in the final following that first half performance.
A far better attitude and team performance than the previous week unfortunately we came up against a team that wanted it just that little bit more, but with a little more belief the game was there for us to win. I think our injury list finally caught up with us but we gave it our best shot. We wish Hamworthy the best of luck in the final and thank them for their excellent hospitality.
Sunday 3rd Mar 2013, Dorset Youth League,
WESTLAND SPORTS 0 BOURNEMOUTH POPPIES 2
What a contrast to our previous two battling performances against Wimborne. We lost Sam Smith with knee ligament damage in mid week, Matt Watson with an illness on Sunday morning and we had a no show from Robbie Heather! Thanks to Jake Coombs late addition to the squad meant we entered the game with 13, one up on the previous week. Unfortunately none of the 13 were defenders so we lined up with a back four of Tom Hallet, Callum Marles, who was outstanding, Luke Jackson and Callum Denman with the excellent Sam Watts in goal. We played with five in midfield which left poor old Louis Irwin up front on his own again. On paper a team that was more than capable of getting a result providing we protected our back four.
It was a great opportunity for these players to stake a claim for a place in next week’s cup semi-final starting line-up, unfortunately very few decided to take that opportunity. From the first whistle to the last Poppies won every ball in the midfield area. They dominated the play, playing some nice football and making excellent use of the wonderful pitch we provided. We defended reasonably well with commanding performances from Callum Marles and Sam Watts along with the rest of the defence. Unfortunately we didn’t appear to have a midfield who wanted the ball, who were prepared to win it, and on the odd occasion when they did have it seemed to think hoofing it forward to the ever willing Louis was the best plan of attack. How we managed to get to half time at nil nil was a minor miracle in itself, we had to be better in the second half!
Unfortunately not, we got worse, and after being under constant pressure for the first ten minutes of the second half the breakthrough came from a corner. We failed to clear and after some pinball it went in off a post. Maybe we would now wake up.....no afraid not it was still one-way traffic even though the subs were introduced. 15 minutes later the second goal arrived following a run straight through the middle and if it were not for some great work by Sam Watts the score would have been considerably worse. Strange thing to say but we just about managed to hang on to a 2 nil defeat.
The worst team performance for a while, some players lacking attitude, desire and commitment. I’m sure next week will be different otherwise it will be a long quiet drive back from Hamworthy.
Having had a great result against Wimborne the previous week and with the squad fighting for places in the county cup semi-final in two weeks time you would think lack of players would have been the least of our problems. However needless to say we eventually managed to assemble a squad of 12 including two goalkeepers. We thank Luke Silcox for coming along at the last minute as sub, and also with one eye on next season to two new signings Sam Bond and Jake Coombs who stepped in to help us out and showed they were more than capable. Matt Lawrence also came into the starting lineup and demonstrated the improvements he has been making in training. On paper the team was still strong we just had to keep our fingers crossed with regards to injuries.
On a bitterly cold day we kicked off playing up the hill on Wimborne’s main pitch and not surprisingly with all of the changes, defensively we were at sixes and sevens from the start. Wimborne, who still had a chance of winning the league, wanted to make amends for defeat the previous week. They immediately attacked us down the flanks, their midfield won all the tackles and they pinned us into our half so it was no surprise when they snatched an early lead inside the first 10 minutes. We just couldn’t get a foot on the ball and when we did get it we gave it straight back to the opposition, but we never stopped working. Even with five in midfield, with poor old Louis Irwin up front on his own we were still struggling. Sam Watts was proving to be on the ball in goal repelling the threats and keeping our defence on their toes, but unfortunately the inevitable happened and Wimborne pinched a second with just over 20 minutes gone. We picked ourselves up and started to push Wimborne back up the hill, the wide guys got more involved supporting Louis and we began to build a platform, we even managed to fire in a couple of shots. 40 minutes gone and Louis’ hard work forced a corner and from the following goalmouth scramble MATT WATSON forced the ball over the line. 2-1 and back in the game. Five minutes later right on the half time whistle Louis got onto the end of a Luke Jackson through ball and was pushed over in the box. SAM SMITH stepped up and slotted the penalty to send us in at 2-2.
We gave it a real go in the second half Cian Cabell and Matt Lawrence started to get some freedom on the flanks and with the opposition defending deeper Adam Priscott had more time and space to feed them. Thanks to this and the continual hard work of Louis Irwin we started to create opportunities, a string of corners and free kicks which unfortunately we couldn’t finish. The only people in danger from them being the ones out in the car park. Jake Coombes finally ran out of steam on the hour and was replaced by Luke Silcox, for a keeper he didn’t make a bad job of playing on the left wing. It was at this point in the game that Pat Denman (who was running the line) decided to adopt his own time wasting policy by dislocating his knee... bit above the call of duty if you ask me but it ate up a few more minutes and gave the crowd some entertainment !! Midway through the half Louis was once again bundled to the ground in the box, ref gave the penalty only for his linesman to inform him that the initial offence had started outside the box so we had to settle for a free kick. Cian found the gap but also the keeper. It wasn’t all us, Wimborne were extremely dangerous on the break but some excellent work by Matt Watson, Sam Bond, Callum Denman, Cian Cabell and several outstanding one on one saves from Sam Watts kept us deservedly in the game. Not surprisingly we tired badly in the last ten minutes but we managed to hang on and get a well deserved point, shame it wasn’t all three.
An excellent team performance from our guys, all 12 showed great resolve and determination and were a credit to themselves and the club. Difficult to single anyone out but Louis Irwin was awesome leading our line on his own. Whatever happens for the rest of this season we already have the makings of a good squad for next year, maybe they can finish this year off in style !!!
Our first home fixture since 28th October a lot of miles and commitment from both parents and players but it was worth the wait. An unbeaten Wimborne team were the visitors however with our previous performance against Sherborne we knew we had nothing to fear and were looking forward to a good game. We welcomed Robbie Heather back into the team to replace Adam Stanhope who had work commitments and Sam Watts replaced Luke Silcox in goal who had been on first team duty the day before.
Although used the day before the pitch was still in good condition and we kicked off into a very stiff breeze. This made it very tough for us in the first half as our opponents were a good quick passing side. Having said this we defended resolutely and kept our shape reasonably well, but once again our centre of midfield was over worked.....we just need that bit more communication around the park from everyone. We restricted Wimborne to very few opportunities in the first half, there were a few swirling crosses and corners, most of which found Robbie Heather’s head and several free kicks from the edge of the box that were well handled by Sam Watts. As the half wore on we created a few opportunities ourselves with half chances falling to Louis Irwin, Cian Cabell and Nat Carney. Dan Quirke is always a threat from the wide areas but we need a little bit more from him in open play when we are up against it. So, nil nil at half time, the management were happy and the players disappointed not to have nicked a goal, which is a good sign.
Could we go on in the second half and turn the wind to our advantage? We had a poor 10 minutes just after halftime as our opponents tried to pinch an early goal. But after weathering this spell we really got back into the game. Several excellent crosses were fired in by Dan which Louis couldn’t quite get on the end of. Sam Smith and Luke Jackson started to get real control of the midfield and we started to put pressure onto our opponents and on the hour mark this finally gave us the breakthrough. LOUIS IRWIN pinched the ball off the full back, drove into the box and slotted the ball under the keeper. Callum Marles and Adam Priscott were brought into the action to give us some fresh legs but Wimborne started to really pressure us and with 20 minutes to go they won a penalty following a lunge by the tiring Robbie Heather. Luckily for us the penalty was missed and we maintained our slim lead. Joe Taylor came on for the impressive Robbie to lock out the midfield, as he has done regularly for us over the last couple of games. Luke dropped into the sweeper role to give us that little extra bit of cover as our opponents went for it. As they pushed forward we created several more chances but couldn’t add to the score line to kill the game off, however the odd goal proved to be enough as we saw out time.
Another excellent team performance from our guys, all 14 played a part in the result. As I said after the last game if we play like that for the rest of the season it will take a good team to beat us. We now need to carry this form on into our cup semi final next month.
At long last we found ourselves nearly at home with a local derby over at our neighbours Sherborne who appear to be running away with the league. No real motivation needed here other than getting our boys to believe in themselves. We welcomed Matt Watson back to replace the injured Robbie Heather and Sam Watts stepped in at the last minute to replace the ill Matt Lawrence.
With good weather and a big crowd, we kicked off anticipating a cracking game. Our opponents started well moving the ball quickly and penning us back into our half, reducing us to hitting the ball long hoping Dan and Louis could cause problems. Although we were under pressure we were defending well as a team and chances were few a far between for both sides. Slowly we started to win some big tackles in the middle of the park and were able to start supporting our front two. Dan whipped over some dangerous crosses and Louis as usual was proving to be a handful. At the other end we restricted Sherborne to shooting from distance with Luke Silcox making some fine saves. Mid way through the half DAN QUIRKE finally got away down the centre and lobbed the ball over the keeper to put us one up. Almost immediately Sherb were back down the other end the striker rounded the keeper only for a fantastic goal line clearance from Matt Watson to keep us in front. Unfortunately 5 minutes later from an almost identical move the same striker did manage to score to level up the scores. 10 minutes later the ball was prodded through to the striker who again tried to round the keeper lost his footing and surprisingly the ref awarded a soft penalty which was well despatched. Fair play we picked ourselves up and took the battle back to them, Stanno, Henry, Sam and Luke were putting in some big hits and pushing our opponents back until we shot ourselves in the foot and found ourselves 3-1 down. In the 42nd minute of the first half we conceded a throw down by our corner flag, we all turned away and let the winger receive a quick throw and deposit the ball in the back of the net.
Not much to say at half-time an excellent performance apart from the third goal, could we get ourselves back in it or were we just going to roll over? None of it we dominated the second half and gave them a real battering. We started to create half chances but couldn’t find that one clear cut chance to get right back into it. Nat Carney replaced Adam Priscott as we pushed forward again. Dan, Louis and Sam all managed to get shots away, Luke charged into the box was pushed from behind and was unfortunate not to get a penalty but a couple of minutes later Dan was brought down by the keeper and SAM SMITH coolly despatched the penalty. Last throw of the dice Joe Taylor and Sam Watts came on for Callum Denman and Louis Irwin as we went to three at the back. Sam promptly made the two biggest tackles of the afternoon and showed that he is not just an excellent keeper but also handy out on the park. We kept going forward but just couldn’t get that elusive equaliser. Sherborne almost snatched a fourth from a rare break but the score was offside.
I have to say regardless of the result I thoroughly enjoyed the game, both teams played it in the right spirit. It was an excellent team performance from our guys, all 14 played with real desire and spirit. If we play like that for the rest of the season it will take a good team to beat us, my only thought is why haven’t we seen performances like that all season!
At long last we finally found a gap in the weather for our trip to Bournemouth Poppies to play our cup quarter final. Spirits were high especially Pat who was celebrating the overnight birth of his grand daughter.....never seen him so quick up and down the line! Due to unavailability squad selection had been difficult but we eventually assembled a balanced 14. We started with Robbie Heather and Luke Jackson at the heart of the defence and Nat Carney came into the centre of the park, with Joe Taylor, Matt Lawrence and Dan Quirke on the bench.
We started the game kicking into the wind and struggled to get to grips with the physical side of our opponents. Poppies like our previous encounter immediately grabbed hold of the midfield and started to dominate forcing several early free kicks and corners. So it was no surprise when they opened the scoring after just 6 minutes with a soft headed goal from a free kick. This seemed to wake a few up and we started to get back into the game and into the opponents half. 10 minutes in and Robbie Heather had to come off with an injured knee, he was replaced with Dan Quirke going on upfront. The impressive Henry Napier moved to centre back, Cian Cabell dropped to left back, and Adam Priscott dropped back into midfield. Without knowing it this turned out to be an inspired move as within 5 minutes ADAM PRISCOTT curled a fantastic cross into the back of the net to tie up the scores. Could we kick on and take control, unfortunately not, the game became very tight and well contested. Not many chances for either side, although like most of our season we do keep creating half chances which with a bit more determination we could do better with. 5 minutes before the break another Poppies free kick, slack marking and we find ourselves 2-1 down.
Another one way half time team talk and what a different team we were in the second half. As a team we pressurised the opposition all over the pitch and 10 minutes in we got our equaliser. Good work from Louis and Dan saw NAT CARNEY get to the bye line and stand the ball up at the far post, only we didn’t need to get a head on it as it went in off the post. All square again. Matt Lawrence came on for Nat and gave us some fresh legs down the right, which started to generate some corners that Cian was swinging in dangerously. From one of these HENRY NAPIER smashed a volley in off the post to give us a deserved lead. He then went onto miss several easier chances with his head to extend the lead. We were dominant now looking for more goals, but our opponents were still looking to get back into the game with the odd break away causing Luke Jackson to end up clearing one off of the line. Joe Taylor came on to replace Adam and sat just in front of the back four and snuffed out all the threats, exactly what we needed for the last quarter to see the game out.
An excellent 2nd half team performance from all 14 with real desire, again Henry Napier stood out along with Louis Irwin and Sam Smith who had excellent games. Next up Sherborne and if we start like we did today there will be no way back at half-time.
Sunday 6th Jan 2013, Dorset Youth League,
HAMWORTHY UTD 2 WESTLAND SPORTS 2
A nice trip to Hamworthy for our first match after the Christmas break. Our opponents have drawn the majority of their games so a tough match was expected and that was what we got. Due to late illness and injury withdrawals we again travelled with only two subs, however the squad was still strong. Sam Watts made his first start in goal for us due to Luke Silcox being suspended, and Adam Priscott and Nat Carney started on the bench.
We didn’t start the match as we would have liked allowing our opponents to get a grip of the game. Hamworthy as expected were very well drilled and organised, maybe it took us 10 minutes to get used to our changes but eventually we started to come into the game. The main difference from previous games is that we were competing better in the middle of the park although giving away too many fouls. The first half was very evenly contested on what was a difficult pitch to move the ball quickly. We were countering very well down the flanks with both Callum Denman and Cian Cabell delivering some dangerous crosses, whereas our opponents were trying to play the ball through us keeping both our defence and young Sam alert in goal. Just as it looked like the first half would remain goalless Dan Quirke sprinted away down the right and delivered the perfect ball for Cian, who completely mishit it, sorry played the perfect dummy, for LOUIS IRWIN to run on and open the scoring. There was still a couple of minutes left in the half for our opponents to force some more good work out of Sam but we survived and just about deserved to be in front at half time.
One up at half time in what was a very tight and entertaining game we asked the team to become more compact at the start of the second half which seemed to fall on deaf ears to our wide guys as we spent the first 15 minutes defending fiercely. Just as we thought we had weathered the storm our opponents hit us with two quick goals from set pieces. The first was direct from a free kick that eluded everybody and nestled in the bottom corner. The second was a stunning strike from 25 yards into the roof of the net from a quickly taken free kick in the middle of the park....lesson to be learnt....stop arguing with the ref and pick up the man !! Both Louis and Matt Watson were replaced as they were carrying knocks, what did we have in response? We really showed our determination both Adam and Nat’s fresh legs pepped us up and we took the game back to Hamworthy although we struggled to create clear cut opportunities. 15 minutes from time we produced the best move of the game as the ball was moved through 4 or 5 players to Adam Stanhope who delivered the perfect cross for ADAM PRISCOTT to head home the equaliser. Could we win it? Well we certainly tried Dan had several half chances one from a superb Luke Jackson through ball but to be honest the draw was a fair result to both teams.
An excellent team performance with real desire, special credit goes to Henry Lawrence-Napier and Callum Marles who were outstanding in defence.
We travelled to Bournemouth expecting a tough game and that was exactly what we got. Due to illness and late withdrawals we again travelled with only two subs Matt Lawrence and Matt Buse who came along at an hours notice. Joe Taylor came into the starting line up to replace flu victim Louis Irwin.
Again we started the game poorly it was very evident that our opponents were far more competitive all over the pitch, winning every challenge and picking up all of the loose balls. So it was no surprise that we found ourselves one down after barely 10 minutes. Poppies worked their way easily down our right flank slotted the ball through for the striker to coolly lift the ball over the keeper. We slowly got ourselves back into the game by beginning to compete with chances falling to Joe Taylor and Dan Quirke, one forcing an outstanding stop from the keeper. After 30 minutes we thought we had equalised when the impressive Sam Smith rolled the ball into the net from a Dan Quirke cross, only to find that the linesman signalled for a goal kick. However we still kept pressing forward creating half chances, but every time Poppies broke we seemed unable to show enough strength defending in midfield. Just before the break it was from one of these breaks that we conceded the second, we lost a header out on the left, the centre forward was allowed to turn easily on the edge of the box and curled a great effort into the top corner. 2 -0 down at half time probably flattered Poppies but they certainly showed a lot more desire to do the hard work and physically compete.
Our half time chat ensured we started the second half much better, the backline was not allowing their forwards to turn thus meaning their chances were limited. Unfortunately we were not getting much joy out of their defence either but gradually we began to get on top and the introduction of Matt Lawrence gave them a different style to think about which ultimately created the goal when DAN QUIRKE rifled in a cross field pass from 12 yards out. Matt Buse came on for the last 20 minutes as we reverted to three at the back, again he took good care of the ball and some nice neat passing started to create some half chances. Unfortunately we couldn’t quite create the gilt edged opportunity to get us the point we probably deserved.
To a point we played well but I think we take from this game that it is time for us to man up a little bit and compete for the whole game. We have too many lads who are too easy to get past, it’s time to get a strong foot in and show the same desire and will to win as our opponents. These are lessons to learn and take onboard as we all push for that opportunity in the first team !
We travelled to Dorchester hoping to maintain our unbeaten run buoyed by the fact 4 of our squad had played for the first team the day before and the fact our opponents had yet to register a point. We intended to travel with a full squad of 14 but due to a no show we had to make do with two subs Sam Smith and Tom Hallet. The only change to the starting line up saw Callum Denman replacing the injured Joe Taylor.
We talked about the need to start fast and promptly did the exact opposite, within 2 minutes we found ourselves a goal down by standing aside and allowing our opponents to run straight through the middle to open the scoring. However just like last week the response was almost immediate and two minutes later DAN QUIRKE caught the keeper on the ball and rolled it into an empty net to level the scores. Dorchester continued to dominate the game playing up the slope and it was really no surprise when they scored a second with a deflected shot from the edge of the box. The Dorchester midfield had control of the game, they won every 50 50 challenge and constantly picked up the loose ball. Towards the end of the first half our midfield started to close them down better but unfortunately we didn’t take enough care with our passing. We did manage to create some pressure and half chances fell to Cian Cabell, Louis Irwin and Dan Quirke with the keeper making some useful saves. We even had time for Matt Watson to demonstrate his striking ability when he drove a 20 yarder over the bar....still rising as it went into the car park. 2 -1 down at half time and really looking for a good performance in the second half.
After a one way chat at half time we started the second half much better, the backline was more organised, the midfield were playing further up the park and we were playing at a higher tempo. Almost immediately we were level, the impressive LOUIS IRWIN was put through, held off two defenders and coolly slotted past the keeper. Now could we go on and win it? Sam Smith and Tom Hallet replaced Nat Carney and Adam Priscott early in the half and although we gave away more free kicks we started to push Dorchester back and get on top. We were still struggling with the passing and it was another poor pass out from the back that allowed Dorchester to put their forward away. Luke Silcox raced out and took him down just outside the box. The ref deemed this worthy of a red card and sent Luke off. Cian Cabell resumed his part time position of stand in keeper and we played the last 30 minutes with 10 men. Not sure why but this seemed to inspire the lads and we then dominated the remainder of the game. The commitment was similar to the previous week with man of the match Henry Napier driving up and down the left side making up for our lack of numbers. The chances started to come with Dan and Callum delivering several great crosses and Sam Smith trying his luck from distance. On 65 minutes DAN QUIRKE got away down the right and fired his second goal of the afternoon into the roof of the net from an acute angle. Ten minutes later LOUIS IRWIN bagged his second to complete the scoring and clinch the three points for Sports.
After last weeks postponement we travelled to Turlin Moor keen for a game. Conditions were fairly good although the pitch was not in great condition, it was very heavy underfoot. We lost Callum Marles due to illness on the day so only travelled with two subs James Hall and Matt Lawrence. With Henry Napier slotting in at left back and Joe Taylor starting up front we still had a strong line up. In fact we now have a very strong squad of 16 or 17 to choose from every week.
We started brightly attacking well and forcing a couple of corners in the opening 5 minutes and with a bit more determination probably should have scored the opening goal from the resulting goalmouth scrambles. However with virtually their first attack we found ourselves one down, a 25 yard drive that bounced in front of Luke Silcox and past his despairing dive. The response was immediate with the move of the game from kick off we kept the ball moved it down the right hand side Dan Quirke got to the bye line and pulled the ball back to CIAN CABELL on the penalty spot who thumped it into the roof of the net. Ten minutes gone and 1-1, looking like another game full of goals. However from this point on the game was fairly even with both sides creating half chances and both keepers making some good saves. As the half wore on our midfield gradually began to take control and we finished the half on top, Joe Taylor started to get in the game with the better service and began to bring Louis and Dan into the game more. Just before half-time LOUIS IRWIN eventually got on to one of the through balls and under heavy pressure from several defenders managed to squeeze the ball past the keeper and allow us to go in at the break 2-1 up.
We started the second half really well and totally dominated the first 20 minutes without being able to find the goal to give us the breathing space we needed. Several chances came and went the best falling to Cian who side footed over from six yards following good work by Joe. Unfortunately Joe got injured in the build up and was replaced by James Hall. Adam Priscott was particularly impressive in the second half along with Nat Carney who was now covering up well in the holding role. As we started to tire Matt Lawrence’s fresh legs were introduced to help out in midfield. With only a goal in it the opposition really began to build the pressure on our goal for the last 15 minutes however the defence held firm with some fantastic last ditch tackling and several impressive saves from Luke Silcox. We were now down to the odd break away with Dan and Louis providing our threat going forward. It was from one of these break aways that man of the match LOUIS IRWIN raced away rounded the keeper and put the ball in the net whilst the opposition were appealing for offside. There was still time for several scares but we managed to hang on and take our place in the quarter final.
Again the pleasing thing was the team performance, 13 committed lads who showed great determination and battled for 90 minutes, roll on next week.
Sunday 18th Nov.2012, Dorset Youth League,
PARLEY SPORTS 0 WESTLAND SPORTS 4
Following last weeks promising performance at Rossgarth we travelled to Parley in confident mood. There was no wind and the sun shone but the pitch was very heavy underfoot. We made 3 changes to our squad from the previous week Louis Irwin came in for his first start upfront and recent signing Sam Smith along with James Hall came onto the bench.
Our opponents started brightly attacking us constantly in the opening period. Our midfield certainly started well off the pace but defensively we looked fairly secure although we did resort to some long ball tactics to clear our lines. Again Luke Jackson soon organised his defence and midfield around him to snuff out the danger and with Callum Marles impressively filling in at left back it wasn’t long before we started to get into the game. The first goal came just after 10 minutes, against the run of play CIAN CABELL got the ball down on the left and drove towards the box, played a one two with Louis and thumped in a cracking shot from 20 yards. We were now confident and getting a grip on the game although our passing was poor. Louis and Dan Quirke worked hard up front feeding off scraps and as the half wore on we started to put Parley under pressure. Louis showed great strength in the 40th minute to win us a penalty, Cian stepped up and although he made good contact the keeper guessed right and tipped it over the bar. Two minutes later Dan showed great skill to get clean through, got a nasty bobble and shinned it wide from 8 yards. So we went into half time yet again thinking the game should have been over.
Unlike previous games we started the second half really well and introduced Sam Smith into the centre of the park. His impact was almost immediate, on 65 minutes he caused confusion in the box and allowed LOUIS IRWIN to prod home from close range to cap a fine league debut, and after 70 mins SAM SMITH scored himself by slotting home from 10 yards.....full credit to the management team. By now both James Hall and Joe Taylor had been introduced and it was James’ burst and shot down the right which brought a good save only for CALLUM DENMAN to follow up and force the ball over the line. 75 mins gone and 4 nil up this is where we should have been in the last couple of league games. Our passing was now good and we were forcing our opponents back creating chances for Joe, James, Callum, Nat and the unfortunate Dan but sadly no more goals.
Apart from the win the pleasing thing was the team performance 14 committed lads who looked like they were enjoying it. The talking was beginning to spread through the team and there was plenty of encouragement. Let’s keep it up and move onto next week.
Following last weeks postponement we made the long journey to Verwood in good spirits and found out on arrival that we would be playing on the Verwood Town main pitch, albeit a bit bobbly but with no wind and the sun out conditions were perfect. With Tom Hallet and Henry Napier’s unavailability Luke Jackson started in the middle of the back four and Adam Priscott slotted into central midfield.
Our opponents started brightly attacking us down both flanks delivering several early crosses that were dealt with comfortably. However Luke Jackson soon organised his defence and midfield around him to snuff out the danger.....amazing what happens when you start communicating to each other. With some more positive talking coming from Luke Silcox we started to get a grip on the game and push forward. It was obvious that our pace going forward was causing the opposition problems with both Dan Quirke and Callum Marles causing problems and Callum Denman getting some joy down the right hand side. On 15 minutes a long ball down the flank from Luke Jackson set CALLUM DENMAN away, he outpaced the defence and hammered the ball past the keeper. We were now in control and had to make it count, chances were coming at regular intervals but like so many of our games we were failing to convert. However this time we scored 2 quick goals around the 30 minute mark, first ADAM PRISCOTT lobbed in from 20 yards following a blocked CIAN CABELL shot and then Cian scored when a Dan Quirke mishit shot....sorry pass, fell to him just inside the box. Just before half time Callum Marles’ hard worked forced a poor pass out of the defence that fell to DAN QUIRKE who raced through and added another to his already impressive tally for the season. 4 nil at half time and a great team performance to go with it, how many could we get in the second half?
As good as it was in the first half we then proceeded to show how poor we really can be in the second. We started reasonably well and 10 minutes in Matt Lawrence replaced Luke Jackson and 5 minutes later Joe Taylor came on for Adam Priscott who’d had his best hour of the season so far. With Luke went the communication and then we lost our structure and discipline. All of a sudden the opposition were carving us wide open so it was no real surprise when they scored a couple of quick goals and brought the score back to 4-2 after 75 minutes. Both were poor goals to concede defensively and had it not been for man of the match Nat Carney making several timely interventions in our penalty area we would have been in serious trouble. Having said that we were still operating well going forward, crosses were coming in from Cian and Matt Lawrence but we were struggling to convert , until JOE TAYLOR got on the end of another Dan Quirke cross after 80 minutes and made the score 5-2. Just what the Doctor ordered it knocked the stuffing out of the opposition and we were able to see out the game. One day we will learn that we need to communicate with each other to function as a team until then the performances will be up and down.
Sunday 28th Oct.2012, Dorset Youth League,
WESTLANDS SPORTS 3 POOLE TOWN WESSEX 3
It was groundhog day at Alvington as Sports failed to beat a team that had not picked up a point all season. At least we managed to salvage a point on this occasion but its very poor home form considering we have still to travel away to all these teams. The game was 10 minutes old when we went one behind, a through ball catching our defence out and the opposition forward neatly lobbing our keeper. To be fair, it only took us 6 minutes to equalise and what a goal it was. CIAN CABELL took a corner on the right and when the ball was cleared back out to him he just smashed it into the far corner of the net with his left foot. Quite a stunning effort, and it definitely took the wind out of Poole Town Wessex's sails. We attacked with a vengeance and in the 35th minute we went ahead, CALLUM MARLES picked up a square ball and drove it past the keeper. A good finish but that was the exception rather than the rule. We had one more shot on target in the first half, a Cian Cabell effort which was saved by the keeper and apart from that it was a story of missed chances. Not just chances but open goals in some cases that only needed a shot on target to score. There were 4 or 5 poor attempts that were missed but I won't name the culprits to spare their blushes. At half time I was talking to the referee and he remarked that we had squandered loads of chances and would they come back to haunt us ? I agreed we had but nevertheless we had a 2-1 lead and I couldn't see us losing this one.
We had had a few scares in the first half from the pacy Poole wingers but in general we had looked reasonably safe as we had kept the play mainly down at the other end. Poole however came out attacking in the second half and it only took 5 minutes for our defence to be breached. We got in a fix at the back, nobody really taking charge, and their player scored easily. Back came Westlands and a Dan Quirke shot from an acute angle clipped the bar. But five minutes later they scored again to go 3-2 in front. A ball was played through a big gap in our defence, the last defender went to ground and missed the tackle and the lad ran on to slot the ball into the net. Poole were happy with their lead and adjusted their line up to give an extra defender try to hold on. A bad move really as it let our beleaguered defence off the hook and we were able to push forward and look for the equaliser. Dan Quirke was put through, but his normal reliable finishing let him down and he shot straight at the keeper. Again Dan was put through a couple of minutes later, but it was not his day and his lob over the keeper cleared the bar. Next Adam Stanhope cut in from the right and shot just over the bar and a few minutes later Dan Quirke got a shot on target but the keeper pulled off a good save. Finally, in the 86th minute we managed to get the equaliser. A cross came over from the right and MATT LAWRENCE nipped in front of the the keeper to stab the ball into the back of the net. In the end it was a relief to get a point out of the game but it should have been three. We did well to create so many chances in the game and on another day I'm sure we would have scored a few more. Just a bit of composure needed in front of goal. On the defensive side we still need to learn to defend as a team and we will never do that until we start communicating with one another.
This match was a big disappointment as we had won our last 2 matches and with Parley having lost both their opening games a home win looked favourite. Unfortunately, we do not seem to be learning the lessons of previous games as some of our old failings came back to haunt us. There was no hint of what was to come in the opening minutes as Parley looked a bit nervous and we were given the chance to push forward. A goal during this spell would have really put our opponents on the back foot but our inability to convert our chances gave them a bit of confidence and as the half hour mark approached, they pushed forward and scored with almost their first attack. A simple through ball split our defence wide open and as the keeper came out he was neatly chipped to make it 1-0 to the visitors. DAN QUIRKE was the main threat up front for Sports and he made two or three breaks down the right and got crosses in but there was no finish. In the 40 minute Dan was put through by a nice through ball and finished coolly to make it 1-1. Westlands had their tails up now and chances came thick and fast. Dan Quirke hit the bar from 18 yards then Adam Priscott got on the end of a cross but the ball was deflected past the post and from the corner Callum Denman shot wide. Finally Adam Stanhope blazed a shot over the bar from a cut-back. Parley were hanging on at this point but as the whistle was about to blow they broke up the field and showed us how to take chances. One of their players beat 3 men out on the left wing and crossed for his team-mate to scramble the ball in from close range. That was the last action of the first half and we went in 2-1 down after having numerous chances to score.
In the second half Parley were first to have an effort which sailed over the bar. Then in the 60th minute we equalised. Adam Priscott made a good run and passed to Nat Carney. His shot was blocked by the keeper but fell kindly for TOM HALLETT who followed up to score. The game was pretty even now but eventually, in the 80th minute, it was Parley who made the breakthrough. A through ball was missed by the Westland defenders and the forward scored easily. Worse was to come six minutes later when a Parley forward ran on to a long ball over the top and slotted away number four. So, a 4-2 home defeat and a disappointing display from the Westland lads. We seemed to get it wrong all over the field on Sunday, chances slipping away in front of goal and a lack of awareness that is seeing us punished defensively.
Sports kicked off against the wind and almost shot themselves in the foot straight away. Almost straight from the kick-off the ball was played back to a Westlands defender on the edge of his own box. As a Poole forward came to close him down he inexplicably decided to try to dribble past him and was robbed of the ball. With the lad clean through, Luke Silcox, the Westlands keeper, rushed out and threw himself at the forwards feet and although he couldn't gather the ball he drove the attacker wide and bought some time for defenders to cover and eventually the ball was scrambled away for a corner. We did get punished, though, as Luke was unable to continue and was carried off with knee damage. Cian Cabell took over in goal and Henry Lawrence -Napier came on outfield. After this shock opening we settled down and the game looked fairly even until Sports opened the scoring in the 16th minute. A nice through ball put DAN QUIRKE in the clear and he slipped the ball past the Poole keeper into the corner. So, an early lead for Westlands but already we could see Poole had some strong players so there was a long way to go. After half an hour they equalised when a long ball was allowed to bounce in our box and a Poole forward headed past Cian as he rushed out. Westlands were looking a bit uneasy in defence and Poole were beginning to give us a few problems as they pushed forward. Just before the half-time whistle we went behind from a corner on the left. As the ball came into the crowded box, Sports stand-in keeper Cian Cabell made a brave effort to come and grab the ball but he could not collect it cleanly and as the ball fell into the crowd a Poole player was the first to react and he blasted the ball into the back of the net. That was the half-time score, 2-1 to the visitors, and things not looking too good for Westlands.
A change was made at half time with Callum Marles taking over the goalkeeper's jersey and Cian Cabell taking Callum's place up front. Joe Taylor had been injured just before the break and his departure saw the introduction of Nat Carney into the midfield with Luke Jackson dropping back. Unfortunately before the rehashed Westlands team had time to settle we fell further behind. A high free kick was again allowed to bounce in the box and the ball went right through to a Poole player who knocked it in at the far post. Once again this was a really soft goal to lose, a bit more determination needed when defending. To be fair, Westlands settled a bit after this. Luke Jackson began to organise things at the back, Dan Quirke began to run at the Poole defence causing them real problems and Nat Carney added a bit of an edge in midfield. In the 57th minute we got our reward with the second goal. After a neat bit of passing CIAN CABELL cut in from the right and shot across the keeper into the far corner for a textbook goal. Sports really had their tails up now and Poole were beginning to panic a bit. Three minutes after the second goal we scored again to make it 3-3. DAN QUIRKE picked up the ball in the clear and coolly lobbed the keeper as he came out. Fantastic spirit in the team now as Sports went for the jugular with Poole reeling. In the 66th minute Alvington erupted as NAT CARNEY took a pass on the edge of the box, steadied himself, and sidefooted the ball into the corner of the net to put us in front. What a fantastic comeback ! In the space 10 minutes we had gone from 3-1 down to 4-3 up, a great fight back. In the last 20 minutes Poole tried to rally but Callum Marles, Sports third keeper of the game, looked pretty calm in goal and dealt confidently with anything that came his way. His wind assisted kicks up to Dan Quirke were also causing the visitors defence problems and from one such attack Dan bounced a shot off the Poole crossbar with Cian Cabell just failing to get on the end of the rebound. We held on fairly comfortably until the end to record a good victory against a good Poole Borough side. Considering we lost our keeper in the first minute we battled back in good style to claim the three points. Obviously we need to sort out a few problems defensively but thats for another day and for the moment we will just bask in the pleasure of a good victory.
A much better performance from Westlands this week as they recorded their first victory of the season and kept a clean sheet as well. We didn't know much about Hamworthy but they had won their first match so had to be respected. As the game started it was obvious we were a bit stronger physically than our opponents and they were having a bit of difficulty dealing with this. And it was Sports who made their early pressure pay in the 5th minute when we took an early lead. Callum Marles played a nice ball to DAN QUIRKE who ran on and finished coolly in the corner. At this point our opponents looked there for the beating but although we created a few half-chances we couldn't increase our lead. As the half wore on Hamworthy grew in confidence and began to put the Westlands goal under a bit of pressure. We coped well enough without ever really looking confident at the back and the visitors had some clever players who began to cause us a few problems. A 1-0 half-time lead was about right but we felt we really should go on and win this one.
The second half was much the same as the first, Westlands looking the stronger side but Hamworthy definately not out of it. Until the 65th minute, that was, when Westlands scored that all-important second goal. Adam Stanhope swung in a vicious corner from the right which CALLUM MARLES glanced in with his head from about a yard out. There didn't look to be a way back for Hamworthy now but they kept trying and forced a couple of corners to keep the Sports defence on their toes. Inevitably the points were well and truly wrapped up in the 76th minute when Dan Quirke squared the ball to TOM HALLETT on the edge of the box and his looping shot beat the keeper all ends up. That was the final goal of the game and it was smiles all round as the whistle blew to give Sports their first victory of the season, and as I mentioned before, a clean sheet as well. This was a much better performance from Westlands after last weeks debacle and although we still have a lot to work on in terms of team shape etc it is nice to see definite improvement and a much better attitude this week. Lets keep it going.
This was the first league game of the season, and things looked good for Westlands as they raced into a 2-0 lead after only 18 minutes. The first came after 5 minutes when a good pass found CIAN CABELL out on the left and he neatly lobbed the keeper to open the scoring. Sports increased their lead in the 18th minute when the Sherborne defence hesitated and CALLUM MARLES hooked the ball into the net. Three minutes later Callum had another attempt, shooting on the run just past the far post. Sherborne up to this point had been looking for the long ball behind our defence and were having a bit of joy and Luke Silcox in the Westlands goal had to look sharp after the Sports defence switched off. As the half wore on Sherborne, with the wind behind, were often guilty of overhitting their forwards but in the 43rd minute were unlucky when a shot came back off the bar. Westlands were struggling now, but with half-time approching just needed to hold out. Unfortunately that was not to be. Sherborne had previously played several corners short to the front post area, so it was disappointing when a corner came over to see the attacker just pull off his marker and head in. No-one blocking off that near post cross. Nevertheless, we were 2-1 up at the interval, and with the wind behind us in the second half seemed to be in the driving seat. We would have to be careful of these balls over the top though, as they may hold up in the wind in the second half.
We got off to the worst possible start to the second period. Our defence seemed to stand still and watch an attacker run on to a long ball and as he closed in on goal a desperate tug of his jersey saw the referee pointing to the spot. Sherborne stuck the penalty away and it was 2-2 and game on. Two minutes later we were behind. This time the attacker was pushed over as he ran on to a through ball. Again the penalty was despatched to make it 2-3. Westlands had completely lost their shape now and three minutes later another ball over the top was squared for a totally unmarked player to sidefoot in. We were now 4-2 down and the subs were sent on to try and turn things round. We stemmed the tide for about 10 minutes before a complete mixup in the defence saw a lone Sherborne attacker stab the ball into the net while lying on the ground. At 5-2 down the points were gone but we were playing for pride and in the 85th minute pulled one back when CIAN CABELL shot through a crowd of players and found the back of the net. In the 90th minute we conceded a sixth when Luke Silcox made a good save but the ball fell to a Sherborne attacker who stuck it away. There was just time for one last attack from Westlands and they were extremely unlucky not to score. First a shot cannoned off the bar and the follow-up header was cleared off the line before the ball was eventually hacked clear. So that was it, a 6-3 defeat was not the best way to start the season and there were some worrying aspects to our performance but its back to the drawing board and if we can learn from the basic mistakes we made we can take something out of the game.