The last game of the season handed us a tough trip to second top of the table Hamworthy Recreation. They have had a bit of a fixture backlog recently and didn’t look to be up to full strength but Westlands had a couple missing as well so hopefully we had a good game in prospect. As usual, the pitch was in excellent condition for this time of year and Hamworthy started by zipping the ball around which drew a free kick about 25yards out on the Sports right flank. The ball was flighted to the far post where a Hamworthy player had a free header but luckily he put it wide. Westlands needed to buck up but were finding it hard going to contain the Rec attacks. After 15 minutes Rec attacked down their left wing, the cross came over to the far post where Phil Wells missed the header. The diminutive Hamworthy winger brought the ball down and fired in a cracking shot which beat Sports keeper Sam Watts at his near post. Westlands settled a bit after this and Louis Irwin and Ant Herrin were causing the Rec defence a few problems. So much so that in the 20th minute we equalised. ANT HERRIN hit a daisy-cutter from 20 yards that found the far corner of the net. An excellent piece of opportunism and Sports got a bit of encouragement from this and Louis Irwin had a decent effort that went just past the post. Just as we thought things were looking up we went behind again ! A long ball was not dealt with by the Sports defence and a Hamworthy player was left with a clear sight at goal. He fired in a shot that Sam Watts did well to block but a Rec player following up tucked it away to make it 2-1.
The game settled into a pattern now with the home side playing with 2 wide men who got crosses into the box for the central striker. Westlands were playing with 2 up the middle trying to work an opening to put each other in. In the 38th minute we got it back to 2-2. Sports got a free kick out on the right about half way into the Rec half. Stu Smith took it and his deep cross to far post was met full on by SCOTT SMITH who headed powerfully into the net. Once again Sports took heart from their equaliser and just before half time Louis Irwin hit the outside of the post with a good shot.
The half-time score of 2-2 was probably about right as Hamworthy had caused Sports a few problems with their fast passing and their width on the pitch. Sports, in reply, had caused the home side a few dodgy moments through their two strikers who were quite happy to take on their defenders. It had been a good first half, and although there had definitely been an ‘end of season’ feel to it, it had been very entertaining.
Westlands came out for the second half thinking we could get something out this game, but in the 46th minute they did what they have been doing all season, conceded a soft goal. The ball came into the box and Scott Smith, facing his own goal, dived at the ball and turned it into the corner of the net. An OG for Scott was a pity as he had scored a fine equaliser for Sports just before the break.
Hamworthy smelt blood now and pushed forward to finish Westlands off but they were rocked back on their heels in the 58th minute when we equalised again ! A free kick was pumped into the box, the Rec keeper made a bit of a hash of it knocking the ball out of the area where MATT MULLINGS met it on the drop and directed a lovely dipping shot over the stranded keeper’s head into the back of the net. That made it 3-3 and with half an hour still to go and both defences looking a bit dodgy we sat back expecting more goals. Hamworthy went on the attack and Westlands countered by bringing on some fresh legs. Henry Lawrence-Napier was then hit by a ball blasted at him from 2 yards away and the referee gave a free kick on the edge of the box. Henry was not happy with the decision and he was booked for protesting. Sports managed to defend the free kick with a good save from keeper Sam Watts. In the 70th minute Stu Smith tried to pull out of a tackle on the edge of the box but again the referee gave a free kick. Stu was adamant he hadn’t committed a foul and was red carded for swearing at the official. It had all being going so well in a good game until suddenly a couple of decisions threatened to change everything. Sports managed to defend the free kick but with 20 minutes to go and without our centre half, it didn’t look good.But, cometh the hour, cometh the man, and Will Ireland stepped up and did a great job at centre half for the rest of the game. Westlands were on the defensive now but they looked quite solid and were defending well. Hamworthy were getting a little desperate and were pumping the ball forward from the full back positions now instead of getting it down the flanks as they had done in the first half. With 2 minutes to go, another free kick on the edge of the Westlands box brought a great save from Sam Watts as he tipped the ball over the bar. The final whistle was a bit of a relief for the Westlands lads as they had been up against it in those last 20 minutes following the red card and for most of the half, to be fair, but their organisation and commitment had been excellent so they can be happy with their performance. Sports veteran coach Gerry Pearson made a nice cameo appearance (his first of the season) for the last 15 minutes of the game and he helped rally the troops to hold onto that point.
The Regis Foods Man-of-the-match award goes, once again, to ANT HERRIN. He was a constant thorn in the flesh of the Hamworthy defence, scored a good goal, and was even back behind the bar in the Airfield Tavern to serve us our pints when we got back to Yeovil, what a performance !
After the disappointment of the midweek defeat there were a couple of changes in the lineup with Steve Flynn and Ant Herrin replacing Jordan Fletcher and Sam Gibbs in the midfield and Scott Smith replacing the injured Matt Watson at centre-half. The first 20 minutes of the match were a dogged midfield battle with Sports trio of Steve Flynn, Ant Herrin and Henry Lawrence-Napier holding their own against a strong Weymouth outfit. The first goalmouth action came when Ant Herrin had a shot and the Weymouth keeper made a good save. Westlands were working hard, and with the wind in our favour were now pressing the visitor's defence so it was no great surprise when we took the lead. Josh Payne took on a defender in the box and was brought down for a penalty and LOUIS IRWIN tucked the kick away into the bottom corner to make it 1-0 to Sports. Things continued in the same vein with Weymouth surprisingly failing to really test the Westlands defence again well marshalled by Stu Smith. In the 42nd minute it was 2-0. Ant Herrin made good ground down the left and he fired over a low cross which JOSH PAYNE stooped to glance a header into the far corner. A nicely worked goal that gave Westlands a nice 2-0 half time lead which was a bit of a surprise looking at the formbook but most welcome !
We weren't counting our chickens as we thought Weymouth could play better than what they had shown in that first half and with Westlands having conceded a two goal lead at Bridport two days earlier you never know !
The first action of the second half saw Ant Herrin have a shot tipped over by the Weymouth keeper. Ten minutes into the have Westlands made their customary two substitutions with Brandon Scott and Steve Ormrod replacing John Boseley and Phil Wells. Five minutes later Weymouth got the goal they needed to get back into the game, and a soft one it was. Sam Watts dived to save down to his left but couldn't hold it and the ball then hit the far post and bounced back along the goal-line where a Weymouth player taped it in. The visitor's tails were up now and they began to push forward looking for the equaliser. A good shot from a Weymouth attacker went just over the top as they continued to press. In the 75th minute Westlands put together a lovely move down which should have ended in a goal. Steve Ormrod and Josh Payne exchanged passes down the left, Josh got to the byeline and cut the ball back to ant Herrin on the edge of the box. Ant hit a shot that had the keeper beat but the ball rebounded from the post and was booted clear. Strange how things go, from almost going 3-1 up, within a minute we were level at 2-2. Weymouth had some big lads in their defence and when they came up for set pieces we always looked a bit vulnerable. A corner came over was headed back across goal and was finally headed into the net from close range. There was still nearly 15 minutes to go so still plenty time to win the game, or lose it, perhaps ? Steve Ormrod tried to win the game for Westlands but his hot on the run went just wide. The final drama of the afternoon came in the 85th minute. There was a bit of a scramble in the Westlands goalmouth before a Sports player hoofed the ball clear. The Weymouth players claimed the ball had crossed the line and the referee agreed with them, signalling for a goal. The Westlands players spotted that the linesman had not signalled for a goal and persuaded the referee to consult him. After a confab the referee changed his decision and disallowed the "goal" much to the disgust of the Weymouth players one of whom claimed the ball was "2 yards" over the line ! The Westland players were claiming the exact opposite, that the ball was "nowhere near" over the line. My view is that its best to ignore the players in this situation and stick with the decidsion of the man who was best placed to judge. The assistant was standing right by the corner flag and he was adamant that the ball had not crossed the line. At the end of the day, it made no difference to either side but gave us an exciting end to the match and a discussion point for the pub afterwards !
The Regis Foods Man-of-the-Match award goes to ANT HERRIN who was a tower of strength in the midfield, gave good support to the front men and was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet himself with a couple of good efforts. A good all round performance.
Westlands got off to a good start with Henry Lawrence-Napier bursting through on to Louis Irwin’s pass in the 2nd minute but the keeper charged out to block his shot. However, in 10 minutes we went ahead when JOSH PAYNE turned his man, sped off down the left, drew the keeper and clipped an excellent shot from an acute angle over his head into the far corner. Bridport were stung and came straight back at Westlands and some strong pressure saw their player hit the bar from a corner. Just a minute later Sports had another let off when a Bridport player shot past the post. Sports had to endure fairly constant Bridport pressure after this but managed to keep them out and in the 37th minute went two up with only our second shot of the game. John Boseley played a good pass up the right wing to LOUIS IRWIN who cut inside, evaded a tackle and buried a shot in the far corner. Bridport piled on the pressure now and hit the post with another effort. Sports were living dangerously but we were holding out and just as we thought we had got to half-time with our two goal lead intact, disaster struck. An injury time corner dropped to Jordan Fletcher and he somehow headed the ball into his own net unchallenged. A bit of a blow, but to be fair a goal was coming and Bridport had totally dominated the half with Sports only having 2 shots at goal !
In the second half it was more of the same with Bridport dominating and Westlands looking to hit them on the break. Ten minutes into the half Josh Payne raced onto a ball in behind the Bridport defence and with the goal at his mercy missed the target. That was our last good chance to steal the game but we were defending well and held out until the 70th minute when we unfortunately gifted Bridport the equaliser. Sam Watts came out to clutch a cross into his body but the ball seemed to bounce off his chest and fell straight to a Bridport attacker who slammed it in to make it 2-2. With 20 minutes still to go things looked dodgy but Sports held on doggedly.
In the 82nd minute Bridport missed a sitter at the far post after their #9 got away from his marker again and crossed. As we got to 90 minutes we were still level but with 3 minutes of overtime on the clock we were all at sea when a cross to the far post was headed in unchallenged and that was that, a 3-2 defeat !
The Regis Foods Man-of-the-Match award goes to player/manager STU SMITH for holding things together at the back under severe pressure.
With the season winding down (3 games left) we needed some points to drag ourselves out the bottom half of the table. A good win last week was followed by a poor display and a loss against Mere in midweek so we needed another three points from this fixture and that would not be easy as we were playing the team who started the day in second spot in the league table. We made one change from the midweek match with Steve Flynn dropping out and he was replaced by John Boseley with Scott Smith returning to the bench.
The first ten minutes or so were fairly even with the visitors having more possession but it was Westlands who made the first clear cut chance when Jordan Fletcher was left unmarked with a clear sight of goal but he screwed his shot wide of the far post. A minute later an inswinging corner from Fletch almost crept in at the far post, just going wide. Balti were having the bulk of the possession but they didn’t really make anything of it and Sam Watts in the Westlands goal hadn't made a save. Westlands however, although having less of the ball, seemed to have more of a cutting edge with Louis Irwin and Ant Herrin keeping the visitor’s defence on their toes. Another corner for Westlands in the 31st minute saw the ball half cleared out to Ant Herrin on the edge of the box but he missed the target with his shot. The same pattern continued for the rest of the half with Westlands creating several good chances on the break. In the 39th minute a good shot from Louis Irwin drifted just wide of the goal and 2 minutes later a Matt Mullings effort went wide. A couple of minutes before half time Ant Herrin was put through but a dodgy first touch forced him a bit wide and he dragged his shot beyond the far post. There was just time for one final chance for Westlands and it was the nearest yet to a goal. Jordan Fletcher took a free kick on the edge of the box which curled over the wall and came off the far post. Louis Irwin almost got on the end of the rebound but couldn’t make a decent contact at full stretch.
The half-time score of 0-0 didn’t really reflect the number of chances Westlands had created. Unfortunately we couldn’t hit the target with our final shot at goal but at least we were creating opportunities. Our opponents probably had more possession than us and they looked quite good at times with their build up play. However they didn’t have a cutting edge and hadn’t really created much in the final third. This was partly due to the Westlands defence who were getting back in numbers not allowing the opposition any space. If we could get our shooting boots on in the second half we felt we could win this one.
With only three minutes of the second half gone we were treated to a fine opening goal from Westlands.
ANT HERRIN picked up the ball about 20 yards out, turned onto his right foot, and curled a beauty into the far top corner with the keeper diving in vain. A super goal well appreciated by the spectators in the ground.
Balti were stung by this, and you could sense a change in their attitude. Up until this time they had seemed content to try to play possession football in the belief that it would somehow pay dividends in the end. Now they began to realise that the game was slipping away from them and some urgency crept into their game.
In the 55th minute Westlands made a couple of changes that just tweaked our line-up to suit the circumstances. Scott Smith was brought on at the back for John Boseley to give us some fresh legs and a bit extra in the air and Ant Herrin and Jordan Fletcher were swapped over with Ant dropping back into the midfield and Jordan pushing on to support Louis Irwin when he could. The amended line up worked well and as Balti began to ramp up the pressure they still couldn’t find a way through the solid Westlands defence and Sam Watts only work was to pluck a few crosses out the air. We still had our moments in attack and a good passing move out of defence invoving several players ended with a Henry Lawrence-Napier goal-bound shot being tipped round the post by the visitor’s keeper. Balti kept pressurising the Westlands defence but were not really getting anywhere and their players were getting more and more frustrated as the game wore on. The final drama of the game came with just a couple of minutes to go. With the Balti defence all pushed up to the half way line a nice pass slid through caught them square. LOUIS IRWIN held his run perfectly, making sure he remained in his own half before latching on to the pass and heading for goal. He still had half the pitch to run and had a defender on his heels but he held his nerve , cutting across the defender and then slipping the ball past the advancing keeper into the corner of the net. What a fine goal that was, excellent finishing and the Westland’s lads were ecstatic as they knew that was the clinching goal.
The final whistle ended an excellent game for Westlands with three points from one of the top sides and everyone I spoke to thought we deserved it. We had to soak up some pressure in the second half but did that well and we always looked as if we might score on the break. The return of manager Stu Smith to the defence has helped stiffen up a back line that has looked a bit dodgy recently, and the energy of Ant Herrin and Henry Lawrence-Napier in the midfield ensured Balti had no time on the ball. With Louis Irwin continuing his recent good form up front it was a good all-round team performance.
A difficult choice, several good contenders, but the Regis Foods Man-of-the-Match award goes to ANT HERRIN who really came into his own in the second half when he was dropped into midfield. Having put us ahead with a lovely goal he then battled hard to keep Balti at bay as they pressed for the equaliser.
A typical end of season midweek match I’m afraid. A mad dash to get there for a 6.30 pm kick-off, a hard bumpy pitch and two mid-table sides with nothing to play for, it all adds up to a difficult night. There was no lack of effort from both sides who battled it out right to the end but it was not a night for the football purists.
Westlands started by trying to get the ball down and pass it around, but control was difficult and we ended up losing possession. The home side had a more direct approach, getting the ball up early to two quick strikers and it wasn’t long before their tactics paid off. In the 7th minute, we gave away a soft free kick. The ball was crossed in and a Mere player reacted first to hit a first time shot on the half-volley that flew past Sam Watts in the Westlands goal. Things continued in much the same vein, with Sports conceding far too many free kicks that put us under pressure. In the 20th minute we went further behind. Mere broke down the right and their player decided to have a shot from well out. Sam Watts managed to parry the bobbling shot but a Mere player was on hand to turn in the rebound. Westlands had the best of the play following this but couldn’t make much impression on a tall Mere defence who were winning everything in the air and denying us time and space very effectively. Nevertheless, in the 36th minute we scored. At last we put a ball in behind the Mere defence, Ant Herrin delivering the pass, and LOUIS IRWIN raced through and rolled the ball into the corner of the net. Chances were few and far between and Ant Herrin had Westlands next effort but saw his shot blocked by the keeper who had come out to narrow the angle.
Our goal had brought us back into the game and a 2-1 deficit at half-time didn’t look an insurmountable task.
We had the better of the second half with the match falling into a set pattern. Westlands were attacking with Mere defending in numbers but also looking very dangerous on the break. Sports had several corners in a row but couldn’t make anything of them and a Mere player inexplicably missed the target when faced with an open goal. In 78 minutes Ant Herrin had a powerful shot but it was straight at the keeper. Westlands best chance came in the 80th minute when the Mere defence stood still and allowed Louis Irwin to run through on goal. With the keeper coming out Louis disappointingly screwed his shot wide of the near post. Westlands kept pressing for the equaliser and Ant Herrin had another good effort parried by the keeper. Louis Irwin followed up and tried to force the rebound in but the keeper blocked his effort. That was the last attempt on goal we had and the match ended with a disappointing defeat.
A couple of independent spectators said they thought a draw would have been a fair result but probably over the 90 minutes, although we had more possession, I reckon Mere had more clear-cut chances.
The Regis Foods Man-of-the-Match award goes to ANT HERRIN. On a night that was difficult for football Ant showed a few touches of quality and looked the most likely player to score in the second half when we were chasing the game.
We lined up with much the same team as played at Wareham, only 2 changes, John Boseley and Louis Irwin starting in place of Brandon Scott and Josh Payne. Henry Lawrence-Napier and Steve Flynn both returned to the bench after illness.
Westlands started well and almost went in front after two minutes. The Blandford keeper made a fairly easy save from a shot but spilled the catch and the ball ran loose. Louis Irwin was on to it in a flash and his shot, from an acute angle, went right across the goal and hit the far post before being scrambled away by a defender. Almost the perfect start for Sports but we were still pushing forward and Matt Watson got his head to a corner but couldn’t keep it on target. However the pressure told a minute later when Westlands took the lead. A long ball over the top was chased by Will Ireland and as he and the keeper lunged in together for the ball it ran free and ANT HERRIN was there to sidefoot into the empty net. A 1-0 lead after 11 minutes was a good start for Westlands but it acted as a bit of a wake up call for the opposition and they rolled their sleeves up and began to come into the game. They had a couple of tricky wingers who were keeping the Westlands defence on their toes and in the 17th minute Sam Watts, Sports keeper, had to make a good diving save to keep them out. In all honesty, it wasn’t a great game at this point with both sides struggling to put any passes together. Westlands in particular were toiling now and in the 32nd minute a Blandford cross went right across the Westlands goalmouth, luckily there was no-one there to turn it in. But the signs were there and only three minutes later they equalised. A ball was played into the Sports box and as everyone hesitated their #7 nipped in and took the ball past Sam Watts and put it in the unguarded net. Westlands were looking rattled now and a simple ball through the middle saw the Sports defence part like the Red Sea allowing a Blandford forward to run through and have a shot. Luckily he did not have the vision of Moses and screwed his shot wide. It was Sports who needed a miracle and that came with 45 minutes on the clock when we scored ! Will Ireland won a crunching tackle in midfield and fed the ball to Louis Irwin. Louis took a touch and turned to hit a scorching drive that cannoned of the crossbar and back into play. Luckily it fell to ANT HERRIN who hit it on the volley from about 15 yards out and the ball flew into the bottom corner with the keeper diving in vain. What a goal and some great skill by Ant to control that shot and keep it low.
Happy half-time tea for the Westlands faithful although everyone did admit we were a bit fortunate to be ahead.
The second half was only five minutes old when Westlands soft centre appeared again. There seemed no danger as Blandford tried to work the ball down the left. Then suddenly their #11 had room to run straight through on his own and bury a shot past Sam Watts. Seemed like a lack of communication, but they always seem to have plenty to say out there, perhaps it’s just not very constructive communication.
Steve Flynn and Henry Lawrence-Napier were on now and to be fair Westlands at last began to string a few passes together. The next chance, however, came to the visitors when their #3 had a pot shot that hit the bar. Then Jordan Fletcher shot over the top after some good build up play by Sports. In the 70th minute Ant Herrin picked out Louis Irwin with a cross but he couldn’t get any power behind his header and it went straight to the keeper. In the 78th minute Ant drove the ball across the face of the goal but Henry Lawrence-Napier just failed to get a touch. With 4 minutes left Blandford created a good opening but the final shot was past the post. With time running out we had settled for another draw when we had a dramatic, last gasp winner ! The ball sat up nicely for JORDAN FLETCHER about 20 yards out so he let fly with a thumping shot that crashed off the crossbar and bounced down into the net. A dramatic way to end the game and the Westland players were ecstatic. Blandford were gutted and who could blame them as they had fought hard all the way.
From Westlands point of view we were just chuffed to get a result after six winless matches (four draws and two defeats). We hadn’t played that well but the second half had shown a bit of an improvement and as we have lost quite a few late goals ourselves recently it was nice to have the shoe on the other foot.
The Regis Foods Man-of-the-Match award this week goes to LOUIS IRWIN for a hard working performance up front. Although very often left up there on his own, he held the ball up well in the face of some strong challenges and was also unlucky not to get on the score sheet with 2 efforts coming off the woodwork.
Once again a hard and bumpy pitch greeted us on arrival at Wareham’s Purbeck Sports Centre, so not much prospect of some free flowing football on the menu. Illness in the camp meant Steve Flynn and Henry Lawrence-Napier were non-starters but we had a strong line-up and a good four man bench as well so we were looking forward to the game on a nice sunny day for a change.
Wareham made the early running and forced two corners in a spell of pressure that put Westlands on the back foot. Our first chance came in the 10th minute, Josh Payne ran at the home defence then squared the ball to Will Ireland whose shot went well over. I can confirm that the ball definitely bobbled up on the bumpy surface just as Will swung his boot ! A minute later a Wareham player brushed aside a weak Westlands tackle and ran in on goal only to be thwarted by Sam Watts who dashed off his line to block the attempt at goal. In the 15th minute Westlands went ahead via the penalty spot. Josh Payne again drove at the Wareham defence, got to the bye-line and drove a cross into the goalmouth where it hit the outstretched arm of a Wareham defender. The referee pointed to the spot and after the home sides protests had been quelled, JORDAN FLETCHER drove the ball low and hard into the bottom corner to make it 1-0 to Westlands. The bobbly surface didn’t seem to upset the home team too much as they passed the ball around and tried to build from the back. They were pushing forward with some determination now that they were behind and in the 23rd minute their player cut in from the left and fired in a vicious shot which Sam Watts did well to parry and the ball was scrambled away to safety. The Sports defence did not look too confident during this spell and an equaliser was beginning to look imminent. In the 38th minute we were punished for our slackness when Wareham scored to make it 1-1. A through pass found a Wareham player unmarked just outside the box and he had time to take a touch and side-foot a low shot into the corner of the net. A strange one as we seemed to have four defenders back on the edge of the box but no-one seemed to be picking up the one Wareham attacker.
The drift of the managers and coaches half-time message seemed to be that Wareham looked the hungrier side in the first half and were competing better all over the pitch. I would agree with that summary as the spectators were of the general opinion that Westlands were a little fortunate to turn round on level terms.
In the second half Westlands had the sun at their backs and certainly looked in more determined mood as the half began. As usual early substitutions were made with Louis Irwin and Matt Phillips replacing Will Ireland and Matt Watson. Louis Irwin moved up front and was soon in the thick of the action. Josh Payne was causing Wareham problems down the left and he combined with Phil Wells to set Louis up with a shooting chance but his shot went just over the bar. Westlands had dominated the opening 20 minutes of the half but gradually the home side got into it again and for about 10 minutes they pressed forcing a couple of corners. From one we had a bit of a let off when their player had a free header at the far post but he put it wide. Poor marking there, but Westlands were soon on the attack again and Louis Irwin had a great chance. It was a solo effort as he burst through the middle shrugging off a couple of tackles before skying his shot over the bar with just the keeper to beat. That one must have taken a bobble, surely ! John Boseley then replaced Phil Wells as Westlands continued to press for the winner. With 5 minutes to go Ant Herrin again blasted a shot over the top, our shooting really had been poor and, apart from the penalty, I can’t remember a shot on target! A couple of corners in the dying minutes for Westlands weren’t any good and Wareham played out time quite comfortably in the end.
It had been a much better second half from Westlands but the overall display was not great so we’ll blame the pitch for that and move on !
On a day when nobody really enhanced their reputation the Man-of-the-Match award goes to JOSH PAYNE. Of all the Sports players he looked the most likely to break down the Wareham defence and he had one run in the second half that cut the defence wide open unfortunately the finish let him down. Nevertheless, Josh was definitely the Westlands danger man on the day.
Another fixture under lights this time we had a midweek trip to Hamworthy Utd to play their Reserves who have had a good season so far sitting in 6th place in the league table. Westlands had a strong squad so we arrived in good spirits, looking forward to the match.
The pitch was hard and bumpy so it was clear the first touch would be important tonight. The home side were a young outfit but they were fit and fast and they showed their intent in the opening moments with a speedy attack down the left wing. Westlands gradually settled into the surroundings and in the 5th minute Ant Herrin had the first shot of the night which went just past the far post. It took 15 minutes for the first corner and again it went to Westlands after Steve Flynn gave Josh Payne a sight of goal. The home side were showing good movement and passing so the Westlands defence had to be on their toes and they looked sound with the returning Sam Gibbs organising things. So although Hamworthy were buzzing around in our half they weren’t really creating any chances and although Sports attacks were less frequent, they looked to have a better cutting edge. In the 20th minute a nice ball from Phil Wells up to Josh Payne saw him turn a defender and thump a shot just over the bar. Louis Irwin had a shot which went wide and then the Hamworthy #9 got clear of the Westlands defence but, under pressure from Sam Gibbs, blasted his shot over the top. Just before the break another Hamworthy player got a sight of goal but he too shot over.
Nil-nil at the break was a fair reflection on the play as neither team had managed to get a shot on target during the entire 45 minutes ! Nevertheless it had been quite an entertaining game with plenty of action.
Both teams set about the second half as they had ended the first, working hard and not allowing their opponents any time on the ball. Ten minutes into the half a spell of Westlands pressure broke the deadlock. It all started with Louis Irwin racing onto a ball over the top and bearing down on goal chased by a covering defender. The ball seemed to just get away from Louis on the bobbly pitch and the defender had the opportunity to get in a tackle and put the ball out for a corner. Sam Gibbs swung a beauty into the box where Matt Watson got up highest to direct a header towards the bottom corner where the defender on the line cleared for another corner. Sam put over an inswinger this time which the keeper came to collect but he fumbled his catch and the ball fell into the crowd where HENRY LAWRENCE-NAPIER was first to react and he smashed the ball into the roof of the net. Due to the lack of shots on target one goal looked as if it may be enough to win this game and we now needed to consolidate for a bit. Unfortunately we were unable to do that and only 5 minutes after we had taken the lead we lost it and a poor goal it was to lose. A ball over the top was covered by Matt Mullings but his headed pass-back to keeper Sam Watts just fell short and a Hamworthy forward nipped in to scoop the ball over Sam’s head and it bounced into the back of the net. So frustrating to lose our lead in this way but we had to make sure we didn’t concede again. Manager Stu Smith acted, bringing on Jordan Fletcher for Will Ireland and a few minutes later Matt Mullings was replaced by Brandon Scott. We were still looking for a winner and a through ball by Louis Irwin to Josh Payne saw his shot blocked for a corner. At the other end Sam Watts clutched a well-struck shot at the near post as the game continued end-to-end. With 10 minutes to go Louis Irwin made a good run down the right wing and got a cross over to the edge of the box where Ant Herrin let it run for Jordan Fletcher to shoot but he sliced his shot high over the bar. With the minutes ticking down the home team began to pile on the pressure, looking for that winning goal. They had a couple of good chances but their shooting was wayward and they just couldn’t hit the target. In the dying minutes they forced a series of corners but the Westland players were in determined mood and a couple of good last gasp blocks kept them at bay.
The final whistle ended what had been a good well contested match and most people agreed neither team deserved to lose. Westlands had put on a good show and the commitment and teamwork was there for everyone to see so well done to the whole squad - players, managers and coaches.
Man-of-the-Match was a difficult choice as everyone had played well. Very often it goes to the player who scores the goals or shows up well in possession but this time the award goes to ANT HERRIN. Most of his work was done when the opposition had the ball, covering runners, getting challenges in (without giving away free kicks!) and getting behind the ball to help out the defence. When he did have the ball he generally found a team -mate so, all in all, a good midfield performance.
(Match report written by guest reporter Will Ireland)
After the disapointment of taking nothing from the last two matches, Westlands headed for Parley on saturday. The message from manager Stu Smith, was one of encouragement. There was a strong belief amongst the Westlands squad, that with the same application, physicality and team spirit shown in the last two games, then we had a good chance of getting something from the game.
Westlands had started slowly in previous weeks, and had been caught out early, leaving the boys from Somerset, 'mountains to climb'. The same could not be said in this fixture, and Westlands came flying out of the traps. Henry Lawrence-Napier combined with Leo Hayward down the Westlands right hand side in the first minute and Hayward, in typical fashion, forced the Parley keeper into a difficult save. Fortunately for Westlands, the keeper was only able to drop the ball at the feet of JOSH PAYNE in the centre of the six yard box, who fired home from close range. 1-0 up, one minute in, just what the doctor ordered!
Quite predictably, this sparked a heated reaction from the Parley boys, who immediately looked to up the tempo in response. Parley looked to play the ball out long from the back, regularly bypassing the midfield in an attempt to put the Westlands defence under pressure. Although the Sports defence stood firm, Parley were able to win numerous set pieces. This concerned the Westlands faithful, having conceded 4 goals from set pieces this week alone. However, Sam Watts was in fine form and dominated the penalty area.
Unfortunately, a cross from the Parley left did level the game up, this time from open play. The move stemmed from a Westlands free kick. The ball broke kindly for Parley, who were able to break at speed. The ball was fired across the six yard box, and eluded the Westlands defence. The ball did not elude the Parley forward who bundled home at the second attempt after a point-blank save from Sam Watts. 1-1.
Half time came and the dressing room acknowledged that the game was in the balance. Again, frustration at the manner in which the goal was conceded, but an overall dogged display from Westlands.
The second half started as the first had finished - the midfield bypassed. Eventually, a Westlands free kick in their own half, and it was Parley's turn to fall asleep. Will Ireland took it quickly and was able to float the ball out to the left side, for Phil Wells to deliver well into the box. Parley only managed to clear for a corner.
From the resulting corner Westlands were awarded a penalty. Matt Watson was hauled down at the far post and there was no doubt it had to be awarded. Leo Hayward, as usual, grabbed the ball. His kick was side footed towards the corner, but the keeper made a good save down to his left to turn around the post for another corner. This was the last clear cut chance of the game for both sides, as both defences held strong, and with neither side really having a 'plan B'.
The second half did see the introduction of young Brandon Scott for his debut, in place of Henry Lawrence-Napier on the right flank. An impressive performance from the youngster, who was not scared to put himself about. So much so he managed to get himself a yellow card with ten minutes to go. It will most likely be a £10 fine, Brandon. Welcome to senior football !
Westlands had an opportunity today to take all three points from the game, which is a notoriously tough fixture in the Dorset Premier League. However, on the balance of play, and with the few chances created, it was the opinion of most that a draw was a fair result.
Man-of-the-Match was awarded to MATT WATSON, who is having a good season for Westlands this year.
First of the midweek matches saw us headed over to Sherborne for a local derby. Westlands made one change with Sam Gibbs dropping out due to injury and being replaced by Will Ireland. Josh Payne and Ant Herrin returned to the bench with Matt Phillips. The Sherborne team also had a familiar look with no less than 7 ex-Westlands players in the starting line-up !
As the home team Sherborne had slightly the best of the opening exchanges but it was mostly midfield sparring and it took 10 minutes before we had a shot at goal, Sam Watts the Westlands keeper making an easy save. Both teams were working hard and closing down so it was all a bit hectic and neither team could string any passes together. as a consequence both teams were getting the ball forward early without much end result.
Sherborne had a shot from a free kick on the edge of the box but it was off target. A couple of minutes later came Westlands first decent chance. Jordan Fletcher crossed to the far post where Henry Lawrence-Napier got on the end of it but he screwed his shot wide. In the 24th minute Sherborne opened the scoring. A quick corner to an unmarked player on the edge of the box caught the Westlands defence napping. A shot at goal was blocked, the ball went up in the air and fell nicely for a home player who headed in. Westlands rallied a bit after this setback and Henry Lawrence-Napier got a header on target from a corner but it was comfortably saved. In the 40th minute Leo Hayward had a shot saved but a minute later Sherborne got a second goal. Westlands again contributed to their own downfall by giving the ball away cheaply in midfield and the #10 thumped in a shot from 30 yards that dipped over Sam Watts head into the back of the net.
That was a big blow to Westlands as we went in for the break. A two goal deficit was a lot to claw back in a tight game like this so we faced an uphill task in the second half.
Sports came out fighting and almost straight away Leo Hayward showed our intent with a good shot that was saved for a corner. After only 5 minutes of the half the Westlands management decided it was time to freshen things up and two substitutions were made. Will Ireland and Jordan Fletcher made way for Josh Payne and Matt Phillips with Matt slotting in at the back and Henry Lawrence-Napier moving into midfield. Westlands were on top now and a free kick from Leo Hayward was saved. We were working hard for a goal but the final ball was just not coming off and the home defence were proving a tough nut to crack. Moving into the last 15 minutes a good passing move by Westlands ended with a Steve Flynn shot missing the far post. Then in the 80th minute a free kick from the endge of the Sherborne box was deflected round the post for a corner amid a massed protest by the Westlands players claiming a handball. I thought they had a decent claim but the referee was not having it. Another free kick for Westlands a couple of minutes later was pushed to Josh Payne who got to the byeline and drilled a great ball across the face of the Sherborne goal with no one able to get a touch. When that chance disappeared you just had a feeling it wasn’t Westland’s night. There was one more chance when a corner was headed over the bar but the writing was on the wall and the referee’s whistle ended what had been a frustrating night for Westlands.
Sherborne had taken their chances when they came in the first half when they had the best of the play but in the second half Westlands were unable to do the same when they were on top.
The Man-of the Match award goes to HENRY LAWRENCE-NAPIER for an all-action display.
The visit of the league leaders gave Westlands a chance to silence the doubters after a poor display last week. The sun was shining and the pitch looked in reasonable condition considering the weather we have had over the winter, so all was set for a good contest. There were a couple of changes for Sports with casualties Ant Herrin and Stu Smith dropping out to be replaced by Leo Hayward and Scott Smith.
After some initial sparring the first incident of note came right in front of the home dugout when Sam Gibbs was pushed with two hands in the back, crashing into his own team-mate, injuring his shoulder in the process, and then having the free kick awarded against him ! The Westlands bench, having a close up view of the incident, were incensed ! Sports then had a chance when a Steve Flynn lob went just past, but I think the keeper probably had it covered. The match was being played at 100 miles an hour and we wondered how long the players could keep this up. Shaftesbury put a couple of balls into the Westland’s box that caused a bit of concern but in the 20th minute the visitors took the lead. It was a poor goal to lose really. A corner came into the area and was knocked into the net from about 5 yards out with the Westlands defence and goalkeeper rooted to the spot. To rub salt in the wound the goal was scored by ex-Westlands favourite Szymon Matuszewski, a bit of a gift from his old team mates. The match was still high tempo and, to be fair , Sports were matching Shaftesbury all over the pitch. Things were getting quite heated at times and the referee was struggling to keep a lid on things. A couple of dodgy tackles saw two Shaftesbury players yellow-carded and it was from a free kick in the 32nd minute that Westlands crafted the equaliser. From the half-way line Scott Smith pumped forward a kick that fell just inside the opposition penalty area. Henry Lawrence-Napier won the challenge and head-flicked the ball to LEO HAYWARD who hooked a dipping volley on the turn over the keepers head into the back of the net. A good goal and no more than Sports deserved as they had battled back well after losing the opener. Westlands had a good little spell now and Jordan Fletcher put a shot just over the top 4 minutes later. Then came a real let-off for Shaftesbury as Leo Hayward’s pace took him clean through the visitor’s defence and with only the keeper to beat, you’d have put money on Leo giving Westlands the lead. Instead, when he slid the ball past the advancing keeper it agonisingly slipped just past the far post. Just before the break Phil Wells had to retire with a knee injury and he was replaced by Matt Phillips.
The half ended at 1-1 and most people thought that was a fair reflection on the play. Although my report tends to focus on the Westlands chances, Shaftesbury had a lot of pressure and Sports had defended well at times to keep them at bay.
As the second half got under way, Shaftesbury pushed forward with obvious intent to finish the game off. I don’t know if their manager had fired them up at half time or if Westlands had put everything into that hectic first half, perhaps a bit of both. An early corner was cleared then a shot was prodded just past the post as Westlands struggled to ease the pressure. Another Shaftesbury shot went well wide and then their top scoring #9 missed a sitter, pulling his shot wide with only the keeper to beat. Westlands tried to mount a few attacks but the visitors were on top and took the lead again from another corner. When it came over the Westlands keeper, two Westlands defenders and a Shaftesbury attacker all went up for it and the ball bounced into the back of the net. I thought it was an OG but I believe the Shaftesbury player was claiming it. Difficult to know what happened but Scott Smith emerged from the incident with a bloody nose and had to go off for treatment claiming he had been elbowed. It didn’t look too great for Westlands at this point but once again they showed great battling qualities to fight back and five minutes after losing that goal they equalised. Louis Irwin made a great run into the box muscling his way past his marker and getting to the bye-line. His cut back was perfect, straight into the path of JORDAN FLETCHER who smashed the ball into the roof of the net. Another good goal by Westlands and the Shaftesbury lads looked a bit shell-shocked. Nevertheless they threw everyone forward then and Sports had to do some defending, which they did quite well apart from a couple of near things. In the 80th minute a Shaftesbury player surprised everyone when he had a shot at goal from a free kick about 35 yards out. The ball came back out off the crossbar and was scrambled away to safety. Then came the killer blow for Westlands in the 88th minute and again it was a bit controversial. A ball dropping at the edge of the Westlands penalty area was about to be headed away by a Sports defender when the ball was flicked over his head by an opponent. It looked like a high boot and everyone thought so as the referee raised his whistle to his lips. Suddenly he pulled his hand back down and allowed play to go on. A scramble developed and the ball was smacked into the back of the net from close range by who else but our old friend Szymon Matuszewski !What a sickener for Westlands as we had dropped 2 points against Mere last week with a last minute goal. Just a lapse in concentration again and it has cost us dear.
The final whistle brought great scenes of jubilation from the Shaftesbury players which told you everything as they knew they had got off the hook in this match. Still, thats what it takes to win leagues and if they do end up champions they may look back on this match as a crucial three points. For Westlands it was a much better display this week, they never gave up and that kind of commitment is what’s needed every week.
Quite a few contenders for Man-of-Match this week but the decision is for STEVE FLYNN for a non-stop battling display in a hotly contested midfield.
Westlands line-up: 1.S.Watts 2. P.Wells 3.H.Lawrence-Napier 4.M.Watson 5.Scott Smith 6.M.Mullings 7.S.Flynn 8. S.Gibbs 9. L.Hayward 10.J.Fletcher 11.L.Irwin 12.J.Boseley 14. M.Phillips 15. Stu Smith
Saturday 5th March 2016, Dorset Premier League
WESTLAND SPORTS 1 MERE TOWN 1
Pre-match conditions were almost perfect with the pitch looking in excellent nick. The only downside was a rather strong diagonal wind which would have some impact on both the game and the spectators. Westlands were missing a few, Scott Smith, Leo Hayward and Josh Payne were all unavailable and Will Ireland was still injured so player/manager Stu Smith returned to the team despite an ongoing shoulder injury, and Matt Mullings also started with Dwayne Forshaw and new signing John Boseley on the bench.
Westlands started the game brightly with a good passing move freeing Louis Irwin out on the right wing but nobody could connect with his driven cross. After the good early play and pressure by Westlands, Mere began to settle into the game and it became a bit of a midfield stalemate with neither side creating a lot. The first shot on target was by Steve Flynn after 15 minutes but the Mere keeper saved easily. Mere came back with a decent shot in the 25th minute which Sam Watts got down to save. Next chance fell to Matt Watson at a corner but he scooped his shot over the bar. Mere’s turn next with a nice move and shot that was well blocked by Sam Watts and then Sam Gibbs got forward for a shot at goal which went just wide of the post. Mere’s striker had a similar attempt that went just past and as the half ended Jordan Fletcher had a shot saved by the visitor’s keeper.
Both sides had chances in the first half which was fairly evenly contested and 0-0 seemed about right as neither side had dominated. The slight worry for Westlands was that Mere would now have the advantage of the wind which could be telling as tiredness set in.
The visitors had the first effort of the second half in the 52nd minute when Sam Watts saved a free kick which found the target. Ten minutes later another free kick by Mere ended in a bit of a goalmouth scramble with the ball eventually being cleared after it had come off the post. There was not a lot of action and Sports tried to inject some attacking impetus by bringing Dwayne Forshaw into the fray in place of Jordan Fletcher. With Dwayne now pushing up to support Louis Irwin, Sports began to exert a bit of pressure but in the 70th minute a free kick to Westlands in a dangerous position was wasted and the ball was given away. The match seemed to be heading for a 0-0 draw when out of the blue Sports took the lead. A free kick was flighted into the Mere box and their keeper came out to collect. Sports tall defender Matt Watson had come up for the free kick and outjumped the keeper to flick the ball on to LOUIS IRWIN who chested it down and thumped it into the roof of the net. A good goal and with less than 3 minutes to go it would surely be the match winner. Dwayne Forshaw made a great effort to wrap up the points for Westlands with a good strong run and shot which went just past the far post. With the game now in added time disaster struck ! A last gasp punt by Mere into the Westlands box seemed to float over everyone’s heads and was bundled into the net from an acute angle at the far post. That was the last action of the game and the Westlands players had their heads in their hands as we had just switched off at the crucial moment perhaps thinking the game was won.
Despite the disappointment, on reflection it had not been a great spectacle and it’s doubtful if either side really deserved to win, so a share of the points was probably about right.
Man-of-Match this week is LOUIS IRWIN. He kept the Mere defence on their toes all afternoon and although perhaps guilty of being a little predictable by always trying to turn his marker, his overall effort and work-rate was outstanding with a clinical finish for our goal.
(Match report written by guest reporter Will Ireland, who witnessed the action from the Westland's bench)
A warm greeting and the bitter cold welcomed Sports in the Dorset wilderness this week, with the promise of a hard fought 90 minutes at Holt.
After the disappointment (accompanied with a distinct lack of fortune) of the previous week's surprise cup exit, the message from manager Smith and coach Pearson was that a fast start coupled with positive intent, essential in any match, was especially necessary at Holt.
Unfortunately for Sports, they were right. Holt came flying out of the traps, with the Holt centre forward causing Westlands serious problems, and as a result, Holt created of series of golden chances. This pressure told in the 4th minute when Holt opened the scoring with an easy tap in. The goal didn't seem to wake up the Westlands defence, but the two Westlands strikers were now working hard to relieve the pressure. Their hard work eventually paid off, as Hayward and Irwin combined down the left resulting in Hayward being hacked down on the left side of the penalty area. Although the defender could well have argued that he needed to bring Hayward down, and that it was a 'good foul' with the striker bearing down on goal, the resistance proved to be futile. LEO HAYWARD himself stepped up to deliver and whipped the ball into the far top corner. Pearler.
After scoring, the Westlands bench were hopeful that the goal would settle the side, and that the lads could get into some sort of rythm. Unfortunately, more comical defending from Sports made the job a whole lot harder. A throw in from the Holt right fell to the feet of the striker (identified at the start of the game as, 'their player') who was allowed to control turn and tap the ball past Watts in the Sports goal from 6 yards out.
After witnessing this, the last place anyone could have wanted to be was on the Westlands bench, where outrage followed. However, the outrage was soon over-taken by events, as a moment of madness changed the game. Irwin, still striving to relieve the Sports defence of the Holt pressure, went down under a challenge from a Holt man. The Holt man took exception to Irwin and raised his hands to the Westlands man. The referee had no choice and the Holt player saw red with no argument from his team-mates. A lifeline for Sports.
The tide turned very quickly after the dismissal and Westlands started exerting some pressure of their own, albeit, without troubling the Holt keeper. Then a corner. Hayward again delivered and captain SCOTT SMITH fired the ball over the line from close range.
Half Time arrived, and manager Smith delivered a very different team talk to the one he could have only ten minutes before. The message: 'keep your heads and take your chances'.
Cue the second half, where Westlands kept their heads......except in front of goal. Chance after chance went begging and it became difficult to find someone who was not a culprit. The Holt wing backs were superb in their work rate and defensive play, and the Holt keeper managed to pull off some good saves.
A frightening symmetry to the week before went through the minds of all of the Westlands bench, and with time running out the tension mounted. Substitutes Mullings and Payne were introduced, both of whom added impetus to the Westlands attack, but with chances still being squandered.
With a mere three minutes left on the clock, a corner. Again, Hayward delivered, and it fell kindly to the back post, and on to JOSH PAYNE's head and into the back of the net. 3-2... And.....breathe.
Relief the over-riding feeling for Sports, welcoming the three points with open arms.
Three points, but by no means a performance to the standard expected by the Westlands management. Defensive errors and chance wasting will no doubt dominate the dialogue at training from Pearson and Smith.
Man-of-the-Match contenders include a hard-working Hayward, with a goal and two assists. Also Captain Smith, whose voice from the back spurred on the Westlands assault, kept a clever striker at bay, and capped off with a goal. But the award this week goes to STEVE FLYNN for a standout performance in a hotly contested midfield where he more than held his own.
Saturday 20th February 2016, Dorset Premier League Cup, 1st Round
WESTLAND SPORTS 2 SHERBORNE TOWN 3
At last we had a match to play after 8 weeks of cancellations due to waterlogged pitches.
The pitch was in surprisingly good condition and we looked forward to a good cup tie against our near neighbours.
Both teams were obviously a bit short of match practice so took a bit of time to settle. There was a strong cross-field wind blowing which was making things difficult for the players as well as a bit cool for the spectators. The first shot on target came in the 11th minute from Leo Hayward but it was fairly easily gathered at the near post by ex-Westlands favourite Matt Turner, who was Sherborne’s emergency keeper for the day. The visitor’s were making the running at this point, looking the sharper side and their early pressure soon paid off with the opening goal. Another Alvington favourite of past seasons Matt Day made good progress down the left wing and whipped over a good cross. The ball was cleared only to the edge of the box where Cian Cabell chested it down and thumped a dipping volley over Sam Watts head into the net. No more than the visitors deserved really and they continued to have the best of it for the rest of the half. Westlands had little cohesion and only managed another couple of chances before the break. Matt Mullings had a shot saved in the 24th minute and just before the half-time whistle Henry Lawrence-Napier hit a strong drive just wide of the far post. Sherborne meanwhile, although having the lion’s share of possession, weren’t really creating clear-cut chances either so the game crept into half-time with the visitors leading 1-0 and not much to shout about.
The half time chat was that Westlands needed to up their game in the second half but with the wind now slightly in their favour and with a strong attacking bench to call on, we felt we had every chance to turn things round.
Sports manager Stu Smith was obviously not happy with the first half performance and brought on all three subs for the second half. Louis Irwin and Josh Payne played up front with Ant Herrin in midfield at the expense of Matt Mullings, Will Ireland and Leo Hayward. Almost immediately Josh Payne made a tremendous run through the entire Sherborne defence, but was denied by the Sherborne keeper who blocked the final shot with his legs. Westlands looked a different team now and the visitors were rocking a bit. In the 55th minute Josh Payne made a good run down the right wing and fired a low cross into the box. LOUIS IRWIN made a great run in front of his marker and tucked the ball into the net with a crisp shot. A good goal and with Sports now back on level terms things were looking better. In the 65th minute Jordan Fletcher delivered a free kick into the box, Ant Herrin turned and hit a thumping shot which came off the crossbar. That was a crucial moment in the game because a minute later we found ourselves behind again. It was a typical sucker punch with a quick break down the left, a low cross and a neat sidefoot finish which caught Westlands napping. Nevertheless we had been on top for most of the half so all was not lost although Sam Watts had to make a good save in the 77th minute to deny Sherborne a third goal. A minute later another good attack by Westlands saw Henry Lawrence-Napier shoot wide. In the 79th minute came the first of several incidents which had the crowd buzzing. Louis Irwin ran through on goal but let the ball, perhaps wind-assisted, get slightly away from him. This gave Matt Turner in the Sherborne goal the opportunity to come off his line and dive on the ball as Louis lunged to try and prod it past him. Louis caught the keeper in the body with his studs which he took great exception to, springing to his feet and giving Louis a push. Not a lot to get excited about really but the laws say if you lift your hands to an opponent it’s a red card so the ref duly brandished his and Matt was a goner. Louis also had a yellow card for his tackle on the keeper and once the handbags had been put away, we got on with the game. Sherborne manager Jason Locke decided to take over in goal himself and once he had donned the yellow jersey the match re-started with a free kick to Sherborne. With the opposition down to 10 men and Westlands on top this looked like a good opportunity for Sports to get back into the game and the new Sherborne keeper pulled off a smart save to keep his team in front. In the 83rd minute we had more drama as the visitors were reduced to 9 men ! Joe Smith, the Sherborne centre forward, thought he should have had a free-kick when he lost the ball in the Westlands half. When the referee waved play on he told the official what he thought of him and there was only one way that particular conversation was going to end. The second red card of the afternoon was brandished and with 7 minutes to go surely Westlands could get back in the game now ? It only took 2 minutes to answer the question. As Westlands stormed into the Sherborne half the ball was fed through to LOUIS IRWIN and he steered it coolly past the keeper to make the score 2-2. With only 5 minutes to go and the prospect of 30 minutes extra time against 9 men, surely Westlands should have just shut up shop and played out the last few minutes at 2-2. Unfortunately that was not the case and Sports went gung-ho for the winner, pushing lots of men upfield, a tactic that was to cost us dear. Just 2 minutes later Sherborne made a break, their lad went down under pressure in the box, and the referee pointed to the spot. Not sure what it was for, perhaps a bit of a shove, but the penalty was tucked away by Matt Day and the visitors were back in front ! It was all hands to the pumps now as Sherborne fought to preserve their narrow lead. With time running out Westlands carved out one last good chance but Jordan Fletcher’s shot went agonisingly past the wrong side of the post and that was that, a 3-2 defeat.
This was a bitter pill to swallow as apart from the fact our opponents were down to 9 men we should have done better. We were lacking decisiveness and some better decision making was required in all areas.
The Man-of-the-match award this week goes to a player who only played 45 minutes which is a bit unusual to say the least but as we only started playing in the second half it makes sense. All three subs made a big impact in the team but the award must go to LOUIS IRWIN whose two goals were very well taken and he led the line well in the second half.
After a fairly heavy defeat last week it was slightly surprising to see only one change in the line up for this week’s clash against league title challengers Merley Cobham. That change was brought about by an injury to Leo Hayward and he was replaced by Louis Irwin, Josh Payne returned and was on the bench with Jordan Fletcher.
Heavy overnight rain had made the pitch very soft and it was obvious from the off that players were having some difficulty remaining on their feet and sliding tackles seemed to be the order of the day. Westlands made a great break in the fifth minute with a swift attack that saw us three against two as we swept upfield into the Merley half. Henry Lawrence-Napier fed the ball out to Steve Flynn who had made a great supporting run, but with the goal in his sights he scuffed his shot and a good chance was gone. A couple of minutes later Stu Smith was wiped out by a scything tackle from behind by the Merley #11. He was sent crashing to the ground and dislocated his shoulder in the fall. Stu was helped off and that was the end of the game for him but the Merley player escaped with a yellow card. Jordan Fletcher was the replacement and Sam Gibbs stepped back into the defence. The visitors then had a good chance but their player ballooned his shot over the bar. The Merley #11 again hacked down a Westlands player and this time received a finger-wagging from Mr Hallett. It had been an even game up to this point but in the 21st minute Westlands shot themselves in the foot. Scott Smith tried to pass the ball back to Sam Watts who was only 4 or 5 yards away. Sam tried to hack it clear but missed the ball and it ran through towards goal. The Merley #9 managed to win the desperate race for the ball and forced it over the line. Such a soft goal to lose as against the top sides you can’t afford to give goals away. In the 32nd minute Scott Smith copped a blow to the face which drew blood as the Merley Cobham players continued to put themselves about. There were about 4 minutes until half time when disaster struck again. As a Merley player put in a cross from the edge of the box Matt Watson threw himself to try and block the cross. The ball hit his arm and although the referee did not point to the spot immediately he did so after a discussion with the linesman. The penalty was rolled into the corner and suddenly we were 2-0 down. It was one of these decisions that can go any way. The very next day, in the Swansea v West Ham match an almost identical situation cropped up with Collins the West Ham player diving to block a shot which then hit his arm but the referee waved away the penalty claims. In another incident earlier in the season at Shaftesbury a Westland player accidentally handled a cross and this time, not only was the penalty given but the player was red carded as well ! These were three almost identical situations and each time there was a different outcome which indicates nobody really understands the laws these days, time for some clarity. Anyway, getting back to the match there was worse to come for Westlands in the dying seconds of the half. With the Westland players switched off, a cross from the right was headed into the net by an unchallenged Merley #11. Some slack marking there and once again we have been punished for it. We finished the half with a shot on target from Will Ireland which drew a decent save from the visiting keeper.
Half time was a welcome break and realistically with a 3-0 deficit there was not much hope for Westlands now, all we could hope for was to score the next goal and then perhaps we could put some pressure on.
Five minutes into the second half Matt Mullings was replaced by Josh Payne in an attacking substitution by Westlands. It made a difference and in the 52nd minute Josh made a quick break into the box but his final shot was blocked by a flying tackle. Ten minutes later we scored to make it 3-1 and it was JORDAN FLETCHER, for the second week in a row, who did the damage. He lined up a free kick 22 yards out and thumped a cracking shot into the back of the net. Well, that was the goal we wanted so could we sustain some pressure on the visitors now ? Things got a bit feisty when the Merley #8 went flying headlong into a diving challenge on a Westlands player who luckily managed to skip out of the way. Had that tackle hit his standing leg who knows what damage he would have sustained. A horrible tackle that deserved at least the yellow card it received. The opposition #9 now seemed intent on just winding every one up, kicking the ball away at free kicks, bumping into players deliberately, all sorts of childish antics, for what purpose I don’t know. Westlands did well not to get involved but were struggling to create chances in what had now become a very scrappy game due to the spoiling tactics. The final chance we created was another Jordan Fletcher free kick which their keeper saved and as we entered the last 10 minutes the game just petered out.
A messy game from Westlands point of view with a disastrous first half which wasn’t helped by losing Stu Smith so early in the game. We actually won the second half 1-0 so that was encouraging but the damage was obviously done by then.
The Man-of-the-match award this week goes to HENRY LAWRENCE-NAPIER who just gets the vote over Sam Gibbs. Henry gave everything as usual in a hard-working display.
Westlands line-up: 1.S.Watts 2.M.Mullings 3.P.Wells 4.Scott Smith 5.Stu Smith 6.Matt Watson 7.S.Gibbs 8.W.Ireland 9.L.Irwin 10.S.Flynn 11.H.Lawrence-Napier 12. J.Fletcher 15. J.Payne
Saturday 12th Dec 2015, Dorset Premier League
WESTLAND SPORTS 1 SWANAGE TOWN 4
We came into this match unbeaten in four so confidence was high. Swanage were also on a roll, winning their last five matches so a good game was in prospect. Westlands made one change to the starting line-up this week with Steve Flynn getting the nod over Jamie Green who dropped to the bench. Joining him on the hot seat were Louis Irwin, coming back after injury, and new signing Jordan Fletcher.
Once again there was a strong cross-wind and in the opening minutes both teams found the conditions a bit tricky. Swanage created the first chance when a nice ball to the far post picked out an attacker but he miscued his shot. A minute later a Swans player went down in the box but the referee, Mr Brokenshire, waved away the appeals. Next Sam Watts, Westlands keeper, saved a header following a corner kick as Swanage kept up the early pressure. Gradually Westlands began to come into the game and they carved out a great chance in the 20th minute when Will Ireland found himself in front of goal but he seemed to lose his bearings and in the end didn’t get his shot away. Henry Lawrence-Napier then had a gilt-edged chance but he managed to hit the post with his shot which was then cleared. In the 40th minute Leo Hayward outstripped the visitors defence and thumped in a shot which the keeper did well to save and again a couple of minutes later Leo again made space and got his shot away but this was a fairly comfortable save for the keeper. The final action of the half saw Leo Hayward burst down the left and fire over a lovely cross which went begging as no one was there to convert.
The half-time score of 0-0 was a fair one as both teams had their spells on top in the half. It was generally felt, however, that Westlands had created the better chances and we hoped we wouldn’t live to regret our slack finishing. A half time change for Westlands saw Henry Lawrence-Napier, who had taken a heavy knock in the first half, replaced by Louis Irwin.
Into the second half and both teams looking a bit cagy, in fact it was beginning to look like one of those games where the first goal could win it. Five minutes into the half we got that important opening goal and unfortunately it was Swanage who scored it. A low cross was played into the box from out on the left and the ball was allowed to travel right through the Sports defence to beyond the far post where it was pushed back across goal for their player to have a tap in. Westlands defence seemed frozen to the spot and the only people who seemed to be moving were the Swanage attackers. Momentary lapse hopefully, and Sports immediately made another substitution with Jordan Fletcher replacing Will Ireland. But Swanage looked as if they had the bit between their teeth now and Sports looked a bit shell-shocked. In the 61st minute the Swanage #7 broke into the box and hit an early dipping shot that found the far corner to make it 2-0. Westlands looked to have lost the plot at this stage and two minutes after the goal a Swanage player hit a screamer from 20 yards that thumped off the post and back into play. Swanage were rampant now and in the 67th minute made it 3-0. Matt Watson conceded a soft free kick out on the left. The ball was swung in to the far post and their #10 rose unchallenged to head into the net. Another poor goal to concede, who was marking the #10, their main striker? Again Westlands made a substitution with Jamie Green coming on to replace top scorer Leo Hayward. The next Swanage attack saw Matt Watson lucky to escape a red card when he hacked down an opponent for no apparent reason. In the 73rd minute Sam Watts saved after another defensive blunder had let a Swanage player in on goal. As we moved into the last 10 minutes Westlands rallied a bit, possibly because the visitors had taken their foot off the pedal. Louis Irwin had a decent shot which went over the top then in the 86th minute we pulled one back and a lovely goal it was. Louis Irwin took a free kick 20 yards out, slipped the ball down the outside of the wall and JORDAN FLETCHER ran on to it and from an acute angle drove the ball into the far corner to make it 3-1. A good piece of quick thinking by the lads there and a couple of minutes later Fletch was in the action once again but this time his shot was a bit wayward going high over the bar. Another goal there could have made things interesting. Nevertheless, this was better from Westlands but just as we were dreaming of a late fight-back we were brought back to reality. A big punt from the Swanage keeper sailed over the Sports defence and their player ran through to net easily and make it 4-1. What a poor goal to lose but Westlands almost got one back at the death when a glancing header from a corner beat the keeper but was cleared off the line. That was the end of the action and we won’t reflect too much on the outcome, it was a bad day and we’ll put it behind us and prepare for next week, when high-flying Merley Cobham visit Alvington.
The Man-of-the-match award this week goes to STUART SMITH who battled gamely throughout and definitely set an example to some of his younger team-mates.
Once again it was an unchanged line up for Sports as we went for our third away win on the trot. The Blandford pitch was soft and there was a cold blustery wind blowing across the field.
Westlands started quite well, pushing on into the Blandford half but not really creating anything dangerous. Both teams were struggling a bit with the conditions and the game was a bit scrappy so it took 15 minutes before there was a shot on target for either side. As expected it was Leo Hayward who was the man who got a shot in but the keeper made a comfortable save. A minute later fellow strike partner Henry Lawrence-Napier had a pop but again an easy save for the keeper. It took another 10 minutes to create another opening and Leo’s effort this time flew over the top. The game had taken on a clear pattern with Blandford passing the ball around neatly but not really getting the ball into the danger zone while Westlands were knocking the ball up to the front men and then getting the midfield forward in support. For the first half hour it was the Westland’s tactic that looked more likely to break the deadlock but as the game progressed Blandford began to get some dangerous balls into the box so it was anybody’s game at this point. In the 35th minute another good Blandford passing move ended with a shot that flew into the side netting and 5 minutes later Leo Hayward blasted in a free kick that flew just over the bar.
The half-time break had the teams deadlocked at 0-0 and it was looking as if one goal would be enough to win this game.
Ten minutes into the second half Westlands made the breakthrough with that all-important first goal. A free kick was played into the box where Henry Lawrence-Napier got up well to head flick the ball on. As the goalkeeper came out to gather, LEO HAYWARD got there first to stab the ball into the net. A real poacher’s goal and very well taken by our leading goalscorer. That was the last of the action for Henry Lawrence-Napier as he had been carrying a knock and he was replaced by Steve Flynn. The goal lifted the Sports players and for a while it looked as if they would add to their tally. In the 65th minute Will Ireland hit a thumping drive from 20 yards which the keeper finger tipped onto the crossbar and 2 minutes later Scott Smith got his head to a corner but agonisingly headed past the post from 5 yards out. As the game approached the last 15 minutes Blandford brought on some fresh legs and went all out for an equaliser. In the 77th minute Sam Watts came off his line to dive at an attacker’s feet and make a good block. A minute later Sam had to dash off his line to smother a dangerous through ball. In the 81st minute Blandford had a good chance with a free kick right on the edge of the box but luckily their attempt hit the wall and was cleared. Then, with just 5 minutes to go, we conceded the equaliser. From our point of view it was poor defending with players just switching off at the crucial moment. It started with Sam Gibbs, who had lost his composure minutes earlier, giving away a silly free kick by barging into one of their players. As Sports defenders were telling him to calm down Blandford took a quick free kick down the left wing which put their player in the clear. With the Sports defence in disarray the ball was crossed low and hard into the box where Stu Smith desperately tried to clear. Unfortunately the ball fell perfectly to an attacker who gleefully thumped it into the back of the net. Sports were annoyed with this and tried to press for the winner but it wasn’t to be. Blandford then forced Sam Watts into another good save in what was really the last action of the match.
The disappointment in the Westland players’ faces after the game showed they felt it was two points dropped rather than one gained. We were in a winning position and then let it slip with 5 minutes to go, very frustrating. However the draw does extend our unbeaten run to three games and with a couple of home games coming up hopefully we can build on that.
The Man-of-the-match award this week goes to HENRY LAWRENCE-NAPIER, who despite carrying an injury put himself about for the 60 minutes he was on the park and played a crucial part in the goal.
Westlands line-up: 1.S.Watts 2.M.Mullings 3.P.Wells 4.Stu Smith 5.M.Watson 6.Scott Smith 7.S.Gibbs 8.W.Ireland 9.L.Hayward 10.J.Green 11.H.Lawrence-Napier 12. S.Flynn
Saturday 21st Nov 2015, Dorset Premier League
SOUTH CHERITON 0 WESTLAND SPORTS 2
The match was played on a cold blustery day in South Cheriton with Sports looking to maintain their recent good form. The starting eleven was unchanged from last week but we only had two subs in the dugout with ex-Tintinhull player Pete Copeland making his debut alongside Steve Flynn.
The early exchanges were back and forth but the first real chance came to Westlands after 10 minutes when Leo Hayward drove in a free kick from the edge of the box that just cleared the crossbar. On 22 minutes Cheriton had a great chance to open the scoring with a free header at the far post which hit the upright when it looked easier to score ! Two minutes later Leo Hayward picked the ball up and outpaced the Cheriton defence but his final shot was just wide of the post. In the 30th minute another chance went begging as Sports put on the pressure. Leo Hayward again outstripped the home defence and put over a lovely ball but no-one could get on the end of it. However the breakthrough came 5 minutes later. We had a free kick out on the right which Leo Hayward floated in to the far post. Phil Wells lofted the ball back into the danger area where HENRY LAWRENCE-NAPIER was waiting to bundle it into the net to put Sports 1-0 up. The rest of the half was a bit non-descript and we were happy to go in at the break wiith a one goal lead.
The second half was only 10 minutes old when Sports doubled their lead. We were awarded a free kick on the right and LEO HAYWARD had a shot which the big Cheriton keeper let slip through his hands into the net.
Steve Flynn was then introduced for Matt Mullings and a few minutes later he almost sealed the points with a lovely shot from 20 yards which crashed off the bar. In the 75th Pete Copeland came on in place of Henry Lawrence -Napier but he only lasted a few minutes on the field before being dismissed by the referee who adjudged he had deliberately put his elbow in an opponent's head. With still 15 minutes left it was backs to the wall for ten man Westlands as the home team desperately tried to salvage something from the game. We were put under a lot of pressure but the defence stood firm to ensure a deserved away victory, our second in a row.
The Man-of-the match award goes to player/manager STU SMITH. He marshalled the defence excellently and made some crucial tackles which enabled us to keep a clean sheet.
Westlands line-up: 1.S.Watts 2.M.Mullings 3.P.Wells 4.Stu Smith 5.M.Watson 6.Scott Smith 7.S.Gibbs 8.W.Ireland 9.L.Hayward 10.J.Green 11.H.Lawrence-Napier 12. S.Flynn 14. P.Copeland.
(Match report this week was courtesy of Frank Irwin)
Saturday 14th Nov 2015, Dorset Premier League
CRANBORNE 0 WESTLAND SPORTS 3
Appalling weather for our normally picturesque trip to Cranborne this afternoon. The rain was teeming down but we knew the game would be on as I can’t remember a game being postponed at Cranborne except perhaps in a freeze up. There was only one change in the lineup from the team that beat Holt, Louis Irwin dropping out through injury and Jamie Green taking his place in midfield. Henry Lawrence-Napier was pushed forward to a more attacking role and Dwayne Forshaw joined Steve Flynn on the bench giving us an attacking option.
Cranborne kicked uphill in the first half as they like to do so we hoped Westlands would take advantage. The visitors were defending very deep and Sports immediately pressed forward and took control of the game. In the 7th minute we opened the scoring and it was a real team effort. Our goalkeeper Sam Watts passed the ball out to Stu Smith who played a lovely through ball for Leo Hayward to run on to in the inside left channel. As the keeper dashed out Leo deftly chipped the ball over his head where HENRY LAWRENCE-NAPIER slid in to help the ball over the line. An excellent goal and one that set the tone for the rest of the half with Westlands pressing and the home team having the odd break upfield. In the 10th minute Jamie Green had a decent chance but he rushed his shot and put it over the top. Five minutes later we had a free-kick on the edge of the box but Leo Hayward’s shot was blocked and eventually cleared after a hectic scramble in the six yard box. Next a neat pass by Jamie Green put Leo in behind the Cranborne defence but he didn’t keep his shot down and the keeper saved it. In the 28th minute we made it 2-0. Phil Wells overlapped down the left and put over the perfect cross which HENRY LAWRENCE-NAPIER slid in to convert into the corner. Another lovely goal from Westlands and the chances kept coming. Sam Gibbs blazed a shot over the bar after Leo Hayward set him up with a good pass and then Henry Lawrence-Napier had a golden chance to snatch a first half hat-trick when he was put clean through but he put his shot too close to the keeper who made a good save. The final chance of the half fell to Jamie Green whose shot went just past the post. There was just time before the half time whistle for Will Ireland to get booked for one of these old fashioned sliding tackles which are so tempting on a wet day.
A half-time score of 2-0 was definitely deserved and perhaps we could have had more in that first half. The home side hadn’t shown much attacking prowess at all apart from a couple of breaks by their right winger who looked useful but Sam Watts in the Westlands goal hadn’t really been troubled.
It was more of the same really in the second although Cranborne did up their game a bit with Sports, two goals in front, being naturally a bit more safety first. The home sides main tactic was for their goalkeeper to pump long kicks down the slope towards a big centre forward. Not a ploy that was to pay off as Westlands have three big defenders in Scott Smith, Stu Smith and Matt Watson so we were happy to deal with it. The only other danger to us was when we gave away soft free kicks and allowed them to get men up into our box . In the 55th minute a free kick for the home team was played deep into Sports box where a Cranborne player headed it back across goal. An attacker slid in and just failed to connect with the ball at the far post. That was a let off but it was the only good chance they created in the half and it was always Westlands who looked more dangerous. Will Ireland was replaced by Steve Flynn and HenryLawrence-Napier was replaced by Dwayne Forshaw as Westlands put on some fresh legs in the tough conditions. In the 66th minute Scott Smith got his head to a corner but put the ball just wide of the far post. Ten minutes later Steve Flynn took a quick free kick which put Leo Hayward away but again the keeper beat out his shot. In the 84th minute Leo made a good run down the left and his low cross just eluded Jamie Green in front of goal. In the 85th minute we got the third goal with another neat move. Dwayne Forshaw threaded a lovely ball through the Cranborne rearguard, LEO HAYWARD bustled on to it, drew the keeper and calmly sidefooted the ball into the corner of the net. That was the game finished, Westlands just played out time and the final whistle brought an end to our unwanted record of not having won away all season. It had been a solid display and all thirteen players can be pleased with their efforts.
The Man-of-the Match award was a tough one as everyone played pretty well on the day. Henry was obviously a strong contender for his two goals but the vote this week goes to goalkeeper SAM WATTS who kept a clean sheet under difficult wet and greasy conditions. He didn’t really have to make any spectacular saves as the Cranborne attackers didn’t create much but he handled what came his way impeccably, his kicking was good, and when he had to he came and punched away in a crowded box.
Westlands line-up: 1.S.Watts 2.M.Mullings 3.P.Wells 4.Stu Smith 5.M.Watson 6.Scott Smith 7.S.Gibbs 8.W.Ireland 9.L.Hayward 10.J.Green 11.H.Lawrence-Napier 12. S.Flynn 14. D.Forshaw
Saturday 31st Oct 2015, Dorset Premier League
WESTLAND SPORTS 2 HOLT UTD 1
Another lovely autumn day at Alvington and Sports lined up with only one change to the side that had lost to Hamworthy Rec the week before with player/manager Stu Smith returning to the defence in place of Lewis Howchin who was injured.
Holt have always been a battling side and they soon showed their qualities with some tough challenges. Will Ireland bit back for Sports and was lucky to escape a yellow with a flying tackle on the halfway line that had his opponent requiring treatment. The first chance was created by the visitors when a long throw was flicked goalwards but slipped past the far post. That perked up Westlands and in the 12th minute we forced a corner down at the other end. Leo Hayward put over a deep one to the far post where Matt Watson got up and headed back across goal to HENRY LAWRENCE-NAPIER who smashed the ball into the roof of the net. A nice goal and well worked but in recent matches we have been guilty of conceding almost immediately after we scored so the hope was we could keep it tight now for 10-15 minutes. Two minutes was all we lasted ! We cleared a cross out to the right wing but the Holt wide man was given too much time to hook the ball back into the danger area where their big #3 had a free header. Sports defenders were left looking round at each other as the marking was certainly a bit slack. Westlands responded to that setback and Leo Hayward had a chance but shot over the top. As we continued to press we soon got our reward and it came in the 20th minute. Again it was a corner from the right and again Matt Watson was the provider, laying the ball back out to SCOTT SMITH who, from 25 yards laced an unstoppable shot into the top corner. The remainder of the half was nip and tuck with both sides working hard but neither creating a clear cut chance. Westlands were playing some nice football now as some confidence returned and one or two passing moves were really encouraging. Stu Smith’s experience at the back was noticeable as he kept Holt’s highly rated centre forward quiet.
The half time whistle and a 2-1 lead was good news but we have had so many disappointments in recent weeks we weren’t counting our chickens.
As the second half got under way Holt forced Westland’s keeper Sam Watts into a good save and then Leo Hayward had a shot saved as both sides went for goals. Louis Irwin has been carrying an injury in recent weeks and he was replaced at this point by Jamie Green. Twelve minutes into the second half Sports were given a golden opportunity to stretch their lead when the referee awarded us a penalty for handball. Leo Hayward’s sidefoot effort towards the corner did not have enough pace on it and the keeper got down to parry his shot. Leo was first to the rebound but blasted the ball over the bar and the chance was gone. Could this be the turning point in the game, Holt thought so and immediately pressed forward into Sports half but were pushed back by some resolute defending. In the 65th minute Henry Lawrence-Napier headed the ball into the opposition box where Jamie Green picked it up but he screwed his shot wide of the target. Holt replied with a shot which also went wide and then Sam Watts had a comfortable save from distance. In the 76th minute Sam Watts came to the rescue with a good reaction save from a close range flick. Having survived a good spell by Holt, Westlands got back on the front foot in the last ten minutes and had a couple of good chances. Matt Watson got his head to a corner and the ball was scrambled off the line and then a free kick from Jamie Green was well saved by the keeper. Holt were always dangerous and a couple of long balls into our box kept us on our toes so it was a relief to hear that final whistle.
A good result for Westlands and one we really needed after a run of defeats. It was a hard-fought match and the players can be very satisfied with the performance and hopefully this will be the start of a good run.
The Man-of-the Match award was easier this week as everyone played well. Matt Watson was a contender for his two assists and a strong performance but the plaudits this week are going to player/manager STU SMITH.
I suggested in the ‘Weekend Preview’ on Friday that the return of the manager may just be the catalyst we needed to turn the corner. That was certainly true as he stepped in with a strong performance and kept the big Holt #9 quiet all afternoon.
Westlands line-up: 1.S.Watts 2.M.Mullings 3.P.Wells 4.Stu Smith 5.M.Watson 6.Scott Smith 7.S.Gibbs 8.W.Ireland 9.L.Hayward 10.L.Irwin 11.H.Lawrence-Napier 12. J.Green 14. S.Flynn
Saturday 24th Oct 2015, Dorset Premier League
WESTLAND SPORTS 1 HAMWORTHY RECREATION 3
Home to league champions Hamworthy Rec was a daunting prospect given our current poor run of form. Stu Smith was still suspended, Steve Ormrod still injured and Josh Payne was working, but we had almost the same side as last week at Swanage with the only change seeing Will Ireland restored to the starting line up at the expense of Jamie Green. Steve Flynn and Matt Phillips joined Jamie on the subs bench. After a wet morning the rain had eased off so the surface was almost perfect as the teams kicked-off.
As expected the visitors looked confident on the ball in the early exchanges but they didn’t create anything and for some time it was a fairly even game. In the 13th minute came the first corner and it was Westlands who won it. Leo Hayward fired over a good delivery but everyone missed it and it flew to safety. Sam Gibbs then tried a shot but it was an easy save for the Rec keeper. In the 20th minute Leo Hayward ran through and stuck the ball in the net but was flagged offside. The lack of protest from the Westland players indicated a correct decision from the lino. Three minutes later we shot ourselves in the foot. The damage was done out on the right where we conceded easy possession deep inside our own half. A Hamworthy player put over a good cross into the danger area and Phil Wells had the misfortune to slice his attempted clearance into the back of the net.
As often happens, you are vulnerable having just lost a goal and Westlands were all over the place four minutes later as the visitors scored again. The ball was played out to their left back who was totally unmarked in acres of space. He ran on unchallenged and from 20 yards thumped a shot into the far corner of the net. Oh dear, this looked ominous for Westlands but we dug in and regrouped and on the half hour mark we pulled one back. We won the ball with some good pressing and LEO HAYWARD picked it up just inside the opposition half. In typical Leo style he set off and raced through the Ham Rec defence before sending a powerful drive into the far corner of the net. This was just what we needed to get us back into the game and if we could hold on until half time at 2-1 then we would still be very much in the match. That proved beyond us however as Hamworthy scored in the 44th minute to open up their two goal lead again. A quick break through the middle seemed to catch the Westlands defence flat-footed and their #11 had time to control the ball and pick his spot. Sports felt there was a foul committed in the build-up and Sam Gibbs was given a yellow for his protests.
It was a crucial goal to lose just before half time and it turned out to be the moment that killed the match as a contest. 3-1 down at the break left us with a mountain to climb against a team of this quality.
We came out for the second half with nothing to lose but Rec had shut up shop now and there was no way through for Westlands. In the 55th minute the Hamworthy #9 got clear and Sam Watts, Westlands keeper, made a good save. All three subs were brought on but the visitors had a vice like grip on the game now and for the last half hour I don’t think there was a decent chance created.
The final whistle brought the curtain down on another home defeat and although it’s no disgrace to lose to a top side what was frustrating for the spectators was the way Westlands gave the ball away time and time again. Possession of the ball is a precious thing, especially against the top sides and our misplaced passes and lost possession due to dribbling into trouble did not help our cause.
The Man-of-the Match award this week was difficult as we didn’t get much chance to shine. Leo Hayward is a contender as he looked our only threat but I’m giving the award to MATT WATSON who kept the big Ham Rec centre forward quiet all afternoon.
After some transport problems on the way down to Swanage, the game eventually kicked off fifteen minutes late. We had a 13 match squad with Josh Payne returning after holiday for a seat on the bench. Manager Stu Smith was suspended and Steve Flynn was unavailable.
Swanage took the initiative at the start but Westlands soon settled into their shape and for the first 15 minutes it was cat and mouse with both defences on top. In the 16th minute we had the first shot at goal which came from a Swanage player whose effort cleared the bar. Two minutes later Westlands had their first attempt and the ball finished up in the back of the net !! A Swanage defender passed the ball back to his keeper who seemed a bit surprised as the ball reached him. LOUIS IRWIN put him under pressure and as he hesitated Louis nicked the ball past him, ran round and walked the ball into the empty goal. A bit of a gift for Sports but it gave us something to hang on to. We kept it nice and tight for the next ten minutes with keeper Sam Watts in commanding form, clutching a series of high balls into the area and in the 27th minute making a flying save from a header after a Swanage corner. The home side were generally having more of the pressure but Sports looked dangerous when we did attack and on the half hour a good break saw Louis Irwin slide a pass to put Jamie Green in behind the Swanage defence but he hurried his shot and scuffed it past the far post. A couple of minutes later a corner from Leo Hayward picked out Jamie Green at the near post but his header went wide. The last couple of decent chances in the half fell to Swanage as they looked for the equaliser. Their left winger tried a shot which flew wide of the far post and finally a good shot flew over the bar.
With Westlands 1-0 up at half-time we were well pleased with the performance so far but the home side would undoubtedly come out fired up for the second half.
That was the way it panned out in the opening minutes of the second half with Swanage pressing and Sports defending doggedly. Eventually, in the 54th minute, the pressure told. Another high ball was pumped into our box and headed clear. Unfortunately the ball fell to their skipper just outside the box and he whacked a screamer into the top corner of the net. I don’t think there was much we could have done about that one except give credit for a good goal. Sports made two substitutions now with Josh Payne and Will Ireland replacing Leo Hayward and Jamie Green. Swanage kept pressing with their tails up but Westlands kept them at bay and gradually we began to mount some attacks of our own. In the 67th minute a low cross driven across the Swanage goalmouth just evaded Josh Payne’s lunge at the far post, what a chance that was to go back in front. As we entered the last 10 minutes it was Westlands who were pressing now with Matt Watson pushing on as an extra attacker. Matt got his head to a free kick but headed wide as the match headed for its conclusion. Then in the final minute disaster struck. We conceded a free kick midway into our own half on the left hand side. The ball was swung into the box and there was the Swanage skipper again, rising highest to head the ball down into the corner of the net. What a bitter pill to swallow for the Westland players. The whistle for the end of the game left us feeling very sorry for ourselves as we had battled hard all afternoon and for the effort alone should have taken a point from the game. However, that’s football and we’ll put this game behind us and move on to next week and the visit of Ham Rec to Alvington.
The Man-of-the Match award this week goes to goalkeeper SAM WATTS who dominated his area, fielded crosses superbly and made several excellent saves as well.
A Somerset Senior Cup tie this week so hopefully that would pick the team up after some dismal league form. Scott Smith and Jamie Green were returned to the starting lineup with Sam Gibbs and Henry Lawrence-Napier taking a place on the bench after returning from holidays. It was a full bench today with Sam Plumley and Lewis Howchin also claiming a seat.
Sports got off to a flying start with a goal in the first minute. LEO HAYWARD picked the ball up on the halfway line, outpaced two defenders and buried a fine shot into the far top corner of the net. A wonderful solo effort and surely that would galvanise the team to take charge of the match. Unfortunately we only kept the lead for 8 minutes before they equalised. A free kick was played into our box and Scott Smith, under no real pressure, got under the ball and looped a header into the far corner of the net with our keeper Sam Watts helpless. What a soft goal to lose and of course it gave the visitors a real shot in the arm. Glastonbury were a lively side, well organised and putting in plenty of effort. Westlands, to be fair, were working hard but the fluency was just not quite there. Nevertheless we were giving as good as we got and as the half wore on both teams had half chances but neither keeper was really tested. Leo Hayward had a good shot which their keeper saved and just before the break a wicked Phil Wells cross saw a Glastonbury defender head just past his own post.
Half time at 1-1 was a fair reflection on the first half and an intriguing second half was in prospect.
Westlands made a change at the break with Sam Gibbs replacing Matt Phillips. For the first 15 minutes of the half neither side could create much and on the hour Sports introduced Henry Lawrence-Napier in an attempt to add some impetus. On 65 minutes Glastonbury had a free-kick in a good position but it was blasted over the top. As we headed into the last 10 minutes of the match it was crunch time and unfortunately it was our opponents who struck. An outswinging cross from the right brought a diving save from Sam Watts but as the ball swung away from him he could only palm it out into the oncoming traffic. It fell nicely to a Glastonbury player who tucked it away to put them 2-1 ahead. A killer blow and one that put Westlands in a state of shock and Glastonbury scored again in their very next attack. A couple of passes and some slack marking gave an easy chance to a Glastonbury attacker which he gratefully accepted. Westlands made an attempt to get back in the game and Steve Flynn curled in a dangerous cross which the keeper had to palm over the bar. That was it, all over, and another poor result for Westlands and an early cup exit. We’ve had a good record in this cup over the years so it’s disappointing to go out in the early rounds for the second year in a row to a team from the Somerset League Division 1. But, we have to move on now, and due to the fixtures we have a week off to gather our thoughts. Having had to play 7 games in 21 days during August it’s disappointing to now have a Saturday with no game.
Not too many outstanding candidates for this weeks man-of-the-match award but once again LEO HAYWARD gets the nod for that superb goal which was the outstanding memory from an otherwise forgettable match.
This was one we were hoping to win but we never really looked like winners I’m afraid. Our second half last week against Balti had thrown up a few positives but we never reached those heights this week with a flat performance. Steve Ormrod and Jamie Green were on the injured list so Stu Smith and Will Ireland were drafted into the midfield with Louis Irwin pushed up front. We had 3 subs on the bench, Scott Smith, Lewis Howchin and Scott Morgan, so we had a strong squad.
Wareham looked as if they meant business in the early stages, getting hold of the ball and pushing Westlands back into their own half. This continued for 6 or 7 minutes before eventually a long ball by Stu Smith from deep in his own half put Leo Hayward away. He raced clear of the Rangers defence, drew the keeper, and put his shot wide of the far post. This was a brief respite for Westlands as Wareham quickly re-asserted their early superiority. In the 10 minute Sam Watts charged from his goal to punch away a dangerous corner and a few minutes later he was called into action again, saving a shot from the edge of the box. After 15 minutes we did force a corner which Will Ireland headed over. A few minutes later Wareham missed an absolute sitter when their player miscued with the goal at his mercy. Westlands had a decent chance after a long kick downfield by Sam Watts was missed by a Wareham defender. Leo Hayward made tracks down the right wing and his cross was just missed by a swallow-diving Louis Irwin in front of goal. On the half hour a Wareham attacker made a good run down the right and fired a lovely pass across the face of the goal that just needed a touch to end up in the back of the net. Luckily for us there was no-one on hand to supply the finish so we breathed easy again. For the last 15 minutes of the half it was fairly dire stuff from both teams and the half time whistle came as a welcome relief.
The verdict at the break seemed to be that we were a bit lucky not to be behind but that the opposition, although hard working, were nothing special and if we started to play a bit in the second half we could win this one.
Straight away Leo Hayward had a run and shot, a curling effort which just went wide of the target. At this point we made our first substitution, Lewis Howchin, a more attack minded player, coming on for Sam Plumley who had been pretty solid on the right. Wareham were still looking the better team and as the game dragged on we were beginning to think in terms of just keeping it tight and settling for a 0-0 result. It did seem possible as although Wareham were having most of the possession they weren’t really creating clear-cut chances and the Sports defence, well marshalled by sweeper Phil Wells, didn’t look too troubled.
On the hour, Westlands had another chance with a good shot from Louis Irwin which drew a good save from the Rangers keeper who had looked an accomplished player. Soon after, a second substitution by Westlands saw Phil Wells replaced by Scott Smith and this almost proved to be an inspired substitution when Scott got his head to a free kick but the keeper saved. Another substitution in the 70th minute saw Scott Morgan replace Matt Mullings on the left side of defence.
Five minutes later, with the game drifting to the inevitable 0-0 we gifted the opposition a goal. A shocking pass by Lewis Howchin gave the ball straight to their centre forward who was totally unmarked and he ran through to score easily. Westlands tried to fight back and Matt Watson stabbed wide from a free kick and then Louis Irwin had a shot saved before in the 80th minute, Wareham wrapped up the points. An inswinging corner came into our box and several players went up for it. Unfortunately the big Wareham number 3 had a run on the defenders and got his head to the ball to force it over the line. Stu Smith then got his name in the book for a strong tackle which someone commented in the pub after had been the first real tackle Sports had put in all afternoon. The game was over but, to their credit, Westlands kept trying and with 2 minutes to go a cracking free kick from Leo Hayward smashed off the post and away to safety and then, finally, Matt Watson got up highest to a corner but headed over.
It was another disappointing result and we certainly need to shake things up for next week when we have the visit of Glastonbury in the 1st round of the Somerset Senior Cup. Perhaps the cup tie will inspire Westlands to play like we know they are capable of.
Man of the match this week goes to LEO HAYWARD who looked our best chance of scoring a goal, and its goals that win games. With a bit of luck he could have had a couple.
Westlands line-up: 1.S.Watts 2.M.Mullings 3.P.Wells 4.M.Watson 5.M.Phillips 6 .Stu Smith 7.S.Plumley 8.W.Ireland 9.L.Hayward 10.L.Irwin 11.S.Flynn 12.L.Howchin 14.Scott Smith 15.S.Morgan
Saturday 19th Sept 2015, Dorset Premier League
BALTI SPORTS 3 WESTLAND SPORTS 1
This was certainly the proverbial game of two halves !
The scene was set for the first half as table toppers Balti Sports caused havoc with their first attack and scored within minutes of the game starting. The ball falling to the winger 25 yards out and there was nothing Sam Watts could do as he curled it left footed into the top corner. Westland’s cause was not helped 10 minutes in when a late tackle resulted in Steve Ormrod having to be replaced. It wasn’t long before it was two. A fairly routine ball into the box was not dealt with and although it looked like there was a fairly blatant push in the melee that followed the ball fell nicely to the striker who thumped home. Westland’s were all at sea, lacking any cohesion and things soon went from bad to worse. A quick break from the hosts and it was 3-0.
Not the position Sports were hoping to be in at half time!
As unlikely as it seemed having seen the first half Westland’s made a game of it in the second half. We were able to put some passes together and were retaining the ball a lot better. The team were looking more solid and were now stopping Balti from creating any chances and looking dangerous on the break without quite hurting the opposition. Leo Hayward and Louis Irwin both had good efforts from balls played into them but the goal was proving to be elusive.
It finally came in the 80th minute from a corner, whipped in by Leo and MATT WATSON adjusted well to power in his header. Five minutes from time Louis Irwin had a glorious opportunity but his header from six yards crashed against the bar the ball was scrambled away and whipped in again but this time Louis’ header was straight at the keeper. If one of those had gone in with 5 minutes to go and Sports dominating, could we have pulled off the most unlikely of comebacks ? We will never know as it was not to be and the game finished 3-1 to Balti.
As bad as the first half was at least there were some positives in the second half to take into next Saturdays home match against Wareham Rangers. This defeat leaves Westland’s in 8th place but having lost all their away games.
Man of the Match award this week I'm afraid falls into the "best of a bad bunch" category but goes to STEVE FLYNN who worked hard in the midfield all match.
On another lovely day at Alvington Sports made three changes from the side that beat Cranborne. Sam Plumley replaced the unavailable Lewis Howchin, Sam Watts replaced Luke Silcox who has returned to University and Jamie Green returned from injury to replace Stu Smith who was suspended.
Westlands almost got off to a flyer when Leo Hayward broke through and rounded the keeper, unfortunately his touch took him wide of the goal and defenders had time to cover and block his effort. Louis Irwin then had a sight of goal but pulled his shot past the near post. All this in the first couple of minutes but gradually Bridport got to grips with the game and started pressing forward. A deep free kick saw their number 5 rise at the far post but he just couldn’t direct his header on target. Leo Hayward then had a shot tipped round the post by the Bridport keeper and from the corner the keeper again saved a thumping shot from Leo.
As the wind began to get up, so the quality of the game decreased with passes going astray. In a high wind short passes were the order of the day and Westlands proved the point by putting three free kicks straight out of play with long punts ! Bridport were making the running now and after a good shot went just over the bar Sports keeper Sam Watts had to look smart to tip a shot round the post at full stretch. However, from the corner Bridport opened the scoring and a well taken goal it was. The corner was played in short and a couple of neat passes saw the ball laid off to their skipper on the edge of the box and he drilled a cracking shot into the top corner. That was the highlight of a pretty poor first half, but the visitors almost made it 2 just before the break when a dipping cross-shot hit the bar and rebounded to safety.
Not much to enthuse about at half time from a Westlands point of view but with only a one goal deficit hopefully an improved performance in the second half would bring us back into the game.
Westlands made a half time change with Matt Watson coming on to replace Matt Mullings presumably to give us a bit more arial power. Sports made the first move in the second half with a good cross from Henry Lawrence-Napier being headed goalwards by Steve Ormrod but he couldn’t get any power in the header and the keeper made a comfortable save. In the 52nd minute Steve Ormrod made a good battling run, breaking through a couple of tackles before getting his shot away which the keeper tipped round the post. A couple of minutes later we went further behind. A deep free kick to the far post caught the Westlands defence flat footed and the Brodport centre forward ran in behind them to bundle the ball in at the far post. A hammer blow as the second goal is always crucial but Sports kept trying and eventually pulled one back in the 67th minute. Steve Ormrod charged into the opposition box and was felled by the Bridport keeper. He received a yellow card and LEO HAYWARD stroked in the penalty to make the score 2-1. Another sub from Sports, Phil Wells off and Sam Gibbs on, surely we would go all out now for the equaliser. You would think so, but Westlands were lying so deep defensively with sometimes 5 players in their own half that when the ball went forward into attacking areas Leo Hayward and Steve Ormrod were lacking support. They were battling hard to make something from long balls being booted forward but it was hard going.. Add to this the fact we continually gave the ball away and you begin to get the picture. Another substitution saw Steve Ormrod come off and Jamie Green come on but I’m afraid with the lack of quality in our play it made little difference who came on. In the 84th minute we gave away another soft goal which made the game safe for Bridport. In the middle of our own half the ball was passed straight to the Number 9 who was allowed to turn and run through the static Westlands defence and score with ease. Just at the death, Sports had a free kick and Jamie Green hit the outside of the post with a good shot.
The final whistle ended a bad day for Sports. Bridport were a decent side and deserved their victory but I think we made them look good at times. A rather critical report today but it was so frustrating to see our undefeated home record come to an end. Hopefully we can put this down to a bad day but we have to make sure these bad days don’t become a habit.
It’s difficult to name a man of the match after a poor result and I was tempted to give Yogi Murley the award for a faultless display in bringing in the corner flags, but I am going for STEVE ORMROD this week as I thought he battled hard to make something of the poor service he received and could have got on the score sheet with a bit of luck.
After 4 games without a win Sports were hoping to get back to winning ways against a Cranborne side who were struggling at the foot of the table. Lewis Howchin and Luke Silcox returned to the team due to suspension and injury to Sam Plumley and Sam Watts and Sam Gibbs and Matt Watson were back but had to make do with a place on the bench.
Cranborne settled from the kick-off and they fashioned the first chance with a shot over the bar. Gradually, however Westlands began to put on a bit of pressure and after 7 minutes should have taken the lead. Steve Ormrod was put clean through with only the keeper to beat but his shot had no conviction and the keeper spread himself to make the save. The game was taking on a familiar pattern of players trying to do it all on their own or trying a difficult pass when an easy one was on. Both teams were guilty and it took a further 15 minutes before we had a bit of excitement. A well weighted pass from Steve Flynn gave Leo Hayward a shooting chance but he dragged his shot wide. Cranborne responded 5 minutes later with a header at the far post which Luke Silcox tipped over for a corner. A few minutes later Leo Hayward tried his luck from 25 yards but his shot was off target. Then Steve Ormrod also failed to hit the target with a shot on the run. The final effort of a rather drab first half was a decent dipping shot from Leo Hayward which just cleared the crossbar.
The half time officionados at the tea bar reckoned Westlands were making heavy weather of this and we needed to get the finger out in the second half or things could easily go pear shaped.
Sports took the field in more determined fashion and the management had made a half time substitution with Sam Gibbs replacing the off-colour Steve Ormrod. Westlands had upped the pace noticeably and Leo Hayward caused panic in the Cranborne rearguard with a strong run which drew the keeper from his goal and left him floundering as Leo cut in. Unfortunately the attempt on the unguarded goal was off target and Cranborne breathed again. Not for long, though, as in the 50th minute we went ahead. LOUIS IRWIN, who had been moved up front, met a deep cross at the far post and his downward header bounced over the diving keeper and ended up in the far corner. That was the goal we needed and Sports quickly added to their tally three minutes later with a spectacular second goal.
LEO HAYWARD hit a piledriver of a free kick from 25 yards which flew into the top corner before the keeper could move. A special goal and it put Westlands well and truly in the driving seat. Stu Smith came on now in place of Phil Wells and at last Sports settled down and began to dominate the game. In 56 minutes Louis Irwin was put hrough but placed his shot just past the post. On the hour mark Scott Smith went forward and got a good header in from a free kick which the keeper saved smartly. In the 63rd minute came goal number 3. Some good passing ripped the visitor's defence open and when Louis Irwin squared the ball to SAM GIBBS he had all the time in the world to slot it in. The final sub came on now, Matt Watson replacing Lewis Howchin, and with the game won, Westlands played a fairly low key containing game as the minutes ticked away. The final flourish came with 3 minutes to go when a nice pass split the Cranborne defence and LEO HAYWARD ran on and drove the ball past the keeper into the far corner of the net.
So in the end a fairly comfortable 4-0 result for Westlands but for a while it had looked as if it might just be one of those days. A good second half had made up for a poor first when Sports weren't making anything happen so in the end a well deserved 3 points in the bag. Once again we saw the value of a strong bench with the fresh legs being a factor in wearing our opponents down and its always nice to have a clean sheet after shipping 14 goals in the last 4 matches.
This week's man of the match vote goes to LEO HAYWARD whose free kick was a truly special goal and deserved the award on its own. Add to that a coolly taken second goal to cap a good all round performance.
Westlands line-up: 1.L.Silcox 2.L.Howchin 3.P.Wells 4.M.Phillips 5.Scott Smith 6.M.Mullings 7.S.Flynn 8.L.Irwin 9.L.Hayward 10.S.Ormrod 11.H.Lawrence-Napier 12.Stu Smith 14.S.Gibbs 15.M.Watson
Saturday 29th August 2015, Dorset Premier League
MERLEY COBHAM SPORTS 3 WESTLAND SPORTS 1
Westlands ended an exhausting month of 7 games in 21 days with another away defeat, our third in a row. To our credit we are unbeaten at home so are in a decent mid-table position. Nevertheless, all these games in the opening three weeks of the season put a big strain on players and clubs alike and really needs to be looked at by the league management committtee. As it turned out, Sports had several enforced changes from the previous match in midweek. Luke Silcox, Lewis Howchin, Sam Gibbs, Jamie Green and Matt Watson were all ruled out for various reasons so our squad was stretched to the limit. Steve Flynn, Sam Watts, Henry Lawrence-Napier and Matt Phillips were all given starting slots and we ended up with only one sub, manager Stu Smith. However, it was a perfect day for football weatherwise and with the pitch looking perfect we were all set for a good game against one of the teams who will have their sights set on the title.
As you would expect, the home side took early control and in the 2nd minute they carved out a decent chance but their normally prolific #9 pulled his shot wide. The next chance also fell to Merley Cobham but this time Sam Watts in Westlands goal saved easily. In the 10th minute Westlands had their first chance with a free kick but it was a poor one and was easily cleared. Back came Merley and the #9 turned his man but scuffed his shot wide of the far post. In the 16th minute we went 1-0 down. A soft corner was conceded and when the ball was fired into the box it was a Merley player who showed the desire to get his head to it and the ball flew into the top corner. We were in a bit of trouble now as the pressure was now lifted on the home team with only a quarter of an hour gone, perhaps if we could have held on for longer they may have become a bit frustrated. The pattern was set now with the home side controlling play and Westlands occasionally breaking but relying on long balls up to Steve Ormrod and Leo Hayward. On the half hour their #9 again had a good chance but put his shot wide. Ten minutes later Westlands put together a good passing move which saw Phil Wells overlapping but his final shot from the edge of the box was fairly easily saved. Then just before the break came our best chance when Steve Ormrod, who had battled hard all half, made a good break down the left and his deep cross was almost converted by Leo Hayward at the far post.
So, a half time score of 1-0 wasn't too bad from a Westlands point of view. The home side had dominated in the first half but we had battled away and with the score so close we could still go out for the second half with something to play for.
The first chance of the half came Westlands way. Steve Ormrod got his head to a kick out and flicked it on to Leo Hayward whose shot on the run went just over the bar. That was better from Westlands but in the 52nd minute our optimism was shattered when we went 2-0 down. Our opponents worked the ball down the left wing and were given too much time and space to get a cross over. When the ball came in the #9 went up unmarked to head into the back of the net. A simple but well worked goal but surely one that could have been prevented ? Again we had lost a goal early in the half which settled the home side and with a 2 goal lead they could now relax a bit. Just after the hour came a bit of good attacking play from Westlands. Some strong running by Leo Hayward down the left saw a good cross delivered into the box and Steve Ormrod rose to head into the net but the goal was ruled out for offside, must have been close ! A couple of minutes later Steve again got his head to a cross but again was flagged offside. Once again though, just as we saw a glimmer of hope, it was dashed by the loss of the third goal. Once again it was a cross into the box which their player headed in but it looked like a blatant push in the back of a Westlands defender to enable him to get his header in. The referee ignored all the Westlands protests except those of manager Stu Smith who was red carded . This was a big blow for Westlands, 3-0 down and our only sub sent off before he had taken part in the game. Merley Cobham seemed to take their foot off the gas now and with a three goal advantage, they sent on their subs and obviously felt the game was won. This can be a dangerous thought as Westlands will never give up, and with nothing to lose we proceeded to have our best 15 minutes of the game. In the 77th minute we pulled one back. STEVE FLYNN drove forward in midfield and from about 25 yards out let fly at goal. The ball took a wicked deflection and looped over the keeper's head into the back of the net. A bit of luck had gone our way at last and we kicked on from there. Leo again put over a good cross to the near post and once again Steve Ormrod was on it, just failing to flick the ball into the net. In the 82nd minute Leo hayward had a shot saved by the keeper and a minute later a thumping free kick from the same player was tipped over the bar by the keeper. From the corner Scott Smith got in a good firm header but it went over the top. Had that gone in it would have been an interesting last 7 minutes. Our final chance came with a free kick on the edge of the box which was blasted over the top.
Looking back, I think Merley Cobham will feel they were fairly comfortable and that may well have been the case, but from a Westlands point of view our under strength side had battled through to the end without any fresh legs coming on so credit to them for that. This was our third away game and our third defeat on the road but to put it in perspective these have been tough matches against Shaftesbury, Weymouth and Merley Cobham so I don't think we need to worry yet.
For man of the match this week I am going for STEVE ORMROD who fought his corner well against two tough centre backs and epitomised the battling qualities the team possess.
After two defeats this was a tough match to try and get back to winning ways as Cheriton were flying high at the top of the table. After pondering his team selection manager Stu Smith decided to give the players who had performed so poorly at Weymouth a chance to redeem themselves. With most of the opposition players coming from Yeovil this match had a real local derby feel to it and a good crowd turned up to watch.
They were not disappointed as both teams settled quickly and were obviously not holding back ! The first big chance came to Westlands when Steve Ormrod outpaced the visitor's defence down the left wing and when he cut the ball back to Jamie Green on the edge of the box a goal looked to be on the cards. Unfortunately the Sports skipper blazed his shot over the top and the chance was gone. A couple of minutes later Leo Hayward got a shot away but it was straight at the keeper. Westlands were playing some decent football and were well on top with Leo Hayward and Steve Ormrod causing the Cheriton defence some problems with their pace. Behind them Sam Gibbs, Jamie Green and Louis Irwin were winning the midfield battle enabling Sports to press on. In the 16th minute we had a free kick 25 yards out but Leo Hayward's shot once again was straight into the keeper's arms. In the 22nd minute Westlands took a deserved lead when JAMIE GREEN burst through a couple of tackles and fired a shot across the keeper into the far corner of the net. Three minutes later it was almost two. A cross was fired low and hard across the face of the goal where Steve Ormrod met it flush 5 yards out, but the keeper spread himself well and blocked the shot which cannoned to safety. South Cheriton then had a good spell when they carved out a couple of chances. The first was a shot which went well over the bar but the second was a good effort on target which was cleared off the line by a Westlands defender. After 36 minutes Westlands stretched their lead to two when LOUIS IRWIN banged a shot low into the corner of the net after he intercepted a loose pass on the edge of the box. Just before the break Jamie Green tried his luck with a long range effort but it was well over the top.
The 2-0 half time scoreline was good for Westlands as we had battled hard and thoroughly deserved our lead. It could have been more if we had taken our chances and it still left the game open as the next goal would be crucial.
We thought there would be a reaction from Cheriton and after 5 minutes they got that crucial goal they so needed. The ball hit Scott Smith's outstretched arm on the edge of the box and the free kick was given. The ball was then planted low and hard into the corner of the net to make it 2-1 and game on. There was obviously a problem with the position of the wall for the kick as the shot did not curl round the wall it just went straight in so there must have been a big gap there. A soft goal to lose and Westlands responded on the hour by sending on some fresh legs with Henry Lawrence-Napier and Lewis Howchin coming on. Five minutes later Cheriton got the equaliser. A throw in was chucked into the box where a Cheriton player back-headed the ball high into air and it looped over everyone's head including the stranded keeper's and dropped into the far corner of the net. A crazy goal to lose, but they all count and the momentum was now with the visitor's who were cock-a-hoop after getting back into the game. Westlands tried to get things going again after these shocks and some sustained pressure saw several crosses and corners put into the Cheriton box with no one able to get on the end of them. In the 80th minute Matt Watson put a shot just over the bar and two minutes later Sports shot themselves in the foot with another goal conceded. With three Westland defenders having possession of the ball and only one Cheriton attacker in the vicinity we somehow managed to gift him the ball and he walked round the keeper and planted the ball into the empty net. This brought some wild celebrations from the Cheriton players as they sensed a victory from a seemingly hopeless position. The next incident saw a second yellow and a red for a Cheriton player after another strong challenge in midfield. Westlands now went all out for the equaliser against the 10 men and a super Leo Hayward shot came off the crossbar with the keeper beaten. Then Leo had another shot which the keeper saved. It was getting a bit messy now with balls being crossed into the Cheriton area which they defended by fair means our foul as they desperately tried to hang on. With a couple of minutes to go a South Cheriton break saw them also hit the bar with a good shot and the ball bounced down and was cleared. With seconds left on the clock and the light fading rapidly, Westlands got the equaliser when JAMIE GREEN again powered his way through, got his shot away and saw the ball take a deflection and end up in the far corner of the net. This time it was the Westland players turn to celebrate and there was great relief all round the ground as they did deserve to get back level.
The referee's whistle ended what had been a cracking derby with non stop action and incident throughout. Great value for money (for those who paid !) and a good advert for DPL football. From a Westlands point of view it was good to see the team playing well again after a lacklustre display in the previous match. They deserved their point and at the end of the day, had we not given away soft goals, we could have been celebrating a victory.
The man of the match award goes to skipper JAMIE GREEN who led from the front, battled hard in midfield and got forward to score two goals.
Our second away match and a second defeat so I hope this isn't going to become a habit. Surprisingly, after the heavy defeat in midweek, there was only one change in the lineup with Louis Irwin replacing Henry Lawrence-Napier who was unavailable.
The home side were keeping possession of the ball in the early stages and in the 7th minute a high cross eluded keeper Luke Silcox but drifted just past the post. Five minutes later Westlands had a free kick after a Jamie Green shot was blocked, but Leo Hayward's shot hit the wall. In the 20th minute we had the ball in the net with a classic route one effort. Luke Silcox launched a big kick deep into the Weymouth half, Jamie Green flicked it on with his head and Leo Hayward buried it in the corner, unfortunately from an offside position. On the half hour mark a Weymouth player was red carded for a lunging two-footed challenge leaving Sports to face 10 men for the remaining 60 minutes. Weymouth, as is often the case, upped their game and Westlands at times looked like the side with only 10 men. We did manage an attempt on goal just before the break but Steve Ormrod's header went straight at the keeper.
It had been a poor half from Westlands with a distinct lack of energy and quality in their play, hopefully we would see Sports up their performance in the second half.
The second half started as the first had finished with Weymouth on top. They had 2 shots blocked virtually on the goal line before the ball was scrambled to safety. Westlands still couldn't make any impression and resorted to big long balls which were easy meat for the Weymouth defenders. On the hour mark Louis Irwin had a good shot which was tipped over and the resulting corner caused a bit of panic in the home defence. A minute later we went a goal down. A Weymouth corner was played in to the near post and Jamie Green took a swipe at it and sliced his clearance into the back of the net. Two minutes later Weymouth stung a shell-shocked Westlands team with a second goal. Their number 9 was allowed far too much scope and he showed some quality to evade some shoddy defending and curl the ball into the far corner of the net. Westlands were struggling now, 2 of the subs, Lewis Howchin and Steve Flynn were on, but it was Weymouth who had the next attempt, a shot going just wide. Sports tried to come back and in the 75th minute almost got the goal that may have dragged them back into the game. A free kick into the area was fired goalwards by Jamie Green but his shot was cleared off the line. We then made our final substitution with Matt Phillips coming on but in the 86th minute came the final nail in Westlands coffin. A Weymouth player (I think it may have been the #9 again) avoided the defenders efforts and cut in to thump the ball into the net for the third goal.
That put the seal on a dismal performance by Westlands, the worst of the season so far. To play 10 men is not always easy but we just never looked like the team with the extra man and that was disappointing. We never got men wide at all in the second half and this played into Weymouth's hands.
Man of the match this week goes to a player who was only on the pitch for 30 minutes, but in that time always made himself available, had lots of touches and made lots of passes to team mates. I refer, of course, to STEVE FLYNN who gets the award for this match.
Our first away match of the season gave us a difficult fixture away to Shaftesbury who many people were tipping for the title. Stu Smith was still unfit so he named an unchanged side from the team that beat Parley at the weekend. Louis Irwin and Steve Flynn were available but had to teke their place on the bench.
Straight from the off, the home side took the initiative and soon had Sports pinned back in their own half. An early free kick was cleared for a corner which was also cleared as Westlands defended in numbers in the early minutes. We had a bit of a breather with a fast break in the 6th minute but Leo Hayward's shot was blocked. Back on the defensive, Sports dug in but in the 12th minute Shaftesbury scored. A free kick out on the left was whipped into the goalmouth and seemed to skid off the wet turf and flew in at the near post. A Shaftesbury attacker appeared to be in an offside position and certainly made an attempt to play the ball. The linesman raised his flag momentarily for the offside but pulled it back down again when the referee signalled for a goal. At 1-0 down and with the home side still in the ascendancy things looked black for Westlands but we were defending well and closing them down in midfield to prevent goal attempts. After 25 minutes it was noticeable that Westlands appeared to have weathered the storm. We were mounting decent attacks now and we forced three corners that were cleared and the half ended with a good shot from Steve Ormrod.
At half-time, we were optimistic being only one down after having been on the defensive for long periods. We had come back well in the spell before the break so it would be an interesting second half.
The second half opened with both teams battling hard and the game was being played at a frantic pace. After 10 minutes Sports made the first substitution with Lewis Howchin replacing Phil Wells. A minute later we equalised. Leo Hayward whipped in a free kick from out on the right wing and SCOTT SMITH buried the ball in the corner of the net from 5 yards out. Shaftesbury tried to hit back straight away but shot over the top. On the hour Louis Irwin replaced Steve Ormrod and Westlands pressed forward and won a corner. From the kick there was a bit of a scramble in the home defence before the ball was cleared. Westlands were battling hard now and the home team looked a bit rattled. Henry Lawrence-Napier was replaced by Steve Flynn for our final substitution and as both teams battled for ascendancy Shaftesbury had a good shooting chance but the ball was pulled wide of the far post. In the next Shaftesbury attack disaster struck for Sports. Sam Plumley went to ground to block a shot and his trailing leg brought down a Shaftesbury attacker for a penalty. The ball was thumped straight down the middle to put the home team back in front at 2-1. Still, the game was close and we were still battling hard, so all was not lost. In the 80th minute came the clinching moment. Again the unfortunate Sam Plumley was the player involved as he was judged to have handled the ball in the box and another penalty was awarded to the home side. Sam jumped and half-turned his back to the flight of the ball. It struck the back of his arm which was by his side but the referee judged it to be deliberate and showed him a red card ! Very harsh in my view but we thought we had got away with it when Luke Silcox saved the spot kick, however, to the Sports players dismay, the referee ordered it to be retaken for encroachment and this time the kicker made no mistake. At 3-1 down and reduced to 10 men with still 10 minutes to go the writing was on the wall for Westlands. It had been a hard , physical match, and as the minutes ticked by you could see there was no way back for Sports. In the 87th minute a through ball split our defence and a Shaftesbury player rounded the keeper and slotted goal number 4. In the 89th minute a tiring defender was left floundering and the ball was slotted past the keeper at the near post.
We were glad to hear the final whistle in the end as the players were out on their feet and were a bit demoralised. Nevertheless, despite the heavy defeat, we took some positives from the game as we felt we had given a good account of ourselves and a few decisions had gone against us. To be fair to Shaftesbury, they were the better team for most of the match and took their chances when they came.
Man of the match award goes to SCOTT SMITH for some dogged defending and getting his name on the scoresheet as well.
We knew this would be a tough one and we would need to be at our best to get any reward from the game. Manager Stu Smith was still feeling the effects of his injury and Steve Flynn was unavailable so there were starting slots for debutant Scott Smith and Steve Ormrod who had missed thursdays match due to shift work.
Parley started off as if they meant business with some brisk passing causing the Westlands defence a few dodgy moments. However, we got through that opening spell of pressure and in the 12th minute had a good attack when Leo Hayward got on the end of a free kick but his volley went well wide. A couple of minutes later a good ball over the top caught the Westlands defence flat footed and a Parley forward found himself through on goal, but he had too many touches and the ball was cleared for a corner. In the 16th minute it was Westlands who forced a corner and from it came the opening goal. As the ball came over and players went up for the challenge, the ball hit a defender's flailing arm and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. A bit of a soft one, but we weren't complaining and LEO HAYWARD stuck the ball in the corner to make it 1-0 to Westlands. Parley were stung by this and again we had to endure some heavy pressure but the defence were holding firm and the couple of chances Parley created were fired wide of the target. In the 35th minute Westland produced a second goal with a classic breakaway. The ball was played perfectly in behind the Parley right back for LEO HAYWARD to run on to and he produced a perfect lob shot over the keeper's head into the far corner. Again we had to do some defending after the goal and again we stuck to the task and got men behind the ball. In the 42nd minute Parley should have pulled one back. Their prolific scorer Holmes (number 10) made space for himself in front of goal with some good close control but then put the ball past the post from 10 yards out with only the keeper to beat. A corner to Parley then caused a bit of panic in the Westlands defence but once again the ball was cleared to safety. In the 44th minute a free kick from Leo Hayward was driven hard across goal and it eluded everyone only to slip past the far post. Then a strong run from Steve Ormrod ended in him hitting the deck in the box , it looked like a tackle from behind to me even although the defender may have eventually got the ball but the referee was unmoved.
That was the last action of the half and we were delighted to turn round 2-0 up after having been on the defensive for much of the half.
We hoped we could keep it a 2-0 for a while but we only managed to hold out for 6 minutes. This time however it was a bit of a breakaway goal for Parley. Their keeper gave the ball a massive boot downfield and the Westlands defence let it bounce through for the keeper to gather. As the ball bounced through Luke Silcox came out to the edge of the box to gather but was outjumped by a good leap by the Parley number 10 and he headed the ball over the keepers hands and it bounced into the empty net. After all the good defensive work we had done this was a soft goal to lose and put the visitors back in the game. More Parley pressure followed but although the visitors had most of the pressure Westlands always looked capable of hurting them when we did attack. As the game progressed it was evident that the visitors, although they still had the majority of possession, were not really creating any dangerous chances and the Westlands team seemed to be growing in confidence. In the 57th minute Luke Silcox had to look sharp to save a decent shot and in the 65th minute Scott Smith headed a dangerous cross over his own crossbar. But we held firm and time was ticking away with Westlands still holding that crucial one goal lead. We then made our first substitution with Lewis Howchin replacing Sam Plumley to give us some fresh legs. Westlands then began to push forward and Steve Ormrod burst through the visitors defence with a strong run and with only the keeper to beat, rushed his shot and pulled it past the post. This was good stuff from Westlands and three minutes later another attack forced a free kick on the right. Over came the kick from Sam Gibbs and STEVE ORMROD rose like a salmon above the Parley defenders to head the ball into the corner of the net. Goooooooal !!
3-1 to Westlands and surely no way back for Parley now. They tried to attack but the Westland lads were solid and were not going to let it slip now. Almost forgot to mention in the excitement that Westlands had brought on their second sub just before the third goal with Phil Wells being replaced by another new signing Matt Phillips who looked really composed on his debut. To round things off, Luke Silcox made a good save in the last minute to tip a shot round the post.
The Alvington roar greeted the final whistle as this was an excellent victory for Westlands against a good side and we had shown a lot of character to battle every inch of the way and these three points were thoroughly deserved. Credit to our management team Stu and Andy Smith who once again came up with a match winning formula that saw Sports win another game against the odds and go top of the league !
The man of the match award was extremely difficult with all our players having outstanding games. Leo Hayward, with 2 goals, can count himself unlucky but the award goes to SAM GIBBS for a tireless performance in midfield , closing down and breaking up so many Parley attacks.
A good start to the league this year with Westlands making it two wins from two matches by defeating our local rivals Sherborne at Alvington. Again we had availability issues with Louis Irwin and Steve Ormrod missing from the team that won on saturday. However, a fit Leo Hayward returned to the team along with 17 year old Steve Flynn so we still had a strong line-up. Both teams started at a brisk pace as you would expect with Sports having some good early possession then Sherborne hitting back with some pacy breaks. In the 8th minute Westlands player /manager Stu Smith fired a long ball in behind the visitor's backline for Leo Hayward to chase. Leo left their defenders trailing and as he bore down on goal was hauled down from behind for an obvious penalty. The Sherborne defender was a lucky lad not to be punished by the referee for the offence as its usually a red card . Never mind, LEO HAYWARD got up, dusted himself down, and stroked the ball into the corner of the net to make it 1-0 to Westlands. The loss of this goal was a spur to Sherborne and they immediately had a good spell, pushing Sports onto the back foot. In the 20th minute Luke Silcox, the Westlands keeper, made a good save to preserve our lead. The rain was now falling fairly steadily which made handling tricky for the goalies as the Sherborne custodian was about to find out. Leo Hayward drove a corner over from the right wing and the keeper palmed the ball into his own net for an OG to make it 2-0 ! At this point Stu Smith retired with a thigh injury and was replaced by Scott Smith, a recent new signing. Again the loss of a goal spurred Sherborne and on the half hour mark they came close. A snap shot in a crowded box produced a superb reaction save from Luke Silcox to parry the ball. There was then a bit of a goalmouth scramble as a couple of efforts were blocked before the ball was booted away to safety. The next chance fell to Westlands in the 40th minute. It was Sam Gibbs this time who played that killer pass in behind the Sherborne back line for Leo Hayward to run onto. As the keeper dashed out to try and clear the danger Leo went round him but his touch took him wide of the goal and the resultant pass across the unguarded net just cleared Jamie Green's attempted header. Just befor the break Sherborne put a header wide of the post and the final action saw Matt Mullings shoot over from a tight angle when a cross may have been the better option.
Half-time and a 2-0 scoreline was a perfect result from a difficult local derby. Possession-wise there probably wasn't much in it between the two teams but Westlands had shown they had the cutting edge with Leo Hayward in particular giving the visitor's defenders a torrid time.
In the opening minutes of the second half it was Westlands on the attack and from a free kick just outside the box Jamie Green hit the bar with a good effort. A couple of minutes later Phil Wells put a shot wide following a corner. Back came Sherborne and a dipping shot clipped the Sports crossbar. On the hour mark Leo Hayward stung the Sherborne keeper's fingers with a blistering shot on the run. With half an hour to go Sherborne had nothing to lose and began to push men forward which left them dangerously exposed at the back. In the 65th minute Sam Plumley had a great run down the right wing but no one could get on the end of his cross. Westlands made another two substitutions now with Phil Wells and Leo Hayward coming off being replaced by Scott Morgan and Lewis Howchin. Sherborne were pressing but their finishing was wayward and our goal was not really threatened. The final chance of the game came when Matt Watson got his head to a corner but the ball came back off the crossbar.
The final whistle drew the proceedings to a close with Westlands winning a hard fought match by 2-0. Always tricky games these derby matches and although we didn't win in style we had to work hard for our victory and all 14 players certainly gave their all.
After some post-match consultations the man-of-the-match award goes to LUKE SILCOX for some crucial saves and his second clean sheet of the season.
Westlands line-up: 1.L.Silcox 2.P.Wells 3.M.Mullings 4.M.Watson 5.Stu Smith 6.S.Plumley 7.S.Flynn 8.S.Gibbs 9.L.Hayward 10.S.J.Green 11.H.Lawrence-Napier 12.S.Morgan 14.Scott Smith 15.L.Howchin
Saturday 8th August 2015, Dorset Premier League
WESTLAND SPORTS 4 HAMWORTHY UTD RES 0
Sports started the season with a good win on a blistering afternoon at Alvington. With a few departures over the close season it was interesting to see what new faces would be introduced for this first match. With Leo Hayward and Nick Wilton injured and Josh Payne on an extended holiday, there were gaps to be filled from last season. Henry Lawrence-Napier has returned to the club and he made a welcome return in the midfield with new signing Matt Mullings starting at the back. Three of last season's league-winning reserve team, Jamie Green, Sam Plumley & Steve Ormrod were promoted and on the bench were two of last years youth team, Scott Morgan & Joe Jarvis, alongside another new signing, the experienced Scott Smith.
Westlands didn't take long to settle and although not creating any clear cut chances we did force 3 corners in the first 10 minutes so we were making the running. Hamworthy looked to be what we expected, mainly youngsters with a few more experienced lads as well so it would be a challenge. In the 25th minute came the first real chance when a shot from Phil Wells seemed to take a deflection and came back off the post. Westlands were keeping the pressure on and in the 36th minute the deadlock was broken. A corner from the right was attacked by Henry Lawrence-Napier and when the ball bounced up in the air JAMIE GREEN rose highest to head it past the keeper. Just what we needed and Sports could relax a bit now with the opening goal behind them. We kept the pressure on and although Hamworthy showed plenty of fight they were not really troubling Luke Silcox in Westland's goal. In the 45th minute came a controversial moment. The eagle-eyed linesman on the near side spotted the Hamworthy keeper had handled the ball just outside his area and a free kick was given. Our opponents were not happy about the decision especially when the keeper was also yellow carded for the offence. Anyway, the keeper seemed to be a bit upset by the decision and made a poor job of lining up his wall for the kick. There seemed to be a huge open half of the goal clearly visible and JAMIE GREEN stepped up to take advantage and thump the ball into the back of the unguarded net.
Half-time and with the score 2-0 to Westlands everyone was happy with the performance so far.
The second half opened with Sports on the attack and immediately forcing a couple of corners. From the second corner the ball fell to JAMIE GREEN at the far post and he made no mistake, driving the ball into the net for his hat-trick. That made it an astonishing 3 goals in 11 minutes for the Westlands midfielder and a great start to the season for him. The game looked safe now and 10 minutes later, in the 57th minute, we made sure by making it 4-0. Jamie Green turned provider this time, squaring the ball to PHIL WELLS in the box and he made no mistake, driving the ball into the back of the net. Three minutes later we almost made it five when Louis Irwin dribbled into the area and cut the ball back to Jamie Green whose shot hit the post. A minute later Steve Ormrod met a corner powerfully with his head but his effort cleared the crossbar. Hamworthy broke down to the other end and Luke Silcox made an excellent save to preserve his clean sheet. All the subs were now brought on and another good move saw Louis Irwin head straight into the keeper's arms. As a little bit of sloppiness crept into Sports play, probably due to tiredness in the heat, a soft free kick was given away and once again Luke Silcox made an excellent save. There were no more scares and the final whistle brought an end to a good opening day win for Westlands. Just what you need, three points on the opening day and all 14 players giving a good account of themselves and giving manager Stu Smith some selection problems.
Man of the match: has to be JAMIE GREEN for a stunning opening day hat-trick.
Westlands line-up: 1.L.Silcox 2.P.Wells 3.M.Mullings 4.M.Watson 5.Stu Smith 6.S.Plumley 7.J.Green 8.S.Gibbs 9.L.Irwin 10.S.Ormrod 11.H.Lawrence-Napier 12.S.Morgan 14.Scott Smith 15.Joe Jarvis.
Saturday 7th May 2016, Dorset Senior League
PORTLAND UTD RES 3 WESTLAND SPORTS RESERVES 3
The final match of the season was played in glorious sunshine but this being Portland, there was a fairly stiff breeze blowing ! Westlands, with the wind behind, took control of the game although to be fair, it had an end-of-season feel to it as both teams had nothing to play for. Sports were virtually camped in the home team’s half but weren’t really testing the goalkeeper. Henry Lawrence-Napier had a low shot on target that the keeper did well to save, but apart from that no real excitement until the 42nd minute when we went ahead. Aron Wallis swung in a corner from the left and STEVE ORMROD got up highest to power a header into the back of the net.
That gave sports a 1-0 half-time lead and as we had seen nothing from the home side in the first half we looked well in control of this game.
It only took a minute of the second half for Westlands to increase their lead. Steve Ormrod flicked on a high clearance and LIAM STOBBS raced through and smashed an unsaveable shot into the top corner. What a goal that was and we sat back expecting to see a few more go in. In the 65th minute we cruised into a 3-0 lead. Chris Morris made a good run down the right, got to the byeline and squared the ball to JAMES BUDDEN who had a tap-in. Four minutes later Steve Ormrod smacked in a great shot that beat the keeper all ends up but rebounded off the far post. Then James Budden was put through with only the keeper to beat. As the goalie came out James lobbed the ball coolly over his head but missed the target, the ball slipping past the far post ! Another great chance fell to James Budden when he was set up by Steve Ormrod but with only the keeper to beat he tried to place his shot and the goalie saved. Should have just smashed it past him ! At this point we could have been 6-0 up but nobody was too bothered as we had a three goal cushion and there were only 20 minutes to go. Westlands were making numerous substitutions to give all the players game time and this seemed to upset the balance of the team. Suddenly we had vacated the midfield and were allowing Portland to have possession of the ball. In the 72nd minute they fired a warning shot across our bows by hitting the post with a good effort. Then a minute later they scored. A long ball downfield was allowed to bounce, nobody challenged for it except the Westlands keeper who dashed from his goal but was too late and a Portland forward lifted the ball over his head into the far corner. OK, a consolation we thought, but 5 minutes later they scored again ! A Portland player tried his luck with a low shot from about 20 yards out which went straight under our keeper’s body into the back of the net. That made it 3-2 but although the home side were enjoying a lot more possession they weren’t really looking like scoring again and as the 90th minute came we thought we had seen out the game. Then Portland won a corner in injury time. The ball was cleared to the edge of the box where their lad tried a pot shot which went well wide. The referee gave a corner which surprised everyone. The second corner came in and our keeper stepped out to clutch the ball to his chest. Inexplicably he dropped it at the feet of a Portland player who put it in the net. The referee then blew for time up before we even had time to take the kick off, some precision timing there by the official !
So a match that we had been winning easily slipped away from us and we had to settle for a point in the end.
The Man of the Match award this week goes to STEVE ORMROD who was once again the main man for Westlands up front and gave the Portland defence a hard time all afternoon.
A much changed line-up again for Westlands with regulars Marc White, Chris Wells Steve Ormrod, Lewis Howchin and Chris Morris all returning after missing the midweek match at Gillingham.
Due to circumstances, this was our home fixture being played at Blandford’s ground and as they had knocked six past us in the first game of the season I expect they were full of confidence for this match. But the Westlands team has come a long way since then and we knew we were in better shape so were confident that we could get a result. Blandford lined up with three up front and this seemed to confuse the Westlands defence and we conceded within a couple of minutes of the start. The Blandford left winger skinned our full back and put over a good cross that was turned in from close range. Not the start we wanted but Sports dug in after this and as we settled we began to exert some pressure on our opponents. This paid off after about half an hour when STEVE ORMROD got Westlands back on level terms with a good finish.
That was the score at half-time, 1-1, and it was probably about right although Westlands had got stronger as the half progressed.
In the second half we should have clinched the points with the number of chances we created. Unfortunately our strikers, James Budden and Steve Ormrod, did not have their shooting boots on and chance after chance went begging.
And so it ended in stalemate and really it was a game we had the chances to win but couldn’t find that final touch.
The Man of the Match award this week goes to JAKE POWELL who had a solid game in defence and never put a foot wrong.
GILLINGHAM TOWN RESERVES 3 WESTLAND SPORTS RESERVES 2
A midweek match always presents problems with non-availibility of players so it was a young Westlands side that took the field with 6 of our current U18s side in the team. The average age of the squad was 20 so we needed the lads to step up as we were away to a team who are chasing the Senior League title. Westlands were shooting up the Harding’s Lane hill in the first half so we knew we would have some defending to do and most of the pre-match planning was geared to this.
As expected, Gillingham came at us from the off and we were soon defending the edge of our box. The whole team were battling hard and we were keeping the danger to a minimum by getting numbers back behind the ball and getting blocks in before they could get shots on goal. In fact, although we were under severe pressure, Westlands keeper Sam Hulland hadn’t really had to make a save. Unfortunately our luck ran out when the referee awarded Gillingham a penalty in the 20th minute for a trip in the box. Their lad thumped it in to make it 1-0 and Sports really had to focus now or this game could slip away. The response from the Westlands lads was good and we were soon pushing up the hill and getting some balls into the box to put some pressure on the home defence. In the 30th minute we had the little break we needed when a Westlands player was upended in the box and we were awarded a penalty. We then had a ridiculous incident where a Gillingham player decided to tie his laces in the penalty box as we were waiting take the kick. The referee made us wait until the Gillingham player had decided he was ready before allowing the kick to be taken ! STEVE FLYNN was totally unfazed by this piece of obvious ‘gamesmanship’ (some people had another name for it) and smashed the kick past their keeper. The equaliser was a big boost to the Westlands team and for the last 15 minutes of the half we were on top and looked the most likely team to score.
When the half time whistle blew we were well pleased with the result so far and going down the slope in the second half might be a bit easier.
It was quite a physical contest and the Westlands lads were not going to be intimidated and gave as good as they got. In the 55th minute, with Gillingham on the attack, we hit them on the break. The ball was played up to DWAYNE FORSHAW and, with no support available, he took on the Gillingham defence on his own. As he cut in from the right along the edge of the box he managed to fire a reverse shot back across the keeper and it found the corner of the net. A magnificent solo effort. Gillingham were really fired up now as they could see their title aspirations slipping away and they were now giving it everything. If we could just have held on for 10 minutes after going in front perhaps a shock result was on the cards but unfortunately in the 60 minute they equalised. A Westlands attack was broken up and, as ball was pumped forward, the Sports defence, which had been so tight all night, found itself a bit stretched. The ball was played in behind and their forward ran through on to the pass and stuck the ball past the advancing keeper. That made it 2-2 and with half an hour still to play it was proving to be a cracking match. Both sides were having a go now and although the home side were managing to create more shooting chances their finishing was really wayward and they couldn’t hit the target. The biggest danger to Westlands were corners and Sam Hulland did a good job of punching a couple away. With 7 minutes to go we conceded the winning goal and it came as the result of a corner. A tall sub who had just come on was left unmarked at the far post and he rose to head the ball into the back of the net. Westlands pushed on now for the last few minutes but we couldn’t find a good chance and some blatant time wasting, which went unpunished by the official, saw out time for the home side.
The Westlands lads were disappointed and you couldn’t blame them as they had given everything and got nothing in the end. As for the opposition, well, you could see by their celebrations at the end that they knew they had got out of jail this time.
The Regis Foods Man of the Match award goes to DWAYNE FORSHAW who worked hard all night to take the pressure off the defence and capped a good display with an excellent goal
As usual a few changes from the previous match but we had a pretty strong team out and although the first team had no game, manager Harry Gibbs resisted the temptation to draft in a few and stuck by his regulars.
Our opponents had turned up late and their lack of preparation gave us the opportunity to attack them straight from the kick-off and this almost paid off when the referee awarded us a free kick on the edge of the box in the first minute. Joe Jarvis took the kick but just chipped it over the wall into the keeper’s arms, a chance wasted. Sports kept attacking and Aron Wallis drove to the byeline and fired over a good cross but no takers in the box. This was good pressure from Westlands, they had the opposition pinned in their own half and after 14 minutes it paid dividends. DWAYNE FORSHAW drove in a shot from 18 yards which took a wicked deflection off a defender and caught the keeper wrong-footed. The 1-0 lead was no more than Westlands deserved and Aron Wallis tried to double our lead but his well struck shot was saved by the keeper. After about 20 minutes it was noticeable that Sturminster were beginning to come into the game and the action gradually switched to the other end of the pitch. In the 22nd minute they missed a sitter when a cross from the left found their striker unmarked 5 yards out but he somehow put the ball over the crossbar. A minute later Sports keeper Sam Hulland dived to block a shot with his legs and in their next attack he pulled off a great save when a Stur forward was allowed to run straight through the Westlands defence. A couple of worrying signs there that the Sports defence was not as tight as it should have been. Nevertheless we still had our attacking moments and in the 37th minute Steve Ormrod fired in a good shot which went just past the post. As we headed into the last few minutes before the break a total mix-up in the Westlands defence let Sturminster in for the equaliser. I can’t quite figure out what happened, but a couple of defenders plus the goalkeeper looked to have time to clear the ball but somehow they failed to do so and an opposition player ran in and bundled the ball into the net with his knee. And so it was a disappointed Westlands side who trooped off at half-time as all the hard work had been thrown away in one moment.
Obviously the lessons from the first half had not been learnt as only a minute into the second half we conceded again, and under similar circumstances. It was another gift, a free kick was pumped into the box, all the defenders stood still and a Stur forward said “thanks very much” and lifted the ball over the keeper’s head into the net. Once again no communication. To be fair, the Westland players didn’t stand around feeling sorry for themselves, instead they went up to the other end and equalised and a cracking goal it was. Four or five passes took the ball out to the left wing, Aron Wallis fired an early cross into the box where STEVE ORMROD leapt to bury a header in the back of the net. What a game this was, and it continued end to end until the 60th minute when Westlands again took the lead. A through ball was played in behind the Stur defence, STEVE ORMROD ran on to it and from the edge of the box drilled a low daisy-cutter into the far corner of the net. A good finish and with Westlands back in front at 3-2 perhaps we could now go on and win this one. Three minutes after the goal Sam Plumley had a good chance right in front of goal but he leant back and blazed the ball over the bar. Sports were back in the driving seat now and following a good flick-on by Steve Ormrod, Chris Morris hit the bar with his shot. Westlands just couldn’t get the clinching fourth goal and Steve Ormrod was left with his head in his hands after missing his kick when he had a tap-in in the 87th minute.
Moving into the last minute with the points seemingly in the bag, we let in the equaliser ! A long hopeful diagonal ball was pumped towards the Westlands penalty box, Jacob Roberts went to head the ball away, got under it and missed the header. The ball fell to a Sturminster attacker who was now totally unmarked and he stuck it away to great jubilation from the visitors as they had snatched a point from a game that looked lost.
That made three soft goals we had conceded and it was a real pity as the team had played really well for spells in this game. We should have shut up shop in the closing minutes so why we had midfielders so high up the pitch I don’t know. Stur had pushed three men up and we were leaving ourselves 3 on 3 at the back sometimes and there was no need for it. Anyway, the post mortem is for another day and at least we had got something from the game and stopped a run of losses so not a bad result in the end.
The Man of the Match award this week goes to CHRIS WELLS who gave a masterly display in the midfield holding role. He read the game well and was always available to take a pass from his team-mates. His distribution was also good, so all in all, an excellent performance.
A stormy day for Westlands trip to the seaside to play the league leaders. The wind was howling up the slope at the Stalls so with Sports kicking downhill in the first half the gale was against them which cancelled out the advantage of the slope, which is quite substantial at the Stalls. On the team front Tom Beare was called in again to help out in goal and new signing Carl Hall lined up at centre half.
It was a fairly even first half with Westlands giving a good account of themselves. Steve Ormrod up front was giving the Chickerell defenders a hard time as Sports, perhaps surprisingly, looked for the opening goal. Carl Hall almost made it a dream debut when he volleyed a corner goalwards but the ball was headed off the line by a Chickerell defender. The home team had their moments as well so a 0-0 draw was a decent half-time score for Westlands as we would have the wind behind us in the second half.
As the teams came out for the second period the Sports players were dismayed to find the gale force wind had now dropped to a mere breeze ! However we made the best of it and were a bit unlucky to lose the winning goal after an hour had passed. Tom Beare made a good diving save, knocking the ball out wide away from the goalmouth. Unfortunately it went to a Chickerell player who crossed it quickly back across goal where a team-mate was able to put it in. That was the winner and hard as they tried Westlands just couldn't force an equaliser. So, a 1-0 defeat, but not a bad result away to the probable league champions and the players can be well pleased with the performance.
The Man-of -the Match award again this week goes toSTEVE ORMROD, who kept the home team defence on their toes all afternoon with a typical hard working display.
A few players missing again this week, funny how that happens after a couple of defeats, or maybe its injuries. Anyway, In the ongoing 'lack of a goalkeeper' saga, first team coach Tom Beare was dragged out of retirement to go between the sticks. It looked like a fairly strong team we had out but we knew it was goiing to be a tough one as Dorchester have their sights set on the promotion so they are battling for a good finish to the season.
In the early stages Westlands settled and created the first big chance after 5 minutes. A free kick on the edge of the box saw Aron Wallis have a good shot on target but the keeper beat out his shot and from the rebound Sam Plumley hit the bar and the ball was scrambled away. A minute later we had another free kick on the edge but Joe Jarvis fired it over the bar ! Got to hit the target !!
Back came the visitors and a snap shot from a cross from the left went just wide. Another Dorchester shot went over the bar and another went just past the post as they tried to fight back. Back came Westlands and Steve Ormrod got a header in from a Chris Morris free kick but the keeper saved. Then Dwayne Forshaw had a good run and shot as the game swung from end to end. There was only half an hour gone but the game was full of incident.
Westlands had a bit of a let off when a Dorchester forward was put through on goal but he screwed his shot wide of the mark. Then came the breakthrough in the 41st minute and it was Westlands who got their noses in front. A good free kick to the far post saw STEVE ORMROD get up and challenge for the ball with a defender. Neither got in a clean header and when the ball dropped Steve thumped it into the net from close range. Again the visitors responded with a ball into the Westlands box that was prodded just wide of the post after a bit of a scramble. Half-time, 1-0 to Westlands.
I think Westlands were just about value for their one goal lead at the break as they had played well in the first half. Tom Beare had looked confident in goal and this gave the whole defence a boost so we looked forward to the second half.
The first chance came to Westlands with Aron Wallis putting over a good cross which Steve Ormrod got on the end of but didn't meet it flush and the ball flew past the post. In the 53rd minute Tom Beare made a good save from a flicked shot . At the other end Westlands fired over a corner, Steve Ormrod again got up to win the header but his effort crashed off the post and was scrambled away. Then in the 59th minute Dorchester equalised. A free kick was awarded just outside the box for something that only the referee saw. Tom Beare saved the first effort but the rebound was somehow scrambled over the line. We felt a bit miffed about that one and the lads didn't take long to get back in front. Aron Wallis flighted over a corner and STEVE ORMROD rose highest to head in. At this point both teams made several substitutions which took the edge off the game for a bit but in the 75th minute we almost wrapped up the points. Sam Plumley put over a cross, Steve Ormrod won the header and with the keeper beaten the ball just slipped past the post. As we moved into the last 10 minutes Dorchester equalised with a goal we should have prevented. A kick out was sliced to a Dorchester player out on the left about 10 yards inside the Westlands half. He just started running towards the goal, the Westlands defence parted like the Red Sea and he ran through unchallenged to slot the ball under the keeper into the net. Westlands were panicking a bit now and the visitors could sense the win was on. And sure enough, in the 87th minute we conceded and once again it was a poor goal to lose. A silly free kick was given away, lack of composure there. The ball was flighted deep to the far post and nobody in the Westlands defence moved towards the ball. As we all stood still the Dorchester player ran in and guided in a header from an acute angle. All the Westlands players left it to each other, no communication, no-one accepting resposibility. So frustrating, this seems to be happening every week. That was it, we had lost a game we re in command of with 10 minutes to go.
Looking back I think there is an obvious fitness issue with some of these players, they just died in that last ten minutes. Also the substitutions didn't help, the shape and balance of the team, which had looked quite good, was upset and we then struggled. Lessons to be learned all round but its not all doom and gloom. For 80 minutes we played well and were deservedly in front in my book, thats what makes our ultimate defeat so frustrating.
The Man-of -the Match award this week goes toSTEVE ORMROD, Dorchester just couldn't handle him and he won everything in the air. I can't understand why the Westland players just didn't get the ball up to him late on in the game. It may not be pretty but you have to play to your assets.
After last week's heavy defeat we needed to pull ourselves together and in the first half we managed to hold our own going in at the break level at 1-1. Sports goal had come as the result of a well-worked free kick , with Aron Wallis providing the dummy run and JAMIE GREEN slotting the ball into the far corner. In the second half we couldn't keep up the pace and Stur got on top to finally win the game 4-2. Sports second goal also came direct from a free kick this time from out wide where LEWIS HOWCHIN swung over a high dipper that found the far corner. Looked like we had some fitness issues as Westlands died in that second half.
Man-of-the-match this week goes to BRANDON SCOTT a young player from the Under 18s who was making his first start for the reserves. Pitched in at centre half he showed good composure with some timely interventions and strong tackles.
Not a good day for Westlands with a heavy defeat from the league leaders. We had beaten them earlier in the season so were hopeful of a good result but put up an awful display. We totally surrendered in the first half, allowing the visitors to the freedom of Alvington and found ourselves 5-1 down at half-time. JAMIE GREEN had scored early for Westlands but we then stopped playing and suffered the consequences.
In the second half we did close the gap to 5-2 with a goal from STEVE ORMROD but the damage was already done. No man-of -the-match award.
We were forced into several changes from last week due to injuries and unavailability but we still had a strong squad that included 7 teenagers. We knew Chickerell would be a tough proposition as they were undefeated in almost a year and were one of the front runners for the league title.
The early stages were dominated by the visitors and Sports were soon pushed back into their own half. We had been forced into changes but at the start Westlands were playing like total strangers and seemed unable to pass to a team-mate. The pressure told in the 15th minute. A Chickerell forward burst into the box and was impeded by a tug on his arm by Matt Watson. Luckily for Westlands the resulting penalty came back off the post with the keeper going the wrong way !
A let off which would surely inspire Westlands to raise their game. Sadly, at this point, our only alternative to giving the ball away was a long ball punted forward to the front two. Mind you, we had willing runners in James Budden and Steve Ormrod and they tried their best to make something from the limited service. Things were improving though and in the 29th minute we took the lead when Chris Morris put over a cross from the left and MATT MULLINGS headed in from close range.
Against the run of play perhaps but we had got men forward into the box and a good delivery paid dividends. Chickerell were stung by this and they had a bit of luck to get back on level terms only three minutes later. Marc White tried to clear the ball from just in front of our goal but the ball came off his boot and shot up hitting his arm. Penalty, said the referee much to the anger of Chilly who got a yellow card for his protests. This time the kick was despatched into the top corner to make it 1-1 and all to play for. The referee explained to me after the game that although the handball offence was not deliberate his arm had been in an unnatural position. I suppose we were lucky we didn’t suffer a red card as well !
Anyway, half-time and it had been a tale of two penalties in a first half that hadn’t really offered any great football for the hardy bunch of spectators who had turned out on a cold day. In fairness, the pitch was a bit of a bog and there was a strong cross-wind so it was difficult to play good football. Chickerell had been the better side but had missed a few decent chances so we were satisfied with the score at this point.
Westlands made a change at half-time bringing on Callum Thompson for the limping Marc White and making some tactical changes to the shape of the team. This seemed to pay dividends as suddenly Sports midfield were getting the ball down and making a few passes. Better was to come as only 5 minutes into the half we took the lead again. A Chickerell defender was short with a pass-back and STEVE ORMROD was on to it in a flash, drawing the keeper and slotting the ball past him into the corner of the net. A well taken goal and the Westland players were cock-a-hoop but there was a long way to go. Chickerell tried to hit back immediately and one of their players missed an absolute sitter when unmarked in front of goal. Westlands were playing much better now and Chickerell were finding it tough to break them down. When they did get through, Steve Hulland, Sports young keeper, was looking sound and he pulled off a couple of good saves. As the game progressed a similar pattern emerged, Chickerell pushing men forward looking for the equaliser but finding the Sports defence hard to break down. When Westlands broke upfield they were looking very dangerous with Steve Ormrod and Callum Thompson prominent in attack. Chickerell made several chances but their finishing was out of touch. Westlands were having the same problem with Steve Ormrod, Callum Thompson and Liam Stobbs all missing one on one chances. The final opportunity fell to Henry Lawrence-Napier when Steve Ormrod squared the ball to him in front of goal with only the keeper to beat. To be fair the keeper charged off his line and spread himself well to make a good save and that was it, full time and another excellent win for Westlands.
We had taken a bit of time to settle but once we did we created loads of good chances in the second half and could have won by more in the end. For Chickerell this just wasn’t their day. They too had chances to score, including the first penalty, but couldn’t put the ball in the net.
The Man of the Match award this week goes to STEVE ORMROD. His 100% commitment up front makes him a handful for opposing defences and he showed great composure in front of goal to slot in the winning goal.
Our last match was against the same side, Piddletrenthide, so having beaten them 3-0 at their place we were favourites to win the return fixture at home. We had 4 changes in the team from the previous game, out were Jake Powell, Scott Morgan, Matt Phillips and Sam Plumley and they were replaced by Luke (“clean sheet”) Silcox, Matt Mullings, Chris Morris and Jordan Fletcher.
The pitch was wet and soggy so players were having difficulty keeping their feet in the initial stages but it was Westlands who started sharpest and Steve Ormrod headed a Lewis Howchin cross over the bar in the 4th minute. Our opponents eventually got on the front foot and Luke Silcox had to make his first save from a well struck free kick. After quarter of an hour Jordan Fletcher got his head to an Aron Wallis corner but the keeper saved his effort. A couple of minutes later we had a bit of a let-off when Piddletrenthide outnumbered us in an attack and their #9 found himself unmarked with an open goal at his mercy. Luckily he panicked a bit and rushed his shot, screwing the ball wide of the post.
As if spurred into action by this escape Westlands opened the scoring in the 21st minute. Aron Wallis delivered another good ball into the box from the left and when it was headed clear by a defender it fell to JOE JARVIS on the edge of the box and he drove a low shot through the crowd into the bottom corner. Sports were looking quite comfortable at this point but had another wake up call in the 31st minute when Luke Silcox had to make a good save after a quick break. Again this spurred Sports into action and 2 minutes later we scored our second goal. A quick break by Chris Morris down the left opened up the visitor’s defence and his cross was sidefooted in by JAMES BUDDEN from about 10 yards out. In the 41st minute we had an almost identical goal with Steve Ormrod being the provider this time for JAMES BUDDEN who once again buried the chance for his second goal of the afternoon.
Piddletrenthide were rattled now and almost immediately we made it 4-0. A cross from the right found ARON WALLIS deep on the edge of the box and he smashed an angled shot past the keeper into the roof of the net.
The halftime 4 goal lead for Westlands meant the game was virtually over barring a miracle and so a large number of the spectators retired to the warmth of the Airfield Tavern for the remainder of the afternoon.
In the second half the visitors had some good periods of possession but they couldn’t really make any impression. Lots of subs came on, and off, and back on again in accordance with the new roll-on roll-off rules which really do cause the flow of the game to suffer. To be fair to the Westlands management , with a four goal lead they wanted to give everybody game time but it all ended up with nobody really knowing who was playing where and the game definitely suffered as a consequence. With about 10 minutes to go Sports woke up a bit and began to push forward. This paid dividends in the 81st minute when a Piddletrenthide defender unfortunately handled the ball in the area and received a red card.
STEVE ORMROD stepped up to thump in the penalty and rub salt in the visitor’s wounds. The final action came in the 88th minute when Liam Stobbs put STEVE ORMROD through and he managed to squeeze the ball in from close range at the second attempt.
A good win for Westlands, you can’t ask for more than a 6-0 victory and although the surface was poor we did keep possession quite well at times so everyone can be pleased with their performance.
The Man of the Match award this week goes to ARON WALLIS who was a constant threat down the left wing and delivered some good crosses into the box. He capped his performance with that superbly struck shot for the goal of the game.
No easy game this as Piddletrenthide had beaten us in the cup at Alvington so on their pitch it would be a tricky match. Jake Powell had the honour of the goalies jersey this week as he let slip he had played in goal as a schoolboy and Sam Plumley returned to the team.
In the first half it was Piddletrenthide who made the running but Sports defence was looking sound and Jake Powell was handling anything that came his way with confidence. Westlands gradually worked their way into the game and took the lead when ARON WALLIS made space for himself in the box and turned and drove a low shot into the back of the net. This gave Westlands a nice 1-0 half-time lead albeit probably against the run of play, and it was now a case of keeping things tight and we could take the points. STEVE ORMROD showed his value to the side with a typical battling performance that kept the opposition defence on their toes and it was Steve who gave Westlands a bit of breathing space with an opportunist goal to make it 2-0. Now Westlands had a vice-like grip on the game and the final goal came when JOE JARVIS planted a free kick in the top corner. A fine way to clinch the three points that move Sports into the top half of the table.
For the Man of the Match award this week the vote goes to JAKE POWELL for an excellent display as stand-in goalkeeper. Not an easy thing to do and to keep a clean sheet as well was a real achievement.
WESTLAND SPORTS RESERVES 2 GILLINGHAM TOWN RESERVES 1
Coming off the back of a win last week there was no need for big changes to the line up but there were a couple. Normal first team keeper Sam Watts filled in to solve a goalkeeping problem and a new signing, Chris Morris, was given his debut in midfield. Sam Gibbs was also called up from the first team and was given a place on the bench. For Gillingham, it was nice to see ex-Westlands player Haydn Hodges return to Alvington in their colours and a distinguished crowd included ex-Westlands manager Neil Waddleton who is the current Gillingham first team boss. Unfortunately although the pitch was in good shape it was blowing a gale so we knew that would play a big part in what was an intriguing game. Gill ressies were unbeaten this season so would obviously be expecting a win today as Westlands were having some mixed results but with home advantage and that wind blowing there was some quiet confidence in the Westlands camp with coach Rex Buttle extremely chipper about our chances.
Gillingham showed their quality from the start, pushing Westlands back with some slick passing and their pressure paid early dividends with the opening goal after only 5 minutes. The ball was knocked up to their centre forward who turned well and drove a neat shot into the far corner. Not a great start for Westlands but from the kick-off they went on the attack and new boy Chris Morris hit a blistering shot which was finger tipped over the bar for a corner. Aron Wallis took the kick and slung a beauty to the far post where JOE JARVIS rose to head home the equaliser. That was a real boost to Westlands as we had levelled only a couple of minutes after going behind and for a spell we matched our opponents but were unable to create any scoring opportunities. In the 31st minute Westlands took the lead with a piece of quick thinking that caught Gillingham on the hop. Joe Jarvis picked the ball up in midfield and from about 30 yards hit a dipping shot that beat the keeper all ends up but cannoned back off the crossbar into play. A Gill defender knocked the rebound back to his keeper who picked the ball up immediately conceding an indirect free kick for a passback about 12 yards from the goal line. Then, as the Gillingham players surrounded the referee protesting his decision, Steve Ormrod put the ball down, rolled it sideways to LEWIS HOWCHIN and he knocked it into the empty net ! The referee immediately pointed to the middle and Sports were a goal in front much to the frustration of the Gillingham camp. With 3 goals already in the first half hour I don’t think anyone thought for one minute that would be the end of the scoring but as things turned out it was the winning goal. A great piece of opportunism from the Westlands players and fair play to the referee for allowing a bit of initiative. Boyed up by the goal Sports gave as much as they got for the rest of the half and we turned round 2-1 up.
The second half proved to be hard work for Westlands with the wind in their faces, but our defence was well marshalled by skipper Matt Phillips and they stood firm under severe pressure at times. Behind them Sam Watts was in good form and on the hour mark he made a great save from a corner that was whipped in on the wind. Corners were proving Gillingham’s most potent weapon as they had some big lads in their team and when these corners were driven across in the wind they all piled in. Nevertheless the Sports defence stood firm and we were still capable of some dangerous breaks particularly through Steve Ormrod until he was clobbered down by the bye line and had to limp off. In the 75th minute Gillingham had a bit of a let off. Chris Morris picked up the ball on the edge of their box and wriggled through between two defenders until he had his legs whipped away from him. Looked a stonewall penalty to me and everyone around me but the referee waved the appeals away. Gillingham were getting worried now as we entered the last 10 minutes and a few feisty challenges went in as they tried desperately to break down the Sports defence. They had numerous attempts at goal but they were all from long range and most flew over the bar assisted by the wind. In the final minutes the referee blew up for an indirect free to Gillingham just inside our penalty area saying keeper Sam Watts had held on to the ball too long ! The Gillingham players tried to copy Westlands earlier ploy of taking a quick one and tried to grab the ball from Sam’s hands. Sam knew what they were trying to do so he threw the ball out of play and so got himself a yellow card from Mr Hofmann. While the booking was being administered Gillingham were still trying to take the free kick but a bit of a melee then took place as the Westlands players crowded them out. Eventually the official completed the booking and restored order. When the kick was eventually taken it was a bit of a damp squib and was cleared to safety. A few more attacks were repelled before the referee ended the match with the final whistle to the relief of the Westlands supporters who were getting a bit nervous.
Everyone was well pleased with the result and more importantly the three points that go with it. OK we had rode our luck at times but we also had our moments and were always a danger to the visitors defence. Obviously, there were some good performances by the Westlands lads under difficult conditions. The defence were superb after conceding that early goal, the midfield all weighed in with hard working performances as did the front two. All three subs came on and did a great job so top marks all round and also a mention for Westlands manager Harry Gibbs for getting his head round this roll-on roll-off substitutes rule and using the subs well.
For the Man of the Match award this week I have asked around and the final decision goes to JOE JARVIS for an excellent performance in the middle of the park. For a lad just turned 18 he showed great maturity and that shot off the bar in the first half helped turn the game our way.
Our up and down season continued as Sports got back to winning ways. The pitch at Alvington was perfect but a strong cross-field wind would cause problems as the game went on.
The opposition were a fairly young side and it was Portland who opened the scoring midway through the first half. Sports kept plugging away and got their reward when JAMES BUDDEN headed in a good goal to equalise.
In the second half it was Portland who got their noses in front again to make it 2-1 but once again Westlands hit back with the equaliser. This time it was STEVE ORMROD who headed in to set up a grandstand finish. With 10 minutes to go Westlands got themselves in front for the first time with STEVE ORMROD producing a clever turn and finish that sealed the points.
A good win for Westlands, well deserved and some good displays by the players. Young debutant goalkeeper Steve Hulland had a sound game and made one superb save which was crucial in a tight match. Our front two of Steve Ormrod and James Budden worked hard all afternoon and were a real handful for the opposition defenders so the Man-of-the Match award this week goes to STEVE ORMROD who continued his comeback after injury with an excellent performance and also weighed in with two good goals including the winner.
Another struggle for the manager today to get people on the park so we started with a bare eleven. Corfe Mullen had beaten us 5-0 at their place but that was their only victory so we were looking for a win. Once again a lack of concentration and commitment to the team plan was evident as Sports wandered to half-time 3-0 down ! A really slack display with some really poor goals conceded left us with a mountain to climb however some harsh words from the manager and coach brought about a much improved display in the second half. JAMES BUDDEN made it 3-1 shortly after the interval and Sports tails were up now. Steve Ormrod made it 3-2 and it was game on. Unfortunately the opposition sneaked a goal on the break to increase their lead back to 2 goals. JAMES BUDDEN scored again to make it 4-3 and try as Westlands might, they just couldn't grab that equaliser and eventually ran out of time. We had won the second half 3-1 and a performance like that in the first half would have given us a comfortable victory.
Man of the Match is tricky but it goes to JAMES BUDDEN this week. James has been finding goals hard to come by recently so hopefully his two goals today can see him recapture the form that made him top scorer for the Under 18s last season.
Unfortunately, after a good win last week, we were forced into 7 changes for this week’s match due to injury and unavailability. This constant changing of the line up is not doing the team any favours and another poor display was the result. In fact both teams looked poor and the early indications were that this was heading for a nil-nil draw as neither team looked capable of creating a decent chance. Then Christmas came early for Poole Borough. Sports keeper George Irvine gave a good clear shout when coming out to gather a hopeful punt but seemed to take his eye off the ball and an opposition player nipped in and knocked it over his head into the net.
So, 1-0 at half-time to the home team and Westlands feeling they should not be losing even though we weren’t playing well.
The second half was the same as the first with neither team creating much until Westlands gift wrapped the three points with another soft goal. We were a bit slow to close down an attacker and he tried his luck with a shot at goal. George Irvine, the Sports keeper, was signalling for a wide and made no attempt to save the ball only to see it nestled in the corner of the net. Enough said, really, about this game. A rather scathing report I’m afraid but that was the feedback I received from people at the match.
The Man-of-the Match award this week goes to MATT PHILLIPS who defended well throughout and, unlike some others, stuck to the task for the full 90 minutes. Jake Powell was also mentioned in despatches for a good display at the centre of the defence.
With Matt Clark, Ciaran Levet, Joe Jarvis and Jack Vine unavailble following the heavy defeat at Corfe Mullen and still without regular keeper George Irvine, Sports drafted in a clutch of young players and on the day they did the business. Tom Hinder was in goal, and Alex Watts, Liam Stobbs, James Budden, Jake Powell and Scott Morgan were all added to the squad to give us a youthful line-up with Matt Phillips, Marc White and Chris Wells providing an experienced backbone to the team.
We knew our opponents were an experienced side and they quickly took control and for the first half hour it was mainly the home side who were pressing. Tom Hinder made one tremendous save when it seemed a goal was a certainty but apart from that scare our defence held firm, and with the midfield working hard to close down, Witchampton were unable to make their pressure count. Up front DAN QUIRKE is always a threat and as we approached half-time he pulled down a cross and stuck the ball in the back of the net to put Sports 1-0 up ! A bit against the run of play perhaps but Westlands had shown signs of getting into the game as the half wore on.
It's amazing what a bit of confidence can do and as the second half got under way it was the Westland lads who were buzzing. Both wide men, Aron Wallis and Liam Stobbs were having good games and they combined to double Sports lead. Liam outstripped the Witchampton defence down the right and whipped over a cross which ARON WALLIS buried from about six yards out. Witchampton were a bit dispirited now and Westlands were well on top and could have scored a few more in the last 20 minutes. As it was we added just one more to our tally with DWAYNE FORSHAW sticking away goal number three.
This was agood result for the team and hopefully is the start of a good run.
The Man-of-the Match this week goes to LIAM STOBBS who worked hard down the right and used his pace to good effect.
More problems with player availability saw us travel to Corfe Mullen without a recognised goalkeeper. Jake Coombes bravely donned the gloves and with new signings Jack Vine and Jacob Roberts in the line-up and Aron Wallis making his seasonal debut, we looked to have a decent team out. Understandably, we were a bit nervous at the back in the first half and our opponents quickly took advantage racing into a 3-0 half time lead. Jack Vine, who had picked up a yellow card in the first half, quickly added a second minutes into the second. Down to 10 men it was an impossible task for Sports but they stuck to their guns and although conceding a couple more, kept battling to the end. Lack of players and lack of confidence is a problem for the team at the moment but we have seen signs that they can turn the corner.
The Man-of-the Match this week goes to Westlands stand-in goalkeeper JAKE COOMBES who showed great spirit to take on the job in an emergency and regardless of his performance he gets the award.
Westlands unfortunately bowed out of the Dorset Senior Trophy at the first round stage after this extra time defeat by Piddletrenthide. Scott Morgan returned to the team and Lewis Howchin and Jamie Green, who had both missed out on first team action recently, were given a run out in the reserves. Josh Payne had returned from his extended holiday and made his first start of the season and a strong bench included Phil Wells and Sam Gibbs.
Piddletrenthide started quite strongly and in the 5th minute George Irvine in the Westland’s goal had to dive smartly to save a low shot. Five minutes later George was in action again diving to save at his near post. The game then developed into a fairly mundane pattern with neither side able to produce any worthwhile attacking moves. Westland’s best chance of the half came in the 25th minute when Josh Payne set up Ciaran Levet but he pulled his shot wide of the target.
So a half-time score of 0-0 was about right with neither team on top and a lot of passes going astray.
Boosted by some encouragement from the manager at the break Sports put together their best move of the match so far in the 47th minute. Several crisp passes saw Ciaran Levet send over a cross which Matt Clark thumped just over the bar. Five minutes into the half Westlands broke the deadlock with a cracking goal. A free kick was awarded to Sports just outside the box and just to the left of the goal. Ciaran Levet made a dummy run to distract the wall and DWAYNE FORSHAW curled a beauty into the far top corner of the net. Westland’s then made a couple of substitutions with Phil Wells and Liam Stobbs replacing Marc White and Matt Clark. Piddletrenthide were stung by the goal and tried to force their way back into the game and in the 68th minute they did so thanks to a helping hand from Westlands. The ball was given away just outside our own box and the visiting player stuck it in the back of the net. A soft goal to lose but typical of Westlands passing all afternoon. Sam Gibbs replaced Scott Morgan as Sports looked to repair the damage. The next action was a shot from Joe Jarvis which went wide and in the 75th minute a Josh Payne pass to Ciaran Levet saw him turn and shoot only to see the ball clip the bar and go over. That was the last real chance and although both teams huffed and puffed there was no real quality to create a decent goalscoring chance.
Full time 1-1 and into 30 minutes extra time.
The first chance in extra time fell to Piddletrenthide but they couldn’t put it away and after that Sports began to press. Dwayne Forshaw hit a curling shot which cannoned off the post and was cleared to safety. Westlands kept the pressure on and Ciaran Levet was put in after a defender missed a Josh Payne cross but unfortunately he shot straight at the keeper.
Half time in extra time and still deadlocked at 1-1. It was anyone’s game really but Sports were doing all the pressing until halfway through the second period when we gifted them the match. Dwayne Forshaw chased a player back into our penalty area and then lunged in from behind with only one possible outcome – penalty !
Their lad tucked it away and that, basically, was that. A disappointing result against a team we should have beaten with home advantage. Too many players running with the ball until they gave it away or trying 30 yard passes that invariably ended up with the opposition. What was annoying was the fact that both the goals they scored were gifts and we won’t win games giving away goals like that. The telling verdict on the match came when a groan from the spectators greeted the referee’s whistle at the end of the game and they realised another 30 minutes extra time was coming up !
The Man-of-the Match award this week goes to Westlands goalkeeper GEORGE IRVINE. Apart from a mistake early on when he fluffed a pass back, he was faultless. His handling and kicking were good and his communication with fellow defenders was loud and clear.
Some new faces, Ciaran Levet, James Hatcher and Ricky Elliott were added to the squad after last week’s defeat so, with the sun shining, we were looking for a good result this afternoon.
We started well and forced a corner in the 4th minute. The ball was cleared out to the edge of the box to Will Ireland who hit a dipping shot which bounced out off the crossbar. This gave Sports a bit of confidence and they were competing well all over the pitch. Ten minutes later a driven free kick from Dwayne Forshaw out on the right eluded the Poole defence and Chris Wells stole round the back to meet the ball with a diving header. How the ball didn’t end up in the back of the net I’ll never know but somehow it flew past the far post. Poole were having their share of attacks and their big centre forward was putting himself about a bit but not causing us any great problems. Next a defence-splitting ball from Dwayne Forshaw put Ciaran Levet in the clear but the Poole keeper pulled off a diving save to turn his shot round the post. On the half hour another good shot on the run from Ciaran Levet saw his shot go just wide of the far post. In the 35th minute Westland’s keeper George Irvine made an excellent reaction save to block a shot and luckily the rebound was blasted over the top. Five minutes later a Poole player had another good shot but this one just cleared the bar. Just before the half-time whistle Matt Clark hit a good shot on the drop but again the keeper turned it over the top.
It had been a decent first half from both sides with plenty of commitment and goalmouth action, the only thing lacking was a goal. Westlands had created the better chances in the first half and on another day may have been 2-0 up but with the game still scoreless it could go either way. The first goal could be crucial in this game as Sports had put a lot of effort into the first half and one or two players had heavy legs going into the second 45. If we could get that first goal it would give us renewed energy to go on and win the match. On the other hand if we lost the first goal you had the feeling the legs would feel even heavier.
The second half opened with George Irvine having to save a decent shot as Poole went on the offensive. Although having a spell of pressure, Westlands defence were proving a tough nut to crack and we were coping with everything they could throw at us. Eventually, after about 10 minutes Sports had some attacking play and Joe Jarvis got a shot on target, unfortunately straight at the keeper. In the 60th minute we had a real let off when Poole hit the post from close range. That was a bit of a sitter and we wondered if perhaps this was our day. Sure enough, five minutes later, we scored. Chris Wells fired over a cross from the right and JOE JARVIS rose at the far post to plant a good header into the corner. Great celebrations all round as I think everyone realised the significance of the goal.
George Irvine then had to make a diving save to smother a shot from 20 yards before Westlands grabbed a second goal. As is often the case, once you get one another quickly follows and only two minutes after the first goal we scored the second. Dwayne Forshaw thumped in a free kick from the edge of the box which the keeper parried but WILL IRELAND was on the spot to bury the rebound in the corner to make it 2-0. That was a killer blow for the visitors and gave Sports a bit of breathing space. In the 72nd minute Joe Jarvis blasted over from a good position and in the 75th minute Dwayne Forshaw shot over from about 10 yards out. However with Westlands lying deep to play out time, a long ball found DWAYNE FORSHAW all on his own in the opponents half with no support. Undaunted he drove at the Poole defenders, cut along the edge of the box, evaded another couple of tackles and turned to thump the ball into the bottom corner of the net. The keeper was a bit slow to get down to it but take nothing away from the goal which was a superb solo effort. That was the three points in the bag and the final whistle came a few minutes later.
An excellent win for the Westlands lads and hopefully the start of better things to come.
Difficult to pick a man of the match this week as everyone played their part in the victory. George Irvine deserves a mention for a good clean sheet after having to pick the ball out of the net 6 times last Saturday ! But the final choice is DWAYNE FORSHAW whose solo effort at the end rounded off a hard working performance.
Our first match of the season was a difficult one for us as Blandford already had a good league win behind them last week and with their first team having no fixture they would be spoilt for choice. For Sports the opposite was true, we are putting together a completely new side this season focussing on younger players so that will take time to gel.
Blandford were a big strong outfit but the Westland lads put up a decent show in the first half and after 40 minutes were holding their own at 0-0. Blandford then got the break they needed with a penalty awarded for one of these 'ball hits arm' incidents. Usually its accidental but the officials usually give them. Sports were then guilty of losing their concentration and quickly lost a second goal to go in at the break 2-0 down.
In the second half we were playing into the wind and our defence were finding the long balls difficult to cope with. Nevertheless we pulled a goal back through DWAYNE FORSHAW to make it 2-1 but gradually Blandford turned the screw and we lost another 2 goals to go 4-1 down. JOE JARVIS then scored to make it a more respectiable 4-2 but we were tiring now and lost another 2 late goals.
It looks like a heavy defeat and Blandford did deserve to win, no doubt about that, but the Westlands team showed enough to suggest that with a bit of strengthening we could have the makings of a decent side but it will take time.
Man of the match award this week goes to SCOTT MORGAN for a battling performance.
Sunday 17th April 2016, Dorset League, Youth (U18) Div.1
WESTLAND SPORTS 1 BOURNEMOUTH POPPIES 3
The visit of Poppies made for an interesting end to the season as it is between us and them for the runners-up spot. Theoretically, either of us could still win the league but that would mean Poole Town Wessex would have to lose their last three games and this is unlikely as they have only lost one all season (to Westlands !).
From the start it was obvious Poppies were a good side and they didn’t appear to have any weak links in a strong line-up. It was a hard match and it was no surprise when Bournemouth took the lead with a well taken goal. But Westlands fought back and JOE JARVIS made it 1-1 before the break with a good low shot into the corner of the net.
Poppies were on top after the interval and it was no great surprise when they went in front about 15 minutes in. Westlands defence were playing a bit square and a Bournemouth attacker ran through unchallenged and finished coolly as Louis Martin came out. At 2-1 down Westlands tried to push forward but couldn’t really get their passing game going and 10 minutes later we conceded number 3. Again we were caught by a fast break down the right wing and as the winger drew our only covering defender over he slipped the ball inside to a team-mate who had an easy tap-in. We had really been torn apart by that fast break but Westlands knuckled down and began to press forward looking for a goal to get back in the game. Ryan McGuinn missed a good chance right in front of goal and a few minutes later Joe Jarvis missed another sitter. You can’t afford to squander chances against the good teams as you may not get that many ! We were almost down and out a few minutes later when Steve Flynn got on the wrong side of an attacker in the box. Steve stuck out a leg and inevitably brought his man down for a penalty. The lad struck the ball towards the corner but Louis Martin guessed right and got down to save. A great moment that kept Sports in the game with just a glimmer of hope. Westlands piled forward now and Bournemouth retreated into their shell knowing they had a commanding lead.
When a Jack Dicker header then crashed off the crossbar and was scrambled away we knew that was our last chance to get back into the game and the final whistle confirmed it. Poppies deserved their win on the day, they looked the better side and Westlands never really got their A game going.
The Man of the Match award this week goes to Westland’s keeper LOUIS MARTIN for the second week in a row. Another penalty stop and some good saves made it another sound performance from, in my opinion, one of the best goalkeepers in the league.
Sunday 3rd April 2016, Dorset League, Youth (U18) Div.1
WESTLAND SPORTS 3 CANFORD UTD 0
For the visit of Canford, manager Craig Stobbs showed the strength of his squad by making four changes with Jacob Roberts, Kameron Alexander, Joe Jarvis and Fraser Hill all returning to the team. Although Canford are near the foot of the table, there are no poor teams in this league, and the visitors showed in the early exchanges that they would be a tough nut to crack. Nevertheless, it was Westlands who looked more dangerous and we went ahead after 23 minutes. A great run and cross eluded the Canford keeper and LIAM STOBBS was on hand to finish well. On the half hour the visitors had a great chance to equalise when they were awarded a penalty, Jacob Roberts being the Westlands culprit, pulling back an opponent who had got the better of him. Louis Martin came to the rescue however, with a good diving save. Jacob was shown a yellow card which in some referee’s eyes might have been a red. Had that been followed by the opposition scoring the penalty then the whole game could have taken on a different scenario ! As we moved into the last 15 minutes of the half Sports scored that all important second goal. Adam Pullen cleverly flicked the ball over to KAMERON ANDREWS who buried the chance.
That gave Westlands a nice 2-0 half time cushion and we looked forward to pressing on in the second half and securing the three points.
The first chance of the second half was created by Canford with a free-kick which Sports keeper Louis Martin saved low down. Then Westlands had a chance but Adam Pullen shot over the top. Back to the other end and a Canford player was clean through but shot over the bar. In the 56th minute it was Westlands turn to get a penalty. There was no doubt about it, Fraser Hill being clearly tripped in the box. CONNOR WILLIAMS took the kick and buried it in the corner to give us a nice three goal lead. That goal kind of set Canford back on their heels and Westlands were looking like they might score again. Jake Powell powered in a header from a corner but the Canford keeper somehow reacted to tip the ball over the crossbar. The final action came when Adam Pullen got a good shot away but again the keeper pulled off a great save. The Canford goalie had sustained a nasty gash on his leg in the first half which really needed stitched but they had patched him up and he played on to produce these superb saves. Top marks to him !
The Man of the Match award this week goes to Westlands keeper LOUIS MARTIN. A clean sheet and a penalty save, plus good handling and good communication. You can’t ask for any more from your goalkeeper.
Sunday 20th March 2016, Dorset League, Youth (U18) Div.1
WESTLAND SPORTS 4 RINGWOOD 1
After an eight week break we were keen to get back into action (well most of us, some players still unavailable) and the visit of Ringwood was an ideal match to get us going as we had lost to them early in the season. There were a couple of new faces in the squad, Harry Panayides stepped up from the Under 16s and Harry Richards made his debut.
Westlands started well, settling into their shape quickly and they were soon pushing on into the Ringwood half. A long throw from Jake Powell was headed on by Jack Dicker to Adam Pullen who shot just past the post. In the 15th minute Jack Dicker again fed Adam Pullen but once again his shot missed the target. Westlands were on top but it took until the 28th minute to make the breakthrough, RYAN McGUINN turning the ball in from a corner. Three minutes later it was 2-0. Harry Panayides put a great ball over the top to CONNOR WILLIAMS who controlled it beautifully and ran on to thump a shot under the keeper into the corner of the net. Ringwood weren’t prepared to lie down and they kept battling but Louis Martin in the Westlands goal handled all their efforts with comparative ease.
So, 2-0 at the break was excellent and the lads had played well in the first half. As I said before the shape was good and everyone was working hard so we looked forward to another good 45 minutes.
Ringwood had nothing to lose now and fired up after their half-time pep talk they tried hard to get back into the game but the wind was taken from their sails by Westlands third goal. This one was a disaster for the Ringwood keeper who let a shot (cross ?) from BRANDON SCOTT from about 25 yards squirm through his fingers and the ball rolled into the back of the net. Being three goals down Ringwood now pushed more men forward and Louis Martin made a good save. The down side to Ringwood’s attacking moves was that they were more vulnerable to Westlands attacks. Harry Panayides shot past the post and he then set up Harry Richards whose shot also went wide. In the 75th minute Ringwood pulled one back and a good goal it was , their lad firing into the far corner from about 18 yards out. Was there a fightback possible? Sports answered that question emphatically in the 80th minute when RYAN McGUINN controlled the ball well in the opposition box and drilled it past the keeper. With five minutes to go and Westlands 4-1 up, there was no way back for Ringwood but they had a chance for another consolation in the dying minutes. The referee spotted a handball in the box and awarded a penalty kick. The Ringwood player struck the ball towards the corner but Louis Martin dived to his right to make the save. Great stuff from the Westlands keeper who had a solid game today.
That was it, the final whistle signalled a good win for Sports and another three points that take us back into second place in the league. Everyone had played their part in a solid team performance.
The Man of the Match award this week goes to STEVE FLYNN who was in complete control at the heart of Westland’s defence.
Sunday 10th January 2016, Dorset League, Youth (U18) Div.1
WESTLAND SPORTS 3 PARLEY SPORTS 2
A much needed game after a month off but the pitch was very wet and soggy as we kicked off agaiinst Parley. The opposition were up for this one as we were the only team to beat them this season, giving them a 5-1 thumping back in October at their place. They opened brightly, pressing into Westlands half but at this stage not creating any clear chances. Westlands were giving the ball straight back to the opposition whenever we got it so this was not helping our cause. However in the 10th minute we launched our first real attack, and made it count ! Adam Pullen skinned their left back and got a deep cross into the box. Their keeper came for it but missed it in the crowd of players and I think it was Ryan McGuinn who knocked it goalwards for CONNOR WILLIAMS to finish the job by blasting the ball into the roof of the net from point blank range. Nice start for Sports and one which showed a bit of vulnerability in the Parley defence to cross balls. The visitors tried to respond but were thwarted in the 14th minute by a good save from Louis Martin down low at the right post. Parley then fired a couple of decent crosses in and our defenders were glad to hoof them clear. Then as Westlands responded, a lovely passing move involving four players ended with Ryan McGuinn hitting a blistering shot that was heading for the top corner until the keeper dived to finger tip it over. From the corner the ball was scrambled off the line by the Parley full back who was guarding the post. Westlands were beginning to look dangerous now and in the 29th minute scored again to make it 2-0. A free kick out on the right was delivered into the box by Adam Pullen and it fell to JAMES BUDDEN who seemed to have all the time in the world to take a touch and thump the ball into the back of the net. Again Parley tried hard to hit back and again Louis Martin came to Westlands rescue with a diving block at the edge of his box as an attacked burst through. Jack Dicker got himself yellow carded for a lunging tackle as Westlands defended and the final action of the half saw Parley 'score' a goal which was ruled out for offside by our linesman much to the fury of the Parley bench.
Half time, and 2-0 to Westlands should have been a comfortable buffer but we knew from our last game that holding on to a lead is not something our team have mastered yet so it was on the cards there was more excitement to come.
Parley came out the traps firing on all cylinders with nothing to lose but Westlands were a bit lethargic and Louis Martin again made a good save to preserve our lead. In the 53rd minute they pulled one back when the referee gave them a free kick for something (?) just inside our half. As some of our players queried the decision Parley took a quick one and caught us napping. A couple of quick passes and a low shot later and it was 2-1 . The Westland players were not happy that the free kick had been taken about ten yards further upfield but you have to give credit for a bit of quick thinking. Parley had their tails up now and in these conditions it is not easy constantly defending as mistakes can be made. In the 65th minute Jack Dicker pulled an opponent back in the box and the referee pointed to the spot. Parley stuck away the penalty and it was now game on at 2-2. Two Parley supporters who were obviously pissed were singing down behind the goal as the Parley contingent got excited sensing a comeback. However their joy would only last three minutes before Westlands struck again to take the lead. ADAM PULLEN played a captain's part by driving into the Parley half before thumping a low shot towards goal. The keeper dived to save but the greasy ball squirmed under his body and trickled over the line. A little bit of luck there but in these conditions it's always worth having a go. A heavy shower of rain now made the conditions even more treacherous and sliding tackles began to be the order of the day. Connor Williams was booked for a silly tackle and then Kam Andrews copped a yellow card when the ball hit his arm. The game was getting very scrappy now which suited Westlands as we defended our lead. Both teams made substitutions which broke play up even more. The initial surge we had seen from Parley at the start of the half was not so evident now, their hopes perhaps dashed by Westlands quick response. Instead of trying to utilise James Budden's pace up front Westlands had now brought on a big target man in Fraser Hill and the change of style gave us a chance to bring forward the midfield and defensive lines to take the pressure off. In the last 15 minutes or so it was fairly even and neither side could create a clear-cut chance. so we played out time to take the three points.
A good win for Westlands and we have now completed the double over one of the better teams in the league . We didn't perform to our best but it was difficult in the conditions and credit to both sides for giving us a really exciting game.
The man-of-the-match award this week is difficult. Louis Martin and Adam Pullen have strong claims but this week its STEVE FLYNN who gets the vote. With Brandon Scott and Jake Powell missing from the usual back four, Steve stepped back to centre half and did an outstanding job of marshalling the defence.
Sunday 13th December 2015, Dorset League, Youth (U18) Div.1
WESTLAND SPORTS 4 POOLE TOWN BOROUGH 4
Again it was disappointing we could only field 11 players for this game against the top of the league.
With Westlands lying second it was a game we needed to win so no subs was definitely a handicap before we had even kicked off.
The visitors started quite sharply and had a shot in the second minute which Sports keeper Louis Martin saved easily. Then in the 4th minute Westlands had their first attack and opened the scoring ! Ryan McGuinn made good ground with a surging run into the Poole half which was halted by a defender fouling him just outside the box. With the ball placed Adam Pullen ran over it and CONNOR WILLIAMS followed up and drove a lovely shot low into the corner of the net. A well worked goal and just the start we wanted. Poole Town again showed some nice passing but without creating much and in the 9th minute Westlands struck again ! Ryan McGuinn headed the ball on to KAMERON ALEXANDER who drove a fine shot across the keeper into the far corner. 2-0 and less than 10 minutes gone, what a start for Westlands ! Poole were a bit shocked by our whirlwind start but they kept at it and they missed a golden chance in the 17th minute when their lad skied over the bar. That shook Westlands into a response and and in the 20th minute we made it 3-0. This one was a solo effort by ADAM PULLEN who picked up the ball on the halfway line and set off down the right wing. He went past one defender on the outside, cut inside another and drove a cracking shot into the far corner. What a goal, and 3-0 to Westlands, surely the game was in the bag ? No was the short answer to that. Poole Town had shown throughout the game they were a good side and you don’t get to the top of the league if you haven’t got some battling qualities in the team. Unfortunately Westlands seemed to think the game was over and some sloppiness crept into their play. We have had this situation before where the players think there are more goals to be scored and we lose our defensive discipline. That applied here in the 30th minute when a big punt upfield caught our defence flat footed and a Poole player ran through to make it 3-1. So, we needed to rally now and get men behind the ball and settle down for five or ten minutes but that did not happen. In the 35th minute a Poole player was given room in the box and he turned and shot into the corner from 12 yards to make it 3-2. The Westland lads were all blaming each other at this stage and a total lack of composure saw Poole run through and score again straight from the kick-off. Had we learned our lesson, could we rally and hang on at 3-3 until half-time ? Again no was the answer and again it only took a minute for Poole to go ahead 4-3 with a shot from the edge of the box. Somehow we managed to survive until half time with no more goals conceded but the damage was already done and we had somehow let in 4 goals in 7 minutes to go from 3-0 up to 4-3 down. I’ve never seen a collapse like it from a winning position and coaches Craig Stobbs and Rex Buttle had some hard work to do over the half-time break to sort this shambles out.
We started the second half looking a bit more business like and it looked as if a tweak to the line up had taken place with Westlands now playing with a front three of Adam Pullen, Ryan McGuinn and Kameron Alexander. Immediately this began to pay dividends with a lovely diagonal ball to Kameron putting him in behind the Poole defence but unfortunately he shot wide. Then a corner was headed wide by Kameron as Sports kept the pressure on. In the 49th minute another corner was knocked wide by Westlands as they desperately tried to get the equaliser. In the 52nd minute a long pass by Adam Pullen found Kameron Alexander in the box and when he was wrestled to the ground the referee pointed to the spot. STEVE FLYNN slotted the penalty and we were back level at 4-4. It was all Westlands now and 2 minutes after the goal Steve Flynn drove forward and got a shot away which the keeper saved. Next another great pass from Joe Jarvis put Adam Pullen in but he just failed to convert. On the hour mark another raking pass picked out Kameron Alexander again but he put his shot just over, hitting the bar on the way. That spell of 15 minutes after the break had seen constant pressure from Westlands and several good chances missed. The clinical finishing of the first half had deserted us now and as it turned out our chance to take all three points had gone. Poole rallied after this and in the last 30 minutes the hectic pace of the game seemed to catch up with the players and the game died a bit of a death. Sports had no subs so their legs were a bit heavy and Poole introduced three but as sometimes happens the rhythm of the game was upset. The last big chance fell to the visitors when Scott Day cleared a shot off the line with our keeper beaten.
I think it would have been rough justice if that had gone in as Westlands deserved to get something out of the game. Indeed, with better composure and game management we could well have won it. Lets hope this time the lessons have been learned and we never see a capitulation like that again. This was an opportunity to catch up with the leaders but we blew it. Never mind, we took a point, but we now have to hope they slip up while we keep winning.
The Man of the Match award this week goes to JACK DICKER . With the switch to 4-3-3 in the second half it meant more work for the remaining three midfield players and Jack certainly took up the slack. His determination to get back and help out the defence was an example to everyone, especially those team-mates he overtook at times when getting back !
Sunday 6th December 2015, Dorset League, Youth (U18) Div.1
WESTLAND SPORTS 2 BOURNEMOUTH SPORTS 0
Bournemouth Sports are a good side so we were expecting a tough game and that's what we got. After 10 minutes Kameron Andrews got through the Bournemouth defence only to be pulled down by the visitor's keeper. Penalty and a red card for the keeper, always seems a little harsh to me but the officials think otherwise.
So, STEVE FLYNN stuck away the spot kick and Westlands were 1-0 up. Bournemouth battled hard with 10 men and made a real game of it so we turned round with only the penalty to show for our first half efforts.
In the second half it was much of the same with Westlands trying to push forward but the visitors giving as good as they got. The match was settled when ADAM PULLEN made it 2-0 with a lovely lob that beat the keeper all ends up.
Not a great display by Westlands but one of these days where you need to just grind out a result and we managed to achieve that.
The Man of the Match award this week goes to JACOB ROBERTS who was sound at the back all afternoon with a no nonsense display. Clean sheets are as important as scoring goals and Jacob made a big contribution to that in this match.
Sunday 29th November 2015, Dorset League, Youth (U18) Div.1
WESTLAND SPORTS 4 NEW MILTON 0
After our good win against the top of the table last time out it was disappointing we could only field 11 players for this home game. One of these was Liam Stobbs who had his ankle strapped up and couldn’t run freely but was forced into playing the full 90 minutes. With the team showing several positional changes to cover for the missing players it was all a bit of a gamble. The pitch was in good condition but the strong crossfield wind would prove to be a factor in producing a rather scrappy match.
Westlands had plenty of possession early on and passed the ball around quite nicely at times but without any real goal threat. New Milton had a quick left winger who got down the line 2 or 3 times and delivered good crosses so they showed they could be dangerous. Gradually, however, Sports began to control possession but it took until the 21st minute to register a shot on target. Kameron Alexander hit a cross/shot from well out which hit the inside of the far post and bounced out to safety. It was all still a bit scrappy although Steve Flynn did get a header on target which the keeper saved easily. Just as it looked like a goalless first half Westlands broke the deadlock. Sports delivered the ball into the box where a couple of efforts were blocked before the ball fell to RYAN McGUINN and he swivelled and drove a bouncing shot into the far corner.
And so the half ended with Westlands a goal up and probably deserved as although the visitors had shown some early promise down the left they hadn’t really troubled Louis Martin in the Sports goal.
After hitting New Milton with a goal just before the break Sports then completed the double whammy with one just after. KAMERON ANDREWS picked the ball up just inside the opposition half, took a couple of steps and from at least 25 yards thumped the ball over the keepers head into the far corner. A cracking goal and one that really finished the match off as at 2-0 I couldn’t see us losing this one now. The visitors kept plugging away though and on the hour mark they could have pulled one back when their lad had a clear view in front of goal but blasted the ball wide. Two minutes later Sports really did put the game to bed with the third goal. Jake Powell went on a amazing run down the left wing. Picking the ball up on the halfway line he powered his way past several challenges and raced into the box. The keeper came out and for a moment he seemed favourite to dive on the ball but at the last moment, perhaps afraid of giving away a penalty and a red card, he pulled out of the challenge and Jake charged on to the bye line where he squared the ball across for RYAN McGUINN to tap it over the line. Stunning stuff from Sports left back. The visitors heads went down now and the game became a bit disorganised as Westlands players all began pushing forward which did give New Milton a couple of opportunities to get in behind our defence, but no damage was done. In the 70th minute a through ball put RYAN McGUINN in the clear and he showed great composure to run through the defence, go round the keeper and slot the ball in the empty net. That completed Ryan’s hat-trick and completed the scoring for the afternoon.
Not one of our best displays but no complaints as we took the points and kept the clean sheet which is important. With the strong wind it wasn’t a day for flowing football but in general Sports tried to do the right things, keeping the ball on the deck and the passing short.
The Man of the Match award this week goes to RYAN McGUINN . Obviously a hat-trick is a great achievement but he also showed some other good qualities in holding the ball up and bringing others into play.
Sunday 15th November 2015, Dorset League, Youth (U18) Div.1
POOLE TOWN WESSEX 1 WESTLAND SPORTS 4
We have a good settled squad for the Under 18s at the moment but made a couple of changes from last week. Jay Gaylard and Liam Stobbs dropped out through injury and Joe Jarvis returned to the team after a break. The home side were unbeaten, in fact they haven’t dropped a point this season so it was a tough task that awaited us. This was our first match on a 4G pitch and the lads seemed to take to it, in particular KAMERON ANDREWS who showed nice control to put Sports in front within 10 minutes. The home side had maybe underestimated us a bit and found out to their cost that we can be a difficult side to beat. Nevertheless they equalised midway through the half before ADAM PULLEN restored Sports lead before the break.
In the second half, try as they might, the league leaders couldn’t pierce a resolute Westlands defence and we also showed our attacking prowess by scoring two more goals. RYAN McGUINN took the wind from their sails with Sports third goal and ADAM PULLEN put the game out of sight with the fourth. An excellent result for Westlands and top marks to the whole squad making it a difficult decision for the Man of the match award this week. Louis Martin pulled off a couple of great saves at crucial times so he was in the frame but the award goes to STEVE FLYNN for a stand-out performance. He ran the midfield against a good side and his work-rate was superb.
Sunday 8th November 2015, Dorset League, Youth (U18) Div.1
WESTLAND SPORTS 8 GREENFIELDS 1
After a morning inspection the pitch was in pretty good nick but there was a strong wind blowing which affected play. Our opponents have been struggling so it was no surprise to see Sports dominating the first half although they failed to turn the pressure into good goalscoring chances. Westlands failure to keep the ball down out of the wind was not helping our cause and we received a shock when Greenfields went ahead with a 30 yard screamer which flew into the back of the net. Sports plugged away and managed to turn things around going in 2-1 up at the break with goals from SCOTT DAY and a cracker from CONNOR WILLIAMS.
In the second half Westlands looked a bit more business like and when KAMERON ANDREWS scored the third goal within minutes of the restart the visitors' heads dropped and we were able to score pretty much at will. ADAM PULLEN (2) fired in the 4th from the edge of the box and stroked in the 5th from 6 yards. FRASER HILL then capitalised on a mistake by the keeper to tap in number 6 before he set up CONNOR WILLIAMS for a tap in to make it 7. Connor then fluffed a great chance from 6 yards for his hat-trick after a storming run and finally FRASER HILL made it 8 with a great touch and composed finish.
Man of the match goes to the skipper ADAM PULLEN this week. He led by example and bagged a couple of goals as well in a good performance.
Sunday 25th October 2015, Dorset League, Youth (U18) Div.1
HAMWORTHY UTD 6 WESTLAND SPORTS 2
We had suffered at the hands of Hamworthy Utd early in the season when they came to Alvington and scored eight goals in a convincing victory so the warning signs were there. In the meantime, however, our form had improved with 3 wins in our last 4 while their results had gone downhill, losing their last three matches.Taking this into account we came into the match with some confidence although we knew the County Ground is always a difficult place to win.
We got off to a cracking start with the opening goal in just 3 minutes. Connor Williams got down the left wing and let fly with a good shot which the keeper could only parry. Ryan McGuinn pounced on the rebound and laid the ball back to ADAM PULLEN who smashed it into the back of the net.
Sports were on top at this point and Jack Dicker should perhaps have done better when he blasted over from the edge of the box. Although attacking, Westlands were unable to make the early pressure count with another goal and after the initial 15 minutes or so it was noticeable that Hamworthy were beginning to gain confidence and mount a few attacks of their own. Most of their attacks were down their left wing with Sports right back Jake Powell battling manfully to keep them at bay although outnumbered at times. In the 20th minute Louis Martin, Sports keeper, was forced into serious action tipping a goalbound shot round the post. From the corner they equalised. The ball was played into the goalmouth where it seemed to bounce around with no defender clearing it. Eventually it fell to a Hamworthy player and he stuck it away from close range. It was a poor goal to lose but Sports heads didn’t go down and 2 minutes later we surged up to the other end and scored again. A quick throw-in caught the home defence napping and RYAN McGUINN controlled the ball, turned and struck a low shot which went into the far corner off the post. A good goal and with Sports back in front perhaps we could settle down and control the game. No such luck, as they came at us strongly now mounting fast attacks which were causing us problems. They were flooding the midfield and with only Jack Dicker and Steve Flynn getting behind the ball our back four were exposed. In the 30th minute a good shot from Hamworthy hit the bar and a minute later Louis Martin made a great instinctive save from close range. In the 36th minute they hit the bar again and we were looking for the half-time whistle now while we were ahead. It was not to be as in the 44th minute, a corner came over and a Hamworthy player jumped to head in from 6 yards out. Another soft one to lose as the marking was definitely suspect there.
So we went in at half time at 2-2 and probably it was fair reflection on the play as Westlands had dominated the early period while Hamworthy had come on strong as the half progressed. We were still in the game but we seemed a bit off the pace and needed to tighten things up in the second half, get our shape right and find another gear if we were going to win this one.
Unfortunately, none of these things happened as Hamworthy came out and took up where they had left off in the first half. If anything it was our opponents who looked as if they had stepped up a gear and they soon stamped their authority on the game. In the 47th minute their tricky left winger swung over a perfect cross which was powerfully headed into the back of the net to put us behind in the game for the first time. In a breakby Westlands Connor Williams brought the Hamworthy keeper to his knees with a shot but no real danger. The next action was back down the other end and Louis Martin made a point blank save to keep the score at 3-2.
A few minutes later Louis was forced into another good save as the home side continued to press. In the 64th minute a shot from the edge of the box flew into the back of our net with the Sports team slow to close down the scorer as he steadied to shoot. That made it 4-2 and with the Hamworthy tails up the writing was on the wall for Westlands. In the 66th minute Louis Martin dived low to make another good save but 2 minutes later he was picking the ball out the net again. A corner from the right was played along the ground to edge of the box where a Hamworthy player dummied it for his teammate to drive a low shot into the back of the net. A well worked move and credit to them for trying something different. That was 5-2 and with 22 minutes remaining there was a danger we could be embarrassed here. Thankfully the lads rallied a bit after this and a spell of Westlands pressure saw us force three corners. Connor Williams headed one over the bar and Steve Flynn had a good attempt from another but we were unable to pull a goal back. The last real action of the match saw Hamworthy on the attack again and a fast raid was finished in style with a good shot. That was it, a 6-2 defeat and one that brings Westlands back to earth after a decent run in recent weeks. Unfortunately on the day too many Sports players didn’t really fancy it and you can’t carry passengers against a hard working team like Hamworthy. They showed much more hunger for the game than the Westlands players who need to bounce back from this next time out.
Man of the match for the second week running goes to LOUIS MARTIN whose saves really kept the score from being a very embarrassing one.
Sunday 18th October 2015, Dorset League, Youth (U18) Div.1
PARLEY SPORTS 1 WESTLAND SPORTS 5
Parley were unbeaten with a 3 wins from 3 record so we knew on their own ground they would be a tough nut to crack. However, we were on a winning run at the moment so it promised to be a good game. It was a lovely day in Dorset as referee Becky Monaghan blew the whistle to start the match.
Our players were under instructions not to go looking to win the match straight away but to sit nice and tight with players behind the ball to draw the sting out of Parley. There was plenty time to win the game later on when things opened up a bit. Our cat and mouse tactics could not have worked better in the opening 10 minutes. We defended our area well without doing much more than clear our lines until the 10th minute when we struck. Ryann McGuinn picked up the ball just inside the opposition half and played a perfect pass inside their left back for Scott Day to run on to. Scott drove in on goal and when his shot was blocked by the keeper, ADAM PULLEN was on hand to stick the rebound away. A perfect goal on the break and with Parley stunned we hit them with the old one-two a couple of minutes later. Adam Pullen made a driving run into the Parley half and his cross from the right was driven in by KAMERON ANDREWS from 12 yards out. Great start from Sports, 2-0 up and with some composure that could be a winning margin. Brandon Scott picked up a yellow card shortly after this with a silly kick at an opponent during a bit of a wrestling match between them. The referee showed good common sense there as some officials may have been tempted to reach for a red. For the rest of the half Westlands were more or less defending their half as Parley searched for a way back into the game. We were defending well as a team although they did get a couple of good headers in from corners, one of which came down off the bar so a bit of a let-off there. We looked as though we were going to see out the half with a 2-0 lead when out of the blue we scored again ! Scott Day hit a long ball over the Parley back line trying to pick out one of our front men. Their keeper came out to gather but missed the ball under pressure and KAMERON ANDREWS stuck it away in the empty net to make it 3-0.
That was the last action of the half and what a half it had been. We realised that the half-time score of 3-0 flattered us a bit and the game was not won yet. With nothing to lose now Parley would throw everything at us now so the longer we kept them out the better.
Parley piled forward at the start of the half as expected and we defended well until 5 minutes in when we gifted them a life line. As another high cross came in Jack Dicker pushed an opponent in the back and the referee pointed to the spot. A stupid penalty to give away and when their lad scored it meant we had given them the goal they so desperately needed. Parley were getting excited now and as they attacked one of their players made an outrageous dive in the box in an attempt to win another penalty. Although she waved away his appeals there was no punishment from the referee for the Parley player which was a bit odd. A few minutes later another challenge in the box saw their player go over and once again the ref waved away their appeals. This one was a close call but I wonder if the earlier dive influenced the official in her decision. Louis Martin, Westlands keeper, was playing a big part in Sports rearguard action and a couple of good saves during this period kept our 2 goal lead intact. One save in particular from point blank range was outstanding. Sports were struggling a bit at this time and we desperately needed to get control of the ball and give our defence a breather. With 10 minutes gone of the half and with Parley pushing everyone forward we hit them on the break again. Adam Pullen fed a good pass out to Scott Day who was unmarked out on the right. As Scott headed for the bye-line the Parley keeper decided to leave his goal and close him down. Scott put a super cross over which took the keeper out the equation and JAY GAYLARD ran in to head the ball into the net from a yard out. Another superb goal on the break by Westlands and one that took the wind out of Parley’s sails. We had re-gathered our composure now and the sting had gone from the Parley attacks and although they huffed and puffed, they couldn’t make an impression on the Westlands defence. As we moved into the last 10 minutes it was Westlands who were now dominating with the game opening up. We were able to find some space to knock the ball around in the midfield and in the 85th minute we rubbed salt in Parley’s wounds with a 5th goal. A fast move saw Adam Pullen feed the ball out to JAY GAYLARD who was racing down the left. Jay noticed the keeper off his line and produced an audacious lob which sailed over the stranded keeper’s head into the back of the net. Another super goal and one that really put the icing on the cake for Westlands. They had produced the perfect away day performance with all the elements you need to make a result like this come off. Some dogged defending, some excellent goalkeeping, some clinical finishing and a little bit of luck here and there when we needed it. A good win and three hard fought points which move us up to second in the table.
Man of the match this week goes to LOUIS MARTIN for excellent handling throughout and a couple of crucial saves when the score was 3-1.
Sunday 11th October 2015, Dorset League, Youth (U18) Div.1
CANFORD UTD 0 WESTLAND SPORTS 2
After our good win away at New Milton 2 weeks ago this looked to be an opportunity to put more points on the board. Sports were virtually at full strength with only Joe Jarvis on the injured list, and with new signing Jay Gaylard introduced, a good performance was expected. The pitch wasn’t great, hard and bumpy, so there wouldn’t be a lot of good football played but that’s the way it is and you have to adapt.
As expected the first half was difficult for both sides as passes went astray and chances were few and far between so it was no surprise when the half ended scoreless. Westlands hadn’t really looked like conceding with the back four looking solid so if we could add a bit of a goal threat in the second half things should improve.
The breakthrough came after a storming run by Connor Williams down the left wing that took him past a couple of defenders. His cross into the middle was good and RYAN McGUINN was there to smash the ball into the back of the net. Sports were on top now and the second goal clinched the match. It was Kameron Andrews who created the chance and his final flick over a defender gave RYAN McGUINN a fairly easy chance which he tucked away.
The final whistle ended a game which had not been a classic by any stretch of the imagination but it was pleasing for Westlands in several aspects of the performance. Our second clean sheet in a row was excellent and what an improvement if you look back to our second match when we shipped 8 goals to Hamworthy Utd. Louis Martin looked safe in goal and his handling of crosses was top class. Jake Powell had a stormer at right back and the rest of the back four were in mean mood, so the Canford attack weren’t given much to feed on. The squad is looking settled now so hopefully this is the start of a good run.
Man of the match this week goes to RYAN McGUINN for his two goals that won us the points.
Sunday 27th September 2015, Dorset League, Youth (U18) Div.1
NEW MILTON 0 WESTLAND SPORTS 3
Last week we had slumped against Ringwood so that really meant we had to win this one in order to maintain a mid-table league position. To shake things up a bit manager Craig Stobbs introduced new signing Jacob Roberts at centre half and pushed Jack Dicker into midfield.
Westlands started slowly, possibly as a result of the 2 hour car journey to the New Milton ground. However after an error strewn opening quarter of an hour, we opened the scoring when RYAN McGUINN drove in a low shot from the edge of the box which found the corner of the net. A bit against the run of play perhaps but the goal settled Sports down and we began to string a few passes together. This new found confidence reaped its rewards in the 37th minute when we added goal number two. A cross from the left caused a bit of panic in the home defence and SCOTT DAY kept his cool to bang the ball in from close range. Westlands were playing much better now, the shape was better and our passing was better. Half-time, 2-0 to Westlands and a satisfying first half.
We thought the home side would come out all guns blazing for the second half but it was Westlands who had the perfect opportunity to put the game to bed. A defence-splitting pass sent Liam Stobbs racing in on goal but with only the keeper to beat he put his shot past the post. That could have been a crippling blow to New Milton but instead it gave them a bit of a wake-up call. They forced a corner down the right and from the cross a header came back off Westland’s crossbar and was hacked away to safety. From a similar situation at the other end a Jack Dicker header went just wide of the upright. On the hour mark a free kick just outside the box gave Adam Pullen a chance but his shot went just over. It was end to end stuff as the home side threw men forward but Sports always looked the more dangerous team and created the next big chance in the 75th minute. Fraser Hill, who had been brought on up front to add a bit of height to the attack, ran on to a through pass from Adam Pullen and as the keeper advanced he stabbed the ball past him but it agonisingly hit the post and bounced out. Although Westlands were playing well there is always the nagging fear that if the home team were to score and make it 2-1 then it could get a bit hairy. In the 86th minute our fears were dispelled with the crucial third goal and what a goal it was. With Sports defending deep in their own half, Kameron Andrews hit a super long ball out to the left wing where Scott Day raced clear. Scott kept his head, looked up and picked out FRASER HILL who was racing through the middle in support. Fraser gathered the ball, turned inside the covering defender and calmly sidefooted the ball into the corner of the net. Great composure from both these lads in the execution of the goal. That was the game over although New Milton did hit the post in a last minute attempt to get on the scoresheet.
It had been a good day for Westlands with not only a win but a good performance from the whole team to celebrate.
Man of the match this week goes to JACK DICKER whose physical presence in midfield gave the team a much better shape and his work rate for the whole 90 minutes was superb.
Sunday 20th September 2015, Dorset League, Youth (U18) Div.1
RINGWOOD 2 WESTLAND SPORTS 1
After last week’s hiding by Hamworthy Utd we needed to we needed to improve a lot if we were to get something from not only this match but any match.
We started quite well and in the 4th minute Kameron Andrews cut in from the left and thumped a good shot off the post. We hit several long balls which turned the Ringwood defence and they looked a bit suspect to this tactic. In the 18th minute Connor Williams had a clear sight of goal but hit a weak shot into the keeper’s arms. Five mInutes later we went ahead when JOE JARVIS finished off a passing move with a toe-poke finish into the far corner of the net. At this point we were good value for our lead as our opponents hadn’t created a lot and anything they did throw into the box was confidently dealt with by Sam Hulland in Westland’s goal. As you would imagine the home side upped their effort after going behind and they began to have a fair bit of possession in Sports half. Unfortunately their increased work rate was not matched by some of the Westlands players and so we were beginning to struggle. A nasty tackle by a Ringwood defender wiped out Westlands skipper Adam Pullen and he had to retire for the rest of the match, the Ringwood defender received a yellow card. We had definitely lost our way a bit but we were holding them out until we conceded 2 minutes before half-time. A rash free kick was given away on the edge of our box. The Ringwood player hit a decent shot on target which Sam Hulland could only parry and with 3 Ringwood players following up, the rebound was knocked into the empty net.
A draw at half time was just about fair as Westlands had been the better side in the first 25 minutes but Ringwood had fought back well after they lost the goal. We still felt the game was there to be won but we knew the home team would be boyed up by that equaliser just before the break so we would need to improve our possession of the ball and stop giving it away if we were to go on and take the points.
The second half fell into the pattern of the home side having most of the possession but when we did attack, Westlands were creating more clear cut chances. In the 58th minute Kameron Andrews blasted over from a good position. Then in the 62nd minute Scott Day had a crack at goal, again over the top. A minute later we were punished for our wasted opportunities. When Ringwood mounted an attack their forwards were supported by midfielders and this gave them a numerical advantage as we were not tracking their runs and getting back to defend in numbers. Their number 9 seemed to have plenty time to take aim and fire a good shot into the far corner to put them 2-1 up. Westlands responded with a bit of pressure and a long throw from Connor Williams caused panic in the Ringwood defence. Kameron Andrews made himself a shooting opportunity with some clever footwork but was unlucky to see his shot come back off the post and be scrambled away. Connor Williams then got a yellow card for kicking the ball away at a free kick and when you consider a Ringwood player had deprived us of our captain and top scorer for most of the match after a dangerous tackle it did seem a bit unfair that for both these offences equal punishment was given. Another Westlands attack saw another shot blazed over the top before the final whistle ended a disappointing match.
The man of the match this week is STEVE FLYNN who worked hard all day, and although as guilty of giving the ball away as the others, he was always available to receive a pass from team-mates and kept his position well.
Sunday 13th September 2015, Dorset League, Youth (U18) Div.1
WESTLAND SPORTS 4 HAMWORTHY UTD 8
Our first home game of the season saw last season's double winners Hamworthy Utd visit Alvington so we knew we were in for a hard game. Unfortunately some of the Westlands players were not switched on and our lackadaisical approach handed the initiative to the visitors. Hamworthy are a good side and given time and space they will hurt you. With Westlands giving the ball away all the time and failing to mark or track runners it didn't take Hamworthy long to pick us apart. In ten minutes they opened the scoring with a nice passing build up, a neat ball through our backline which their forward ran on to and sidefooted into the net. Ten minutes later we gave away a silly free kick on the edge of the box but Louis Martin saved the day with a great save, tipping the ball over the bar. Just after this Westlands had a great chance to equalise. A deliberate pass back gave us an indirect free kick 6 yards out. We took the kick quickly before they could get men back on the line and with the goal gaping somehow managed to miss the target and scuff the ball past the post. In 30 minutes we paid the price by going 2-0 down and a simple goal it was. A Hamworthy player took on a defender out wide, got past him too easily and got his cross in. With 3 defenders static the only other attacker in the box was left unmarked to stroke the ball into the corner of the net. No communication between defenders and all ballwatching as the cross came in. Disappointing, but to be fair Westlands responded brilliantly and scored only three minutes later. A lovely pass from Joe Jarvis over the full back's head gave Kameron Andrews a free run in on goal. He cut in, got his head up and played the ball across the face for ADAM PULLEN to bury it from close range. Unfortunately we couldn't put pressure on the visitor's defence and in the 39th minute they stretched their lead again to make it 3-1. It was a repeat of the second goal as their player got down the left, beat a man and crossed where his team-mate was first to it to score with ease.
Westlands were all over the place now and just before half time a simple ball over the top caught our defence square and a Hamworthy player ran through to score number 4.
What a disastrous first half it had been for Westlands, and really all we could hope for was an improved display in the second half.
The half couldn't really have started any better for us as within a minute Kameron Andrews went clean through the visitor's defence and was brought down as he rounded the keeper. The goalie received a red card and Sports were awarded a penalty kick so it looked as if perhaps we had a real chance to get back into the game. But it was not to be, Joe Jarvis blasted the spot kick off the crossbar and the chance was gone. Westlands lost concentration now and Hamworthy ran up the field and scored again with a well placed shot into the far corner to make it 5-1. So instead of being 4-2 down against 10 men within a minute we were 5-1 down and still wide open to attacks. The defence were so deep there was acres of space in front of them for the Hamworthy players to run into and play passes. With the Westland players still failing to track runners or mark up man for man and the Hamworthy defence a bit open now being a man short the goals just kept coming. On the hour mark Hamworthy opened up the Sports defence with a couple of passes and a simple sidefoot finish to make it 6-1. Then Westlands pulled one back with a good effort from KAMERON ANDREWS who cut in , drew the keeper and slotted nicely into the far corner, 6-2.
In 70 minutes a rash tackle in the box by a Westlands defender gave them a penalty which they converted to make it 7-2. Then we had a little flurry from Westlands with 2 goals. LIAM STOBBS netted from close range and ADAM PULLEN scored with a nice lob from the edge of the box. 7-4 that made it and still 10 minutes to go, surely we couldn't ?????......No was the answer to that pipedream as Hamworthy had the final say in the game, netting number 8 with a good shot from the edge of the box.
A lot to reflect on today. Our inability to defend as a unit was obvious and we were punished by a team who scored 4 goals against us in the second half when they only had 10 men and an outfield player in goal ! This is not a criticism of the defenders in the team, when the opposition have the ball you are all defenders. Similarly when we attack we should move up as a unit not hang back and let teams come at us. We will put this one behind us now and move on as I don't believe we will play that badly again and the reports say we played well last week so its not all doom and gloom although it felt like it watching the game yesterday.
Sunday 6th September 2015, Dorset League, Youth (U18) Div.1
BOURNEMOUTH SPORTS 1 WESTLAND SPORTS 2
The opening fixture of the season on paper was a tough start for our under 18's having to travel away to a well organised Bournemouth side who last season comfortably won Division 2 and also knocked us out of 2 cup competitions. Westlands were quick out of the blocks and created several good early chances that were squandered by our strikers. Bournemouth started to gain more of a foothold midway through the first half and on 30 minutes, with the Westlands defence outnumbered, James Blake fired in for Bournemouth . It looked as though Sports would rue their early missed chances as the rest of the half was an evenly matched contest.
The Westland players responded well to the half time team talk and started the second half strongly with Steve Flynn taking control of the midfield and orchestrating several good attacks. It looked inevitable that Westlands would find a breakthrough and on 70 minutes a perfectly weighted cross field ball from centre back Brandon Scott found KAMERON ANDREWS who jinked his way into the Bournemouth box beating several players and fired in a well driven shot into the bottom corner of the net. From that moment on Sports dominated proceedings and in the 80th minute Kameron Andrews was involved again linking up well with skipper ADAM PULLEN who volleyed over the advancing Bournemouth keeper into top corner. A well earned 3 points and all round good performance for our opening match.
Man-of-the match goes to STEVE FLYNN for a super midfield performance.
Sunday 15th May 2016, Dorset Youth League (U16) Cup Final
WESTLAND SPORTS 2 BRIDPORT 2
(Westlands won penalty shoot-out 4-2)
The timing of the final for an 11 am kick-off at Chapel Gate in Bournemouth meant an early Sunday morning start for those heading down from Yeovil and surrounding area. However the sun was shining which made for a pleasant drive down and the traffic was light so the omens were good ! We knew from experience of this venue that the main pitch (the one with the little grandstand) was usually kept in good nick so we were disappointed to find that was the only pitch not being used for today’s “finalfeste” and we were on pitch 3 which was hard and bumpy and had a liberal covering of dandelions ! Typical end of season cup final pitch I suppose but it would definitely have an effect on the quality of the match. Our opponents were the only team to have beaten us in the league and they had won the Dorset County Cup so we knew a tough match was in prospect and looked forward to a really competitive game.
Westlands opened up the opposition defence in the first minute with some good passing but Andre Andros scuffed his shot wide when put clean through. It was clear the hard bobbly surface was already having an effect so players had to be extra careful with their first touch. The next attack saw the Bridport keeper called into action to save a Jamie Irwin effort. In the 10 minute Sports defenders tried to play their way out of trouble but only succeeded in giving the ball away and Matt McGowan had to push the ball round the post to clear the danger. Then Bridport got a header on target from a free kick but Matt saved easily, clutching the ball in the air. With 15 minutes gone another good move saw Jamie Irwin put through but the keeper tipped his shot round the post and at the other end Matt McGowan scrambled a shot away. It was end to end stuff and the Bridport keeper then had to keep a Chris Hollick effort out. I thought we had gone ahead after 32 minutes when some good footwork in the box saw Chris wriggle through and his shot from an angle beat the keeper all ends up but rebounded back off the far post. Jamie Irwin picked up the rebound and put his shot over the bar ! Five minutes later another Jamie Irwin effort flew just over the top as Westlands tried to turn the screw. Just before the interval Bridport showed they were still dangerous with a fierce shot which flew past the post.
No score at half time was a fair result as both teams had chances but we felt Westlands always held the upper hand and had looked the most likely team in the first period.
Early pressure by Westlands in the second half saw Jamie Thompson deliver a free kick into the box and a Chris Hollick glancing header went just wide of the post. Then Bridport had a good attack and Matt McGowan had to pull off a great save when their player broke through. From the corner a Bridport player crashed a shot off the crossbar and we scrambled it away. A Westlands attack then saw Jamie Irwin put a header wide of the target. Then in the 52nd minute we went behind. A desperate scramble in the Westlands goalmouth saw Bridport again crash a shot off the bar but this time their player was on hand to smash the rebound into the roof of the net. A crushing blow for the Westlands lads but gradually they regrouped and started to push Bridport back as they searched for an equaliser. On the hour a tremendous melee in the Bridport goalmouth following a corner saw a Tommy Frampton header cleared off the line. But eventually the pressure told in the 65th minute. A Westlands corner was only half cleared by the Bridport defence and was headed back into the danger area where JAMIE IRWIN was first to react and he smashed the ball into the net from close range. With 15 minutes still to go Westlands kept the pressure on looking for the winner. Tom Budden headed just over from a corner and the Bridport keeper made a good save from a Jamie Thompson shot. However, we couldn’t break down a resolute Bridport defence again and the match finished 1-1.
Westlands continued into the extra time on the attack and a Harry Panayides header hit the bar but he was flagged offside anyway. Then Charlie Berrington was put through but a slightly heavy first touch gave the keeper time to come out and block his shot. Next a free kick from Jamie Thompson was saved low down by the post and finally Tom Sullivan burst through and slotted the ball into the far corner only to have the ‘goal’ disallowed for a previous infringement. It had been a good first half of extra time for Westlands but there was always the worry that the long ball forward might just pay dividends for our opponents at some point.
In the first minute of the second period of extra time a scramble in the Bridport goalmouth saw the ball pinging around with a crowd of players trying to get a boot to it. It all ended when the Bridport keeper emerged with the ball in his arms to clear the danger. He wasn’t very big, their keeper, but he was having a very good game. Then, with about three minutes played in the half we were stunned to go behind again. Their centre forward was put through by a nice through ball and he produced a cracking first time finish to whack the ball into the back of the net giving Matt McGowan in the Westlands goal no chance. Another big setback for Westlands so with about 10 minutes to go and nothing to lose we pushed men forward in the hope of an equaliser. Bridport were happy to protect what they had and quite rightly got men behind the ball and made it difficult for us to break them down and find a way through. Things were getting a bit frantic now and a few players were shown yellows cards as the tension rose. Finally with only three minutes left on the clock we equalised. Harry Panayides won possession and swung a good ball into the crowded box. CHARLIE BERRINGTON darted forward, brought the ball down neatly with a deft touch and banged it into the back of the net. Great celebrations from the Westlands players but with three minutes still to go the Sports managers were calling for a big last push for the winner ! That wasn’t to be and the game ended 2-2 and we moved on to the dreaded penalty shoot-out.
Westlands skipper Tommy Laney had left the field before the end with cramp so Jamie Irwin took the captain’s armband and his first duty was to win the toss and put Westlands in first. JAMIE IRWIN himself stepped up to take the first kick and put it virtually down the middle with the keeper getting a hand to it but unable to keep it out. So, a bit fortunate there but 1-0 to Westlands nevertheless ! Bridport stepped up and drilled their kick low and hard into the corner to make it 1-1. JAMIE THOMPSON was next and he stuck his kick in the bottom corner to put us back in front again at 2-1. Again Bridport netted their kick to make it level at 2-2. JAI MYALL took Westlands third penalty and tucked it away neatly to put us back in front 3-2. The tension was rising now and Bridport were first to feel the pressure. Their player hit his kick low and hard but it came off the post and we now had the advantage at 3-2. We had the opportunity now to extend our lead to two and HARRY PANAYIDES made no mistake, thumping the ball into the net to make it 4-2 to Westlands. The pressure was really on the next Bridport player as he had to score to keep them alive. He hit his shot hard but it was at a nice height and Matt McGowan dived to turn it round the post.
Final shoot-out score 4-2 to Westlands and the cup was ours !
Not the best way to win a trophy but it made for an exciting spectacle for the spectators going all the way to penalties. We had suffered the heartache of losing 6-5 on penalties to Cheddar in the semi-final of the Somerset Cup so perhaps that experience stood us in good stead. I thought Westlands had the majority of the game throughout but Bridport were always in it and the result was in doubt right to the end. It had been a spirited performance by the Westlands players who had twice gone behind but came back both times to triumph in the end.
The twitter feed doing the online match updates gave the Man-of-the-Match award to ANDRE ANJOS and I’m not going to disagree with that decision. In difficult conditions Andre was always able to get the ball down and play a pass to a team-mate and he was at the heart of a lot of Westlands attacking plays.
Sunday 1st May 2016, Dorset Youth League Cup (U16), Semi-Final
WESTLAND SPORTS 4 WIMBORNE & HOLT 2
With our normal venue at Sherborne unavailable we had the use of pitch 2 at Alvington for this match. The pitch was looking perfect and with Wimborne arriving with their full team this time we were expecting a good match. Our goalkeeper Matt McGowan was unavailable and 2nd choice keeper Jai Myall was also missing so Stanley Kellock volunteered to go between the sticks. Brave lad, as he confided to me before the game he had never played in goal before ! He did reassure me that his brother was a goalkeeper but I'm afraid that didn't stop me feeling a little nervous. The players, however, had a more pressing pre-match problem as they couldn't get the sound system in the changing room to work !
As usual, there was a bit of a wind blowing at Alvington and Westlands had it in their favour in the first half and immediately began to push forward looking for an opening. The first real chance came after 15 minutes when a wind assisted free-kick from Jamie Thompson went just over the bar. Wimborne were a good side and had a couple of lads up front who kept the Westlands defenders on their toes. With the visitors having a bit of pressure Harry Panayides was dropped back into central defence to give us a bit more ariel power. Back came Westlands with a couple of good efforts about half an hour into the game. First Jamie Thompson hit a grounder just past the far post then the Wimborne keeper made a great save from a Jamie Irwin header. Finally the last chance of the half looked like it must bring the opening goal. A good passing move carved open the Wimborne defence and left Jamie Irwin with a clear look at goal. He fired off a shot that beat the keeper and looked goalbound until a defender somehow got his head to it and deflected the ball just wide.
With the half-time score at 0-0 we wondered if we had missed our chance with the wind behind us as our rookie keeper had not been tested yet but perhaps he would be in the second half. Promising signs for Westlands were that Wimborne had really overplayed the ball at the back trying to pass their way out of defence but giving the ball away in dangerous areas.
It had been a good battle in midfield in the first half and Tom Sullivan had been superb for Westlands, really stamping his authority in the middle of the pitch against some good players. It was a real blow therefore to see him limp off and be replaced just after the start of the second half. By that time however, Westlands had taken the lead ! Jamie Irwin took on the defence and when he squared the ball across goal JAMIE THOMPSON was on hand to turn the ball into the net. Gradually, however, Wimborne began to get control of the midfield and it was no real surprise when they equalised in the 52nd minute. The ball broke to one of the opposition midfielders and he thumped a dipping shot over the Westland keeper's head into the back of the net. I don't think anyone would have saved that one, once the wind caught it, the ball flew in like a rocket. Anyway, it was game on and at this point Sports manager Lee Howard made a good move by moving Harry Panayides forward to beef up the midfield again. Six minutes later we were back in front when a perfect through ball from Andre Anjos put JAMIE IRWIN through and he made no mistake, drilling a low shot past the keeper. A great strike by a great striker. Westlands were on top now and when Jamie Irwin burst through and lobbed the keeper I think everyone in the ground thought the ball was dropping into the net but it slipped by the post by inches. Not to worry, in the 73rd minute we went 3-1 up. A couple of one two's between Jamie Irwin and ANDRE ANJOS ended with Andre coolly slotting the ball under the keeper. Great finish !
At 3-1 up and with seven minutes to go perhaps we should have shut up shop but only 2 minutes after going two goals up we conceded ! A Wimborne player tried to dribble through a crowded box, and Tom Budden, who had been immaculate at the back all afternoon for Westlands , stuck out a leg and brought the lad down. Poor old Stanley in the Sports goal had no chance as the ball was thumped low and hard into the bottom corner. That made it a rather nervous last 5 minutes but just before the death we could breath more easily when Westlands scored a fourth goal. Jamie Irwin made space for himself out on the right and when his low cross came in HARRY PANAYIDES was the man following up to sidefoot the ball into the net.
That was it all over, game, set and match, and what a match it had been. On that lovely surface we had seen two good sides give us an excellent game of football. Westlands had showed a good level of maturity in the match and apart from the penalty the game plan had worked out fine. After the goalless first half the match had opened out in the second half and Westlands had taken full advantage by banging in four goals. A word of praise for the visitors, they were an excellent side and there were times when the game looked like it may be going their way, but they were second best in the end.
The Regis Foods Man-of-the-match award this week goes to HARRY PANAYIDES. He started in midfield, then helped out the defence for a bit, then moved back into the midfield when Tom Sullivan went off, and also got his name on the scoresheet so a good afternoon's work by Harry.
Having beaten the same opponents 6-1 last week we were expecting a win and the lads didn't let us down. Last week Shaftesbury had put on a strong defensive display for 35 minutes before conceding the first goal but this week they only lasted 12 minutes and once that first goal goes in they tend to fold up.
Westlands started smartly and it didn't take long for Jamie Irwin to put a header just over the bar. Then Tommy Frampton shot past and this was followed by Chris Hollick shooting over the bar. Then a bad clash of heads between two Shaftesbury players ended up with one of their players being taken off to hospital to get a nasty cut on his head stitched. This obviously didn't help their cause and the opening goal soon followed. ANDRE ANJOS was the scorer when his shot from the edge of the box took a slight deflection and looped over the goalkeeper's head into the net. It was one-way traffick now and the second goal soon followed in the 20th minute. Jamie Thompson slipped a nice through ball to JAMIE IRWIN and he slotted it into the far corner. In 25 minutes it was 3-0 with CHRIS HOLLICK running onto a perfect ball over the top from Andre Anjos and picking his spot. Just after this Shaftesbury had a good chance with a good ball to the far post but nobody could get on the end of it. Any Shaftesbury breaks were being easily mopped up by Matt McGowan in the Westlands goal whose handling looked assured today. Back at the other end in the 35th minute we made it 4-0. A good move down the right wing saw Stanley Kellock drive into the box and fire off a shot at goal. The keeper dived to save but the ball popped up to JAMIE THOMPSON who nodded in from point blank range. Three minutes later Sports wrapped up the scoring for the first half with goal number 5. A good cross into the box was laid back to ANDRE ANJOS and he drilled a shot low and hard into the corner.
A fine finish to the half for Westlands and it was now a case of how many would we score in the second half ?
We notched goal number 6 in the 47th minute and it came as the result of a corner . A real scramble developed in front of the visitor's goal before TOM SULLIVAN headed the ball over the line from about 2 yards out. In the 55th minute ANDRE ANJOS sidefooted in a Chris Hollick cut-back for his hat-trick and Westlands seventh and ten minutes later Chris was the provider again, setting up TOM SULLIVAN who rifled his shot into the net for number 8. Shaftesbury didn't give up and in the 70th minute scored a nice goal to, once again, deny us the clean sheet. A good break down the right was followed by a low cross into the goalmouth that was turned in to make it 8-1. A similar goal to the one we lost against them last week. Five minutes later we got our 9th when JAMIE IRWIN went on one of his driving runs through the opposition defence and he finished with a good low shot into the corner. The final goal came with just three minutes to go and it was skipper TOM LANEY who scored it. Making a cameo appearance up front for the last 15 minutes he was on the end of a Jamie Irwin pass and he slotted in an easy finish.
The final score was 10-1 and the Westlands lads had put on a clinical display that gives them an almost unassailable goal difference in the fight for the league title. After a dodgy spell in mid-winter we have come back with a vengeance in recent weeks so a very positive response from the players.
The Man-of-the-Match award this week goes to TOM SULLIVAN. Given a central midfield role this week he revelled in his new position and put on a tigerish display. He also managed 2 goals including one with his head, so a good display all round.
It’s now coming to crunch time in the league and with only three games left we have the opportunity in our own hands to win the title. Starting with this match at Shaftesbury where we were pleased to play on the first team pitch at Cockrams rather than Guy’s Marsh and the spectator comforts were much appreciated as well.
Westlands kicked off with a strong breeze behind them and were soon camped in the opposition half. We were looking quite tidy and it was good to see the ball being kept on the ground and the passing was short which was ideal in the windy conditions. Shaftesbury were defending well at this stage and the first real effort of the game came in the 7th minute when Jamie Thompson had a shot at goal which the keeper saved. Sports were probing, looking for an opening and sticking to the game plan and Tommy Frampton was put in on the overlap but he scuffed his shot wide. In the 19th minute we put together another good move but the ball was cleared for a corner. The kick was fired straight across the goalmouth and should really have been put in. A second corner was swung in and once again the defenders all missed it but again no takers for Westlands. Shaftesbury hadn’t mounted an attack at this stage but were proving difficult to break down and presumably their tactic was to get through to half time on level terms and then try to take advantage of the wind behind them in the second half. On the half hour Jamie Irwin got a shot on target but the home keeper saved. Westlands were showing good patience, continuing to do the right things, confident the pressure would eventually pay dividends. And in 35 minutes the patience paid off as we scored the opening goal. JAMIE THOMPSON picked the ball up 22 yards out and fired a low drive through a crowd of players into the back of the net. A well taken goal, well struck by a player who had the savvy to have a crack with the wind at his back. Two minutes later it was 2-0 and once again it was JAMIE THOMPSON who did the damage. Picking the ball up on the edge of the box towards the left side, he turned inside onto his right foot and curled a lovely shot inside the far post. A clinical finish, beautifully executed. Westlands were rampant now and a minute before the break scored goal number three. There was a tremendous scramble in the Shaftesbury box with several shots being blocked by defenders. Eventually Harry Panayides thumped a shot goalwards, it hit JAMIE IRWIN on the ankle, then I think it hit the keeper and also the post before creeping over the line.
And so we ended the half 3-0 up which was a bit of a surprise as for the first half hour the opposition had done a good job of parking the bus. Once the first goal went in however their heads had gone down and it would take a mammoth effort for them to get back in the game now even with the wind advantage as I can’t remember them having a scoring chance in the first half.
The second half started with Westlands back on the attack. Jamie Thompson put over a free kick that was turned away for a corner and from the kick Harry Panayides headed just wide. In the 48th minute we buried any hopes of a fight back by scoring our fourth goal. A superbly worked goal this one and Jamie Thompson was both creator and finisher on this occasion. Out on the right he ghosted past a couple of defenders and played the ball wide to Harvey Gilchrist who headed for the bye-line. Harvey whipped over a low cross and JAMIE THOMPSON was there to side-foot the ball into the net. At 4-0 Shaftesbury had nothing to lose now and they had their best spell as the game went end to end for the next 10 minutes. First Matt McGowan in Westland’s goal dived low to his right to turn a shot round the post. Then Westlands replied with Chris Hollick shooting just wide. Next Matt McGowan was back in action again, diving to turn a shot round the post. In Sports next attack, however, we made it 5-0. A free kick from just inside the Shaftesbury half was pumped forward into the box by Jai Myall. Jamie Irwin got up to win the header and flick the ball on to JAMIE THOMPSON who was on the spot to net his fourth, and Westlands fifth, of the afternoon. This was getting a bit embarrassing for the home side now and Westlands continued to rub salt in the wound in the 68th minute with goal number six. Some good play down the left ended with Chris Hollick slipping the ball square to JAMIE IRWIN who calmly side-footed into the far corner. In the 73rd minute the Shaftesbury keeper made a good save from a Chris Hollick shot and moments later a Jamie Irwin header from a corner went just past the post. The final action came with a couple of minutes to go and this time it was Westlands who were picking the ball out the net ! Shaftesbury broke down the right and their player delivered a good low cross into the box where his team-mate, although outnumbered 3 to 1 by Westlands defenders, got to the ball first to lift the ball over a diving Matt McGowan. A well taken goal after a fast break out of defence although I still think we should have defended it better, we had good cover back.
Despite losing our clean sheet it had been an excellent day for Westlands. The team had shown great maturity in that opening 30 minutes and had been clinical when the game began to open up.
A word of praise also for our official Ms Lindskog, who allowed the game to flow but knew when to stamp her authority when needed.
The Man-of-the-Match award this week goes to JAMIE THOMPSON. He totally dominated the midfield and his four goals were all perfectly executed.
One or two changes in the line-up for Westlands from the last match against Wareham but we had a strong 12 man squad which was two more than our opponents Wimborne & Holt who arrived with only ten men !
Nevertheless it was the ten men who got into their stride first and a good fast passing move ended with a driven shot which went just over the Westland’s crossbar. An early indication that our opponents, who like ourselves, had only lost one league game this season, were well up for the match. We just hoped that the Westland lads didn’t think this was going to be easy with the opposition being a man short. Ten men is not a disadvantage if the ten are all running and moving while a couple of the other team stand still thinking its an easy match. Anyway, there was no need to worry as Westlands scored with their first attack in the 3rd minute of the game. A real mix-up between the visitors goalkeeper and his defenders was pounced on by CHRIS HOLLICK who placed a delightful lob-shot over the stranded keeper into the far corner of the net. Wimborne settled down after this setback and again they played some good football in the midfield but they were finding the Westlands defence a tough nut to crack and some good build up play came to nothing. In the 9th minute Sports struck another blow to make it 2-0. CHRIS HOLLICK initially lost the ball but battled hard to win it back and his low shot at goal seemed to catch the keeper out and the ball finished in the bottom corner. Wimborne were a bit taken aback and Westlands pressed forward. The goalkeeper denied Chris Hollick his hat-trick before making a bad blunder in the 17th minute that put Sports 3-0 up. JAMIE THOMPSON tried his luck from 20 yards and the keeper completely misjudged it letting the ball run under his body into the net. Six minutes later it was 4-0 as the visitors heads went down. This time JAMIE IRWIN battled through several challenges and shot low past the keeper. For the next 15 minutes the visitors stemmed the tide and once again showed they had some good players and could play some nice passing football. When they had the ball they all wanted to play but when they didn’t have it I’m afraid one or two of their players went missing. I suspect the goalkeeper may have been a stand-in as it was another blunder from him that ended their good little spell and gifted Westlands goal number 5. The hapless goalie duffed a goal kick straight to CHRIS HOLLICK who accepted the gift to complete a fine first half hat-trick. Then just on the break we were treated to a fine solo effort from TOM SULLIVAN. Cutting in from the left along the byeline he shrugged off a couple of tackles and somehow squeezed a shot into the far corner of the net. A lovely goal and a fitting way to end the half. It ended 6-0 to Westlands, just in case you had lost count !
It had been a strange half of football. The visitors had definitely shown they were a good side and the feeling was with eleven men on their own pitch they may be a different proposition. But those thoughts are for another day as we had the opportunity now to really turn the screw on our opponents and destroy their goal difference column, which, in effect, would give us an extra point in the final reckoning.
Five minutes into the half, Jamie Irwin fed the ball out wide to Tom Sullivan who crossed perfectly for ANDRE ANJOS to head in from close range. That was 7-0 and two minutes later it was eight. With virtually all the Wimborne players pushing forward looking for a consolation goal, Westlands broke quickly out of defence and JAMIE IRWIN ran through to thump a shot into the back of the net. In the 57th minute, another break out of defence saw three Westland players face one defender and CHARLIE BERRINGTON finished the job nicely. Three minutes later, it was 10-0 when TOM SULLIVAN cut in, beat two defenders and scored with a crisp shot. From the kick-off after this goal came another of those moments of slackness which cost us goals. Westlands keeper Matt McGowan was standing way off his line as the kick-off was taken and a Wimborne player thumped the ball over his head into the back of the unguarded net.
It makes no difference when you are 10-0 up but a lack of concentration like that could be costly on another day.
In the 65th minute we made it 11-1. A corner was only cleared as far as the edge of the box where ANDRE ANJOS drilled in a shot from 20 yards. The Wimborne players were getting a bit silly now and their lack of discipline cost them the next goal. Tom Budden flighted over a lovely free kick and JAMIE IRWIN rose to head powerfully into the back of the net. That made it 12-1 and the final goal, unlucky 13 for Wimborne & Holt, came with a couple of minutes remaining. This time CHRIS HOLLICK was put through and he flicked the ball past the keeper for his fourth goal of the afternoon. The referee’s whistle ended a miserable afternoon for Wimborne & Holt and an excellent one for Westlands. We had turned up expecting a tough battle which never materialised, nevertheless the Westland lads had been ruthless in their demolition of the opposition and they deserve great credit for that.
The Man-of-the-Match award this week goes to CHRIS HOLLICK. He showed some great striker’s predatory instincts and was quick to punish the opposition’s defensive errors. His pace was also a constant problem for them so all in all, a good display by Chris.
8. J. Thompson 9.A.Anjos 10.J.Irwin 11.C.Berrington 12.S.Kellock.
Sunday 13th March 2016, Dorset Youth League (U16)
WESTLAND SPORTS 7 WAREHAM RANGERS 2
After a couple of cup semi-finals, and a couple of disappointments, Westlands were back on league duty today with Wareham Rangers the visitors to the Terrace. We had beaten them 2-0 away early in the season so we were looking for three points from this match. With Tom Budden still missing and Tom Laney carrying a knock it was good to have Harry Panayides back after suspension and he slotted in at the back.
After the buzz of the last two cup matches this one started very quietly with the normally vociferous Wareham boss not saying much. This seemed to transfer to his players and they didn’t look too keen as Westlands took control and began moving the ball around with some purpose. Westlands were dominant in the early minutes and soon took the lead. A poor clearance by a Wareham defender went straight to ANDRE ANJOS and he thumped it into the back of the net. As Sports continued to attack Tommy Frampton had a free header but put it over the top. Westlands were totally in charge, dominating the midfield with Andre Anjos and Jamie Thompson running the show. At the back, Harry Panayides height was proving an asset and he and Jai Myall were in charge, mopping up any breaks that the visitors could muster. In the 14th minute it was no surprise when Westlands added a second goal. Andre Anjos put a perfect through ball to CHRIS HOLLICK whose shot was parried onto the crossbar by the keeper but Chris followed up to bury the rebound in the corner. Westlands kept the pressure on and more goals were on the cards. In the 17th minute Jamie Irwin got to the bye-line and cut the ball back to Tommy Frampton who missed the target. Then Jamie Irwin blazed a shot over the bar from close range and a few minutes later Chris Hollick did the same. In the 28th minute JAMIE IRWIN cut through on the left, turned inside onto his right foot and buried his shot in the far corner to make it 3-0. After half an hour Matt McGowan, the Westlands keeper, was called into action with a good save following a fast break. And three minutes later Wareham got on the scoresheet. Harry Panayides had possession for Westlands on the edge of his own box but none of his team-mates gave him an angle to pass the ball out. Under pressure, his hurried clearance was a poor one and a Wareham player picked the ball up, took a few steps and thumped a cracking shot into the back of the net. This loss of a goal spurred Westlands back into action and we then hit Wareham with two goals in two minutes. JAMIE IRWIN did an exact copy of his first goal, cutting inside and burying his shot in the far corner. And then JAMIE IRWIN completed a first half hat-trick when he was put through on goal after a superb passing move had opened up the Wareham defence. The finish was clinical. Just before the break Tommy Frampton headed just over the bar from a corner and the half ended with Westlands in a comfortable position, 5-1 up.
The second half saw the visitor’s perk up a bit as they had been poor in the first period so with Westlands in cruise control the match had a more competitive edge. We have been giving away a lot of soft goals in recent games and I was hoping we would keep our shape and concentrate on keeping a clean sheet for at least half a game. However this was not to be, and we poured forward with everyone looking to get on the scoresheet. In the 50th minute Tommy Frampton was clean through but shot straight at the keeper. Wareham replied with an attack and Matt McGowan dived to block a goal-bound shot. Tommy Frampton got his head to a corner but put it over the top ! Chris Hollick was next to have a shot but it was saved by the keeper. On the hour a good cross from Kacper Lowicki found Jamie Thompson’s head – over the top !. Eventually, in the 62nd minute we finally put one in the back of the net ! Harvey Gilchrist went on a mazy run and he cut the ball back to JAMIE THOMPSON who netted easily. That made it 6-1 but a minute later we were caught out when a good quick passing move opened up a sparse Westlands defence resulting in an attacker going through on goal and he finished well. Jai Myall had pushed up now to try and get a goal but his shot was just over the bar. Then Chris Hollick flicked the ball goalwards from close range but the Wareham keeper made a cracking save, tipping the ball over the bar. The next action was Westlands 7th goal. JAMIE IRWIN made a strong run down the left and as he cut in he was upended in the box. No doubt about it, a penalty, and Jamie tucked it nicely into the corner. With 5 minutes left still time for another couple of chances.
First a Tommy Frampton cross was headed over by Chris Hollick and finally Tommy got his head to a corner (again !) and guess what.... headed over the bar (again!).
The final whistle ended a good match for Sports, getting us back on the winning trail. We had dominated from start to finish and had kept up the good work rate we had shown against Cheddar. Being super-critical I still think we have to tighten up our defensive work as losing 2 goals was still a bit sloppy for my liking. We will always score goals, keeping them out has been our problem so I still think there is some work to be done there. However, great to see the lads back on the winning trail and hopefully the start of a winning run.
Several contenders again this week for the Man-of-the-Match but the award goes to ANDRE ANJOS. Not a player who charges around all over the park but he has a good touch, good positional discipline, and some of his passing today was superb.
Sunday 6th March 2016, Somerset Youth Shield, Semi-final
WESTLAND SPORTS 3 CHEDDAR VALLEY JUNIORS 3
(Cheddar Valley won penalty shoot-out 6-5)
After the disappointment of our exit from the Dorset Cup, this semi-final gave us the opportunity to put things right and put on a good display. With Harry Panayides still suspended, the withdrawal of the injured Tom Budden was a blow as the opposition had a few big lads in their team and it looked as if our lack of height might be a problem. Immediately the game started we looked sharp and in 5 minutes took the lead. Jamie Irwin fed the ball out to Jamie Thompson on the left and his pinpoint cross was headed in powerfully by CHRIS HOLLICK. This was the perfect start but unfortunately we don’t seem to have the composure to defend a lead and we conceded the equaliser only 3 minutes later. We really did shoot ourselves in the foot with this goal. A needless free-kick was given away in our own half, something we really needed to avoid given the oppositions height advantage. Sure enough, one of their big defenders came up, ran into the box and was given a free header which he buried in the corner. Cheddar had also shown they had a long throw expert in their team so really our best method of defence was to attack and we were successful with this plan for the next 15 minutes or so, during which time we scored two more goals ! The first came in the 17th minute when CHRIS HOLLICK was put through the middle and he coolly drilled the ball into the far corner as the keeper came out. The second was set up by Jamie Irwin who showed good determination to win the ball and slide it wide to CHRIS HOLLICK who thumped his shot into the far corner. We were in a good position now at 3-1 but set-pieces, even throw-ins, were still causing us problems with the tall players coming up from the back. In the 23rd minute a long throw again caused havoc in the Westlands ranks and following a goalmouth scramble the ball was planted into the net to make it 3-2. We were struggling to defend now and Tommy Frampton cleared one off the line with the keeper beaten. Nevertheless, we were still able to mount attacks ourselves and Jamie Thompson had a couple of efforts saved.
Half-time came and we were still 3-2 up so we were in a good position and although we had struggled at times defensively the opposition hadn’t looked too clever at the back either as Chris Hollick had shown with a stunning first half hat-trick.
As the second half settled in it became clear the Westlands management, recognising our lack of height in the defensive areas, had moved Jamie Irwin back to a more defensive position with Charlie Berrington taking up the attacking role. Cheddar Valley were pushing forward but Westlands were defending in numbers now and suddenly the game took on a different feel. After 5 goals in the first half I think most people assumed we would have more in the second half but with Sports appearing content to defend and hit on the break, the whole mood had changed. Jamie Irwin was doing a great job defensively and although we had a couple of scares we were coping pretty well with everything the opposition could throw at us. On the break Chris Hollick burst through but sliced his shot wide of the target. Some more long throws put us under pressure and one header just skimmed the crossbar. Time was ticking on and just as we began to think perhaps we were going to hold out for the win, disaster struck and again it was really self inflicted. The award of a free kick inside our own box should have been an opportunity for Westlands to clear their lines but instead we conceded a goal from it. All our players pushed on upfield but unfortunately the free kick was a poor one and fell short of our players to the opposition who ran through to score. With only a couple of minutes to go a couple of heads went down but we were still in the game at 3-3 and needed to get through to the final whistle and regroup. In the dying seconds another Cheddar header from a long throw just dipped over the crossbar when most of us thought it was in.
Into extra time then and with the teams level we needed to go out and win the game and to be fair it was Westlands who created the two best chances. First Chris Hollick raced clear and was foiled by the keepers outstretched legs and then Tommy Frampton blasted a shot over the top from a good position. However we couldn’t manage to score and we were now faced with the dreaded penalty shoot-out.
JAMIE IRWIN was first up and he drove the ball into the corner to put us 1-0 up.
Cheddar then scored as well to make it 1-1.
TOMMY FRAMPTON was next and his shot just crept over the line after the keeper got a hand to it.
Again Cheddar equalised to make it 2-2.
Tommy Laney was next for Sports but this time the keeper guessed right and pulled off a good save.
Not to be outdone, Matt McGowan dived to save the next Cheddar kick so we stayed at 2-2.
CHRIS HOLLICK netted his kick and Cheddar followed suit, 3-3.
ANDRE ANJOS was next, no problem. Cheddar replied to make it 4-4 after the 5 penalties had been taken so we were now on to sudden death !
TOM SULLIVAN came forward thumped his kick into the top corner to put Westlands 5-4 up.
The Cheddar player scored his to keep it alive at 5-5.
Stanley Kellock was next for Sports and we watched as the ball agonisingly hit the post and came out.
The Cheddar player smashed his kick into the back of the net and we had lost 6-5 !
Heartbreak for the Westlands lads who under the circumstances had put up a great fight and on another day may have come out victors. It had been a marvellous afternoon’s football by two good sides and neither team deserved to lose. Our players put everything into it and you can’t ask for any more than that.
Hopefully the lads will take the spirit from this game and go on to complete the league and cup double which is still a possibility.
Several contenders for the Man-of-the-Match award this week. Chris Hollick and Jamie Thompson both had strong claims but the award goes to JAMIE IRWIN. He was moved from his normal attacking position back into defence and got stuck in showing a real example to his team-mates.
Sunday 21st February 2016, Dorset Youth Cup, Semi-Final
DEXTER SPORTS 4 WESTLAND SPORTS 1
Our long-awaited cup semi-final took place at Whitecliff Rec which is on the seafront facing Sandbanks on the far side of Poole Harbour. Not a great pitch but reasonably dry, the main problem was obviously going to be the very strong wind that was coming in off the sea and blowing end to end down the pitch.
Westlands had the wind behind them in the first half so we suspected we would need to be a couple of goals ahead going into the second half.
As expected we immediately pushed on into Dexters half and Chris Hollick had a shot at goal but put it well over the top. However, he redeemed himself a couple of minutes later by putting Westlands in front. Jamie Thompson put over a corner from the left that evaded everyone except CHRIS HOLLICK who headed in from close range at the far post. Just the start we needed and hopefully we could add a few more before half-time. Unfortunately, things began to go a bit wrong after this early breakthrough. The home side were getting stuck in and upsetting the game with numerous stoppages. They were also getting the ball forward early and their enterprise paid off with the equaliser in the 20th minute. We didn’t deal with a long throw and when the ball was knocked back across their lad side-footed in from 2 yards out. Westlands hit back and Jamie Thomson forced a good save from their keeper which the goalie repeated a few minutes later, beating away another Jamie Thompson shot from point blank range. When a Tommy Frampton shot was again saved by the keeper you began to wonder if perhaps it was going to be one of these days. We were dominating the game but we were still trying to pass our way through the packed opposition defence when perhaps pot-shots from 20-30 yards out with that strong wind behind us would have paid dividends. It’s nice to play good passing football but sometimes you have to adapt to the prevailing conditions.
A half-time score of 1-1 was not what we wanted but being optimistic we could perhaps surprise them on the break in the second half.
The home side immediately put the pressure on after the break and Matt McGowan had to make a couple of good saves in the opening few minutes. In the 55th minute a shot whizzed just over the bar as Dexters looked for that second goal. Five minutes later another shot flew just over the top as the pressure built. Westlands at last managed an attack but Harvey Gilchrist’s final shot was scrambled away by a defender with the keeper nowhere. That was a crucial miss as a minute later the home side took the lead. Another long throw into the box was allowed to bounce, nobody attacked it and their player banged it in unchallenged. Westlands just couldn’t get out their own half now and were struggling to even get a goal-kick out of the penalty box. The opposition were pressing us high up the pitch and were happy to concede fouls as we couldn’t get the free-kicks out of our own half. In the 70th minute Matt McGowan saved a header from a free kick and 2 minutes later he foiled an opposition forward who was clean through. Although we were under pressure, at 2-1 we still had a chance but in the 75th minute disaster struck. Their goalkeeper lumped a big clearance upfield where it took a huge bounce and, wind assisted, sailed over our retreating goalkeeper’s head into the back of the net ! A couple of minutes later, with Westland heads down, they completed the rout. Our keeper Matt McGowan was still struggling to get goal-kicks out the box and wasn’t getting much help from his team-mates. His latest kick went straight to an unmarked Dexter’s player who was waiting for it at the edge of the area and he ran in to score goal number 4. This game was in danger of becoming embarrassing so we were rather relieved to hear the final whistle even although it signalled a 4-1 defeat.
Not our day I’m afraid but a couple of lessons will hopefully be learned from this experience.
The Man-of-the-Match award this week goes to our goalkeeper MATT McGOWAN. Although he was embarrassed by the last two goals, before that he had pulled off several good saves which kept the scoreline respectable.
Sunday 7th February 2016, Somerset Youth Shield, Quarter-final
WESTLAND SPORTS 6 MINEHEAD 0
After torrential rain all day Saturday it was a surprise to see the pitch on the Terrace in almost perfect condition for our county cup quarter-final. There was a strong wind blowing end to end and we had to face it in the first half which I always think is good news as you can work hard and defend while you are fresh, it gets harder later in the game. Our opponents got off to a bright start and Matt McGowan, Westlands keeper, had to make a good block in the first minute to keep a goal-bound shot out. Westlands soon began to push forward and this week it was noticeable that we were passing the ball better with short passes that were ideal in the windy conditions. In the 7th minute Jamie Thompson fired in a great shot which hit the bar and a minute later the same player ran through but saw his final shot go just wide. Westlands were pushing forward and looking dangerous and after 10 minutes had a golden opportunity for an early breakthrough. A Minehead defender handballed in the box and the referee pointed to the spot. Jamie Irwin lined up to take the kick and with his goalscoring record you’d have put money on him burying the kick but to our astonishment his shot missed the target completely and flew past the post. A let off for our visitors but they were under constant pressure now and another slick passing move saw Jamie Irwin shoot just wide. Next a long ball by Tom Budden caused chaos in the Minehead defence and an own goal was prevented by a last gasp clearance off the line. In the 23rd minute the visitors went close with a 25 yard wind assisted shot which dipped just over the Westlands crossbar. However that was an isolated attack and Sports were soon back on the front foot. After 30 minutes Jamie Thompson went on a jinking run which took him past a couple of defenders but the keeper blocked his final shot and the follow up went just wide. Three minutes later we went in front. A pass forward to JAMIE IRWIN saw him turn his defender 30 yards out and set off towards goal. As the keeper came out Jamie drove the ball under his body into the net to make it 1-0 to Westlands. A well taken solo effort but one that we deserved after dominating the first half.
We were unable to add to that scoreline before the break so we turned round a goal up and having faced the strong wind in the first half we looked to be in a good position to go on and win the game.
The visitors came out fired up and had a good shot which flew past the post in the early minutes of the second half. Westlands replied with a slick 1-2 on the edge of the box between Jamie Thompson and Jamie Irwin which ended with JT thumping in a shot which the keeper tipped over the bar. At this point Westlands were going all out for another goal but in doing so we began to exhibit some of the defensive frailties we had shown in the defeat by Bridport. A slack pass out of defence put a Minehead player clean through but luckily he hit the post with his shot and we were able to scramble the rebound away for a corner. We needed another goal and in the 54th minute we got it. Jamie Irwin cut in from the left and was brought down for our second penalty of the day.
JAMIE THOMPSON took this one and smashed it straight down the middle as the keeper dived to his right. That was the second goal we needed so there was now a nice two goal buffer between the teams. Again, however, Westlands abandoned their defensive duties and the next Minehead attack saw us outnumbered 3 to 2 at the back. Their lad ran through and smashed a shot off the crossbar to our relief. Had we let them back into the game at this point it may have made things difficult. Lucky really that their finishing was not as clinical as Bridport’s had been or we could have found ourselves at 2-2 at this point which would have been poor as we were dominating the game. Westlands next attack saw Jamie Irwin fire a shot over the top from a good position and another effort brought a good save from the Minehead keeper. In the 62nd minute we scored the 3rd goal which finished the game as a contest. CHRIS HOLLICK used his pace to get to the byeline and when he lifted the ball across goal it found the back of the net at the far post. Possibly a bit of wind assistance to this one but a welcome goal to give us a commanding 3 goal lead. The opposition heads were down now and 3 minutes later it was 4-0. A long raking pass from Tom Budden found JAMIE IRWIN out on the left wing and he cut in to drive the ball into the far corner from an acute angle. All Westlands now and the fifth goal soon followed in the 72nd minute. Jamie Thompson set up JAI MYALL who coolly slotted in from 12 yards. Tom Sullivan should have been next on the score sheet but he blasted over with only the keeper to beat. The final icing on the cake came in the last minute when JAMIE THOMPSON waltzed through the Minehead defence and thumped the ball into the net to make it six.
The final result of 6-0 is difficult to criticize. I made a bit of an issue of our defensive qualities but you can’t argue with that score line and all the players involved can be proud of a job well done. Roll on the semi !
The Man-of-the-Match award this week was a difficult choice. I notice the Twitter feed goes for Andre Anjos with an honourable mention to Tom Budden and they both had good games but I’m going for JAMIE THOMPSON this week. Although he needs to add a bit to the defensive side of his game, as an attacking midfielder he gave a bit of a masterclass. Two goals, a couple of assists and several good goal attempts including one that came off the bar added up to an outstanding performance.
Sunday 24th January 2016, Dorset Youth League (U16)
WESTLAND SPORTS 1 BRIDPORT 3
The first game of the new year left Westlands nursing a hangover after a 3-1 defeat by the visitors from Bridport. We had beaten them 5-1 at their place earlier in the season so maybe underestimated the opposition who ran themselves into the ground to secure a deserved victory.
Jamie Irwin, Tommy Frampton and Stanley Kellock were all missing from the line-up this week but we still had a strong 12 on duty.
The early omens didn’t look too promising as Bridport were seeing a lot of the ball and looked in determined mood. After 10 minutes they took the lead after a back pass had put our keeper in trouble. Pass backs on these bobbly pitches are to be avoided and Matt McGowan sliced his kick into the air and luckily for us the Bridport player missed the empty target with his shot which was eventually scrambled away for a corner. From the cross the ball went out to the right where it was lobbed goalwards and finished up in the back of the net having eluded everyone including the man on the line.
A bit of a scrappy goal to lose but there was plenty of time to get back into the game and Westlands did just that, pushing the opposition back to defend their penalty area which they did in numbers. In the 14th minute Chris Hollick made a good run down the right, outpacing the defence but the keeper saved his final shot. A few minutes later, Jamie Thompson shot for goal after a corner had been half cleared only to see the ball rebound off the post with the keeper beaten all ends up. A good run and cross by Harvey Gilchrist was then headed over the bar by Jamie T as Sports kept the pressure on. In the 25th minute another Chris Hollick run and shot was scrambled away by the keeper who then saved a Jamie Thompson free kick low down by the post. It looked as if a goal must come and it did, at the other end ! Bridport broke quickly and our defence found themselves outnumbered at the back as Bridport players poured forward. Their player eventually found himself unmarked in front of goal and he thumped it in to put us 2-0 down. Back came Westlands with another attack and Chris Hollick was again thwarted by the Bridport keeper who was having a good game. We were struggling in the midfield at this point. With Harry Panayides employed at centre half we were missing his work rate and were in fact playing a 4-2-4 system which I’m sure wasn’t the manager’s intention. Time and time again now we were totally outnumbered as Bridport broke quickly out of defence and we eventually paid the price. Matt McGowan came to our rescue with a good save after we had failed to clear a free kick into the box but in the 40th minute things went from bad to worse as we conceded again. A poor clearance conceded possession to a Bridport forward who ran through to score easily, another soft goal to lose.
That was the end of the half and Sports badly needed to regroup at 3-0 down. To be fair we had had been on top for most of the half but just couldn’t get the break we needed in front of goal.
The second half started well for Westlands as again we were camped in the visitor’s half. Harry Panayides was back in the middle and his driving runs were keeping Bridport on the back foot. It was essential we scored the next goal and 5 minutes into the half we got it. The ball fell to LLOYD FURZEY on the edge of the box and he just smashed it into the roof of the net. A stunning shot and just what we needed. In the 52nd minute Lloyd had another chance but this time his shot flew past the far post. A couple of minutes later and it was 'game on' or so we thought ! A free kick was lofted into the box and Tommy Laney got up to glance a header into the top corner only to see the lino’s flag go up for offside. Had that goal stood, who knows, but in actual fact it seemed to knock the fight out of Westlands a little and for the last 15 minutes or so the visitors looked the most likely to score as the Westland team seemed to tire. The back line were defending deeper and deeper and the ball was now just coming straight back. Luckily for us Matt McGowan was in good form and Bridport were kept out by several good saves. Three or four times he kept goal-bound shots out, a couple of times with the help of the goal frame !
Westlands kept trying and Harry Panayides had a shot saved by the keeper. The final efforts of the game were by Bridport with a couple of dangerous shots that flew just wide.
The final catastrophe for Westlands came with the sending off of Harry Panayides for violent conduct just before the end of the game. Don’t know what kicked the incident off but Harry threw his opponent to the ground in retaliation and the referee had no alternative but to show him the red card. The three match suspension for Harry could hurt us more than losing this match as he could now miss both county cup matches at the beginning of February.
On reflection, I hope this defeat will re-focus the team for the rest of the season. Bridport showed us that hard work and organisation can reap dividends and they were worthy winners on the day so we need to move on now and get back to winning ways next week at Shaftesbury.
It’s probably significant that the Man-of-the-Match award this week goes to our goalkeeper MATT McGOWAN. In the last 15 to 20 minutes he saved us from a potentially embarrassing scoreline.
Our cup tie was played on a cold showery day on a sloping pitch with a thick covering of grass. We had 12 players and as regular keeper Matt McGowan was ill outfield player Jai Myall took over in goal.
We started off on the front foot keeping possession and trying to play football on a bobbly pitch. The first real chance came after 10 minutes. Jamie Thomson played a lovely through ball to Tom Sullivan who took it in his stride but his shot was just wide of the post. In the next 15 minutes we created lots of chances with Tom Sullivan running the opposition ragged down the left wing. In particular, some lovely link up play between Tom and Jamie Irwin left Jamie with only the keeper to beat but his shot was cleared off the line. However 25 minutes in we got the opening goal. Tom Sullivan delivered a corner into the box and TOMMY FRAMPTON powered a header into the back of the net. Just before half time we had another good chance to increase our lead. Harry Panayides fed a lovely ball through to Jamie Irwin who went round the keeper but the ball bobbled up just as he hit it and it went wide of the post.
Half-time saw us only 1-0 up after having about 90% possession throughout the half.
The second half carried on in the same vein as the opposition parked the proverbial bus. Nevertheless opportunities came as first Harvey Gilchrist shot just wide and then Jamie Irwin saw the keeper just get a hand to his shot. In fact, at this stage it was the Poundbury keeper who was keeping them in the game. The only chances Poundbury had were from long range free kicks one of which rattled the bar. Twenty minutes into the second half we scored again to make it 2-0. The ball fell to JAMIE THOMPSON on the edge of the box and he hit a good shot that went under the keeper’s body. We only had to wait 5 minutes for the third goal. The ball was pinging around their box like a pinball machine, eventually falling to CHRIS HOLLICK who slammed it into the net. The game was more or less over then but Poundbury did pull one back with 5 minutes to go. Our stand-in goalkeeper tried to dribble the ball out after receiving a passback but unfortunately he lost possession and the opposition had an open goal. Two minutes later we restored our three goal cushion in rather bizarre circumstances. Jamie Irwin hit a shot which came down off the underside of the bar and was scrambled away. The referee waved play on but one of their defenders didn’t realise this and knowing it had crossed the line he smashed the ball into his own net in frustration ! The craziest OG of the season meant the game ended 4-1 putting us top of the section and into the League Cup quarter-finals.
Man-of-the-Match award this week goes to HARRY PANAYIDES for 80 minutes of hard running and creativity in the midfield.
Sunday 13th December 2015, Dorset Youth Cup, Quarter-Final
POUNDBURY 0 WESTLAND SPORTS 3
Our cup match didn’t get off to a good start. Despite having registered their colours as red, Poundbury turned up in a blue kit which of course clashed with ours. As the away team we had to change and ended up wearing green bibs !
Eventually we kicked off on a poor surface and it was Westlands who were pressing from the start. Our first effort on goal was inside 3 minutes, Jamie Irwin ran down the left past 2 defenders and shot just wide of the post. Five minutes later a high ball into the Poundbury box was cleared out to Lloyd Furzey who hit it from outside the box just past the post. The breakthrough came with 10 minutes on the clock. A lovely ball from Tom Sullivan found JAMIE IRWIN down the line and he turned inside the defender and hit it from 20 yards finding the roof of the net. Now we were doing all the attacking and another lovely ball was threaded through the opposition defence by Tom Sullivan, Jamie Thompson got to it just before the keeper but lofted it over the bar. Ten minutes later we scored again. Another quality ball across goal found HARRY PANAYIDES who hit a ferocious shot which hit the underside of the bar before nestling in the net. The rest of the half was spent around the opposition area with our keeper virtually redundant.
The second half carried on in the same vein. After 10 minutes a ball was played into the area, Jamie Irwin took in his stride and hit a good shot which the keeper brilliantly tipped over the bar. Jai Myall started to hit some long distance shots and a 20 yarder rattled the bar with the keeper struggling. Then he hit another one from about 40 yards which came off the post and was popped into the net by JAMIE THOMPSON who was following up. That made it 3-0 and a few minutes later we had the miss of the season ! Jamie Irwin outpaced a defender, got to the byeline and put the ball across the goalmouth where Tommy Frampton, totally unmarked one yard out, blasted over the bar. The rest of the game was totally one-sided and we should have scored another six or seven goals.
Man-of-the-Match award this week goes to TOM SULLIVAN who set up two goals and was a constant threat down the left side.
Sunday 6th December 2015, Somerset Youth Shield, Rnd 3
WESTLAND SPORTS 11 BRISLINGTON 1
The weather was windy on the Terraces and Sports had a strong squad of 14 lined up for the visit of our opponents from Bristol including new signing Stanley Kellock.. Brislington had the wind at their backs when the game kicked off and quickly used it to their advantage with some long goalkeeper’s punts which had Westlands on the back foot. Brislington also showed they had a long throw expert and several throws were launched into the box from either side of the field. Luckily, Westlands centre half Tom Budden looked in commanding form and he got his head on most high balls early on. In the 6th minute a fast break by Sports saw Chris Hollick burst through but the keeper saved. Back came Brislington on the attack and Matt McGowan in the Westlands goal made a good save low down. In the 15th minute Westlands again showed their attacking prowess with a fast break which carved open the opponents defence but the ball was eventually cleared for a corner. Sports took a quick one, Jamie Thompson delivered the cross into the box and HARRY PANAYIDES got up highest in a crowd of players to head goalwards. The ball was hacked away but the referee blew immediately and signalled for a goal as the ball had crossed the line. The visitors weren’t too happy with the decision and they immediately pushed forward looking for a quick equaliser. They forced a corner and from the kick a powerful header at the near post was tipped over the crossbar by Matt McGowan, a great save at a crucial time. As if stung into action by that close shave Sports stormed up the field and scored goal number two. A superb passing move played at pace cut the Brislington defence apart and the final ball to ANDRE ANJOS left him with only the keeper to beat and he slotted the ball in the far corner. So, 21 minutes gone and 2-0 to Sports, it was beginning to look a bit bleak for our opponents who to be fair had played quite well up until this point but now looked to have the proverbial mountain to climb. In the 26th minute we made it 3-0. JAMIE IRWIN fired the ball low and hard from the edge of the box and it flew into the bottom corner, quality striking although the keeper looked a bit slow to get down. On the half-hour mark there was a glimmer of hope for the visitors when they pulled one back with a cracking shot from the edge of the box after a corner had been half cleared. Sports quickly extinguished that glimmer with another goal a minute later. Debutant STANLEY KELLOCK worked some space on the edge of the box and let fly with a shot which found the corner of the net. Once again the keeper looked a bit slow to get down and it transpired that their regular keeper was unavailable so an outfield player was standing in. Westlands were rampant now and in the 32nd minute JAMIE IRWIN scored a solo effort, running beyond the defenders and slipping the ball past the keeper. That made it 5-1 and just before the break we added number 6. JAMIE IRWIN again showed good pace to get in behind the Brislington defence and he was brought down from behind. He picked himself up and slotted the penalty into the corner to end the half in style.
A 6-1 scoreline at half time was most welcome but a bit unexpected after the visitors had shown up quite well in the first 15 minutes. However they had shown they were a bit suspect defensively and Sports had exposed this with some good pace and passing.
In the second half it was really a case of ‘how many’ and Westlands showed no mercy by scoring again 2 minutes into the half. A through ball put JAMIE IRWIN in behind the visitors defence and he slotted the ball in the far corner. Brislington had changed their keeper at half time and in the 43rd minute the new lad had to pick the ball out the net for the second time as Sports made it 8. CHRIS HOLLICK cut in from the right, beat three defenders and scored with a low shot. In the 50th minute Jamie Thompson turned neatly and set up JAMIE IRWIN with a slide rule pass and he thumped the ball into the net to make it 9-1. The Brislington lads were getting a bit frustrated now and a few feisty tackles were going in from both sides. This took the flow out of the game and the referee was now having to earn his corn in keeping a lid on things. In the 52nd minute LLOYD FURZEY picked the ball up and from 30 yards smashed a shot into the back of the net to make it double figures for Westlands. Lloyd then got himself yellow carded as the game continued to deteriorate into constant fouls which definitely spoiled the match. Nevertheless in the 73rd minute we scored again. JAMIE IRWIN was again brought down in the box and he once again picked himself up and slotted the penalty into the corner. Alas this time the referee rightly ordered the kick to be retaken after encroachment by a Westlands player. This time the keeper guessed right and saved Jamie’s kick but was helpless as the rebound was smashed into the net.
That was the end of the scoring and the match petered out to a natural end as the visitors were totally deflated now and Sports had taken their foot off the pedal. To win 11-1 at this stage of the tournament was a little unexpected but the performance by the Westlands lads was first class and in this form we will be difficult to beat.
Man of the match this week must go to JAMIE IRWIN. The visitors just couldn’t cope with his pace and strong running all afternoon and his finishing was first class as his 6 goals showed.
Sunday 15th November 2015, Dorset Youth Cup, Rnd 2
WESTLAND SPORTS 9 WEYMOUTH 1
This week we are in Dorset for another county cup tie against Weymouth. Pre-match, all the omens pointed to a Westland’s victory. We had previously beaten the same opponents 7-2 in the league and with home advantage it looked a game we should win. Obviously cup ties can be different and with rumours that Weymouth had strengthened their team recently we were taking nothing for granted. Westlands had 13 players on duty with one change to the squad from last week, Tom Sullivan was unavailable but we welcomed Lloyd Furzey back after injury.
The first chance of the match was created by the visitors with a long ball over the top which almost caught our defence out. Goalkeeper Matt McGowan had to race out to the edge of the box to clear the danger. The match then settled down to almost constant Westlands pressure being thwarted by some dogged defending by the Weymouth rearguard. After 4 minutes Harry Panayides squared to Jamie Thompson who shot over the bar. Then a good passing move ended with Jamie again firing over, a bit closer this time. In the 10th minute another long ball from Weymouth was again cleared by Matt McGowan at the edge of his box. Two minutes later a goalbound shot from Tommy Frampton after a corner was blocked on the line and a minute later Tommy got his head to another corner this time his effort went straight to the keeper. A couple of minutes later Tom Budden put a header goalwards from another corner and this one was also cleared off the line. In the 17th minute Jamie Thompson put Jamie Irwin in but the keeper blocked his shot. Three minutes later we thought we had at last broken the deadlock when Jamie Irwin smashed the ball into the roof of the net but this time the offside flag was up. It was unbelievable how we were still 0-0 as the Weymouth defence had taken a pounding but due to a bit of luck and some super defending by the visitors we were still level. The pressure continued, in 24 minutes Harvey Gilchrist had a shot saved by the keeper and a minute later Chris Hollick was clean through but again the keeper saved, this time with his feet. Moments later, Harry Panayides smashed in a shot which the keeper, who was in inspired form, tipped round the post. At last, after 28 minutes of almost constant pressure, we made the breakthrough. Jamie Thompson delivered a free kick from the right into the danger area and JAMIE IRWIN rose to head into the far corner. The keeper did get a hand to it but couldn’t keep it out. Our opponents tried hard now to get back in the game but their efforts were restricted to a couple of free kicks. The first was well saved by Matt McGowan and the second dipped just over the bar. With Weymouth coming out their shell a little there was now a bit of space appearing in their rearguard and Sports took advantage to go two up in the 39th minute. Andre Anjos laid the ball back to HARRY PANAYIDES on the edge of the box and he hit it first time low into the corner. That goal put a better reflection on things and a half-time score of 2-0 was just reward for Westlands efforts, it could have been more but for some stoic defending.
Weymouth came out for the second half with nothing to lose and pushed men forward. This quickly paid dividends with a goal in the 47th minute. A free kick was pumped into the Westland’s box and it was a Weymouth player who got up to glance the ball in with his head. For a few minutes Weymouth had their tails up and they were certainly dominating the midfield at this point so for a spell it looked as if we had a game on our hands. However we held them at bay without any real scares and gradually began to have a few attacks again. Harry Panayides put a shot just past the post and then Chris Hollick tried to chip the keeper but he got a hand to it to divert wide. In the 59th minute JAMIE IRWIN raced through the Weymouth defence and bore down on goal. Their centre half made a desperate lunging tackle from behind and brought him down with the inevitable result, penalty ! Jamie took the kick himself and drilled it past the keeper to put some daylight between the teams at 3-1. Westland’s confidence returned now and with Weymouth heads going down the last 20 minutes of the game were mayhem as Sports hit a real purple patch and Weymouth’s resistance totally disintegrated. Two minutes after the penalty, in the 61st minute we scored again. Jamie Irwin drew the defenders to him and slipped a nice reverse pass to ANDRE ANJOS who opened out his body and planted a nice side foot shot into the far corner. A super goal and there was more to come. Four minutes later we played a long ball into the box that the keeper came to collect. But HARRY PANAYIDES had other ideas and raced in to beat the startled keeper to the ball and head it into the empty net for goal number five. A minute later it was six as Westlands really turned the screw. JAMIE IRWIN had a shot which took a deflection and ended up in the far corner. Another two minutes later and it was seven. A long cross was headed down by Jamie Irwin to HARRY PANAYIDES who smashed the ball into the back of the net. We then had a few minutes respite as the Weymouth goalkeeper again performed heroics to keep the score down. First a Jamie Thompson free kick was tipped round the post and then Chris Hollick had a lovely touch and shot which was saved. Weymouth managed a rare attack and a shot was drilled just past the post but there was no stopping Westlands and the eighth goal soon came along. CHRIS HOLLICK raced on to a through ball, the keeper saved his first effort, but Chris picked up the rebound and walked the ball into the net. And finally we had goal number nine and a fitting goal it was to end the scoring. Jamie Thompson jinked his way to the bye line out on the left and flighted a lovely high cross to the far post where CHRIS HOLLICK thumped in a header. That capped an incredible second half where we had gone from 2-1 and under a bit of pressure to 9-1 in about 25 minutes.
It was an excellent performance from our team who showed some good quality in the match. We needed patience in the first half when we just couldn’t get the ball in the net but the lads showed that and got their reward in the end. It shows how much we were on top as the Weymouth goalkeeper, even although he let in nine, was their outstanding player, particularly in that first half. In the second half we were clinical when the opposition tired and openings came our way. All in all a good day.
Man of the match this week goes to HARRY PANAYIDES, for a typical hard-working performance in midfield capped with an excellent hat-trick.
Sunday 8th November 2015, Somerset Youth Shield, Rnd 2
CHILCOMPTON 2 WESTLAND SPORTS 8
I indicated in the weekend preview that this tournament was high on our list of priorities this season as we had not won it for about ten years and it is a famous trophy in the county. Pre-match reports were good with 13 players on duty today including new signings Tom Sullivan and Tommy Frampton. After leaving a dry Yeovil, our journey north through Somerset got progressively worse until we reached Chilcompton where the game eventually kicked off in driving wind and rain. This did not seem to affect the Westland players who immediately ran upfield from the kick-off and thumped a shot off the Chilcompton crossbar. A minute later Chris Hollick fired in a good shot that their keeper saved. Sports were looking good this week and the passing was much better with the ball being moved around well on the wet surface. The home side found it hard early on to get a kick but gradually they began to come into the game and their pacy right winger had a couple of half chances. Westlands, though, looked the more dangerous team and in the 20th minute we took the lead. First Jamie Irwin caught a flying elbow and had to come off with blood streaming from his nose. This was the chance for new boy TOM SULLIVAN to come on and he immediately scored with a crisp drive from the edge of the box that flew into the bottom corner. Two minutes later and it was 2-0 to Westlands when TOM SULLIVAN again found the bottom corner with a low shot through a crowded box. What a start but not to be outdone our other debutant TOMMY FRAMPTON got himself on the score sheet in the 32nd minute. He lined up a free kick out on the right wing and with his left foot curled a beauty into the top corner with the keeper rooted to the spot. From our angle it looked as if the ball had hit the side netting so there was a muted response from the Westland supporters but the players celebrations told us the ball had in fact been beautifully flighted into the postage stamp corner of the net. So, 3-0 now to Sports and the writing was on the wall for the home side. They looked a decent side when they got the ball down in midfield but I’m afraid their defensive work left a lot to be desired. In the 39th minute, some 20 minutes after coming on the field, TOM SULLIVAN completed his hat-trick ! A weaving run into the box ended with a shot which took a deflection and ended up in the back of the net. With only a minute left before the half time whistle, there was still time for Sports to rub salt in the home teams wounds by scoring goal number five. This time HARRY PANAYIDES spotted the keeper off his line and sent a high looping shot over his head which found the back of the net.
An amazing half-time score of 5-0 to Westlands who had been clinical in that first 40 minutes. Chilcompton had been severely punished for some poor defending and it was looking like a case of how many if they didn’t tighten up at the back.
I’m afraid things didn’t get any better for Chilcompton as Westlands scored number 6 immediately after the re-start. I didn’t see this one very clearly as I was trying to dry out in the tea bar but I’m told it was patched up JAMIE IRWIN who smashed the ball into the net with the keeper off his line. That made it 6-0 and two minutes later it was seven. I was back at pitchside so had a good view as Harvey Gilchrist beat his man, got to the byeline and sent over a perfect cross which JAMIE IRWIN powered into the net with his head. With Westlands now coasting at 7-0 some carelessness began to creep into our play. Players now wanted to dribble with the ball instead of passing it and this soon led to trouble. An error in the Sports defence let a Chilcompton player in to thump the ball into the net to make it 7-1. On the hour mark some more sloppy defending when we should have cleared the ball saw Chilcompton score another from close range to make it 7-2. The Chilcompton supporters were getting excited now with something to cheer but there was no way back for the home side and Westlands stuck away another goal a few minutes before the end. HARRY PANAYIDES turned inside a defender and struck a fine shot into the far corner to make the final score a resounding 8-2 to Westlands.
It was a fine performance by the Sports team in poor conditions but as I said earlier they were knocking the ball about quite nicely this week and it was noticeable that when we stopped doing that in the second half we lost a couple of goals. Nevertheless an excellent result, everyone played well, and roll on round 3.
Man of the match this week goes to TOM SULLIVAN. It’s always a bit daunting, your first outing for a new team but to score a hat-trick in your first 20 minutes is exceptional.
Sunday 1st November 2015, Dorset Youth League Cup (U16)
WESTLAND SPORTS 5 SHAFTESBURY ROCKIES 2
This was our first tie of the League cup and our first match with Shaftesbury Rockies who had won the U15 league last season so were fancied as one of the favourites this year. With Ben Watts available this week we had 12 players to start which was quite a luxury for us this season.
Shaftesbury showed some good composure on the ball in the opening minutes so it was obvious we were going to have a good cup tie on our hands. Westlands had the first goal threat with Chris Hollick bursting through the visitor’s defence but he scuffed his shot wide. Then Shaftesbury had their first attempt with a well struck free kick which Matt McGowan tipped over. Set plays were to become Shaftesbury’s most potent threat as the game progressed and they gave the Westland’s defence problems all afternoon. In the 24th minute we took the lead. Jamie Thompson made a darting run through the Shaftesbury defence leaving several defenders trailing in his wake and his slide rule pass put JAMIE IRWIN in behind the defence. Jamie opened his body and slid the ball into the far corner to make it 1-0. A lovely goal, well set-up and well finished. Unfortunately, it only took our opponents a couple of minutes to equalise. A free kick was played deep into Sports goalmouth, keeper Matt McGowan came for it, seemed to bundle into his own defenders, the ball fell free and their lad stuck it away from close range. Not a great goal to lose but we soon had our noses back in front again. JAMIE IRWIN blocked a defender’s attempted clearance, ran on and when the keeper came out calmly lobbed the ball over his head into the back of the net. A goal from nothing really but very well taken. Just over 30 minutes gone and 3 goals already, this was proving to be a cracking cup tie. Chris Hollick almost got on the scoresheet in the 37th minute when he once again showed the Shaftesbury defenders a clean pair of heels but this time the keeper blocked his shot. A couple of minutes later and Shaftesbury equalised when their player made a lovely turn on the edge of the box and rifled a shot into the back of the net. The goals were coming thick and fast now and Westlands soon got back in the lead. Harvey Gilchrist put over a high dipping cross from the right which completely deceived the keeper and that man JAMIE IRWIN just managed to get his head to the ball to direct it into the top corner. Just before the half-time whistle a high ball into the Sports area again caused a bit of panic but we managed to scramble the ball away.
What a first half it had been, five goals and lots of action but with Westlands a goal to the good we were hoping for a more measured performance in the second half.
The first chance of the second half was created by Sports who worked a clever corner routine which had the Shaftesbury defence in a bit of a panic but they eventually managed to get the ball away. For the next 15 minutes Westlands were forced back by some good attacking play by the visitors. We were under pressure but some fairly desperate defending at times was keeping Shaftesbury at bay and they didn’t create any clear cut chances. Eventually in the 55th minute we mounted a good attack which saw us awarded a free kick about 25 yards out. With the wall up and everyone expecting a cross into the box JAMIE THOMPSON surprised us all by driving a low hard shot into the far corner of the net. An excellent goal and executed with great composure. That was the goal we needed and put us into a two goal lead for the first time in the match. Almost immediately Chris Hollick had another chance but his shot was scrambled away after he had rounded the keeper. Up at the other end Shaftesbury didn’t give up and Matt McGowan almost gave them a helping hand by dropping a shot which was then cleared off our line. But the fire had gone out of Shaftesbury a bit now and Westlands were keeping the ball better and pushing into the opponent’s half. With 10 minutes to go we finished the game off with the fifth goal. Jamie Irwin turned the Shaftesbury defence inside out and drove the ball across goal where CHRIS HOLLICK knocked it over the line with his hip. They all count and Chris deserved to get on the scoresheet as he had been thwarted several times in the match. The last action of the half was a good strike by Jamie Thompson which brought a diving save from the Shaftesbury keeper. Sports were on top now and the final whistle ended what had been an excellent cup tie, but perhaps the 5-2 scoreline flattered us a bit as Shaftesbury had fought hard all game particularly in that spell just after half time when they had us on the ropes. Well done though to the Westlands lads who got through a tough cup tie without really being at their best.
Man of the match this week goes to JAMIE IRWIN who caused the Shaftesbury defence problems all afternoon and his first half hat-trick was exceptional.
Sunday 18th October 2015, Dorset Youth League (U16) Div.1
WAREHAM RANGERS 0 WESTLAND SPORTS 2
Round 2 of our double header (cup + league) against Wareham Rangers on a dry and sunny day in Dorset. We actually had 11 players to start the game this week so that was good news.
Straight from the off we kept possession playing some good football and it only took us 10 minutes to break the deadlock. Jamie Irwin sent a corner from the right into the danger zone and TOM BUDDEN rose highest to plant a header into the net. After 20 minutes, and with Wareham attacking our area, we launched a brilliant counter attack. Chris Hollick and Jamie Irwin played a lovely one-two on the edge of the Wareham box which put CHRIS HOLLICK in space and he found the corner of the net with a crisp shot. The remainder of the first half was a bit end to end with neither side getting on top. Westland’s defence were playing really well, clearing everything that came their way and the midfield was solid, particularly Jamie Thompson who was making his debut.
At half-time Chris Hollick had to retire as the injury which kept him out of last week’s match came back to haunt him. Ten minutes later and Jai Mayall went off injured so we were down to 9 men !! The team battled well to keep Wareham out especially keeper Matt McGowan who got down well to thwart their striker who was in on goal. Midway through the half Jai Myall came back on and we finished the game with 10 men. We held on and even managed a couple of good chances but the shots cleared the crossbar.
A good win today against a strong side and another three points which keep us at the top of the league table.
Man of the match this week goes to JAMIE THOMPSON who made his debut for Westlands after his release from Yeovil Town and had a good all-round game in the midfield.
Sunday 11th October 2015, Dorset FA Youth Cup (U16), Rnd 1
WAREHAM RANGERS 3 WESTLAND SPORTS 3 (AET) (Westlands won on penalties 5-3)
For the second week in a row we took the field with only ten men. We got away with it last week but would Wareham be stiffer opposition in this Dorset FA Youth Cup 1st round tie ?
It didn’t look too bad for the first 15 minutes as Westlands were dominating possession and pressing forward into the opposition half. One long ball by Wareham showed that their little striker (#15) had a bit of pace so he would have to be watched. On the whole though, it was obvious the opposition were just getting everyone except #15 behind the ball and in the early stages it was working as we were being crowded out whenever we reached the edge of their box. Either that or we tried speculative shots from 20 yards which didn’t trouble their keeper.
In the 17th minute, as Wareham ventured forward, Matt McGowan made a good diving save from a good effort. Then, after 21 minutes we gifted them the lead with a bad bit of defending. Jai Myall tried to dribble his way out of defence and was robbed of the ball. To be fair their lad still had a bit to do as he was about 25 yards out, but he hammered the ball into the top corner to put them one up against the run of play. Wareham were lifted by this goal and continued to defend in numbers and we were finding it difficult to create chances. However, in the 32nd minute JAMIE IRWIN managed to work some space on the edge of the box, turning and firing a shot low into the corner of the net for the equaliser. We hoped the floodgates might open then but Wareham stuck to their game plan and continued to frustrate Westlands. In the 36th minute Harry Panayides had a good run and shot which went over the top and just before the break Harvey Gilchrist brought a good save out of their keeper with a shot.
All even at half time and we still felt the win would come as Sports had been the better team but had been kept out by some solid defending by the opposition. But could they keep it up for 80 minutes ?
Two minutes into the half and the little #15 again showed his pace when he burst through and had a shot on goal which brought a good save from Matt McGowan. Back to the other end and Harry Panayides had a shot turned round the post by the Wareham keeper who was looking quite impressive. In the 47th minute another trade-mark driving run into the box by Harry Panayides saw him impeded and the referee pointed to the spot. Jamie Irwin drove the spot kick high to the keeper’s right but it was just too close to him and he was able to dive and turn the ball over the bar. Just as we were beginning to think it was one of these days, we took the lead with a cracking goal. A cross was only half cleared out to the edge of the box and TOM LANEY drove the ball low and hard into the corner of the net. At last we had got our noses in front and at this point, mindful of the pace of their #15, Tommy Laney was switched with Jai Myall to give us a bit more pace at the back. Unfortunately the change just upset our defence for a few minutes and Wareham cashed in. A long high punt was allowed to bounce and the #15 was on to it in a flash and stuck the ball in the back of the net with a clinical finish. Two minutes later, with the Westlands defence a bit shell shocked, we failed to clear another long ball and the #15 buried it again. What a disaster, from being a goal up to being one down in a few minutes in a game we should be winning. Well, that’s cup football for you and Westlands now had to stand up and be counted. Tom Laney reverted to midfield and we stormed back into the attack. We were passing the ball around well now and the gaps were beginning to open up. In the 64th minute JAMIE IRWIN took advantage of a moment of hesitation in the opposition defence and from about the penalty spot he was able to steady and drill the ball low into the corner of the net to make it 3-3. Westlands were well on top now and Andre Anjos smashed at shot goalwards that was deflected for a corner before another shot was cleared off the line. Unfortunately the winner would not come and the prospect of extra time with only ten men was a concern. There was no need to worry, the Westland players just kept running and you would have thought it was the opposition who were a man down as they were virtually camped in their own half now.
In the first period of extra time we created three decent chances. Harry Panayides hit one just over the bar, Andre Anjos had a shot saved by the keeper and Jai Mayall headed over the bar from a corner.
Still 3-3 and into the second period of exra time with Westlands still attacking. Jamie Irwin had a chance but ballooned it over the bar. Harry Panayides was next to try his luck but his shot was easily saved. Then, just before the end, came a moment when we should have won the match. Jamie Irwin made a run down the left and cut the ball back to Harry Panayides who was unmarked by the penalty spot. With the goal gaping Harry rushed his shot and somehow screwed the ball wide of the target to let Wareham off the hook. That was the last chance and we were now faced with the dreaded penalty shoot out.
Westlands won the toss and quite rightly decided to take the first kick. HARRY PANAYIDES strode up to take it and confidently smashed the ball into the top corner to get us off to a flying start. 1-0.
Their player scored to make it 1-1.
Next JAI MAYALL stepped up and he banged the ball low into the corner to make it 2-1 Westlands.
Again Wareham scored to even things up at 2-2.
JAMIE IRWIN was next and he made up for his earlier spot kick miss by keeping this one low into the corner giving the keeper no chance. 3-2 Westlands.
This time Wareham were not able to respond when Matt McGowan dived to his right to save their third kick. What a save and that kept us in front at 3-2.
Skipper TOM LANEY strode forward and confidently drove the ball into the bottom corner to make it 4-2 to Westlands. A Wareham player came forward and kept them in it by scoring to make it 4-3.
All the pressure was now on ANDRE ANJOS to win the tie for Westlands. He drove the ball low and hard to the keeper’s left and he got a hand to it but couldn’t keep it out and that was it, 5-3 to Westlands and with Wareham only having one kick left it was game over.
As expected the Westlands players celebrated with Matt McGowan being mobbed by his team-mates. The lads deserved the moment as it had been a tremendous effort but they never gave up and to have the energy and composure to put away five perfect penalties in the shoot-out was remarkable.
It was a game we deserved to win but we had made it hard for ourselves all afternoon. The three goals conceded were all soft ones and against a packed defence we sometimes ran out of ideas. We also had at least 20 corners during the game but never really made anything of them so perhaps that’s something we need to look at. But all that’s for another day, at the moment it’s just congratulations to our ten heroes whose determination saw them through at the end of the day.
Wareham made it hard for us, they had a plan and they stuck to it and it almost paid off making it an enthralling match for the spectators. We have to play them again in the league next week but I think if we have eleven men and can get some width to our game it may be different.
Man of the match this week goes to MATT McGOWAN who made two or three good saves before that super stop in the shoot-out.
Sunday 4th October 2015, Somerset Youth Shield, Rnd 1
WESTLAND SPORTS 12 ILMINSTER 1
Westlands took the field in their red & white change kit and proceeded to give an 'Arsenalesque' performance which blew their opponents away. Once again Sports had trouble raising a full team and took the field with only ten men to face their 11 man opponents. Nevertheless Westlands quickly took control of the game and their movement and passing soon had the visitors under pressure. The diminutive Ilminster goalkeeper made a couple of good saves early on to keep his side in the game but when Jamie Irwin broke the deadlock for Westlands in the 16th minute the floodgates opened. Chris Hollick's pace was proving a real problem for the opposition and he notched a couple as Sports swept to a 5-0 half-time lead.
In the second half we kept the pressure on and the opposition crumbled. Their keeper's lack of height was becoming a problem for them now as several shots flew past him into the back of the net. In the final tally
CHRIS HOLLICK (6) had a field day, crowning an excellent performance with six goals. He was ably supported by HARRY PANAYIDES (2) and JAMIE IRWIN (2) who had two each, with ANDRE ANJOS and BEN WATTS bagging one apiece.
it was an excellent team performance from Westlands with top class performances from back to front. The only bad moment came about 5 minutes from the end when we switched off at a free kick and Ilminster grabbed a consolation goal. The other concern is the lack of players, a problem that will cost us against better opposition. However, not to detract form a super performance by the ten who played today and the man-of-the match award this week goes to who else but CHRIS HOLLICK .
Sunday 13th September 2015, Dorset Youth League (U16) Div.1
BRIDPORT 1 WESTLAND SPORTS 5
The early encounters of the match were a bit scrappy due to a strong wind, but with both teams looking attack minded it looked like an eventful game. Westlands made the breakthrough 10 minutes into the first half when the ball fell to Jamie Irwin on the edge of the box and he laid it back to LLOYD FURZEY who hit a wonder strike from 25 yards out straight into the back of the net. Ten minutes later Lloyd was involved again. This time he played a lovely ball from the centre of the park to Harvey Gilchrist who beat a player and made a good run into the box before Bridport's goalkeeper brought him down. Looked to be a goal scoring opportunity but no cards were shown and JAMIE IRWIN coolly slotted the penalty into the bottom left corner to make it 2-0. A timely tackle from Andre Anjos on the left hand side turned good defensive pressing from Westlands into attack as he won the ball and played a lovely through pass into Chris Hollick who put the ball just over from 10 yards. Jamie Irwin then won a strong tackle in midfield before playing a ball through to Chris Hollick who took it past the keeper, unfortunately he was flagged offside. That action signalled the end of the first half with Sports 2-0 up.
It had been an excellent 40 minutes from the whole team. Some good saves from Matt McGowan, crunching tackles from Tom Budden and some great covering from Jai Myall, Ben Watts and Kacper Lowicki in defence. The central midfield with Jamie Irwin, Harry Panayides and Lloyd Furzey had dominated and great wide play from Andre Anjos and Harry Gilchrist gave support to Chris Hollick who was making some good runs and was all over the the opposition defence.
We came out for the second half with the wind now behind us and after 10 minutes Tom Budden played a perfect lofted through ball to CHRIS HOLLICK who got to it before the keeper and slotted home to make it 3-0.
Then Lloyd Furzey hit one of his specials from about 30 yards which was deflected just past the post.
Westlands midfield looked in control now, spraying balls about with Andre Anjos, Harvey Gilchrist and Chris Hollick trying to latch onto them. Sports were also holding a good line at the back which resulted in the Bridport attack being caught offside several times. Unfortunately Tom Budden had sustained a foot injury but with no subs on the bench elected to struggle on. Good play from Bridport then resulted in a shot just past the post. This seemed to spur Westlands on again and we made it 4-0 on the hour mark. Great tenacity from Jamie Irwin on the edge of the box resulted in him sliding the ball through for ANDRE ANJOS to score.
Bridport then broke through and Matt McGowan pulled off a great diving save to his left. But in the 65th minute Bridport pulled one back. A through ball caused a bit of indecision in the Westlands defence and their player ran in to score. Bridport mounted another attack with a shot going just over the bar but unfortunately this piece of action resulted in an injury to Ben Watts who had to go off leaving Sports down to 10 men plus another player who could hardly move ! Straight from the goal kick Jamie Irwin took the ball down, beat a man and played a through ball to ANDRE ANJOS who outpaced the defence and slotted it past the keeper for his second goal making it 5-1. Bridport then had a long shot shave the post and Matt McGowan made a save from a shot inside the box .
Then Harvey Gilchrist put through Chris Hollick who beat one man but put his shot just past the post. Poor play from Bridport resulted in Chris Hollick forcing a good save from the keeper and some good interplay from Harvey Gilchrist and Chris Hollick forced two corners in quick succession. Bridport broke from a corner and forced Matt McGowan to make a good save. Westlands were down to 9 men now with Tom Budden, who had been struggling throughout the second half, coming off just before the final whistle.
Great game, 5-1 win, but the worrying thing is the injuries we are picking up. However not to detract from a great win for the team which puts us top of the league !
The man of the match award this week is difficult as everyone played really well but the award is going to TOM BUDDEN whose efforts on behalf of the team were outstanding.
Sunday 6th September 2015, Dorset Youth League (U16) Div.1
WESTLAND SPORTS 7 WEYMOUTH 2
Westlands Under 16s opened their season with a resounding win over Weymouth at Sherborne Terrace. On a glorious sunny day Sports were without skipper Tom Laney but had a couple of new signings on view so it promised to be an interesting game.
Weymouth were a bit of an unknown quantity but they looked a bit apprehensive in the early stages and Sports soon took command. After a couple of minutes a lovely ball in behind from Kacper Lowicki saw Chris Hollick racing in on goal but the keeper managed to block his shot. A few minutes later Chris Hollick's pace again undid the Weymouth defence but once again the keeper parried his shot. In the 9th minute a cross from Jamie Irwin was thumped goalwards by Harry Panayides but the ball just cleared the crossbar and in the 15th minute Andre Anjos tried his luck but his shot also just cleared the bar. It was constant Westlands pressure now and the Weymouth keeper came to their aid once again with a good save from Harvey Gilchrist. Next Jamie Irwin worked a good position but his shot was weak. In the 25th minute the breakthrough came. JAMIE IRWIN went on a good run, cut inside two tackles and drove the ball into the near corner of the net for a real solo effort. The floodgates were open now and and 4 minutes later we made it 2. A nice pass from Chris Hollick put JAMIE IRWIN in the clear and he showed a cool head to round the keeper and slot into the empty net. In the 34th minute Jamie Irwin made a good run down the left and squared the ball to Chris Hollick who managed to hit the bar with the goal gaping. Luckily the ball fell to HARVEY GILCHRIST who smashed the rebound into the net for goal number 3 which put Sports out of sight in this match. Just in case there was any doubt, we scored again a minute later. A pinpoint pass by Lloyd Furzey split the Weymouth defence and JAMIE IRWIN ran through and picked his spot for number 4. Just before the break another pass gave Chris Hollick a chance but his lob cleared the keeper and the goal.
A 4-0 lead at half time was more than we could have hoped for. Weymouth hadn't really created a chance in the first half partly due to some solid defending by the Westlands back line but the way the opposition defence had caved in there was the distinct possibility of more goals in the second half.
Sports began the half pressing forward again and another good pass from Lloyd Furzey split the Weymouth defence. Harvey Gilchrist ran on to the pass but the keeper produced another good save. Harvey then had a pot shot from 20 yards which cleared the bar but it was a good effort. In the 62nd minute, in a rare attack, Weymouth were awarded a free kick about 30 yards from goal. Their lad tried a speculative shot that caught the Westlands keeper out and he seemed to fumble the ball into the net. A poor goal to lose but Westlands quickly made amends. Some good passing between Jamie Irwin and Andre Anjos saw the ball squared to CHRIS HOLLICK who buried it in the corner of the net to make the score 5-1. A minute later it was 6-1 when CHRIS HOLLICK again completed a good passing move with a good finish. It was a matter of how many and Chris Hollick should have notched his hat-trick when he was put clean through but he hit the keeper with his shot and then put the rebound over the bar. In the 70th minute came goal number 7. This was a superb solo effort by JAMIE IRWIN, who picked the ball up at the half -way line, ran through the Weymouth defence, cut inside and slotted coolly into the far corner of the net. In the last minute of the game Weymouth were awarded another free kick just outside the box. Having been successful before the lad again fired in a shot which our keeper let slip from his grasp and a Weymouth forward knocked it over the line. Another soft goal but it couldn't detract from a cracking opening day result for our team. Perhaps Weymouth will turn out to be one of the weaker teams in the league but for our opening match it gave us the perfect start. A special mention to our referee Jeff Hann who officiated superbly throughout and allowed some sensible drinks breaks on a very hot afternoon.
Man of the match goes to JAMIE IRWIN whose four goals were all excellently taken and he was a thorn in the Weymouth defence all afternoon.