Saturday 9th April, DPL Cup Final: WESTLAND SPORTS 2 MERLEY COBHAM SPORTS 3
A nice dry evening for the final, not that it matters as the pitch was an Astroturf, which is an acquired taste. Westlands lined up without Ant Herrin, who is on holiday, added to the long term injuries of Sam Watts and Olly Wake.
The game kicked off with Merley first on the attack, #11 cutting inside and shooting past the post. A couple of minutes later 3 Westland players went for the same ball and all missed it. The ball fell to the #11 again and he shot for the far corner but Phil Wells was on hand to clear. Westlands eventually began to get a foot in the game and in the 10th minute a long Josh Payne cross was clutched by the Merley keeper for his first touch. A minute later Westlands took the lead with a stunning goal. ALEX MURPHY picked up a pass 25 yards out, had a touch, and rifled a rocket into the net with the Merley keeper rooted to the spot. What a goal by Westlands, against the run of play, but a stunning effort. Merley tried to hit back quickly and Scott Smith picked up a yellow card for impeding an opponent. The free kick was fired past the far post but the yellow card was to have greater significance as the game unfolded. Merley Cobham were having some joy down their right wing with their #9 prominent and Westlands left back Phil Wells wasn’t getting much help out there. In the 19th minute a long ball saw the Merley #9 clear again but Westland’s keeper Rich Pippin turned his shot round the post. Merley were looking dangerous every time they attacked and in the 23rd minute they equalised. A midfield player made a run through and was picked out with a good pass. However he was wide of the goal and almost on the byeline but his shot found the far corner via a huge deflection off Henry Lawrence-Napier who had slid in to try and block the shot. Merley continued to press and were dominating the game with Westlands looking a bit disjointed with no real discernible shape and too many gaps in midfield. The next attack saw the Merley #10 appear to give Scott Smith an elbow in the face and the referee decided it was only worth a yellow card. In the 28th minute the Merley #11 had a shot but Rich Pippin made a good save and 5 minutes later their #9 played a good 1-2 and fired a shot just over the bar. In the 40th minute came a big talking point when a ball over the top saw the Merley #10 in the clear. Looked to be offside but the lino didn’t flag so Scott Smith made a desperate tackle frpm behind and brought him down. Penalty said the ref and a second yellow for Scott saw him dismissed from the field. #10 took the penalty himself and slotted it in to put Merley 2-1 in front. A rush of blood there by Scott as he would have been better just letting the player go even if he scored. As it was he scored from the penalty anyway but we were now down to 10 men with over half of the game to go. A couple of minutes later Merley’s #9 had a cross-shot that dropped just over the bar and the half ended with another Merley shot past the post.
What a disastrous half it had been for Westlands who had not been able to get into the game much at all and now faced a half with 10 men and a goal behind. Probably Westlands only chance was to get men behind the ball and hope to hit Merley on the break or with a set piece.
Merley came out looking to extend their lead and a free kick from just outside the box was turned round the post by Rich Pippin then a minute later another shot flew over the bar. In the 50th minute another free kick for Merley was saved by Pip with his legs as Merley continued to press. Then another blow to Westlands as Josh Payne was sin-binned for a fairly innocuous comment. A bit harsh considering a Merley player had to the referee to “F--- off” in the first half and he had only been warned. Down to 9 men now and Sports really had to dig in. There was a great response from the team who tried to keep the ball to wind down the clock and did so very successfully, knocking the ball around. Sam Plumley then copped a red card for a bit of retaliation and was substituted a couple of minutes later with Jack Dicker replacing him. After 67 minutes Josh Payne came back on to bring Westlands back to 10 men but a few minutes later another blow struck beleaguered Sports when Jamie Green went down injured and was unable to carry on. Sam Carney came on as his replacement and lined up in the unfamiliar position of right back with Jack Dicker moving over to centre half where Jamie Green had been playing since Scott Smith’s departure. In the 76th minute Westlands showed a bit of attacking intent when Alex Murphy headed a Josh Payne cross wide and a couple of minutes later Westlands stunned the opposition with a cracking equaliser. Callum Thompson slipped the ball through to ALEX MURPHY who steadied and drilled a shot low into the far corner of the net. Another excellent finish by the big #9 and briefly the Westlands camp thought an upset might just be possible. I say briefly as two minutes later Merley scored again to regain the lead. Their player cut in from the left and drilled a shot low into the corner through a crowded penalty area. A body blow for Westlands and a few players began to look tired now. With 10 minutes to go Henry Lawrence-Napier went down with cramp and was replaced by Nick Voss and to their credit Westlands pushed forward looking for an equaliser. A couple of long Jack Dicker throws into their box and a couple of corner kicks put them under pressure but Westlands couldn’t get that final touch. In between Rich Pippin made a good save to deny a Merley break and the last chance fell to Nick Voss who got his shot on target but it was a fairly easy save for the Merley keeper.
The final whistle ended an entertaining match with Merley Cobham winning 3-2. The result was about right on the night but from Westlands point of view it was a disappointing match which probably hinged on the sending off. Nevertheless the 10 men had made a good fight of it and could be proud of their performance, they certainly didn't lose through lack of effort.
Man of the Match this week goes to ALEX MURPHY for those two goals, fantastic efforts.
Saturday 4th April, Dorset Premier League: CORFE CASTLE 3 WESTLAND SPORTS 3
Westland Sports last Dorset Premier League match of the season was an away trip to Corfe Castle which ended in a 3-3 draw. Sports had secured the runners up prize the previous week so there was nothing at stake in this match for either side. Westlands manager Harry Gibbs, with an eye on Thursday’s upcoming DPL Cup Final, rested Jonny Manley, Scott Smith, Henry Lawrence-Napier, Josh Payne, Luca Martin and Alex Murphy so it was a much changed Westlands team who took the field.
Nevertheless, it Sports who took control of the match and began to exert some early pressure and in the 6th minute a Nick Voss cross was headed wide by Ant Herrin and a couple of minutes later a Joe Jarvis cross eluded the keeper but Nick Voss put his header wide. In the 17th minute the pressure paid off with the opening goal. Aaron Sweet took a corner on the right, Steve Flynn thumped a shot off the post that was smashed back across goal, hitting DWAYNE FORSHAW on the shoulder and flying into the back of the net. The Corfe players were incensed claiming a hand ball but the referee was adamant the goal stood. Certainly Dwayne’s arm was tight to his body and had that been a defender’s arm I expect they would have been equally aggrieved if a penalty had been awarded. Anyway, as a result of their protests Corfe Castle had a man sent to the sin bin for 10 minutes. As Westlands tried to press home the advantage they won a corner but failed to beat the first defender and that led to a quick break by the home side. Their #11 raced clean through but his attempt to chip the ball over Rich Pippin ended with him chipping the ball straight into the Westlands stopper’s arms. After 30 minutes Corfe Castle snatched an equaliser when Sports keeper Rich Pippin fluffed a clearance from a Jack Dicker pass back and presented a Corfe forward with a tap in. Spurred on by the goal Corfe had a good effort from a free kick on the edge of the box but the curling low shot went just past the far post. Some slack marking in the Westlands rear guard then gave a Corfe player a chance but he put his shot wide.
That took us through to half-time with the game tied up at 1-1 which I think was a fair reflection of the play. Westlands had started well, having good possession but after going in front got a bit sloppy and Corfe Castle came back into the game with a few good attacks.
Sam Plumley was replaced at half time and Matt Philips took his place at right back.
The first action of the half was a Joe Jarvis header from an Aaron Sweet free kick that went wide of the target. Then Jack Dicker got sin binned for some remark to the referee and that set Sports back on their heels a bit and allowed Corfe Castle to push forward. In the 58th minute a Corfe player hit a decent shot that went just wide. With Jack Dicker now restored to the team Dwayne Forshaw got into a shooting position for Westlands but didn’t get hold of his shot and in the end it was an easy save. Ant Herrin then got himself sin-binned to put the Westlands team on the back foot again. In the 75th minute Rich Pippin made a good save as Corfe tried to cash in on their man advantage. The Westlands keeper had been subjected to constant jeering from the crowd behind the goal every time he took a goal kick. All very light hearted but it did get a bit boring after a while. Pip wound them up further by putting one of the Corfe players over the barrier behind the goal as the game began to get a bit heated. With Sports back to full strength, a Nick Voss shot went well over the bar before Westlands took the lead in the 80th minute. Nick Voss ran on to a through ball and was wiped out by the Corfe keeper, who claimed he had touched the ball before clattering the Westlands winger. Again we had several minutes of protests before ANT HERRIN thumped in the resulting penalty off the underside of the bar to put Westlands 2-1 up. Then we had a dramatic last five minutes with three more goals ! With nothing to lose Corfe Castle flung everything forward and equalised in the 85th minute when a free kick went right across the box and was tapped in at the far post. Poor defending there and worse was to come for Westlands when in the 89th minute a cross from the left was prodded in to spark off great celebrations from the home team and their supporters. However there was a sting in the tail for the home team in the 91st minute when Westlands AARON SWEET whipped in a corner that ended up in the far corner of the net. Great celebrations then by the Westlands players and more protests from the home players who claimed it shouldn’t have been a corner. What an end to the match and the season ! After the game the Dorset Premier League Runners up trophy was presented to Sports captain Ant Herrin.
Man of the Match this week goes to ANT HERRIN, who showed a bit of quality in the midfield.
Saturday 27th April, Dorset Premier League: WESTLAND SPORTS 4 SHERBORNE TOWN RES 0
Westlands had a couple of enforced changes after the good Easter Monday win at Parley. Rich Pippin returned in goal and.Jack Dicker, Sam Carney and Josh Payne were re-instated outfield at the expense of Jamie Green, Adam Barratt and Scott Smith. Although we had some rain midweek the pitch was still hard and there was a strong, buffeting wind blowing across the pitch, so obviously a day to keep the ball on the ground.
Westlands didn’t appear to have got the message as their first pass straight from kick off was an attempted high ball down the wing which was blown off the pitch by the wind. Both teams were struggling badly with the conditions and it took 5 minutes for the first real attack, a corner for Sherborne that caused a moment of anxiety in the Westlands defence before being cleared. With Westlands looking like they were playing a 4-2-4 formation, the visitors were able to flood the midfield and with men spare, were able to pass the ball around with short passes on the ground which looked like a good tactic. However, for all their possession, they couldn’t make any impression in the Westlands defence with Rich Pippin only having to field a few long range efforts. It took a lack-lustre Westlands until he 17th minute to have their first attempt at goal, a Jonny Manley header from a corner that the Sherborne keeper saved. The game really deteriorated now with the ball being continually blown off the field and neither side creating any chances worth mentioning. Half time 0-0.
What a drab half that had been with Storm Hannah definitely the winner. Sherborne had put some nice passing together but they looked powder puff in attack and from Westlands point of view a few runs from Josh Payne looked promising but had come to nothing. It did look however that Westlands hadn’t really got out of first gear so presumeably they would up their game in the second half otherwise we were heading for 0-0 here.
After some encouragement from the management Westlands came out for the second half looking much more resolute, pressing hard and winning the ball now in the midfield. It didn’t take take long for their renewed vigour to bear fruit. Four minutes to be exact when an ANT HERRIN free kick out on the left was driven in hard and low and flew straight through the crowd of players into the far corner of the net. An excellent free kick, one of these defenders are afraid to touch for fear of an OG and so often they find the far corner. I think also a lunge for the ball by Alex Murphy put the keeper off and kept him in the middle of his goal waiting for the touch. Westlands were settled now and driving forward with the Sherborne team looking a bit downhearted and in the 56th minute Sports went two up. Luca Martin closed down the Sherborne full back and blocked his clearance. The ball broke to ALEX MURPHY who drove into the box and slotted the ball past the keeper into the far corner. A really composed finish from the Westlands striker and judged to perfection as it did seem for a moment that his touch might have taken him too wide. That goal signalled a substitution for Sports with Nick Voss replacing Josh Payne who had been carrying a knock from the start. In the 62nd minute a good ball into the box from Sam Plumley picked out Ant Herrin unmarked but also offside. Five minutes later a good shot from Alex Murphy was touched round the post by the Sherborne keeper. Goal number three then came in the 73rd minute. Ant Herrin played the ball out to the left where NICK VOSS was in the clear and he controlled the ball and drilled it into the far corner. A great pass and an excellent finish as Westlands began to turn on the style. A couple of minutes later Sherborne had their closest attempt of the match. From a corner kick their big centre half (ex-Westlands player Matt Watson !) got a good header away but missed the target the ball flying just past the post. Sports replied with the fourth goal five minutes later and it was almost a replica of the third goal. Ant Herrin went on a great run beating two men and slid the ball out to NICK VOSS on the left and he coolly slotted the ball into the far corner. In the 83rd minute a Sam Plumley cross was headed just wide by Ant Herrin and in the 86th minute Henry Lawrence-Napier headed a cross into the net but this one was ruled out for offside. That was the final action and the game ended 4-0 to Westlands.
As stated before, the wind really spoiled this match and made life difficult at times for the player when the strong gusts threatened to take you off your feet. After a terrible first half Westlands managed to get their act together in the second 45 and once they got into their stride there was only going to be one winner.
Man of the Match for this game is based on the second half when Sports got a grip of the game and a leading light was ANT HERRIN. A good opening goal for Ant was followed by twice setting up Nick Voss for the third and fourth goals.
Monday 22nd April, Dorset Premier League: PARLEY SPORTS 1 WESTLAND SPORTS 4
A bank holiday trip to Parley was not ideal and after a journey of over two hours we arrived with just 25 minutes to spare before kick-off. A quick pre-match warm-up and we lined up to start. Goalkeeper Toby Gallagher was out with a knee injury sustained on Saturday against Balti and he was replaced by Josh Payne whose normal place in attack was filled by Luca Martin.
A tentative start by Westlands saw Parley quickly push forward on the attack and after 5 minutes they were rewarded with the opening goal. Adam Barratt lost the ball on he half-way line to the Parley right back who ran almost half the pitch before firing over a low cross that was tucked away at the near post. The home team were boosted by their early success and were working hard all over the pitch to close down the Westland players. Eventually Alex Murphy got a shot away for the visitors but put it over the top. It was a stop start game at the moment with a lot of niggly fouls breaking up play. In the 22nd minute a Parley forward burst clear down the left and drove a low shot wide of the far post. In this first half hour Parley had been pressing hard but now gradually Westlands began to loosen up and play began to go in the other direction. Westlands should have equalised in the 31st minute when an Ant Herrin free kick gave Scott Smith a free header but he put it just over the bar. A quick break by Parley saw Josh Payne make a good diving save to clutch the ball on the ground and a minute later a Parley attacker broke through but again Sports stand-in keeper made a good save, blocking the shot with his legs. In the 40th minute a great run and cross by Luca Martin gave Alex Murphy a sight of goal but he shot wide. The tide had definitely turned now and Westlands got the equaliser in the 42nd minute. Some slick passing out on the left ended with Phil Wells putting over a cross that ALEX MURPHY headed into the far corner. That was a good goal, well worked and finished, but there was better to come only two minutes later when Westlands took the lead. Ant Herrin put a good free kick into the box and ALEX MURPHY controlled it and hit a low drive on the turn into the corner of the net. Half time 2-1 Westlands.
It had been a great half for Westlands as they had been up against it for the first half hour but the home team had suddenly run out of steam and Sports had taken full advantage with two well taken goals. Having turned the game around there was confidence in the camp that we could go on and win this now.
Jonny Manley had taken a knock and he didn’t appear for the second half so Jamie Green stepped back into defence and Sam Carney came on in midfield. Westlands looked fairly confident in the second half and, as they were in front away from home, were trying to keep possession and play the ball around without committing too many men forward. After an hour of play, a ball over the top put Adam Barratt clean through but as he raced after the ball he suddenly pulled up holding his hamstring. Bad news for everyone as Adam hobbled off, his game, and possibly his season, over (Two games in three days perhaps not a great idea !). Nick Voss was the replacement and he made a valuable contribution in the 67th minute by setting up Westlands third goal. A corner on the right was fired across goal and was met at the near post by JAMIE GREEN who came steaming in and powered a header low into the bottom corner. The Parley keeper and a defender tried desperately to keep the ball out but to no avail and it finished in the back of the net. What a cracking goal, and with a two goal cushion, Westlands made their third substitution of the day, Aaron Sweet replacing Henry Lawrence-Napier who was struggling with a dead leg he received in the first half. Westlands continued to control the game and in the 75th minute scored again ! Nick Voss chased a long ball played down the left and stole possession as the Parley full back tried to shepherd the ball out of play. A perfect cross to the far post by Nick was met on the run by ALEX MURPHY who headed strongly across the keeper into the corner to complete his hat-trick. Another cracking goal and with Westlands now 4-1 up the game looked to be over. This was the second game in three days for both sides so they could be forgiven if the pace dropped a bit in the last 15 minutes. Nevertheless there were several chances created with Parley having nothing to lose and Westlands sitting back a bit, protecting what they had, but looking to hit the home side on the break. In the 80th minute a Parley forward cut in from the left and drilled a good shot wide of the far post. A minute later a Parley player hit a good shot from the edge of the box which Josh Payne held well. Then Alex Murphy almost made his haul for the day four when he headed a Nick Voss cross past the keeper only to see a defender head the ball off the line. A couple of minutes later Parley should really have scored when Josh Payne went to ground to block a shot but the ball fell to a Parley attacker who had the goal at his mercy but scuffed his shot wide from about 10 yards out. The final action of the match saw a defence splitting pass from Ant Herrin put Alex Murphy in the clear but the Parley keeper dashed out to block the shot with his legs.
A good win for Westlands who had controlled the game after a dodgy first half hour when Parley had been able to press hard. However the home side were unable to keep up that pace and when Sports shook off their stiffness they had taken control. Having gone 4-1 up in the second half Westlands played it a bit cagey but still looked in charge even although the home team huffed and puffed a bit late on.
Good performances all round today with special mention to Josh Payne who never put a foot wrong in goal and Jamie Green who was majestic throughout especially in the second half when he dropped back to centre half. But for the Man of the Match it’s hard to ignore the man who scored an excellent hat-trick so the award goes to ALEX MURPHY for his goal scoring exploits.
Saturday 20th April, Dorset Premier League: WESTLAND SPORTS 1 BALTI SPORTS 0
Another sunny day at Alvington and another hard pitch for the clash of 3rd v 4th in the table with Balti Sports the visitors. A couple of changes for Westlands with Jonny Manley returning to the defence in place of the injured Jack Dicker and in goal Toby Gallagher made his first appearance of the season.
The first attacking move came from Westlands after 4 minutes as Josh Payne fired over a good low cross that was hooked away for a corner. Then Balti responded with a shot that went well wide. In the 6th minute Westlands had a chance to open the scoring when Alex Murphy blocked a clearance and the ball fell to Adam Barratt who was clean through. He fired his shot past the keeper but it drifted wide of the far post. After the first early surge by Westlands, it was the visitors who began to take control, pressing hard and seeming to win the 50/50 balls. In the 12th minute Weslands gave the ball away on the edge of the box and Toby Gallagher had to be alert to make a good save. Five minutes later, from a corner, a Balti header went just wide and then a good shot from a Balti attacker went into the side net. In the 25th minute came a real let off for Westlands. It started with a soft free kick for Balti that was headed clear for a corner. From the resulting kick into a crowded goalmouth a Balti player got a shot in that came off the post and from the rebound another shot came off the bar before being scrambled away. After 27 minutes another Balti free kick as headed goalwards but well saved by Toby Gallagher. At last, after being on the back foot for a while, Westlands had a good attack in the 30th minute when a Sam Plumley cross was fired goalwards by Alex Murphy but the Balti keeper turned the ball away with his legs. Then a good cross from Ant Herrin was headed over by Alex Murphy and a free kick on the edge of the box was fired over by Ant Herrin after it was played short to him. Back came Balti in the 40th minute and when a cross was missed by Jonny Manley, a snap shot hit the post. A couple of minutes later Westlands broke well and a Josh Payne cross was just missed by Adam Barratt, and again, just before the break another Josh Payne cross was kept in play by Alex Murphy but his shot was blocked.
Stalemate at half time was a good result for Westlands really, as Balti had been the sharper side in the first half, working hard and closing down well. Could they keep it up for 90 minutes though, against a Westlands team who would surely up their game in the second half ?
Just two minutes into the half and the home side showed their intent. Ant Herrin showed good control out on the left and his cross found Josh Payne who just couldn’t get the ball down and his shot was blocked. However it was a good start for Westlands and they now looked in confident mood. Adam Barratt had a shot go just past the post in the 54th minute but a minute later it was Balti on the attack with a quick break that saw Jonny Manley divert a cross for a corner. Almost immediately Jonny Manley was up the other end putting a header wide of the Balti goal. In the 61st minute Josh Payne made a good run down the wing and crossed for Adam Barratt to head just wide. Defensive midfielder Jamie Green was then withdrawn and was replaced with a forward, Nick Voss, as Westlands tried to up the pressure. Another great cross by Josh Payne found no bodies in sky blue in the box and another chance went begging. After 64 minutes Ant Herrin fired in a good shot from 20 yards that the keeper punched away. The pressure was on and a free kick from Adam Barratt was flicked on by Ant Herrin and Alex Murphy dived full length but just failed to get his head on the ball. In another fast Balti break their player cut in from the right and fired a shot into the side net. The next good chance came in the 77th minute with a Nick Voss corner headed just over the bar by Scott Smith and a couple of minutes later a good free kick from Adam Barratt flew across the goalmouth with nobody getting a touch. After 81 minutes Alex Murphy was replaced by Luca Martin and this proved to be an inspired substitution in the 89th minute when he scored the winner. Josh Payne put a cross into the box and this time several Westland players were there to attack it. Henry Lawrence-Napier had a lunge but missed the ball which fell nicely for LUCA MARTIN who hooked it into the net with the aid of a deflection. A bit scrappy but they all count and no better time to score. There was still time for a couple more efforts from Westlands in stoppage time with Luca Martin looking to add to his tally by flashing a header just wide from a good Nick Voss cross. Finally in the 92nd minute Adam Barratt put a shot just wide.
It had been a hard struggle for Westlands but they got the result in the end thanks to a strong second half when they dominated the game.
The winner of the Man of the Match award is SCOTT SMITH who was solid at the back for Sports against a high scoring team and contributed greatly to the clean sheet.
Another road trip for Sports this time to the Purbeck Sports Centre in Wareham. The pitch was hard and bumpy so that would be a leveller but the weather was fine with no wind. Sports line-up saw Rich Pippin continue in goal, with Scott Smith and Jamie Green replacing the unavailable Jonny Manley and Callum Thompson.
A nice bright start from Westlands brought the first shot of the match in the second minute from Ant Herrin, but it was an easy save for the Wareham keeper. After 9 minutes a free kick for Westlands in a decent position saw Alex Murphy miss the target. It was already evident that the hard bumpy pitch was making the first touch difficult for the players and lots of passes were going astray which made for a scrappy game. Wareham’s first real attack in the 13th minute brought a cracking save from Rich Pippin as he dived to tip a shot over the bar. In the 16th minute Westlands took the lead with a cracking goal. Alex Murphy put ADAM BARRATT in behind the home defence with a lovely through ball and he took a touch and smashed it past the keeper from 15 yards. A lot of effort now but not much goalmouth action as Wareham fought mainly a rearguard action with the odd breakaway. In the 26th minute Alex Murphy had a shot from distance which flew over the bar and then Jamie Green burst forward but he didn’t quite get hold of his shot.
After 36 minutes a soft free kick conceded by Sports gave Wareham a chance but the low shot through the crowd was well gathered by Rich Pippin. The last 10 minutes of the half saw Sports claiming twice for a penalty when the Wareham keeper twice came out for crosses and took out Alex Murphy who was going up for the header. Neither time did the keeper get a touch on the ball but the referee was consistent and denied both appeals.
Half time, 1-0 to Westlands and deserved really as they had been on top for most of the half.
The first action of the second half was a Jamie Green shot that went wide of the post. Ten minutes in and a ball over the top put Adam Barratt clear. He squared the ball to Josh Payne who looked to have a tap in but he took a touch and that allowed a Wareham defender to make the block. But the second goal we wanted came in the 59th minute when Westlands took a quick throw in to Adam Barratt down the left wing. Adam delivered an early ball across the face of the goal and ALEX MURPHY completed the job with a cool sidefoot finish. Three minutes later Sports nearly put the game to bed when Alex Murphy cut the ball back to Ant Herrin but the Wareham keeper pulled off a great save to deny us a third goal. Then Scott Smith somehow found himself in possession in the opposition box but again the keeper came to Wareham’s rescue by tipping his shot round the post. As Sports piled on the pressure Sam Plumley put over a good cross which Josh Payne met with his head but his effort came off the post and was cleared. With 20 minutes left Wareham had a good attack that ended with a shot flying past the post. Sports then made two substitutions n quick succession. First Luca Martin came on in place of Josh Payne and then the hobbling Jack Dicker was replaced by Harry Vandervell, a move that required a bit of a team reshuffle. Going into the last 10 minutes Wareham had a shot from distance but it was well over the top. Wareham had nothing to lose now so started taking risks and this paid off in the 83rd minute when a through ball was volleyed into the far corner. Disappointing defending there from Westlands who, for the second time in four days, had let the opposition back into the game when we were looking comfortable. With their tails up Wareham pushed forward and Rich Pippin made a good save to keep a shot out. The ball was then drilled across the Westlands box and flew well wide of the far post. Then Westlands had a gilt-edged chance to finally put the game out of sight. Ant Herrin set up Harry Vandervell about 10 yards out and with only the keeper to beat he ballooned the ball miles over the bar. That one looked easier to score but it was the last significant action of the game.
Another nice win for Westlands but once again we had made things hard for ourselves by not burying simple chances and killing these games off.
The unanimous choice of the supporters for Man of the Match is ANT HERRIN for a midfield performance that combined hard work with some quality football.
After Saturday’s defeat Westlands really needed to get a win on the board so a trip away to Bridport was not ideal as they have a good side this season and will give anyone a game, especially at home. Playing under floodlights is always something different for us so hopefully the team would rise to the occasion.
With Sam watts injured, reserve keeper Rich Pippin stepped in, and there were also starting places for Jack Dicker and Callum Thompson replacing Scott Smith and Jamie Green.
It was a fine evening, if a bit chilly, and the pitch looked perfect so we were all set for a good game.
The first big chance came for Westlands in the 5th minute. Jack Dicker pinged a long ball over the top for Josh Payne to run onto but the keeper managed to deflect Josh’s shot round the post. A minute later Bridport replied with a cross to the far post that their #7, who was unmarked, screwed past the post. Westlands went down the other end and a Callum Thompson pass to Alex Murphy gave the big centre forward a chance but once again the home keeper charged out to beat the ball away for a corner. When the kick came in Josh Payne got well up for a header but put it just wide of the post. In the 10th minute the Bridport #9 had a good run and shot but his final shot missed the target. It had been an excellent opening ten minutes with both teams creating chances so hopefully this would continue. In the 16th minute Callum Thompson sprinted clear of the Bridport defence and squared the ball to Alex Murphy whose shot was tipped over the bar by the home keeper who was having a tremendous game. Sports keeper Rich Pippin was next to show his skills with a diving save low down at the post from the Bridport #9. In the 27th minute Callum Thompson split the Bridport defence with a nice through ball to Josh Payne but once again the Bridport keeper got in a block. Lots of chances were going astray for Westlands, just not clinical enough in front of goal at the moment. In the 30th minute came an even better chance. A nice pass down the right put Josh Payne away and he fired in low cross that Adam Barratt met on the run and somehow sliced his shot past the post. Then Josh Payne head flicked the ball on to Callum Thompson but his cross was blocked. After 37 minutes Bridport showed their teeth again when a low cross from the right zipped across the face of the Westlands goal. A minute later Sports gave the ball away in their own half and were nearly punished, Rich Pippin coming to the rescue to tip the final shot over the bar. With 42 minutes on the clock it was Westlands who broke the deadlock, Callum Thompson slid the ball out to ALEX MURPHY just on the right side of the penalty box and he took a touch and drilled a daisy cutter into the far corner of the net. A great strike that this time gave the keeper no chance !
That was the last action of the first half and although pleased to be a goal up the general feeling was it should have been more considering the chances we had created. Bridport had also had their moments so this game was nicely poised.
Sports opened the second half quickly and a ball over the top put Alex Murphy through but the keeper made an excellent save. In the 53rd minute Josh Payne skinned his full back and put over a great cross that Alex Murphy headed just past the post. Rich Pippin had to be on his toes a few minutes later to save a shot from a Bridport attacker. On the hour mark Westland were awarded a free kick about 20 yards out slightly to the left which Callum Thompson curled round the wall towards the far corner but the keeper dived low to turn it round the post. Another great save by the home keeper who was havinan impressive game. A minute later a Jonny Manley pass put Alex Murphy through but he rushed his shot a bit and blazed it over the top. Jack Dicker then made a good strong sliding tackle to win the ball but was shown a yellow card by the referee ! “Too aggressive” was the officials explanation, a bit harsh I thought ! Then Rich Pippin had a fairly comfortable save from a low Bridport effort. A big moment then came after 78 minutes when Westlands at last got the crucial second goal. Alex Murphy ran on to a deft little chip over the Bridport defence, and with the keeper coming out, Murph unselfishly squared the ball to SAM PLUMLEY who stroked it into the empty net. Desperate pleas from Bridport for offside but the referee wasn’t having it. I was right in line with the play and he definitely wasn’t offside (not that I’m biased !). That goal took the pressure off Sports and they looked comfortable now. A couple of substitutions were made with Sam Carney and Jamie Green replacing Ant Herrin and Alex Murphy. Westlands forced a corner in the 84th minute which led to Bridport scoring ! Callum Thompson took a poor one that didn’t clear the first defender and he played the ball upfield. With Westlands defenders up for the corner (why ?) Adam Barratt was covering but missed the through ball and a Bridport player was clear. From about 35 yards out he spotted Sports keeper Rich Pippin way off his line and executed a delightful lob that the keeper watched sail over his head and drop into the back of the net. A well taken goal, no doubt about that but a serious lapse of concentration by Westlands. That goal spurred on the home side and suddenly, instead of being comfortable, Sports were on the back foot having to defend. In the 87th minute Westlands gave away a soft free kick on the edge of their box. The Bridport #4 curled the ball over the wall and it was heading for the bottom corner until Rich Pippin threw himself full length to turn it round the post. A great save that preserved Sports one goal lead and that was really the last action of the game with Westlands playing out time in the corner.
A narrow win for Westlands but a deserved win as Sports were always the more likely side to score and had only looked under a bit of pressure in the last 5 minutes after conceding that goal.
The Man of the Match this week is JACK DICKER whose was making his first start for some time and settled into a strong game at centre half.
An important game, this one, that Sports really needed to win so a big crowd turned out at Alvington on a nice afternoon. Having said that, there was quite a strong crosswind which might be a bit of a problem. Teamwise, Westlands made three changes from last week with Jamie Green, Henry Lawrence-Napier and Alex Murphy replacing Luca Martin, Sam Carney and Callum Thompson.
We expect a strong start by Westlands at home and that is what we got with Sports battling for every ball and creating the first real chance after 4 minutes. Alex Murphy drove at the visitor’s defence and won a free kick about 22 yards out. Ant Herrin drove the kick low and hard past the far post. In the 7th minute Hamworthy launched a good attack and won a corner. That was cleared for a second corner which was eventually cleared upfield. A couple of minutes later Ant Herrin made space out on the right and fired over a low cross that the Hamworthy keeper grabbed on the ground. After 17 minutes came Hamworthy’s best effort yet with a curling shot that went just wide. Westlands were next to create a chance when Jonny Manley surged forward out of defence and fed the ball to Josh Payne who made a yard and drove over a perfect low cross but nobody was on the spot to convert. After 27 minutes a big let off for the visitor’s. Ant Herrin put a high free kick in to the far post, Scott Smith headed it down to Alex Murphy who hooked the ball goalwards only to see it bounce back off the crossbar and booted away to safety. A great effort by Westlands but better was to come a minute later. Alex Murphy closed down the keeper who had come out with the ball at his feet. The ball fell to HENRY LAWRENCE-NAPIER whose shot was deflected into the net off a Hamworthy player. A goal made out of nothing really and a crucial lead for Westlands. Sports needed to settle for 10 minutes or so after going ahead and they were looking comfortable when disaster struck. Goalkeeper Sam Watts went up for a cross and was challenged by a Hamworthy forward. Sam seemed to fall awkwardly and it was soon obvious he was in some difficulty. After lengthy treatment he tried to walk but was forced to come off. With no sub goalkeeper on the bench Westlands now had a big problem but Alex Murphy volunteered to take the gloves so Harry Vandervell was brought on to replace Alex up front. In the 41st minute Ant Herrin blotted his copybook by blasting a shot high over the bar and over the fence out onto the Cartgate Link road. Up at the other end Alex Murphy made his first save, confidently punching away a high cross. Hamworthy had another shot, just past the post and Josh Payne had an effort saved as we headed for half-time. Then, in the dying seconds of the half a simple ball over the top saw the Hamworthy #10 outpace the Westlands defence, which was a little square, and fire a shot into the far corner. Alex Murphy managed to get a hand to the ball but couldn’t keep it out. That was the very last action of the half so we turned round all square.
That equalising goal was a real blow to Westlands as we had hoped to get through to half time in the lead allowing us to re-think our strategy following the enforced team re-shuffle. It really put a different complexion on the game as a draw would suit Hamworthy so really Sports had to score again now.
The second half started quietly with neither side willing to commit too many men to attack but it was Hamworthy who created the first chance in the 53rd minute with a low shot that Alex Murphy saved comfortably. Then a Josh Payne free kick flew right across goal with no takers and a few minutes later Josh had a pop at goal but just missed the target. Then Hamworthy replied with a similar shot that went wide. As the game went into he last 20 minutes both defences seemed to be conscious of avoiding mistakes and were tending to hit longer balls which the wind was affecting so the game got a bit scrappy. Both teams introduced subs with Westlands bringing on Luca Martin for Jamie Green as they tried to chase the game. Ant Herrin dd create another chance with a low ball across the goalmouth but again no takers for Westlands. As we drifted into the final minutes a Hamworthy cross from the left wasn’t collected cleanly by the Sports stand-in keeper and a Hamworthy player was on the spot to flick the ball into the back of the net. A bad blow for Westlands and with time running out there was no way back and we finished 2-1 losers.
A difficult match for Sports that puts a severe dent in our title hopes. There are various questions to be mulled over in the aftermath of the game but looking back it had been a competitive contest which on another day, who knows, we may have gone on to win.
The Man of the Match this week is ALEX MURPHY whose was having a really strong game up front until Sam Watt’s injury when he unselfishly volunteered to go in goal sacrificing his own performance for the good of the team. Great character shown there by Murph !
Saturday 30th March, Dorset Prem League: WESTLAND SPORTS 5 SHAFTESBURY TOWN RES 3
For a second week in a row Westlands racked up five goals but in terms of performance, this one was way below the standard set at Blandford last week. Sports made two changes with Luca Martin replacing Nick Voss, who wasn’t risked after an injury last week, and Sam Carney replaced Henry Lawrence-Napier who was ill overnight. Shaftesbury arrived on the back of four successive wins and were not to be taken lightly.
Certainly there was no sign of complacency in the early stages as Sports tore into their opponents from the first whistle. After 4 minutes Westlands forced the first corner of the game. It was taken short to Callum Thompson who whipped over a cross which Josh Payne head flicked just past the far post. A couple of minutes later Callum Thompson tried his luck with a rising drive from 20 yards that the Shaftesbury keeper did well to turn over the bar. Westlands then had two corners in succession and from the second Sam Carney tried a lob/shot from the edge of the box that went wide. After 17 minutes Sports opened the scoring with a neat goal. Josh Payne won the ball and slipped a nice through ball to CALLUM THOMPSON who slid it past the onrushing keeper. Westlands were well in control at this point and it was no surprise when they increased their lead after 24 minutes. Sam Carney blasted in a good shot that the Shaftesbury keeper could only parry and JOSH PAYNE was on to the rebound in a flash to stick the ball in the back of the net. A minute later Ant Herrin had a shot at goal that flashed past the far post. Two goals behind, and with nothing to lose, the visitors now began to push forward and their #9 hit a good shot just wide of the post. At the other end Sam Carney put a header wide of the target. To be fair, I think Sam had one eye on the Shaftesbury keeper who was charging out, as he was a big lad ! Then Westlands keeper Sam Watts made his first save of the day, coming out to clutch a high free kick. In the 34th minute a short corner by Callum Thompson to Sam Plumley caught the Shaftesbury defence napping and Sam’s deep cross to the far post was met by Scott Smith but the keeper parried his header and the ball was booted clear. After 36th minutes Westlands had a shock when Shaftesbury scored. A cross to the far post was met by their #11 who was completely unmarked at the far post and had time to pick his spot and plant a header into the back of the net. That goal spurred the visitors on and they began to have a lot of possession and seemed to be first to every ball now. Consequently for the last 10 minutes of the half Westlands struggled to put any moves together although a Phil Wells shot from the edge of the box flew just over the bar.
A half time score of 2-1 was not what had seemed likely early in the half and the loss of a goal had definitely knocked Westlands off their stride and given Shaftesbury some Impetus.
Shaftesbury opened the second half with a shot but the ball bounced wide of the target. Westlands were still looking sluggish and were given a further shock when Shaftesbury equalised after 50 minutes. A free kick out on the left about 30 yards from goal was thumped low and hard into the crowded box. The ball flew though everyone and ended up in the far corner of the net. Sam Plumley tried his best to clear the ball off the line but could only help it into the back of the net. Another soft goal for Westlands to concede and this prompted immediate action from the manager as he tried to salvage a game that was slipping away. Luca Martin and Josh Payne were withdrawn and replaced by Alex Murphy and Louis Irwin. Westlands then had another scare when the Shaftesbury #11 ran clean through on goal from what looked like an offside position. The expected linesman’s flag did not come but Sam Watts saved the day with a diving save to turn the resulting shot round the post. That incident seemed to spark Westlands back to life and they took the lead again in the 62nd minute. Callum Thompson drilled a low free kick across goal and ALEX MURPHY smashed he ball in off the underside of the bar. Two minutes later Callum Thomson put another low cross across the front of the goal and Alex Murphy just failed this time to get on the end of it. Sam Carney was struggling now and he was replaced by Aaron Sweet in the midfield. In the 77th minute Westlands restored their two goal lead. Ant Herrin threaded a pass through to CALLUM THOMPSON who sprinted clear and slid the ball past the on-rushing keeper. Westlands seemed to have gained control of the match again and Aaron Sweet had a chance when he controlled an Alex Murphy pass but he blazed his shot over the bar. Just when we thought we could relax with only six minutes to go, Shaftesbury shocked us again by making it 4-3 ! A long hopeful ball into the box was not cleared by a hesitant Sports defence and Shaftesbury’s #15 thumped the ball into the back of the net. Back to one goal in it but Westlands didn’t allow it to stay that way for long. A good move down the left saw Phil Wells feed the ball down the line to Alex Murphy who let it run for Louis Irwin whose low cross into the box was met by CALLUM THOMPSON who got in front of the keeper and lifted the ball into the net. With time running out Shaftesbury had one more attempt to close the gap when a free kick was driven into the Westlands goalmouth where their player flicked it just wide.
Full time, 5-3 to Westlands, and although I think we deserved the win, we certainly made heavy weather of it.
Nevertheless, although not performing to our best, we still bagged the three points against a good Shaftesbury side who fought hard right to the end and will probably be disappointed not to have taken anything from the game.
In a match where Sports struggled a bit, the Man of the Match this week is CALLUM THOMPSON whose hat-trick was opportunist striking at its finest.
At last, we had a nice day which put a spring in everyone’s step for the cup semi-final. The pitch looked perfect for the match so no excuses there and the lads looked to be in good spirits as well so we were hoping for a big performance today. The starting 11 only had one change from the side that had won well at Portland and that was the introduction of Scott Smith for Jamie Green who was unavailable. We did have a fresh bench with Jack Dicker, Dwayne Forshaw and Luca Martin providing strong backup.
Westlands piled forward straight from the kick-off and soon had the home team on the back foot. In the 3rd minute a dangerous attack from Sports was scrambled away for a corner. The kick was drilled across goal to the far side where it was turned back across and again scrambled away for another corner. This one was cleared but it was good pressure by Westlands and had caused the home side a few panicky moments. Then Josh Payne got a decent cross in but the Blandford keeper came out to clutch. In the 6th minute Ant Herrin fed the ball out to Callum Thompson who made a yard and whipped a low ball across goal that was blocked for another corner that was cleared. Blandford then had a quick attack but the final shot was straight at Sports keeper Sam Watts who was called into action for the first time. With 18 minutes on the clock Westlands made the breakthrough that their early pressure deserved. Callum Thompson sprinted down the right past about three Blandford players before squaring the ball to JOSH PAYNE who thumped it into the corner of the net with the aid of a deflection. Still Westlands continued to dominate and five minutes later made it 2-0. Callum Thompson was again the provider, curling a free kick into the box where HENRY LAWRENCE-NAPIER made a great leap to outjump the keeper and head into the net. Even at this early stage Sports were looking in control but Blandford had shown in a couple of breaks that they had some pace up front that could trouble the Westlands defence. And so it proved in the 25th minute when a Blandford attack was halted by a free kick conceded by a Westlands defender. The ball was driven into the box where Adam Barratt tried to head clear but he could only help the ball into the goalmouth where the Blandford centre forward thumped a dipping header into the corner of the net. That goal got the home side back into the match and gave the home supporters something to cheer. Westlands were soon on the attack again and Henry Lawrence-Napier and Nick Voss both had attempts but shot wide. Then Jon Manley also headed a Callum Thompson free kick wide as Westlands tried to re-establish their two goal lead. In the 37th minute Nick Voss pulled up with a groin problem and he was replaced by Luca Martin who quickly got involved just before the break with a curling shot that the keeper saved.
Half time- Blandford 1 Westlands 2.
Looking back on the first half, Sports had pretty well dominated and although Blandford had a few quick breaks keeper Sam Watts only real saves had been to punch out a couple of corner kicks. We were a bit disappointed to have lost a goal, although it had been well taken, as perhaps a two goal margin for Westlands would have reflected the run of the match.
However, Sports came flying out the traps in the second half and scored in two minutes. Luca Martin chipped a nice little pass to Callum Thomson out on the left and he crossed to the far post where JOSH PAYNE prodded the ball into the net at full stretch. A good goal created by some good interplay by the front three. Only two minutes later Westlands scored again ! Josh Payne sprinted down the right wing, took on a defender and drilled over a low cross that CALLUM THOMPSON bundled in at the far post. The home side were a bit shell shocked as they now found themselves 4-1 down after only four minutes of the second half. In the 51st minute Blandford had an attempt but the shot was over the top. Westlands were looking dangerous every time they attacked now and nearly scored again after 55 minutes. A couple of twists and turns from Callum Thomson put a Blandford defender and goalkeeper on their backsides but the final shot was turned away off the line by the desperate lunge of another defender. In the 67th minute Westlands scored again with another good move. Some trickery in the box from Luca Martin saw him flick a neat pass to ANT HERRIN who thumped it into the net to make the score 5-1. Immediately Westlands put on their final two subs with Jack Dicker and Dwayne Forshaw replacing Scott Smith and Callum Thompson, who had given the Blandford defence a torrid time. Westlands were in total control now with Blandford reduced to a couple of long balls that Jack Dicker did well to snuff out on the cover. Sports attack with Dwayne Forshaw making his presence felt were still causing the Blandford defence problems and almost scored again in the 80th minute. A good pass from Luca Martin fed Ant Herrin who cut inside a defender and smashed the ball goalwards only to see the shot cannon off a defender. Sports were happy now just to play out time which they did with some good passing and possession play. Final score 5-1 and an excellent display by the Westlands team. Every player without exception did their job and some of the attacking play was a joy to watch.
Man of the Match this week is JOSH PAYNE who was a constant menace to the Blandford defenders and also claimed two goals, great performance.
Saturday 9th March, Dorset Premier League: PORTLAND UTD RES 0 WESTLAND SPORTS 7
As usual, a blustery day up on Portland for another “must win” game for Sports who were looking to bounce back after a couple of disappointing results. There were a couple of changes in the starting line-up, Jamie Green, back from honeymoon, came in at centre half in place of Scott Smith and, with Alex Murphy missing, Josh Payne returned to lead the line.
Westlands were soon in control of the game and opened the scoring after only 10mins. Phil Wells intercepted a pass out on the left wing and fed the ball in to JOSH PAYNE who quickly turned and fired the ball into the bottom corner.
The home team tried hard to respond but couldn’t make any headway and in the 30th minute found themselves two down. Josh Payne turned a defender down the right and played the ball in to CALLUM THOMSON who received the pass back to goal, feinted one way, sent the defender the other way and finished with aplomb at the near post.
The home side were deflated and five minutes later Sports went 3 up. Henry Lawrence-Napier made a good run from midfield, played through by a great ball. Henry tried to round the keeper but was bought down and ANT HERRIN stuck the resulting penalty into the bottom left hand corner.
With a 3-0 half time lead Westlands looked to have this game sewn up but there was no room for complacency as Portland would no doubt come out fired up and have a go.
Sports soon quashed any hope of a fight back by the home team by scoring a fourth goal after only 2 minutes of the second half. Ant Herrin played a through ball to Nick Voss who cut back, lost the defender, and whipped a low ball across the box for HENRY LAWRENCE-NAPIER to finish first time off the post. Sports were rampant now and the chances came thick and fast. Phil Wells missed a sitter 3 yards out at the back post when it looked harder to miss. Then Josh Payne latched on to a direct ball from Callum Thomson, managed to round the keeper but the angle was too tight and he put his shot in the side netting. Next a great ball in from Nick Voss went all the way through a crowd of players and Jamie Green just failed to connect at the back post. Another good chance.
Eventually, after 65 minutes, Westlands made it 5-0. Josh Payne dribbled into the box, he could have shot but squared across goal where a defender nearly scored an OG which was cleared cleared off the line, before the ball fell to NICK VOSS who smashed it in. Two minutes later it was 6-0. Ant Herrin played a ball to HENRY LAWRENCE-NAPIER looking for a return, but Henry saw the keeper off his line and scored a 35 yard wonder goal. “Best I’ve seen” said sub Harry Vandervell in the dugout. The game was really open now and Portland looked to have given up. In the 75th minute a through ball from Josh Payne put CALLUM THOMSON away. He showed his pace to get past the last defender and calmly slotted the ball past the keeper. That was the end of the scoring but there was one last incident before full time.
Portland got a free kick after some sloppy Westlands play. Their player struck the ball well and it was heading for the top corner when Sam Watts pulled off a great save after having nothing to do all game. Class, and another clean sheet for the Westlands keeper.
A fine win for Westlands to get back on track and good performances from all the players.
Man of the Match this week is CALLUM THOMSON whose pace and quick feet gave the opposition a headache all afternoon. Two good goals as well so a top performance.
A new venue for us and the pitch had a fair old slope from end to end. There was also a strong wind going down the hill, so it could be a game of two halfs !
Westlands were kicking up the hill into the wind in the first half so obviously we needed to try and keep things tight for the first 45. Unfortunately that plan took a severe hit when Timsbury scored after just 5 minutes. We conceded a free kick which gave them the chance to put the ball into the danger area and they scored with a back post header. Timsbury were putting on the pressure and were giving Westlands problems with long balls. Their best chance of increasing their lead was thwarted when Sam Watts made a good save from their striker who was clean through.
So half-time and only one goal down was not a disaster as with the slope and wind now in our favour we were confident we could go on and win the tie..
However, despite lots of possession in the second half we didn't really test their keeper. His only save coming when he fell on a rather weak Callum Thompson effort. Westlands introduced Josh Payne, Harry Vandervell and Nick Voss in an effort to score and Josh Payne had a shot that flashed just wide. That was about the total sum of Sports efforts and with the home team defending the hill well we just couldn’t break through.
A poor performance from Westlands and on the day the better side triumphed.
Man of the Match this week is HENRY LAWRENCE-NAPIER who gave 100% all game (as he always does !)
What a day for a game of football. The sun was shining and the temperature for a February day was positively balmy. We also arrived for our first visit to Gillingham’s new facility. And very impressive it was. Self-contained and with everything you need.
The game kicked off and we discovered the one problem with the new venue. The pitch was bumpy and bobbly and was not aiding the normal style of football that Westland try to play. Gillingham were very quick out of the blocks and had us penned back and just minutes into the game should have scored from a pull back but luckily for us Tim Trevett blazed over from six yards with the goal gaping. Gillingham were causing us problems from corners and we just couldn’t get our normal game going or adapt to the conditions we faced. The game was prickly with the referee taking flak from both sets of players. Eventually we did manage to put pressure on the Gillingham goal with Callum Thompson driving forward and flashing a shot just wide. With one of the Gillingham players in the sin bin we had a great passage of play in the Gillingham box but despite numerous efforts we could not turn this possession into a goal. The only goal of the first half came in it’s dying moments. A Gill player ran into the box and tried to turn past Adam Barratt. The referee adjudged that our skipper had committed a foul and pointed to the spot. It certainly seemed soft and to make matters worse for Sports Adam Barratt was sent to the sin bin for his protestations. The penalty was duly dispatched and moments later the half time whistle was blown.
The score was probably a fair reflection of a half in which Gillingham dominated and caused us problems but we felt a bit hard done by with the penalty decision. Either way we were going to have to improve in the second half to have any chance of getting something from this match.
The performance in the second half was much better. Sports certainly had more of the possession and the problems that Gillingham had caused in the first half had dried up but despite the improvements we weren’t really testing the keeper.
The one chance Gillingham did have brought a magnificent triple save out of Sam Watts. Then came a moment of controversy. A ball over the top was collected by a stretching Adam Barratt, he controlled well and got his shot off but the Gill keeper made a great block. Following up was Alex Murphy who swept the ball into the net for the equaliser. To our disbelief the flag went up for offside. There was no flag when Barratt was played through and as he was the furthest player forward on the pitch Alex Murphy couldn’t have been offside in reacting to the rebound so we were a little mystified when the flag went up. Some took it worse than others and Alex Murphy was invited to spend ten minutes in the sin bin due to his protests. We were still pushing without threatening too much and the game looked like it might peter out into a disappointing defeat. However just like in the first half there was drama in the last minute. A ball into the box was collected by Alex Murphy and he hit the deck. Was there a foul? Again just like the Gillingham penalty it looked a bit soft but given that and the disallowed goal we felt we were due one. To make matters more interesting the Gillingham goalkeeper found the decision hard to take and got himself sent to the sin bin to see out the final minute of the game. This meant an outfield player had to don the goalkeeper’s jersey and face the penalty. ANT HERRIN stepped up and with the sin bin and the new goalkeeper had to wait a while before it was taken and pressure mounted. Ant was his normal cool self and stroked the ball down the middle. And that was that. Just after kick off the referee blew to end proceedings.
Two points dropped or one point gained? It can viewed as either but after a run of fine performances today’s was not so special and maybe it should be judged as the latter.
Man of the Match this week is SAM WATTS for a fabulous triple save that kept us in the game at 1-0.
It was a fine day and the pitch looked quite good, perhaps a little bumpy but nice and green. The team news saw 3 changes from last week with Scott Smith, Nick Voss and new signing Callum Thompson starting in place of Adam Barratt, Sam Carney and Liam Stobbs.
Sports were kicking down the slope in the first half and were soon pushing forward, forcing the first corner in the 3rd minute. Aaron Sweet swung it over, Scott Smith got a head to it and the final touch came from Alex Murphy but the Holt keeper was well positioned to make the save. Callum Thompson was looking sharp and a nice through ball put Nick Voss in behind the Holt defence but his attempted lob was a bit ambitious and drifted over the bar. Nevertheless good early pressure from Westands who then opened the scoring in the 14th minute. A lovely diagonal ball was played to Callum Thompson out on the right wing and he took on his full back, got to the bye line and fired the ball across goal where NICK VOSS was on the spot to sidefoot into the net from 5 yards out. What a goal that was, set up by the pace of Callum Thompson and finished with aplomb by Nick Voss. Sports could have doubled their lead 2 minutes later when the Holt keeper came charging out to the edge of his box but was beaten to the ball by Nick Voss whose shot towards the empty net was a bit weak and a defender got across to clear the danger. Holt were soon on the attack and a free kick gave them an opportunity but the shot went over the bar. Then Westlands had 2 players booked in an incident leading to a second free kick, Scott Smith and Phil Wells. Unknowingly, referee Mr Bourton created something of a record there as this was Phil Wells first ever yellow card in over 30 years of football ! This time the free kick was blocked and cleared. In the 29th minute the Holt #10 was put clear by a through ball but Westlands keeper Sam Watts came out to narrow the angle and blocked the shot. Holt were having the lion’s share of possession but Westlands were always dangerous when they broke down the slope. In the 43rd minute Westlands had a bit of a let off which started with a good bit of skill from Holt’s #9 who made space and got a shot away which Sam Watts blocked. The rebound fell to a Holt player whose shot came back off the crossbar, and finally the third shot flew just wide of the far post ! Westlands then finished the half with another Aaron Sweet corner which Alex Murphy hooked over the top. That was the last action of the first half and Sports were obviously well pleased to go in 1-0 up.
It had been a good first half for Westlands with that all important goal but the second half promised to be interesting with Holt kicking down towards their home support. The game was delicately poised.
The second half settled into an early pattern of Holt pressure and Westlands attacking on the break. In the 52nd minute Alex Murphy almost cashed in after a mistake in the Holt defence but his shot went straight at the keeper. A few minutes later a mistake in the Westlands defence forced Sam Watts into an excellent save, tipping the ball over the bar. Westlands were on the back foot now but the two central defenders, Scott Smith and Jonny Manley, were winning most things in the air and when Holt tried to play through on the ground Sports were getting plenty of men behind the ball making things difficult. In the 62nd minute Westlands made a substitution with Adam Barratt replacing Nick Voss. Holt continued to press but weren’t getting any shots on target as the Westlands defence stood firm. Westlands attacks were now few and far between but in the 66th minute a layoff from Ant Herrin gave Callum Thompson a shooting chance but his effort went straight to the keeper. Still Sports defended in numbers and with 10 minutes to go made another substitution, Liam Stobbs replacing Aaron Sweet who had worked hard in the Westlands midfield. In the 85th minute came a let off for the home team as Sports almost grabbed a second goal. Adam Barratt attacked down the right wing, cut inside onto his left foot and thumped in a shot which bounced off the far post. There was still more drama to come in the final minute of the game when a long ball saw Holt’s #10 outpace the Westlands defence and run through on goal. As Sam Watts came out the attacker went round him and our hearts sank as it looked a certain goal. However the Holt attacker somehow scuffed his shot past the post and Sports breathed again ! To be fair it looked as if the ball had taken a bobble and came off his shin ! That miss was followed a minute later by the final whistle and ended a nailbiting few minutes for the Westlands camp.
It had been an excellent match with the home side feeling they should have got something out of the game considering they had most of the pressure. However, Sports had played with great spirit and good organisation and having gone in front they were determined not to lose. An excellent three points against a very good team !
The Man of the Match award goes to SAM WATTS. When defending a lead its good to have a goalkeeper in form as the last line of defence and Westlands stopper is in excellent form at the moment. Once again some excellent saves helped secure the points.
The weather was again a major issue with heavy rain overnight and although very soggy the pitch was perfectly playable for the visit of Blandford. We had beaten the visitors only two weeks previous at their place and it wasn’t really ideal having to face them again so soon. Although we prevailed 2-1 down there it had been a tough match so we could expect nothing less today. Westlands made three changes from the team that won at Shaftesbury on wednesday night with Ant Herrin, Sam Carney and Liam Stobbs starting in place of Scott Smith, Harry Vandervell and Nick Voss.
The game took a few minutes to settle and it was the visitors who created the first half chance in the 5th minute but their #7 mishit his shot. A couple of minutes later Alex Murphy latched on to a through ball and raced away towards the Blandford goal. As he got to the penalty area he smashed a shot goalwards but couldn’t keep it on target. Then Blandford created a couple of openings with their #8 shooting past the post and then a shot from distance flew just over the bar. After 15 minutes Ant Herrin drilled a shot past the post as Westlands tried to get into the game. A lot of possession was being cheaply given way by the Sports players and 50/50 challenges were tending to go the way of the opposition. Nevertheless in the 18th minute Sam Carney swung over a cross from out on the left almost on the byeline and it deceived the keeper and bounced off the bar. Liam Stobbs picked up the rebound out on the right and crossed back in to Ant Herrin whose header was clutched by the keeper. Then came a let off for Westlands in the 21st minute when a deep cross from the left was met by the Blandford #4 and his shot hit keeper Sam Watts leg, then hit the post and bounced away for a corner. In came the kick and everyone missed it as it flew across the face of the goal. Good pressure by Blandford and they made it count in the 22nd minute with the opening goal. A ball into the box was not cleared with two Westlands defenders seeming to get in each other’s way. A Blandford player picked up the loose ball, squared it to their #8, and he thumped a shot into the net. Westlands were struggling to keep the ball at this stage and in the 27th minute came another close shave. The ball was gifted to Blandford in the midfield and their #7 was put clean through. As he ran into the box and was about to shoot Sports skipper Adam Barratt made an exceptional sprint back and pulled off a perfect recovery tackle to take the ball off the striker’s toe. After a really poor spell of play by Westlands they rallied a bit in the last 15 minutes of the half. Aaron Sweet lined up a free kick and got it on target but straight at the keeper who made an easy save. Then Liam Stobbs fed Alex Murphy whose lob shot was deflected over the top. And, in the final action of the half, Ant Herrin fired in a shot that flew past the post. Half-time 1-0 to the visitors.
The first half hour had been poor by Westlands standards, perhaps a bit of a hangover from Wednesday night’s exertions, but the last 15 minutes had shown a bit of fight so things could definitely be turned round in the second half.
And what a start Westlands made to the half. Two minutes after the restart Phil Wells played the ball in to Ant Herrin in the box and he held it up well before laying it off to LIAM STOBBS who stroked it into the far corner of the net. Nice move and a cool finish, just what Sports needed to get back into the game. However Blandford almost made us pay for some poor marking only two minutes later when their player hit the post with a shot that rebounded out and was cleared. The match was end to end with both teams going for the win. In the 55th minute Alex Murphy tried a spectacular overhead kick that flew just past the post. Three minutes later Sports made their first substitution with Sam Carney, who has been carrying an injury, coming off to be replaced by Harry Vandervell. Then it was Blandfords turn to have a let off when Alex Murphy whacked over a cross/shot from the right wing that beat the keeper but bounced off the far post back into his arms ! That was followed in the 61st minute with Blandfords #8 getting in a good shooting position but his shot went just over the bar. Another substitution followed by Westlands with Liam Stobbs being replaced by Nick Voss. In the 65th minute Blandfords #8 again found space for a shot but blasted over. This was followed by Westlands final substitution, an injury to Adam Barratt forcing him off and he was replaced by Matt Philips. Before the Westlands defence had got themselves organised we conceded again. A shot from outside the box was half blocked but the ball looped over to the far post where the Blandford #7 turned it in from close range. You wouldn’t have bet money on a home win at this stage but credit to the Westlands players, they rolled up their sleeves and went for it. We had a front three now of Alex Murphy, Harry Vandervell and Nick Voss and they began to cause the Blandford defence a few problems. In the 73rd minute Nick Voss danced into the box and was brought down for a penalty ! ANT HERRIN took the responsibility and drilled the ball past the keeper to make it 2-2 and game on with 15+ minutes still to go. Sports were pressing now and in the 76th minute the Blandford keeper saved a shot from Alex Murphy. Then a long ball put Harry Vandervell through but with only the keeper to beat he leant back and blazed his shot well over the top. Try as they might Westlands could not break down the Blandford defence and when they forced a corner in the last minute it looked like the final throw of the dice. Aaron Sweet fired over the kick and centre half JONNY MANLEY flung himself full length to power a header into the back of the net ! Sports had their noses in front for the first time in the game and we were looking for the referee’s whistle when there was one final twist in the game. A nice ball down the left put Nick Voss away and he showed good skill to drive into the box and cross to the far post where ALEX MURPHY was steaming in to thump the ball into the net for number 4 !
That was that, a 4-2 victory for Westlands but the scoreline did not really tell the story of the game. Blandford had been strong opponents and I don’t think anyone would have grudged them a point if they had held on at 2-2. Westlands hadn’t played that well but sheer determination and will to win had got them over the line in the end. I suppose it’s nice to win when you don’t play at your best but it doesn’t do anything for the fingernails !
All in all an excellent afternoon’s entertainment.
The Man of the Match award goes to ANT HERRIN who played in a midfield role and was outstanding for the full 90 minutes, driving the team on right to the end.
Wednesday 6th February, Dorset Premier League: SHAFTESBURY RES 1 WESTLAND SPORTS 2
After a nice dry day the weather took a turn for the worse when the temperature dropped and the rain came on as the teams went out to warm up. From then on it poured down with virtually no let up all night so not good conditions for football. The pitch had looked in pretty good shape at the start but it soon softened up and was very slippery on top, just the conditions for an upset !
Westlands made 3 changes from the last game with Adam Barratt, Harry Vandervell and Jonny Manley returning to the starting 11 in place of Jamie Green, Ant Herrin and Sam Carney.
Sports started with the two big men, Murphy and Vandervell, up top and that tactic played dividends straight away when Westlands opened the scoring in the 2nd minute. Harry Vandervell played a nice 1-2 with Alex Murphy and took off down the left wing at full tilt with the defenders struggling to keep up. Showing great composure Harry drove on into the Shaftesbury box and delivered a perfect low pass across the face of the goal where it was sidefooted in at the far post by NICK VOSS. What a cracking goal, a great pass by Murph to put Harry away down the left and a great run and cross neatly finished. Great start by Westlands, 1-0, 2 minutes gone !
The home side gradually began to settle and in the 8th minute had their first shot at goal but it was an easy save for Sports keeper Sam Watts. A couple of minutes later Shaftesbury put together a nice move that ended with their left winger driving a low shot just past the far post. In the 14th minute Harry Vandervell cut inside from the left and curled a right footer just past the far post. A minute later Aaron Sweet hit a thundering shot from just outside the box that hit the underside of the bar and bounced out with the keeper beaten. Harry Vandervell headed the rebound into the net but was flagged offside by the linesman. Was he offside when the ball was kicked ? Westlands continued to attack and had a couple of corners in quick succession that were scrambled away by the home defence under pressure. Then Shaftesbury had a spell of pressure and in the 26th minute Sam Watts made a good save turning away a shot after a Shaftesbury player had been given too much time in the box. Then a good cross by the Shaftesbury right back was headed wide of the far post as the home side continued to enjoy some territorial advantage. As the clock passed the half hour mark it was Westlands turn to attack and Jonny Manley just failed to get on the end of an Aaron Sweet free kick at the far post. Then Alex Murphy cushioned a nice little header down to Henry Lawrence-Napier but the shot was well over the bar. Westlands should then have added goal number two in the 37th minute when the Shaftesbury keeper completely miscued his kick and presented the ball to Harry Vandervell about 15 yards out. It looked a certain goal but the big Westlands striker hit a rather casual side foot shot straight at the keeper, what a let off for the home side ! A couple of minutes later Alex Murphy chased a long ball through the middle and as the keeper rushed out to clear Alex got a block on his kick and the ball fell to Harry Vandervell who made no mistake this time, slotting the ball into the back of the net. To the Westland players dismay the linesman’s flag went up for another offside decision, but did the keeper have the last touch ? Just before half time a Shaftesbury player broke through and tried to lob Sam Watts but Sports keeper got a hand to it and parried it away.
Half time and 1-0 to Westlands in what had been a fairly even half possession wise but Westlands had looked much more dangerous in attack, and could easily have been 2 or 3 goals in front. Shaftesbury had created a couple of decent chances so with only one goal in it this game was still in the balance.
Sports made a substitution at half time with Liam Stobbs replacing Nick Voss.
Westlands opened the second half with the ball moving quickly from Sam Plumley to Harry Vandervell to Aaron Sweet whose low drive fizzed past the far post. In the 53rd minute Westlands had a bit of a scare when Sam Watts missed his kick, but Jonny Manley got back to clear the danger. The heavy going was beginning to take its toll now and Sports made another substitution with Harry Vandervell withdrawn and replaced by a midfield player Sam Carney. A good move as Adam Barratt and Henry Lawrence-Napier had battled hard all night and were probably glad of the help. After an hour came Shaftesbury’s best chance so far. Their right winger was unmarked and he hit a daisy cutter that came off the far post and was grabbed by keeper Sam Watts. A bit of a let off there, however in the 64th minute Westlands extended the led to 2-0 with another good goal. Alex Murphy made a storming run down the left, cut inside and passed square to Liam Stobbs on the edge of the box. Liam laid the ball back to SAM CARNEY who let fly from 25 yards through a crowd of players and the ball flew into the back of the net with the help of a slight deflection. That should have taken the pressure off Westlands but unfortunately, in the 70th minute they conceded a goal that put things back in the melting pot. A ball was played into the box and the Shaftesbury left winger had time to control it in front of goal and thump a good shot into the back of the net. Looked like a bit of tired defending in that moment so Westlands management reacted immediately with some fresh legs introduced at the back, Scott Morgan replacing Scott Smith. Sam Watts made another good save in the 74th minute as Shaftesbury looked for an equaliser, pushing the ball for a corner. Going into the last 10 minutes and some signs of cramp were evident as the strength sapping conditions began to have an effect. Phil Wells then joined the attack and put over a good cross that Henry Lawrence-Napier got his head to but couldn’t get his effort on target. It was end to end as Sam Watts then had to turn a shot round the post. Then finally Adam Barratt drove into the Shaftesbury box but seemed to just have a touch too many and his final shot was blocked.
The referee’s final whistle ended a cracking match considering the conditions. A great effort by Westlands who showed an excellent team spirit and a good result, obviously, as that was our game in hand and we had to win it, so a good night for Sports.
The Man of the Match award goes to SAM WATTS whose handling was excellent in conditions that were not ideal for goalkeepers.
In a dress rehearsal for the Dorset Premier League Cup Semi-Final, Westlands visited Blandford on league business and were looking for a good result.. Three players dropped out of last week's starting line-up with injury or illness, Harry Vandervell, Jonny Manley and Sam Carney. The manager dipped into the squad and Jamie Green lined up at centre half, Adam Barratt returned to fill the midfield berth and Alex Murphy moved to centre forward with Nick Voss filling the wide right slot. Liam Stobbs was joined on the bench by Dwayne Forshaw. A sloping pitch, a windy day and a slippy surface meant we weren't expecting silky football but more than likely effort and application plus a sprinkling of quality would be the recipe for success.
Sports dominated the game and took the lead after 20 minutes with a lovely goal. Nick Voss made a good run down the middle and Alex Murphy put him through one on one with the keeper. Showing great composure NICK VOSS rounded the keeper and slotted the ball into the empty net. Cool finish from the striker to open his account for the club since signing from Chickerell two weeks ago. Half time 1-0 Westlands.
So far so good for Westlands who hadn't really been troubled in a fairly scrappy, but hard fought, first half.
Westlands were looking to wrap things up in the second half but had to wait until the 80th minute to score that important second goal. Liam Stobbs started the move off with some good work down he right, and his cross picked out Alex Murphy in the middle. Alex laid the ball back into the path of HENRY LAWRENCE-NAPIER who was charging in and he swept the ball into the corner of the net. Another great goal from Westlands showing just that touch of quality required.
Westlands could relax a bit now but went to sleep in injury time when a long ball through the middle was missed by centre half Jamie Green allowing a Blandford player to run through on goal. As the Blandford player shot, Scott Smith lunged into a tackle that brought the attacker down for a penalty which was tucked away. Fairly clear cut decision that one I think, but it proved to be no more than a consolation goal for the home team but cost Sports keeper Sam Watts his clean sheet !
13 heroes for Westland in this match as it was a gruelling battle and they all toughed it out.
The Man of the Match award this week goes to HENRY LAWRENCE-NAPIER for a non-stop performance in midfield, must have covered miles, capped by a fantastic goal.
Saturday 19th January, Dorset Premier League: WESTLAND SPORTS 6 SWANAGE TOWN & HERSTON 0
With heavy overnight and early morning rain the match was in some doubt but thankfully the skies cleared and we had a lovely afternoon. The pitch naturally was soft on top but considering the amount of rain that had fallen it was in pretty good nick. Westlands made a couple of changes from the previous week with Aaron Sweet coming in wide left and Scott Smith replacing Olly Wake who was ill.
The visitors took control straight from the kick off and soon had Westlands pinned back in their own half. They had one pop at goal during this spell but it went well over the top. After about 5 minutes on the back foot Westlands eventually got going and in the 6th minute, against the run of play, they took the lead. Harry Vandervell and Aaron Sweet combined well down the left, Harry cut in and laid the ball back to ALEX MURPHY whose shot hit the keeper’s foot and rolled into the corner of the net. That goal settled Sports and they began to put on the pressure. An Aaron Sweet free kick picked out Alex Murphy but his shot flew past the far post. Then a great through ball put Harry Vandervell away down the left. He put over a good cross that Alex Murphy headed just past the far post at the second attempt. After 12 minutes Swanage should really have scored. A soft free kick was awarded against Westlands and as they moaned to the referee Swanage took a quick one and their player was clean through. His shot on the run hit the post and bounced out to Sports keeper Sam Watts who gratefully grabbed it. A switch off by Westlands had nearly cost them dear and the management were fuming on the touchline. Five minutes later Swanage had another chance when their #9 was unmarked at the far post at a corner but put his header wide of the target. Westlands then had a chance after 19 minutes when Ant Herrin slipped a nice through ball to Harry Vandervell who let fly with thumping shot that the keeper did well to block. Then Sam Plumley sold keeper Sam Watts short with a pass back, a Swanage forward got in first but his shot was saved by the diving Watts. In the 23rd minute an Aaron Sweet free kick was headed over by Jonny Manley as the game swung from end to end. That was followed by a mazy run from the Swanage #10 who cut inside and shot bringing a diving save from Sam Watts. Another Aaron Sweet cross was headed over the bar as Westlands replied. A minute later a poor kickout from the Swanage keeper went straight to Aaron Sweet whose attempted lob shot was double fisted away by the relieved visitor’s custodian. In the 34th minute Ant Herrin had a shot saved before Westlands doubled their lead a minute later. Harry Vandervell cut in from the left and his cross (or was it a shot ?) was turned into the net by HENRY LAWRENCE-NAPIER from close range. With Westlands now looking in control and Swanage a bit shocked to find themselves two down, the last 10 minutes of the half passed without any further major incident so the half time score was 2-0 to Westlands.
The visitor’s had given a good account of themselves in the first half and probably felt they didn’t deserve to be 2-0 behind. Nevertheless Westlands had created a lot of chances and always looked likely to score when they did attack. The general feeling round the tea bar thought Sports should go on and add a couple more in the second half.
Harry Vandervell, who had had a lively first half, didn’t reappear for the second having suffered a groin strain so Luca Martin lined up for the second half out wide right with Alex Murphy moving into the centre. Three minutes into the half Ant Herrin was put through but the Swans keeper came out and made a good block. Then in the 58th minute Swanage had a decent attack, forcing a couple of corners but couldn’t get an attempt at goal. A minute later, Alex Murphy made a tremendous run down the right wing, dodged past Sports assistant manager and the linesman on the way, and put over a peach of a cross that Henry Lawrence-Napier just failed to turn into the net. In the 63rd minute Swanage shot themselves in the foot with some dodgy defending that led to Westlands third goal. As the visitor’s tried to pass the ball out of defence they were put under pressure at the edge of their own box by Alex Murphy and Luca Martin. That led to a wayward pass that was snapped up by ALEX MURPHY and he coolly side-footed the ball into the back of the net. Good pressure by the Westland players created the goal that looked to have made the game safe. Another substitution was then made with Scott Smith being replaced by Adam Barratt. That meant a bit of a shuffle round with Phil Wells moving to centre half, Aaron Sweet dropping in to left back with Adam Barratt taking the wide left position. The changes certainly didn’t upset the Westlands rhythm as they scored the fourth goal 2 minutes later ! Some good passing in the build up for this one with Henry Lawrence-Napier finally slipping the ball through to ALEX MURPHY who side-footed it past the keeper into the corner with consummate ease. That goal prompted the final Westlands substitution with Sam Carney coming off and Nick Voss coming on. In the 79th minute it was 5 for Westlands and 4 for ALEX MURPHY as he pounced on a short pass back, rounded the keeper and stuck the ball in the net. Then Luca Martin had to come off with a hamstring problem leaving Westlands down to 10 men for the rest of the game, having already used all three subs. With 5 minutes to go a lovely pass put Nick Voss away down the left and he turned inside onto his right foot and tried to curl a shot into the far corner. Unfortunately it didn’t turn enough and flew past the far post. A minute later Jonny Manley made a run out of defence into the Swanage half. As the defence seemed to melt away in front of him he raced on into the Swanage box where he was tripped for a penalty. JONNY MANLEY picked himself up and took the kick himself, drilling the ball past the keeper. That was the final action of the half and the referee’s whistle ended a 6-0 win for Westlands.
The result was perhaps a bit flattering but to win 6-0 when not producing your best performance is an excellent result,
The Man of the Match award this week goes to four-goal ALEX MURPHY, who was “Mr Cool” in front of goal with some clinical finishing. It is remarkable what he has achieved in recent weeks. Promoted from the reserves into the squad to replace Jamie Irwin he has notched 10 goals in 7 games, terrific stats and we hope he can keep it up !
Saturday 12th January, Dorset Premier League: STURMINSTER NEWTON 0 WESTLAND SPORTS 4
Sturminster Newton has been a happy hunting ground for us in recent years including, of course, our cup final win there last May. On a bitter afternoon Westlands fielded a couple of new faces, Harry Vandervell, who started up front, and Nick Voss who was on the bench. Phil Wells replaced Aaron Sweet at left back and Luca Martin got a start out on the left wing. Also on the bench were Jamie Green and Liam Stobbs.
Sports got control of the ball straight away and began to pass it around under virtually no pressure from the home team. After a couple of minutes this led to the first goal. Jonny Manley won the ball and fed ANT HERRIN who drove into the Sturminster half. As the home team backed off, Ant hit a thumping shot from 30 yards that flew past the startled keeper into the bottom corner of the net. Well, what a start and there was more to come. Westlands kept the pressure on and in the 6th minute it was 2-0. Henry Lawrence-Napier won the ball in midfield, Ant Herrin headed it on to Alex Murphy who, in turn head-flicked the ball over the defence to HARRY VANDERVELL who ran through and coolly lobbed the keeper as he rushed out. It was still one way traffic and the next chance came when Sam Carney won the ball and slipped in Harry Vandervell but his shot cleared the crossbar. In the 18th minute another shot flew over the bar, this time an Ant Herrin free kick. Three minutes later Harry Vandervell raced through only to be hacked down just outside the box. The resulting yellow card for the defender was a generous decision by the referee. Alex Murphy lined up for the free kick and blasted it well over the top. In the 23rd minute the Sturminster keeper slipped over when picking up a back pass and HARRY VANDERVELL robbed him of the ball and smashed it into the net past a defender who had got back to cover on the goal-line.Three nil with less than 25 minutes gone, things were looking grim for the home side but they kept trying to mount attacks but couldn’t get a shot in to trouble Sam Watts in the Westlands goal. In the 35th minute Luca Martin laid the ball back to Phil Wells whose pinpoint cross was headed over the bar by Alex Murphy. The home side now began to exert a bit of pressure and Sam Watts had to save a shot that was straight at him. Then Sturminster won a corner and their player got up well to win the header but it went well wide. The final action of the half saw Ant Herrin head flick the ball on to Henry Lawrence-Napier who was charging through the middle. Henry drew the keeper and went round him but his final shot from the angle was brilliantly blocked by a defender’s diving boot. A real let-off for Stur there.
A nice three goal lead for Westlands at half time and really it could have been more. Sam Carney, Henry Lawrence-Napier and Ant Herrin had dominated the midfield so any attempts by Sturminster to build an attack were quickly snuffed out. Same again second half was the hope of the Westland supporters.
Westlands resumed after the break on the attack and Ant Herrin played a neat 1-2 with Harry Vandervell before firing in a shot that the Stur keeper tipped over the bar, great save. After 52 minutes Westlands made their first substitution with Harry Vandervell being replaced by Nick Voss, one new boy for another. Five minutes later came the fourth goal for Westlands with the substitute heavily involved. A lovely passing move down the right saw Nick Voss get to the byeline and cut the ball back to ALEX MURPHY who lost his footing but managed to scoop the ball into the net in a crowded goalmouth. On the hour Jonny Manley retired from the game and Jamie Green took his place at centre half and a couple of minutes later Luca Martin was replaced by Liam Stobbs. Then Nick Voss burst through but the keeper just got a touch to his shot and deflected it wide. In the 63rd minute Ant Herrin blazed a free kick over the bar. It looked like more goals must come as Sports pressed but the home side were still battling hard and in the 75th minute their #8 cut in from the left and fired a good low shot past the far post. Liam Stobbs had made a couple of his trademark quick breaks down the left since coming on and in the dying minutes he sprinted through the middle but fired his shot straight at the keeper.
The final whistle ended a good afternoon for Sports. We had been in charge from the start and had never really looked like conceding a goal all afternoon. Going forward we should have made more of the numerous chances we created but too many chances were rushed and just blazed over the bar. Nevertheless a good away day enjoyed by all who made the trip.
The Man of the Match this week is ANT HERRIN who dropped back into the midfield and revelled in the extra space that gave him.
This was a tough assignment against the team currently 2nd in the league table so all to play for. Not the best time, therefore, to be hit by an illness bug that saw three players, Adam Barratt, Jamie Green and Scott Smith call off on the morning of the match. Sam Carney was drafted into midfield and with new signing Steve Flynn added to the squad and Luca Martin back after injury we looked to have patched things up. That was until the pre-match warm-up, when Josh Payne tweaked his hamstring and Sam Carney said he felt unwell. Both players, however, said they would start so it was with fingers firmly crossed that we kicked off.
As expected, the home side started quickly and had an early effort in the 2nd minute with a shot from 20 yards that went past the post. A couple of minutes later another shot from about 30 yards out also went wide. Westlands were having difficulty getting hold of the ball and for the first ten minutes the game was played in the Westlands half but no real panic so far with only a couple of efforts at goal. In the 11th minute Sports put a nice attacking move together and won a corner out on the left. Aaron Sweet swung it over and Alex Murphy put a strong header goalwards that was cleared off the line. Westlands were having a good little spell now and another attack could have seen them go in front. A Westland player was fouled just inside the Merley half and the ball broke to Alex Murphy who rifled a shot into the top corner from about 35 yards out. The keeper never even moved such was the power of the shot but unfortunately the referee called play back and awarded Sports a free kick for the foul ! Another attack down the right won Westlands another corner that was cleared away. In the 22nd minute Merley had a free kick in a good position but the shot was driven past the far post. Ten minutes later another corner to Westlands and another header by Alex Murphy, this time just wide. At this point Josh Payne decided he couldn’t continue and he was substituted by Luca Martin. The home side then began to press again for the last 15 minutes of the half. They had a good effort on target in the 38th minute but Sam Watts, the Westlands keeper, turned it over the bar for a corner that was headed clear. In the 40th minute another shot was scrambled away as the home side finished the half on the attack. Just before the break Ant Herrin was sin-binned for speaking out of turn so Westlands would be starting the second half a man down for the first ten minutes.
So, 0-0 at half time was a good result for Westlands as we had been on the defensive for most of the half. Having said that, we had a good spell midway through the half when we could have taken the lead with Alex Murphy’s header.
Also when you looked at it, Merley had pinned us in our own half for long spells but they hadn’t really had many efforts at goal, the shot Sam Watts put over the bar being the nearest. It was going to be a difficult second half for us but if we continued to defend the way we had there was just an indication in the first 45 that Westlands had a goal in them.
Sports certainly looked to have benefitted from the break as they came out in determined mood with Henry Lawrence-Napier and Louis Irwin biting into tackles early on. Even with 10 men Sports were pushing forward and in the 50th minute opened the scoring. A corner out on the right was taken by Aaron Sweet and was partially cleared out to the left wing where the ball was picked up by Luca Martin. Having taken on a defender and made a yard, Luca put over a low cross along the six yard box. As the home defence and keeper seemed to hesitate for a second, ALEX MURPHY steamed in and smashed the ball into the roof of the net. A cracking opportunist goal for Murph and one that set the match up for a grandstand finish. Westlands continued their good spell with some more pressure but on the hour mark the game began to swing back in Merley’s favour and they began to mount some attacks. Westlands were now back to 11 men but there were some tired legs now as the players had worked hard for the first hour. Eventually after 70 minutes Merley grabbed the equaliser. Westlands conceded a soft free kick out on the right and when the ball was flung over it appeared to have been half cleared out to the left wing. However Westlands were a bit slow to close the winger down and he had time to look up and pick out a team-mate who had an easy side foot finish from close in.
Fresh legs were then introduced for Westlands with Steve Flynn replacing Sam Carney. Merley kept the pressure on and Sam Watts came out to cut out a dangerous cross. In the 81st minute Westlands had a great chance to score when an Alex Murphy through ball put Luca Martin clear but he rushed his shot and blazed it well wide. A minute later a Sports player gave the ball away in a dangerous position but the attacker shot well over the top. It was all Merley now as they piled forward looking for the winner. In the 85th minute a shot from an acute angle was saved by Sam Watts and a minute later he made the save of the day, somehow tipping a point blank header over the bar. That save brought gasps of astonishment from everyone round the ground and some well earned applause. Some desperate defending now from Westlands as they got men behind the ball and defended for their lives. A final flurry in the dying seconds saw Merley have a free kick on the edge of the box but their player put the kick into the wall and that was it, full time and we had secured a hard earned point.
Westlands were happy with the draw as we had been on the back foot for a large chunkt of the game but that is no surprise when you go away to one of the top sides in the league. We defended well when under pressure restricting the home team to long range efforts most of the time. We also carried a goal threat when we did attack so a pretty good performance considering the circumstances. That’s four points out of six we have taken from Merley Cobham this season so we have to be happy with that.
The Man of the Match award for this week goes to SAM WATTS. Some outstanding saves that probably won us a point in the end but more importantly he looked confident and in control from start to finish.
An eagerly awaited match with last season’s league champions and current league leaders Hamworthy Recreation the visitors in this quarter-final tie. It was also a repeat of last season’s cup final so Westlands were hoping for a repeat of the result that day when a 2-0 victory saw Sports lift the cup. One previous meeting this season at Magna Rd in a league match saw Ham Rec notch up a comfortable 3-0 victory, so on current form it looked a tough task for Westlands.Team news saw 3 changes to the starting 11 after the disappointing draw at Dorchester last time out. In came Ollie Wake, Ant Herrin and Louis Irwin replacing Scott Morgan, Haydn Hodges and Sam Carney. On the bench we welcomed Jamie Green back to the team for the first time this season. The weather was fine, no chance of another late postponement, so off we went at 1.30 to allow for possible extra time and penalties.
The first 5 minutes went off at a fast pace with both sides obviously fired up for the this one. The first chance fell to the visitors when their player ran on to a long ball down the middle and stabbed the ball past the advancing Westlands keeper Sam Watts and also past the post. Hamworthy were making the early running and another shot in the 10th minute also went past the post although Sam Watts looked to have that one covered. Westlands were struggling a bit to gain possession in midfield and Hamworthy had another couple of shots at goal in the 12th and 18th minutes but they were both from distance and flew well over the top. It took over 20 minutes for Sports to create their first decent chance. Ollie Wake came forward with the ball and fed it in to Alex Murphy who got his shot away but it just cleared the far post. Back came Hamworthy with another shot that went wide. It was end to end now with Westlands having a good little spell that saw Alex Murphy smash in a shot that whizzed just over. In the 29th minute Westlands had a close shave when a lob-shot hit the bar, bounced out and was headed away for a corner. A couple of minutes later Sports skipper Adam Barratt went down clutching his hamstring so the first substitution of the day saw him replaced by Jamie Green. In the 39th minute came a great chance for Westlands when a neat pass from Ant Herrin put Alex Murphy in behind the Ham Rec defence but the keeper spread himself and was a bit fortunate to save the shot with his feet. Hamworthy hit back straight away and a cracking shot from their #10 was tipped over the bar by Sam Watts at full stretch. In the 42nd minute Sam Watts had to go to ground and make another good save as Hamworthy made a big push just before the break. Another shot went straight into Sam’s arms and another flew well over the bar as the half came to an end.
Stalemate at half time was actually a good result for Westlands as Hamworthy had looked the sharper team in the first 45. They seemed to be outnumbering us in midfield which made it hard for us to get possession to build attacks. The game had been played at a frantic pace and although we had no goals it had been a cracking game to watch. Westlands would need to up their game in the second half but we knew they were capable of that and also could the visitors keep playing at the pace they had in the first half ? All intriguing questions which we looked forward to being answered.
As the teams started the second half Sports appeared to have tweaked the formation with Ant Herrin dropping into midfield and Louis Irwin going up front. Westlands looked determined in the opening 5 minutes of the half and pushed the visitors back into their own half. However a quick break in 52 minutes saw a Rec player try a lob that landed on the roof of the net. On the hour mark Westlands made their second substitution with Steve Ormrod replacing Alex Murphy. Steve’s awkward style immediately began to give the Hamworthy defence a few problems down the right and a good run ended with a low ball across the face of the goal but no takers for Westlands. Aaron Sweet had put a few good deliveries into the opposition box and when he delivered a teasing corner from the left Steve Ormrod fought to win it in the air but his header went over the bar. After 75 minutes another corner caused a bit of panic as the Hamworthy defence failed to clear and finally Henry Lawrence-Napier’s header was just deflected round the post. The next action in the 80th minute saw a Ham Rec player burst through but his shot went wide. Resuming their pressure, Louis Irwin got in a header for Westlands but unfortunately it went straight to the keeper. At last, in the 82nd minute we got a goal and it came from the home side. Steve Ormrod put the ball into the box where Louis Irwin had a shot that was blocked by the defender but ANT HERRIN was following up and he took a touch and slotted the ball into the corner of the net. A good goal that sparked great celebrations by the Westlands team but these are dangerous moments when you have just scored and sure enough, only a minute after going in front we gave them a chance to equalise. Sam Watts couldn’t hold on to a cross ball and it fell to a Hamworthy player who prodded it just past the post. With 5 minutes left on the clock, Westlands made their final substitution of the afternoon, taking off attacker Josh Payne who was replaced by defender Phil Wells. Obviously a case of “what we have we hold” from the Westlands management. There were no more chances created as Sports shut up shop and the last few minutes were spent down by the corner flag at the Hamworthy end with Sports successfully playing out time.
The final whistle ended a really good contest with Westlands just edging it in the end. Hamworthy had created numerous chances but their finishing had been wayward and that had cost them in the end. Westlands had struggled a bit in the first half but had come on strong in the second when they began to get a grip of midfield. Top marks for the attitude, everyone battled hard and fought for every ball as they had to against a very good side.
The Man of the Match award for this week goes to JONNY MANLEY who was a tower of strength at the back. Rec tried 3 different centre forwards against him during the course of the match but none of them had any joy against Sports big stopper.
Westlands made two changes to the team that beat Balti last time out. Olly Wake was ill so Scott Morgan took his place and Alex Murphy was rewarded for his two goals v Balti with a starting position today, Steve Ormrod dropping to the bench. This was our first visit to the Avenue Stadium since the 4G artificial surface was laid and I have to say the pitch was looking immaculate pre-kick off. The weather, however, was looking dodgy with black clouds on the horizon.
The home team settled quickly, zipping the ball around on the perfect surface but once Westlands won a couple of tackles they began to press forward and in the 5th minute Adam Barratt had a blast at goal but well over the bar. In the 12th minute Westlands opened the scoring with a lovely goal. It started with Josh Payne being pulled down out on the right wing giving Westlands a free kick. Aaron Sweet delivered a good ball into the box where ALEX MURPHY chested it down, swivelled and volleyed the ball into he roof of the net. Great technique, class finish !
A few minutes later a worrying moment for Westlands as some hesitant defending let a Dorchester player burst through but he failed to hit the target. Another Aaron Sweet free kick in the 28th minute gave Henry Lawrence-Napier a chance but his looping header dropped just beyond the far post. Two minutes later a Dorchester player was again put clean through but he also put his shot wide of the target. Again worrying signs as the Westlands defence looked at sixes and sevens. The next chance fell to Henry Lawence-Napier but his shot just failed to dip at the far post and went over the top. Then a great chance fell to Westlands as Haydn Hodges ran onto an Alex Murphy head flick. With only the keeper to beat it looked like a goal all the way until a defender made a desperate lunge and managed to get a foot to the ball. After 40 minutes Dorchester grabbed the equaliser. Their #11 ran on to a ball over the top, took a good first touch and drilled the ball low and hard into the far corner. A good goal that one, well taken. Only a minute later disaster nearly struck as a through ball put the #11 in the clear again but this time Westlands keeper Sam Watts dived to make a good save. Just before the break, Westlands skipper Adam Barratt took a nasty knock and hobbled off the field for treatment.
The half time whistle went with the teams deadlocked at 1-1 and although Westlands were well in the game some of the defending had been poor so we would need to tighten up in the second half. Adam Barratt didn’t reappear after the break and he was replaced by Ant Herrin.
The second half began badly for Westlands as they conceded a goal after only 2 minutes. Dorchester broke quickly after a Westlands attack and their player went haring off down the wing pursued by several Westlands players. There were defenders back but unfortunately they were all drawn to the ball leaving a posse of Dorchester players virtually unmarked at the far post. The cross took out the Westland defenders and a home attacker had an easy job to thump the ball into the net to put the home team 2-1 up. In the 53rd minute Josh Payne made a great run down the left leaving three defenders in his wake but his final shot was blocked for a corner that came to nothing. Dorchester replied with a strong attack which was eventually scrambled away by the Westlands defence after a couple of attempts. The game was beginning to open out now and after 56 minutes came the equaliser. Out on the left, Aaron Sweet put a quality delivery into the box where ALEX MURPHY outjumped his marker and powered a header into the net. Another great goal by the big striker to make his tally 4 goals in 2 games. A minute after equalising Westlands were indebted to keeper Sam Watts for keeping the scores level. Jon Manley dived into a rash tackle on the edge of the box and gave away a free kick in a dangerous position. A Dorchester player thumped the ball low and hard and it was going in at the far post until Sam Watts threw himself across and just got fingertips to the ball to deflect it wide. Dorchester made the next good chance in the 65th minute when the ball fell to an unmarked attacker but his shot went past the far post. Steve Ormrod then replaced a limping Josh Payne on the wing for Westland who had a chance in the 78th minute to perhaps grab the points. Another Aaron Sweet free kick was delivered with pace and the ball flew low across the Dorchester box but the Westlands players were back on their heels and a gilt-edged chance went begging. As we moved into the 85th minute another piece of dodgy defending could have cost Westlands dear. Scott Morgan seemed to hesitate when about to head the ball back to keeper Sam Watts who had come charging out to meet him. As a Dorchester player closed them down Sam Watts punched the ball clear from the edge of the box, or was he outside the box ? It looked like the latter from my vantage point and the referee agreed, blowing up for a free kick. As I saw the official approach Sam Watts I thought “red card” but thankfully only the yellow version was produced. I think we may have got off lightly there !. Anyway there was still a dangerous free kick for Westlands to defend but the shot was hit straight at the wall and cleared. As Sports attacked up at the other end the linesman flagged a Westlands player offside who didn’t appear to be making any move for the ball. Haydn Hodges shouted in protest and was promptly sin-binned by the referee. With only five minutes to go Westlands were able to hold out fairly comfortably but the memory of Dorchester’s very late winner in the corresponding game last season was still fresh so we were a bit relieved to hear the final whistle being down to 10 men.
In terms of our league challenge this was not a good result, two points dropped, but in the context of the 90 minutes we didn’t really deserve to get any more out of the game. We had looked a bit vulnerable to the through ball and Dorchester had missed several good opportunities. We had our moments as well so perhaps a draw was about right. As far as the pitch went, no complaints there but the one thing we noticed was that the ball didn’t zip off the surface even when wet and held up due to the rubber crumb on the surface. Perhaps that contributed to some of our dodgy moments at the back !
The Man of the Match award for this week goes ALEX MURPHY for the second week in a row for his two lovely goals and a good all round performance. Also mentioned in dispatches is Sam Watts who made two or three great saves to deny the home side.
Saturday 24th November, Dorset Premier League: BALTI SPORTS 2 WESTLAND SPORTS 3
Westlands kept their good run going with a narrow 3-2 win against Balti Sports at Weymouth College.
Westlands had one change to the starting line-up from last week as Ant Herrin dropped out and he was replaced by Sam Carney. Steve Ormrod moved from his wide position to centre forward with Haydn Hodges going wide.
The pitch at the College looked perfect as the game kicked off but with rain still falling it would probably deteriorate.
Balti took an early lead when their centre-back nudged home a tap-in following defensive uncertainty from Westlands when defending a corner. Westlands stuck to the task and hit back just before the break when good work between ADAM BARRATT and Henry Lawrence-Napier ended with Barratt banging in the equaliser to tie things up 1-1 at half time.
In the second half it was Balti who retook the lead courtesy of a magnificent finish from their substitute
who smashed a long-range effort first time into the net following a mis-kick from the Westlands goalkeeper Sam Watts. Westlands were dominating but finding it hard to create clear scoring opportunities perhaps missing the deft touches of Ant Herrin.
Around the hour mark Westlands manager Harry Gibbs introduced ALEX MURPHY into the fray and he made an immediate impact. From a goal-kick, as Balti argued for a corner, Westlands stormed upfield and played in Murphy who tucked the ball into the net to tie things up at 2-2.
Worse was to follow for Balti with 7 minutes to go as a poor clearance was pounced on by ALEX MURPHY, the big striker rounding the Balti gloveman to find the empty net and seal all three points.
The Man of the Match this week is ADAM BARRATT. The skipper led from the front with excellent box to box work rate, capped with a super goal.
After a County cup match followed by a postponement, we were back to league action again with the visit of Parley. Westlands lined up with Aaron Sweet at number 3, having been promoted from the reserves after some strong performances. Jamie Irwin has left the club so Steve Ormrod returned to the side. On the bench we had Alex Murphy, another player who has shown up well in the reserves. Looking at the team sheets pre-match I noticed that Parley’s top scorer Jack Voisey was missing for the visitors so they would miss him as he’s notched 15 goals so far this season. The weather was sunny but with a bitterly cold east wind as the teams kicked off.
Westlands started in top gear and Ant Herrin had the ball in the net after 4 minutes but was offside.
Next a storming run down the right wing by Sam Plumley won Westlands a corner kick. Haydn Hodges swung it in and Jonny Manley headed over the bar. After 20 minutes Parley made their first chance when their #8 was put through but he blasted his shot over the top. That was followed by Westlands keeper Sam Watts making a good save from a shot through a crowded box as Parley began to respond to the early Westlands pressure. But, as often happens, just as Parley began to push forward, Westlands punished them on the break. Sam Plumley played a good ball down the wing to Steve Ormrod who picked out Ant Herrin with a lovely cross. As Ant turned to shoot he was tripped for a definite penalty. HAYDN HODGES stepped up and blasted the ball into the top corner to make it 1-0. Five minutes later Haydn went down in the box but the referee waved play on. The Parley skipper thought Haydn had dived and he then lost his composure which ended up with him being sin-binned for 10 minutes. The last action of the half saw Haydn Hodges let fly with a good effort from about 25 yards that flew just over the bar.
It had been a good first half for Westlands and they deserved their slender lead. However the opposition had shown they were a good side so we looked forward to the second half.
With the second half only two minutes old, and the Parley captain still in the bin, Westlands scored the second goal of the afternoon, and a cracking goal it was. STEVE ORMROD ran on to an defence splitting Ant Herrin pass and drilled the ball across the keeper into the far corner of the net, great pass and great finish ! With Parley now back to full strength a ball was allowed to bounce around the Westlands box and a Parley player had a shot that shaved the post. Westlands extended their lead to three soon after, in the 54th minute. Haydn Hodges took a corner out on the left and swung it deep to the far post where JONNY MANLEY rose above everyone to head in his first goal of the season. This goal took the pressure off and Westlands could relax a bit now with a 3 goal lead. The first substitution was made after 61 minutes with Alex Murphy replacing Ant Herrin who had led the line superbly. A couple of minutes later Parley almost scored when their player beat onrushing keeper Sam Watts to the ball and stabbed it past him. Luckily the ball rolled just past the post. After 70 minutes Westlands increased their lead with another lovely goal. Haydn Hodges slipped a nice through ball to STEVE ORMROD and he repeated his previous effort, running through and driving the ball across the keeper into the far corner.
Another sub was introduced then with Sam Carney replaced Haydn Hodges who had been a thorn in Parley’s side all afternoon. Westlands keeper Sam Watts then had to look sharp to dive and push away a Parley free kick to preserve his clean sheet. The last sub was then brought on, Scott Morgan replacing Josh Payne. Somewhere around this time Parley had another player sin-binned for swearing at the ref but it had no significant effect on the match which just kind of petered out for the last 10 minutes with both sides having attacks but not able to manufacture any clear chances.
Four nil then at the finish and a very good afternoon’s work by Westlands. They had shown a good attitude from the off and had kept the focus for 90 minutes this week. The team shape looked much more solid than in recent weeks with everyone doing their job and the result tells its own story as does a clean sheet !
The Man of the Match award for this week goes to JONNY MANLEY who looked back to his best and gave a dominating performance in defence. He also weighed in with a goal to cap an excellent afternoon for the big man.
Sat 3rd Nov, Somerset Senior Cup, Rnd 3: WESTLAND SPORTS 3 HENGROVE ATH RES 3 (won 5-3 penalties)
The Somerset Senior Cup is always a different challenge and this week we had the visit of Bristol based Hengrove to Alvington in the 3rd round. We had struggled through the previous two rounds by the odd goal so with a home draw we were hoping for a more convincing result.
The team selection showed two changes from last week with Phil Wells and Henry Lawrence-Napier replaced by Scott Morgan and Adam Barratt with Steve Ormrod returning on the bench.
Westlands started the game in top gear, zipping the ball around with good passing and movement.
After only 2 minutes some nice play down the left saw Haydn Hodges cross deep to the far post and JOSH PAYNE knocked it in from close range to open the scoring. Good goal, and what a start to the cup tie. But more drama was to come as Westlands continued to pile on the pressure and they made it two nil after 5 minutes. JOSH PAYNE was again on target, running onto a through ball from Ant Herrin and burying his shot in the corner of the net as the keeper came out. Hengrove just couldn’t cope with these Westland attacks but Sports had to re-shuffle a bit in the 13th minute when Jonny Manley retired with a back problem and Phil Wells came on to replace him. Scott Morgan moved to central defence with Phil slotting in at left back. The changes didn’t stop the Sports attack and two minutes later, with only 15 minutes gone, we went 3-0 up ! Sam Carney played a lovely through ball to JAMIE IRWIN and he side footed it into the far corner. This was unbelievable stuff and at that point we were thinking “how many” ? In the 19th minute Phil Wells made a good run down the left and put the ball low across the face of the goal where Josh Payne jut failed to connect. In the 23rd minute Adam Bartlett had a good shot parried by the keeper as Westland players went looking for more goals. A minute later a good free kick into the box by Haydn Hodges was met on the half volley by Sam Carney, but, leaning back, he ballooned his shot over the bar. It was in the 28th minute that the visitor’s finally created a decent chance but their player also blasted his shot over the top. However, that should have been a warning sign to Westlands as in the 35th minute Hengrove got a foothold back in the game. A corner was put over that was not cleared and fell to a Hengrove player who thumped it in. This gave the visitors some hope and they pushed forward looking to add to their tally. In the final 10 minutes of the half it was the Bristol side who were on top and they created a couple of good chances. In the 38th minute a free kick was blasted goalwards but was deflected away for a corner. Then just 2 minutes before half time Sports keeper Sam Watts made a diving save to turn a shot round the post.
The half time whistle saw Westlands with a nice 3-1 lead but the last 10 minutes of the half had been dominated by the away team so there was no reason to be complacent. After a storming opening half hour we had lost our way a bit so needed to get back into top gear in the second half.
The second half was bit of a stalemate for a while with neither side managing to create a decent chance.
It was a bit of a struggle for both sides now but in the 65th minute some sloppy defending by Westlands was punished. A ball into the box bobbled around, wasn’t cleared and a Hengrove attacker thumped it in. A bit like the first goal really, some tentative defending being punished. Hengrove were playing with two forwards up top with Westlands matching them up one to one, which looked a little dangerous to me. Nevertheless, spurred on by the loss of the second goal, Westlands began to force the pace again. Haydn Hodges put a good free kick into the box and Henry Lawrence-Napier’s head flick just shaved the outside of the far post. Then Josh Payne was put clean through but the keeper came out and made a good block and in the 70th minute Adam Barratt had a shot over the bar. This was followed by a Haydn Hodges free kick which was deflected for a corner. From the kick Josh Payne got in a flicked header but it was blocked by a defender. With Westlands back on the front foot it was a bit of a shock in the 80th minute when we conceded the equaliser. A Hengrove attacker ran on to a simple ball over the top and buried his shot in corner of the net. What a turn up ! Having been three goals up Westlands were now back on level terms ! Sports tried desperately to repair the damage and were unlucky when Steve Ormrod had a net-bound header cleared off the line with minutes to go. However, too little, too late as the referee blew the final whistle to end an enthralling game.
Of course the drama was not over yet as we were straight into a penalty shoot-out as, for some odd reason, there is no extra time in this competition. So, Westlands won the toss and chose to go first, and with the referee having chosen the Airfield Tavern end for the kicks, it was fingers crossed time.
STEVE ORMROD strode up to take the first kick and he confidently side-footed it low past the keeper. 1-0 Sports.
A Hengrove player then came forward to take their first kick but he put it a little close to the keeper and Sam Watts dived to his right to save. Still 1-0 Sports.
HAYDN HODGES was next up for Westlands and he smashed in his kick off the underside of the bar. A bit too close for comfort but that made it 2-0 to Sports.
Hengrove banged their next kick in to make it 2-1.
JOSH PAYNE then smashed his kick past the keeper to make it 3-1.
Hengrove responded to make it 3-2.
ANT HERRIN took Westlands fourth kick and thumped it high into the roof of the net, 4-2 Sports.
Hengrove scored again to make it 4-3 but with only one kick left for each team it meant if Westlands scored with their next kick they had won.
HENRY LAWRENCE-NAPIER stepped up to the plate and drilled his shot into the corner giving the keeper no chance. 5-3 win for Sports and five excellent penalties.
As Westlands celebrated, the Hengrove players slumped to the ground, and who could blame them, they had put up a tremendous performance to come back from 3-0 down, only to lose on penalties. Surely 30 minutes of extra time would have been a much fairer way to settle this match ?
Sports go on to the quarter finals but they are making things very difficult for themselves. In each round of this cup we have been in good winning positions but have allowed teams to come back into the game. We were 2-0 up at Chard Reserves after 60 minutes but that match ended a close 2-1. We were 3-0 up at half time at Chew Magna and ended up hanging on for a 3-2 win. Then today, 3-0 up after 15 minutes and then going through via a penalty shoot-out. However we are in the next round and that’s the objective, not forgetting we played some scintillating football in the first half hour of this match.
The Man of the Match award for this week goes to SAM WATTS for that crucial penalty save, and special mention to the five who drilled in five perfect penalties.
Saturday 27th Oct, Dorset Premier League: WESTLAND SPORTS 4 BRIDPORT RES 2
Winter had arrived at Alvington with a biting north wind blowing down the pitch towards the Cartgate end. There were four changes to the Westlands starting 11 from last week with Phil Wells, Ollie Wake, Sam Carney and Haydn Hodges replacing Scott Morgan, Scott Smith, Adam Barratt and Steve Ormrod. Morgan and Barratt were on the bench with young Luca Martin.
Shooting into the teeth of the wind, Westlands opened up the sharper side and the first real chance came in the 5th minute when Josh Payne cut in from the right and fired in a shot that the keeper saved. Gradually, though, the visitor’s began to get into the game and in the 13th minute they forced a corner out on the left. The ball was fired in to the near post where their #5 got a glancing header to deflect the ball into the net. Not the start Sports wanted and for the second week in a row undone by an early corner kick. Westlands were a bit shocked by this setback but were still pushing forward with Jamie Irwin and Haydn Hodges causing Bridport a few problems down the left. Eventually a bit of slack play by the visitors was punished with the equaliser by Westlands in the 22nd minute. A pass was played back towards a Bridport defender in his own half and, as he hesitated, JAMIE IRWIN nipped in and robbed him of the ball. Jamie set off towards goal, wrong footed the keeper with a quick shimmy, and passed the ball into the empty net. That goal inspired Westlands who began to press hard and really more goals should have followed. Three minutes after the equaliser some quick passing opened up the visitor’s defence and Haydn Hodges final shot was blocked for a corner. In the 32nd minute Ant Herrin weaved his way through the Bridport defence and laid the ball back to Haydn Hodges but he duffed his shot at goal. A few minutes later a dangerous cross by Josh Payne was almost turned in for an OG but the ball was blocked. Henry Lawrence-Napier pounced on the rebound but blazed his shot just over the bar. Then another cross was headed down by Ant Herrin to Henry but again he snatched at his shot and put it over the bar from a good position. Then, eventually, with a couple of minutes to go until half time, Westlands scored, and a cracking goal it was. Starting with a throw from keeper Sam Watts to Sam Plumley, the ball was moved on to JOSH PAYNE who fed Ant Herrin out on the right wing before racing into the box to sweep Ant’s return pass into the far corner of the net. A great goal to put Sports 2-1 up but just before the whistle blew a Bridport player whacked in a shot from about 25 yards that hit the base of the post and bounced away to safety.
A let off there for Westlands who came in with a 2-1 lead which was deserved really considering all the chances they had created. Nevertheless Bridport had shown they were not just there to make up the numbers so Sports would need to keep the performance level up in the second half.
An early attack by Westlands in the second half saw Josh Payne hook a Sam Plumley cross just wide. Then in the 52nd minute came the early goal Bridport were looking for. Once again it started with a corner kick that the Westlands defence had several bites at but couldn’t manage to get the ball cleared. As it dropped at the edge of the box the Bridport #5 met it on the half volley and the ball flew through the crowded box into the roof of the net. An excellent finish from the centre half for his second goal of the game but more questions to be asked of Sports defending. So, back on level terms again, could Westlands hit back ? It only took 5 minutes to answer that question, as Sports quickly grabbed the initiative again with a third goal. A free kick was awarded 25 yards out and HAYDN HODGES, wind assisted, smashed in a shot that hit the underside of the bar and dropped over the line. Just to make sure Josh Payne stuck the rebound into the back of the net but the linesman, however, had immediately flagged for a goal as the ball came down off the crossbar. A Bridport club linesman as well, so fair play to him for his honesty. It was end to end now as both sides went for the next goal. Sam Watts made a good save from a free kick and the Bridport keeper also made a good save, just getting a touch to a Jamie Irwin shot. Then a mistake by a Westlands defender let in a Bridport attacker for a shot which he put just wide of the post. In 75 minutes an excellent move between Ant Herrin, Josh Payne and Jamie Irwin saw Jamie’s final shot whistle past the post. A minute later another Jamie Irwin effort was cleared off the line as Westlands cranked up the pressure. With 10 minutes to go Ant Herrin showed good skill but once again the Bridport keeper made a good save from the final shot. At last, with only 5 minutes remaining Westlands scored the crucial fourth goal and it came as a result of a defensive blunder. A Bridport defender tried to head the ball back to his keeper from about 35 yards out but ony succeeded in putting ANT HERRIN through on goal. Ant ran on and drilled a shot past the onrushing keeper into the far corner of the net. A great finish and with the points safe Westlands brought on Luca Martin who replaced Ant up front. But really the game was over now and the last few minutes were played out without further incident.
Another win for Westlands who definitely showed some improvement this week on some rather tepid performances recently. Sports needed a decent performance to beat a strong Bridport side who fought all the way but another two goals conceded after three last week certainly leaves room for further improvement.
The Man of the Match award for the third week in a row goes to JOSH PAYNE who really is in top form at the moment and a threat to every defence we play against.
Saturday 20th Oct, Dorset Premier League Cup, 1st Rnd: WESTLAND SPORTS 6 CORFE CASTLE 3
A warm, dry day at Alvington saw Westlands put out an unchanged starting 11 from last week. Given our league match with Corfe Castle had ended in a heavy defeat for the visitor’s this was a day to guard against complacency.
The game started off with a relaxed air about the play, certainly not a cup tie feeling in the air. However the home side were wakened from their slumbers when Corfe Castle won a corner, took it quick and short which resulted in the ball being lashed into the net off the far post. The goalscorer being completely unmarked from a corner was really poor defending.
This woke Westlands up briefly and just five minutes later some nice build up play resulted in Jamie Irwin whipping in a great cross which was met by ANT HERRIN at the back post and he guided his header back across the keeper and into the bottom corner.
Westlands were settling a bit now and a nice pass from Ant Herrin gave Josh Payne a chance but he fired his shot straight at the keeper.
Sports then had a few half chances to go in front but couldn’t find the back of the net until in the 30th minute a long ball pumped forward led to STEVE ORMROD being released through the middle. As he had no support he took on his defender and coolly slotted the ball past the keeper into the bottom corner. This put Westlands into a 2-1 lead which was well deserved on the balance of play.
But with 5 minutes remaining in the first half disaster struck again for the home team. As a Corfe attacker ran into the Westland’s box he was hauled down by Sports defender Scott Smith for a penalty. The Corfe player made no mistake from the spot for his second goal of the afternoon and we were tied at 2-2.
With just a minute to go before the break Westlands managed to edge in front again. Jamie Irwin swung in a corner and JOSH PAYNE headed in at the near post.
3-2 Westlands at half time was not what was expected and Sports needed to up their game in the second half.
Corfe started the second half at full pelt and nearly scored when their forward raced through the middle in acres of space but his lob came off the bar and the rebound was blazed over with the Westlands defence all at sea. That was a let off and Sports responded with a Henry Lawrence-Napier effort which he which he put over the bar from a good position. Steve Ormrod then made a good run down the right and played a lovely pass across the face of the goal but no-one there to turn it in. Next a lovely through ball from Jamie Irwin picked out Ant Herrin who turned his man and fired his shot off the post. After failing to secure that 2 goal lead Westlands were almost made to pay when another blunder at the back led to the Corfe #9 firing in a great shot but Sports keeper Sam Watts dived full length to turn it round the post. Haydn Hodges then replaced Steve Ormrod for Sport’s first substitution.
But with 10 minutes to go yet another defensive mistake led to Corfe’s equaliser. A poor pass was intercepted by their player and he made no mistake, burying the chance. With only 10 minutes left could we be heading for extra time ? No was the answer as Westlands restored their lead within 2 minutes. JOSH PAYNE who went on a mazy run, beat a couple of defenders and slotted the ball across the keeper to make it 4-3 to Westlands !
Two more subs were introduced for Westlands with both centre backs Jonny Manley and Scott Smith being replaced by Ollie Wake and Phil Wells. This was Ollie’s first action for six weeks since being injured at Swanage so nice to see him return.
In the 86th minute a good attacking play won Westlands a corner. Haydn Hodges took it and picked out JOSH PAYNE at the near post and he completed his hat trick with a shot which found the far corner via a slight deflection. That was game over really at 5-3 but Westlands added a bit of gloss to the score line in the dying minutes when Josh Payne ran down the right into the box and smashed in a cross which could only be turned into his own net by an unfortunate Corfe defender for an OG to make the final score 6-3.
The Man of the Match award this week Is hat-trick man JOSH PAYNE for another top performance.Caused their defence all sorts of problems all afternoon and topped it off with three goals.
With Westlands and Merley Cobham locked together in the league table with the same points total this really was a game we couldn’t afford to lose. As pointed out in the match preview, these opponents have proved difficult for us in recent seasons so we had to bury that ‘bogey team’ tag as well. On the selection front, Manager Harry Gibbs stirred the pot a bit with Sam Plumley returning from injury, and Scott Morgan given a starting slot. Sam Carney and Phil Wells the ones to miss out this week. In a positional switch, Jamie Irwin was given a centre midfield role allowing Steve Ormrod and Josh Payne to take the wide positions.
There was a strong wind blowing up the pitch, end to end, as the teams lined up for the kick-off. The visitor’s won the toss and chose to have it at their backs in the first half which is exactly what we would have done had we won it. Nevertheless, in the early stages playing into the wind seemed to suit Westlands as they surged forward and put the Merley under early pressure. Josh Payne and Steve Ormrod, attacking down the flanks, were causing the Merley Cobham defence problems and a few crosses into the box had to be well defended. Henry Lawrence -Napier made a storming run through the Merley defence but his shot from an angle went into the side netting. Then, against the run of play, the visitor’s took the lead. A wind assisted shot from 25 yards bounced awkwardly in front of keeper Sam Watts and he couldn’t hold on to the ball which was tucked away by the Merley Cobham striker. A soft goal to lose as the player having the shot wasn’t closed down quickly enough and then the loose ball made it a gift in the end. However, we didn’t have time to feel sorry for ourselves as we equalised almost straight away ! Josh Payne made a storming run down the left, drove into the box and squared the ball to STEVE ORMROD who sidefooted in from close range. Just what Westlands required, a quick reply to the visitor’s opening goal.
In difficult conditions both teams were serving up a good game of football but it was Westlands who looked more dangerous and they edged in front just before half-time. The Merley goalkeeper handled the ball just outside his box out near the bye-line. Jamie Irwin fired the ball low and hard across the face of the goal and JOSH PAYNE made a good run to supply the finishing touch. An excellent goal and just the tonic Westlands needed going into the break.
Half time discussions were whether it is easier playing with a strong wind at your back or whether that is a disadvantage. Westlands had certainly played well in that first half with the wind in their faces so an interesting discussion point.
The second half proved to be a bit of a stalemate with the visitor’s coming out fighting and creating a couple of good early chances but Westlands managed to keep them at bay. Gradually the home team began to dominate again and Steve Ormrod had a header cleared off the line. After 60 minutes we had the first substitution which saw the welcome return of Haydn Hodges after a long injury that had kept him out for the best part of two months. Haydn replaced Steve Ormrod who had taken a couple of knocks and he soon began to make his presence felt down the left wing giving the Merley Cobham defence some anxious moments. It was still delicately poised at 2-1 so we were looking for that third goal to ease the pressure and it came with ten minutes left to play.
A throw in just inside the visitor’s half caused a bit of confusion as the Merley players appeared to be waiting for a substitution to be made. Westlands played on and took advantage with a quick throw that put HENRY LAWRENCE-NAPIER through on goal and he calmly lobbed the keeper to make it 3-1. Merley protested but it’s the old story, you play to the whistle and in this case Westlands did just that and cashed in. A couple of quick substitutions were then made as Westlands looked to close out the match. Sam Carney and Tommy Frampton replaced Ant Herrin and Jamie Irwin both of whom had received yellow cards.
That was the match wrapped up really and the final whistle ended a good contest under tough conditions. To be fair to Merley Cobham they had a couple of influential players missing and didn’t look to be at their best but Westlands had put in a good performance and deserved the win.
The Man of the Match award this week goes JOSH PAYNE who ran the visitor’s defence ragged, particularly in the first half. Add to that a nice goal and an assist and you have a man of the match performance.
On arrival, it was heavy rain and biting winds up in the Mendips for this 2nd round tie, but luckily the rain eased off just after kick-off to the relief of the 3 hardy Westland supporters on the touchline.
Sports made a few changes from the previous match with Scott Smith, Steve Ormrod and Sam Carney returning to the starting line-up and, with Sam Plumley injured, a surprise selection saw Josh Payne line up at right back !
Westlands took control from the start and opened the scoring in the 6th minute. Jamie Irwin swung in a corner from the right and Steve Ormrod thumped a powerful header goalwards which the keeper parried but ANT HERRIN was on hand to turn the ball in at the second attempt. A couple of minutes later Sports had another corner out on the right. Once again Jamie Irwin swung it into the goalmouth where Scott Smith got a good header in that was cleared off the line. This was followed by Chew Magna’s first chance when a poor back pass by Henry Lawrence-Napier put an opposition player clean through on goal but keeper Sam Watts saved his blushes by pulling off a good save. Then as Westlands continued to dominate, another free kick into the box was headed wide by Steve Ormrod.
The home team were looking particularly vulnerable to crosses into the box so it looked like there were more goals there for the taking.
Jamie Irwin then fired in a shot that went just wide before we gifted Chew another chance. This time a sloppy pass out of defence by Scott Smith put us in trouble and Jonny Manley gave away a free kick at the edge of the box. We managed to scramble the kick away but both Chew Magna’s good chances had been gifts from the Westlands defence. Nevertheless, we were still causing them big problems going forward and in the 19th minute made it 2-0. Another Jamie Irwin free kick into the box was headed on by Scott Smith to STEVE ORMROD who put his header in the top corner. Sports were looking comfortable now but had a scare in the 27th minute when an inswinging wind-aided corner came off the inside of the far post and was headed off the line by Sam Carney. That was a let-off but in the 34th minute Westlands added to their tally with a superb third goal. HENRY LAWRENCE-NAPIER started the move on the half-way line with a lovely diagonal ball down the left to Jamie Irwin who ran on and fired over a cross to the far post where Henry came steaming in to plant a diving header into the net.
That looked to be an unassailable lead for Westlands at half time and we looked forward to adding a few more goals in the second half as the visitors had looked very susceptible to high balls into the box and all three goals had come from crosses.
Unfortunately the spectators' over confidence seemed to have spread to the players as we started the second half very slowly and paid the penalty in the 51st minute when we allowed the visitor’s the goal they desperately needed to get back into the game. The Westlands defence were all at sea when the ball was slipped through to their #8 who was totally unmarked and he ran in and finished nicely into the far corner.
That gave Chew Magna the boost they needed and they began to get the ball forward early and cause the Westlands defence some problems. A few minutes after the goal a Chew player blazed over the bar from a good position with the Sports players in some disarray. We needed to respond and in the 56th minute Ant Herrin slipped a nice pass through the home defence to put Jamie Irwin in the clear but inexplicably he just smashed his shot over the bar when you’d have bet money on a composed finish. Then at last we got a cross in from Phil Wells but Henry Lawrence-Napier’s header was saved by the keeper. In the 67th minute came Westlands first substitution with Luca Martin replacing Ant Herrin.
In 70 minute things took another twist when the home team scored again. Westlands had opportunities to clear their lines but dithered and a Chew attacker, with the help of his arm, got past two defenders and crossed the ball to his team-mate who whacked it into the net while the Westland players appealed for a free kick. The linesman’s flag had gone up for the deliberate handball but the referee gave the goal, explaining that club linesmen were only allowed to give throw in decisions !
Another cross from Westlands saw Henry Lawrence-Napier put his header over the bar as we moved into the last ten minutes which were now a bit nervy with our three goal half time lead reduced to one. Two more subs now for Westlands, Scott Smith came off, Jack Dicker on, and Steve Ormrod came off with Tommy Frampton on.
Although the home team huffed and puffed a bit, there were no real scares as Sports played out time. Sam Watts made a good save in the dying seconds but I think the lad was offside anyway, however too close for comfort.
In the end we were happy to hear the final whistle which was disappointing after the position we were in at half time. Fair play to Chew Magna for their fight back but we had them by the throat couldn’t finish the job.
The Man of the Match award this week goes to HENRY LAWRENCE-NAPIER for another 90 minutes of non-stop effort epitomised by that wonderful goal.
Westlands made two changes from last weeks game with Sam Carney and Tommy Frampton replaced by Jack Dicker and Jamie Irwin. The sun was shining, the pitch looked in good nick and Westlands were hoping to get back on track after last week’s disappointing defeat.
The visitors looked busy for the first five minutes but didn’t create much and the first real chance was created by a slick Westlands passing move that opened up the Dorchester defence but Jamie Irwin put the final shot over the top. Nevertheless a promising move. In the 9th minute another chance for Sports came when Jamie Irwin planted a free kick onto Jack Dicker’s head but his glancing header was straight into the arms of the keeper. Then a quick break by the visitor’s saw them create a shooting chance but the final effort was straight into Sam Watt’s hands.
The opposition were working hard and keeping the Sports defence on their toes but when the opening goal came it was a gift by the Sports defence. A harmless looking long ball up the middle was covered by two Westlands defenders and the keeper who came out to gather. All three then hesitated and allowed the Dorchester #10 to nip in and stick the ball in the empty net. A lack of communication there to say the least ! A poor goal to lose but only 12 minutes gone so plenty of time to get back into the game. The visitors were boosted by their goal and kept up their high workrate but Westlands were just looking a bit more dangerous in attack. The equaliser came in the 25th minute when Jamie Irwin drove into the opposition box and was tripped. Penalty said the referee and their was no real protest from the Dorchester players. JAMIE IRWIN took the kick himself and thumped it past the keeper. Westlands should have increased their lead in the 35th minute when Jamie Irwin was clean through but he shot straight at the keeper. Just before the half-time whistle Jack Dicker headed a corner kick over the bar.
Half-time 1-1. It had been a fairly even game up to now with the visitor’s a hard working, quick side but not creating many clearcut chances chances. Westlands had looked a bit sluggish but the hope was for an improved second half performance.
Westlands looked a bit livelier after the break and ten minutes in Jonny Manley met a corner kick flush on his forehead but the keeper managed to save it with his legs. The pressure was building and in the 55th minute Westlands took the lead. Sam Plumley attacked down the right and cut the ball back to Ant Herrin. Ant quickly squared the ball to JOSH PAYNE who was unmarked in front of goal and he managed to knock the ball in at the second attempt, the keeper having blocked his first shot. After the hour mark came two substitutions, Sam Carney replaced Jack Dicker and Steve Ormrod replaced Josh Payne. Westlands were on top now with the visitor’s pace slowing. A deep cross from Ant Herrin to the far post was headed just over by Jamie Irwin at full stretch. Then in the 75th minute came the 3rd goal for Sports and a candidate for ‘goal of the season’. An inch perfect through pass from Jamie Irwin cut open the Dorchester defence and STEVE ORMROD took it in his stride and raced clear. As the keeper came out Steve showed great composure and skill to dink the ball over him into the top corner. Three minutes later a low Jamie Irwin free kick was saved by the keeper down by the post. The final substitution came with about 10 minutes to go and Ant Herrin was replaced by Luca Martin. The final chance of the game came in the last minute when a thumping shot from a Dorchester forward hit the bar and went over the top. A bit of a lapse of concentration there but no damage done. Full time and a 3-1 victory to Westlands.
Good result to get back to winning ways.
The Man of the Match award this week goes to PHIL WELLS who didn’t put a foot wrong at the back.
A bit of pressure on this game as we were already 7 points behind Ham Rec in the title race so didn’t want to fall further behind. Jamie Irwin’s light cast passed the referee’s inspection so he was included in the squad. Apart from that the only change from last week was Josh Payne replacing Steve Ormrod who was unavailable.
The first big incident in the match came with a strong penalty claim from Westlands in the 6th minute. A nice pass from Josh Payne put Henry Lawrence-Napier clean through and as he drove into the box he was pulled down by the opposition keeper but the referee waved play on. With even the home supporters admitting it was a stonewall penalty that was a tough decision to go against us as the first goal is always crucial in these games. A couple of minutes later a free kick for the home side caused the Westlands backline a few problems. As the ball was flighted into the area Sports keeper Sam Watts came to collect but was beaten to it by a Rec player who glanced a header over him towards goal. Luckily Jonny Manley was covering round and he hooked the ball away for a corner. The corner was whipped in and caused a bit of a flap in the Sports defence before the ball was eventually blazed over the bar. The home side were beginning to find their feet and in the 13th minute they grabbed the opening goal. A through ball sliced open the Westlands defence and keeper Sam Watts came diving out to clear. Unfortunately their winger beat him to the ball and was able to square it across goal where his team-mate had a tap in.
In the 17th minute Tommy Frampton had Sports first (and only !) attempt at goal with a low shot that the keeper gathered fairly easily. Westlands were trying hard to respond to going a goal down and Josh Payne had a chance in front of goal but missed his kick completely. Westlands were a bit pedestrian and predictable in their build up play, keeping possession but very often just passing sideways so no penetration. In the 31st minute things went from bad to worse when Rec scored a second goal. The ball was given away out on the right and the resulting space was quickly exploited with a driving run and superb dipping shot into the far corner. In the 36th minute we had a big let off. The Ham Rec right winger drove a shot from an angle behind Sam Watts who was rushing back to make up ground. Sam dived on the ball but his impetus and the wet turf saw him slide over the line with the ball in his arms. However a quick stretch out of the arms with the ball planted on the goal line caused enough doubt in the referee’s mind so he waved play on. But Rec were not to be denied and just before half time they got the third goal. Jonny Manley tried a pass-back to the keeper from out on the wing but miskicked and a Rec player nipped in and buried his shot in the far corner. Half-time 3-0.
It had been a disastrous first half from Westlands and the supporters were shell-shocked in the bar at half time. We had looked shaky in defence and going forward had shown no penetration at all. Mistakes had crept in and they had been ruthlessly punished for the second and third goals. The game looked all over, really, so we just had to hope for a miraculous comeback in the second half.
Sports made two changes at half time with Scott Smith and Jamie Irwin replacing Jonny Manley and Tommy Frampton. Westlands tried to push on a bit in the second half, with Adam Barratt getting forward a bit more but we were still pretty toothless in attack and didn’t really create any decent chances. Another change in the side on 65 minutes saw Luca Martin replace Sam Carney but Hamworthy were comfortable with their 3 goal lead and were just keeping things tight. The odd chance came with Sam Watts making a good save in the 78th minute and shortly after Ant Herrin having a go from distance but putting his shot over the top. Sports best effort came in the 89th minute when we had a free kick just outside the Ham Rec penalty box. Adam Barratt stepped over the ball and Jamie Irwin hit a beauty that hit the post and was cleared.
That was that and another 3 points dropped in our title challenge. The home side had dominated the game today and Westlands, unfortunately, just didn’t seem to be up for the fight on this occasion.
The Man of the Match award this week goes to TOM BEARE who plays a blinder every week for the team.
15th September 2018, Dorset Premier League: WESTLAND SPORTS 7 WAREHAM RANGERS 1
Back on home turf, Westlands were looking to get back on track after last weeks disappointment. This week we had a goalkeeping problem with Sam Watts opting out. With back-up Owen Male also unavailable Ben Cochrane was selected to don the gloves. However, after a few back spasms in the warm-up, Ben was pulled out and Haydn Hodges bravely volunteered to step into the breach. We did have some players returning this week and Sam Plumley, Scott Morgan Jonny Manley and Josh Payne all returned to the squad. A new face on the bench was Luca Martin, another youth team prospect being given some first team experience.
Westlands started at a fast pace and hit the visitors with an early blitz that saw Sports score three times in the first 17 minutes. In the 2nd minute a cross to the far post was controlled by TOMMY FRAMPTON who cut inside a defender and drilled the ball into the far corner. Number 2 came 5 minutes later with Tommy Frampton turning provider when he ran on to a lovely ball down the left wing and drove a perfect pass across the face of the goal that HENRY LAWRENCE-NAPIER side-footed in. Then came the 3rd goal in the 17th minute when a blunder by a defender presented the ball to STEVE ORMROD who ran in and scored with a good low shot.
What a start for Westlands but to their credit, Wareham rallied a bit after this and a couple of shots brought Westlands stand-in keeper Haydn Hodges into the action. With the pressure off, the Westland attacks eased a bit in their intensity and Wareham had a bit more possession, nevertheless the visitors were glad to hear the half time whistle with the score still at 3-0.
It was difficult not to feel the game was over at half time but we had to keep focussed and not get lazy.
A fairly quiet opening to the first 10 minutes of the second half with no sign of a fight back from the visitors gave the Westlands management the confidence to start making changes. First to come on was Josh Payne who replaced Steve Ormrod and 5 minutes later 16 year-old Luca Martin came on for his debut, replacing Henry Lawrence-Napier. Almost immediately Josh Payne held the ball up, drew a defender and slipped in LUCA MARTIN who drilled the ball low and hard into the far corner with virtually his first kick of the game. That made it 4-0 and almost certainly game over. Tommy Frampton was then the victim of a heavy challenge and had to be helped off, being replaced by Jack Dicker. With Jack slotting into the midfield in a more defensive position alongside Sam Carney it gave Adam Barratt licence to get forward and this paid dividends in the 77th minute with the 5th goal. Jack dicker played a peach of a ball over the Wareham backline and Adam Barratt raced through onto it. As the keeper dashed out to challenge Adam squared the ball to LUCA MARTIN who was following up and he had an easy finish into the unguarded net. In the 80th minute came Wareham’s best moment in the game. Their left winger sold Phil Wells a dummy and set off down the left wing at full pelt. His cross was met on the volley by a team mate whose shot cannoned off the post but the ball rebounded to their #7 who smashed it into the top corner of the net. A great goal and you couldn’t grudge them it really as they had shown good spirit after being hit by that early salvo of goals.
But three minutes later Westlands struck again to stretch the score to 6-1. A free kick was awarded on the edge of the Wareham box and Ant Herrin just rolled the ball 5 yards sideways to LUCA MARTIN who thumped it low into the bottom corner to complete his hat-trick ! The last piece of action came in the 88th minute when JACK DICKER rose to power in a header from a free kick delivered from the left wing. Finally a word of praise for Mr Jacobs, the referee, who had no assistants to help him but did an excellent job on his own.
Verdict: a convincing win for Westlands but possibly still not firing on all cylinders.
The Man of the Match award this week has to go to LUCA MARTIN, a 16 year old player who came in for his debut and netted a hat-trick in 30 minutes ! A word also for Haydn Hodges who was just denied his clean sheet with 10 minutes to go.
Saturday 8th September 2018, Dorset Premier League: SWANAGE TOWN 5 WESTLAND SPORTS 3
Always a tricky venue Swanage, but we had won our last two visits there so we went down to the coast with some confidence. Unfortunately a number of players didn’t make the trip, for various reasons, so it was a much changed side that took the field. Steve Ormrod, Olly Wake, Charlie Gay and Henry Lawrence -Napier came into the side from last week and we had two on the bench, 16 year old Rory Thomson, who was making his debut, and Ben Cochrane who was making his first appearance this season.
The first shot on target was from Swanage after 5 minutes but was an easy save for keeper Sam Watts. After 10 minutes a free kick to Westlands was knocked out to Charlie Gay but he scuffed his shot wide. In the 17th minute Sports took the lead. Sam Carney played a nice through pass to ANT HERRIN who took a touch and drilled the ball low into the far corner. A nicely worked and well taken goal. Then Tommy Frampton put a great ball right across the face of the goal but no takers. Next a Sam Carney free kick was met at the far post by Jack Dicker but his header was turned round the post. In the 28th minute Swanage equalised. A corner kick from the right came across the Westlands area. A couple of defenders made a half-hearted effort to head clear but neither made any contact with the ball which fell to the Swanage #9 who was totally unmarked at the far post and he banged the ball into the net.
It was end to end now with a Swanage forward shooting just past followed by an Ant Herrin effort that flew past the far post. In the 38th minute the home side took the lead with another soft goal from a defensive viewpoint. A through ball down the Swanage left saw Sports keeper Sam Watts come charging off his line to clear. He then seemed to slip and collide with one of his own defenders, anyway they ended up in a heap on the ground and the ball dropped to a Swanage forward who squared it for his team-mate to thump into the empty net ! Two bad goals we had conceded but worse was to follow. A corner from the Swanage right was drilled over and as the Sports defence stood and watched a Swanage player ran in and powered a header into the net from 6 yards out. That goal came just seconds before the half time whistle and sent us in at the break with a two goal deficit.
Not a great first half for Westlands with the defence looking a bit jittery and the home side had taken full advantage.
Obviously Sports needed to up their game in the second half and they couldn’t have got off to a better start. Henry Lawrence-Napier fed CHARLIE GAY out on the right just outside the box and he smashed a right foot shot which flew past the keeper into the far corner. That goal spurred Westlands on and in the 52nd we should have equalised. A through ball to Ant Herrin saw him cut inside the last defender and square to the onrushing Henry Lawrence-Napier. Having bust a gut to get into the box Henry’s final shot hit the keeper and bounced out ! However Sports were not to be denied and 5 minutes later we did draw level. Charlie Gay fed ANT HERRIN in the box and he cut inside, went round the keeper, and tucked the ball into the net. This was more like it, back on level terms, but our euphoria didn’t last long ! Two minutes to be exact and we were dealt a hammer blow. A Swanage player picked the ball up just inside our half when a Westlands player lost possession and with the midfield wide open in front of him he ran forward and let fly from about 35 yards out and the ball just flew into the back of the net. A great goal, take nothing away from the finish, but one which maybe could have been stopped.
Henry Lawrence-Napier was withdrawn now (having taken a knock in the warm-up !) and he was replaced by Rory Thomson who took up a position on the left side with Tommy Frampton moving into the centre. Sports were still creating chances as they tried to get back on level terms for a second time. Tommy Frampton was put through but shot straight at the keeper. In the 70th minute as Westlands pushed forward we were caught on the break. Swanage broke down our right and when the ball came in their player half turned and hooked the ball into the far corner of the net from about 20 yards out. A great opportunist goal for the home side and one that knocked the stuffing out of the Westlands players. Swanage kept the pressure on and Sam Watts made a good save, turning the ball round the post for a corner. From the kick a Swans player got his head to the ball at the far post but missed the target. Then a good run down the wing by Rory Thomson saw him set up Ant Herrin but the keeper again saved the shot. Then Tommy Frampton had a decent chance but put his shot past the post. In the 84th minute another disaster for Westlands when Ollie Wake went down in a heap and had to be helped off the field with what looked like a serious knee injury. Ben Cochrane took his place at the back but time was running out for Sports now. Just one more chance came our way before the final whistle. A nice through ball by Tommy Frampton put Rory Thomson through on goal. As the keeper charged out and dived at his feet the ball broke clear to Rory but he rushed his shot and put it wide of the gaping goal.
That was the story of Westlands day really. We had shot ourselves in the foot with some poor defending but we had also missed numerous one on one chances. The home team had been clinical in their finishing and that really was the difference on the day.
The Man of the Match award this week once again goes to ANT HERRIN. He caused the Swanage defence all sorts of problems and capped his display with two well taken goals.
Saturday 1st September 2018, Somerset Senior Cup, 1st Rnd: CHARD UTD RES 1 WESTLAND SPORTS 2
A visit to the infamous Chard slope is always interesting and as our reserves had played Chard Res in a pre-season friendly we knew they would get the ball forward early and long. Westlands would stick to their passing game so it promised to be an interesting clash of tactics.
Westlands made four changes from the previous match with Sam Watts returning in goal, Jack Dicker came in at centre half, Adam Barratt returned to midfield and Louis Irwin also started in the midfield. Olly Wake and Haydn Hodges both had knocks but took places on the bench with Jamie Irwin and Henry Lawrence-Napier who were both given a rest after a tough month with 2 games a week.
Sports were kicking uphill in the first half and soon settled to a patient passing game. The first corner came to Westlands after 5 minutes but was cleared. A couple of minutes later Louis Irwin got his head to a deep Josh Payne cross but it was a simple save for the Chard keeper. Then a free kick from Louis was again easily clutched by the keeper. In the 11th minute a good move down the right by the home side saw the ball come over to the Chard centre forward who was unmarked. He got his shot on-target but Sam Watts dived to his right to tip the ball round the post for a corner.
Westlands were soon pushing on up the hill again and Sam Carney squared to Louis Irwin but he sliced his shot wide of the target. A chance then came Chard’s way in the 24th minute with a shot on target saved by Sam Watts. A minute later Ant Herrin hooked a shot goal-wards which the Chard keeper saved. The opening goal came in the 30th minute and it was no real surprise that Westlands scored it. JOSH PAYNE picked the ball up out on the right wing, cut inside past two defenders and drilled a low left foot shot into the corner of the net. Brilliant goal ! Sports were well in control now, knocking the ball around and keeping possession. The best chance created was in the 43rd minute when Scott Smith met a corner with his head at the far post but put it just wide.
Discussing the first 45 minutes over a half-time pasty, general opinion seemed to be that 1-0 to Westlands was no more that they deserved. After an early scare Sports had pretty well dominated the match and going downhill in the second half they should be able to build on their lead.
We didn’t have long to wait for Westlands to consolidate their advantage. A Louis Irwin free kick into the Chard penalty area was pulled down by ANT HERRIN who controlled the ball, swivelled and thumped it into the net. Another lovely goal and with a two goal lead Sports began to turn the screw. In the 55th minute an Louis Irwin shot crashed off the post with the keeper beaten. Tommy Frampton picked up the rebound but fired his shot over the top from a tight angle. After 58 minutes a free kick from Ant Herrin was heading for the far corner but the Chard keeper dived and just got finger tips to the ball which came off the far post and was cleared. On the hour came the first substitution for Westlands, Josh Payne replaced by Jamie Irwin. A minute later Ant Herrin drilled in a low shot but the keeper got down to save. Then came Sports second substitution, Tommy Frampton going off and Henry Lawrence-Napier coming on. In the 73rd minute a long throw by Jack Dicker fell nicely to Scott Smith but he took a swipe and missed the ball ! Westlands next attack caused a bit of panic in the Chard defence and a defender headed the ball past his own keeper and was relieved to see the ball slip past the post. A minute later Ant Herrin ran on to a through ball and as the keeper came out, he lobbed the ball over him but unfortunately it landed on the roof of the net. Westland should really have had this game wrapped up by now but just couldn’t score.
In the 89th minute Jamie Irwin fired a shot over the bar and with the clock on 90 minutes he repeated the feat having been put in by a nice through ball. In the 93rd minute a Chard player picked the ball up about 20 yards out and, as nobody closed him down, he just smashed the ball into the net to make it 2-1. There was just time to kick-off before the referee blew the final whistle.
On paper this result looked like a close fought cup tie but in reality Westands were in control the whole game and should have stuck away a couple more in the second half. Not a vintage performance by Westlands who looked a bit off the pace all match. The slope is a bit of a leveller and the home side worked hard to produce a shock so all in all, happy to progress to the next round.
The Man of the Match award this week goes to ANT HERRIN. He held the ball up well, always bringing his team-mates into play, and topped off his performance with a good goal as well.
Wednesday 28th August 2018, Dorset Premier League: WESTLAND SPORTS 3 GILLINGHAM TOWN 1
The visit of near neighbours Gillingham is always a popular fixture and a good crowd turned out on a fine evening to watch this one. With 3 players still suspended and 2 injured it was no surprise that Westlands manager stuck with the same team that knocked in ten on Saturday. Gilingham looked to be at full strength so a good game was in prospect.
The visitor’s had the first chance after 3 minutes with their #7 finding space but he blasted his shot over the bar. A bright start to the game and in the 5th minute we had the first goal. Tommy Frampton pushed forward and had a good shot on target that the keeper turned round the post for a corner. The kick was taken quickly with a short one to Sam Carney whose cross was powered into the net by the leaping JAMIE IRWIN. A great start for Westlands but they didn’t hold the lead for long. In the 8th minute Gillingham won a throw in out on the right wing. Their lad hurled a long one into the box where it was head-flicked on by a Gill forward and ended up in the far corner of the net with Westlands keeper looking a bit bemused. Both teams were battling hard for supremacy at this point but neither side could create a good goalscoring chance. After 22 minutes, it was another corner for Westlands that caused panic in the visitor’s ranks. When the kick came in Jamie Irwin got a shot away that was cleared off the line, then the keeper blocked the next effort before Tommy Frampton put the final shot over the bar. A minute later a free kick into the Gillingham box was headed just over by Scott Smith although I thought it took a slight deflection. As we passed the half hour mark another long throw in caused a bit of panic in the Westlands ranks. The same scenario as the first goal unfolded with the ball being hurled in and back-headed goalwards. This time however Sports keeper Rich Pippin was on his toes and he pushed the ball away with a strong hand. The final chance of the half fell to the home side when Josh Payne drove over a low cross and a Gillingham defender sliced his clearance over his own bar !
Half time 1-1 and not a lot in it really. Somebody said at the break that this game could go either way and I think that was a fair comment. A quick turn round as the sun was setting and we were soon off again in a fascinating match.
Five minutes into the half and Jamie Irwin fizzed in a low free kick that the Gillingham keeper dived on. Back up the other we went and It was Rich Pippin’s turn to save as both teams battled for the lead. In the 52nd minute Ant Herrin worked a lovely 1-2 with Sam Carney and cut the ball across to Jamie Irwin who blazed his shot over the bar with only the keeper to beat. Then a Gillingham player got on the end of a cross at the far post but put his effort wide. With 60 minutes played it is usually sub time for Westlands and, sure enough, Louis Irwin entered the fray with Tommy Frampton coming off. In the 65th minute Westlands got their noses in front in slightly controversial fashion. Ant Herrin drove down the left, outmuscled a defender and fired a vicious low ball across the face of the goal. Gillingham’s right back, at full stretch, knocked the ball into the net for an OWN GOAL. The Gillingham players protested that Ant had fouled their defender but the referee was having none of it. That goal gave Westlands a lift and they began to look quite dangerous with a number of attacks. After 65 minutes the pressure paid off with goal number 3. Louis Irwin drove into the box and was upended. The referee immediately pointed to the spot and JAMIE IRWIN tucked away the spot kick to give Sports a two goal lead. Westlands made their second substitution now with Steve Ormrod replacing Josh Payne who was suffering a bit after several “strong” challenges. In the 80th minute Ant Herrin fired in a good shot that the keeper could only push out. With 10 minutes to go Gillingham pushed extra men forward and forced Westlands on to the back foot. With a 2 goal lead Sports were happy to face a series of long balls into the box which were well defended by Westlands central defenders Olly Wake and Scott Smith. With numbers behind the ball Sports coped well with the pressure and keeper Rich Pippin only had one real save to make when he turned over a shot from Gill’s right back who had made a good run forward.
The final whistle brought the curtain down on another good win for Westllands. Gillingham were strong opponents and the 3-1 defeat was their first this season so a great effort by the depleted Sports squad.
The Man of the Match this time is OLLY WAKE who marshalled the defence in the face of some direct attacking and looked composed all game.
Saturday 25th August 2018, Dorset Premier League: WESTLAND SPORTS 10 CORFE CASTLE 1
Another lovely afternoon at Alvington for the visit of newly promoted Corfe Castle who had experienced a difficult start in the DPL, losing their first 4 games. A win therefore was essential for Westlands if we were to maintain a league challenge. With three players suspended and two injured there were opportunities for others and reserves keeper Rich Pippin was drafted in and Tommy Frampton was given his first league start.
The first attempt on goal came from the visitors after only three minutes but Rich Pippin easily gathered the shot from distance. Westlands were soon on the attack and after 5 minutes forced a corner. Tommy Frampton whipped one in to the near post where a bit of a scramble ended with ANT HERRIN hooking the ball in through the crowd of players. That goal hurt the opposition and Sports launched another attack down the right with a good pass from Sam Plumley to Ant Herrin who laid the ball inside to Henry Lawrence-Napier who shot just over the bar.
Corfe Castle responded with a nicely worked free kick routine which gave their player a good shooting chance but again Rich Pippin got down to save the final shot. Westlands took control after this and launched wave after wave of attacks. Sam Carney played a nice ball out to Sam Plumley and his cross was headed just past the far post by Josh Payne. Some excellent one touch football was being played by Sports and the visitors were struggling to cope.
However in the 19th minute they had a good penalty shout denied by the referee who waved play on. A poor clearance was picked up by a Corfe midfielder who skipped through the centre of Sports defence before appearing to be tripped ! A bit of a lucky escape there.
Only a minute later Westlands made it 2-0. Ant Herrin ran on to a through pass down the right, dummied a defender, cut in and laid the ball across to JOSH PAYNE who banged it in from close range.
In the 27th minute Tommy Frampton whipped in a free kick which was dummied to HENRY LAWRENCE-NAPIER who drilled it in to make it 3-0 and game over. It was one way traffic now and Jamie Irwin put Tommy Frampton through but his daisy cutter was turned round the post by the keeper. From the corner Scott Smith headed over. Next Jamie Irwin took a free kick which was heading for the top corner until the keeper pulled off a tremendous save, fingertipping the ball over the bar. After 35 minutes Tommy Frampton drove into the Corfe penalty area past a couple of challenges and unleashed a thunderous shot that the keeper again tipped over. Great save.
A minute later the pressure told and Sports made it 4-0. Another Tommy Frampton corner was drilled across low and hard (or did he mis-hit it !!), Ant Herrin and Josh Payne both let the ball run and HENRY LAWRENCE-NAPIER was once again on the spot to thump the ball into the net. In the 38th minute a Josh Payne header was turned around the post and the corner was whacked just over the bar by Sam Carney. A couple of minutes later a great ball from Ant Herrin put Josh Payne in the clear but he tried to lob the keeper and completely duffed his attempt. Just before the break Josh played a ball out to Jamie Irwin who took it down on his chest and fired a curling shot that just drifted wide of the far post.
Half-time, 4-0 to Westlands and, in all honesty, it could have been more. Sports had played some good stuff and some of the passing moves were excellent. Corfe Castle had given us a couple of early scares but as the half wore on it was their keeper who produced a string of good saves to keep the score down. The second half looked a formality really but could Westlands keep their focus and rub home their superiority ?
The opposition had obviously had a serious chat at half time and it was noticeable that they came out for the second half showing a bit of determination. After about five minutes however Westlands should have increased their lead. Jamie Irwin was put clean through and he unselfishly drew the keeper and then squared the ball to Josh Payne who had an open goal. Instead of tapping the ball into the empty net, Josh took a swing at it and somehow managed to sky the ball over the bar from about 5 yards out !! The miss of the season so far !
In the 55th minute Westlands management introduced 2 subs, Malik Kamal replaced Josh Payne and Steve Ormrod replaced Ant Herrin. For a few minutes the rhythm was slightly upset but Westlands soon settled again and in the 65th minute Steve Ormrod was put through and his shot came crashing off the crossbar and was cleared. A couple of minutes later Tommy Frampton laid the ball across to JAMIE IRWIN who turned inside and side footed the ball into the corner of the net. A fine composed finish from the edge of the box, 5-0 Westlands.
Westlands then made their third and final sub of the day with Henry Lawrence-Napier replaced by Louis Irwin.
In the 70th minute Sports played a short corner out on the right. The ball was crossed in and SCOTT SMITH knocked it over the line from close range to make it 6-0
Then Louis Irwin took a free kick that crashed off the underside of the bar, bounced down and out for a goal kick. With 10 minutes to go a nice through ball left STEVE ORMROD with a side foot finish to make it 7.
A couple of minutes later Sam Plumley bombed down the right, fired over a peach of across, and STEVE ORMROD rose to head powerfully in for number 8.
We then had a moment of slackness by Westlands that cost debut keeper Rich Pippin his clean sheet. When Corfe broke out of defence there was no cover from the Westlands midfield and the defence was left outnumbered down the right. When the ball came over their #9 was unmarked and had an easy side foot finish to make it 8-1.
After 87 minutes LOUIS IRWIN side footed in number 9 after being set up by brother Jamie who cut in from the left and squared the ball across. The final goal came in the last minute when LOUIS IRWIN drove past a couple of shell-shocked Corfe defenders and drilled the ball into the far corner.
That was that, and an impressive 10-1 win to boost the goal difference. Westlands had played well, particularly in the first half when some of the one touch passing was impressive.
As for our opponents, it was a hard day for them, they were a bit understrength but they stuck to the task and never let their heads drop even in the latter stages when they tired a bit and the goals were flying in. Their consolation goal was well taken and they can take some positives from the afternoon.
The Man of the Match award goes to TOMMY FRAMPTON who has waited patiently for a starting slot and put in a good shift in the middle of that midfield. He was always showing for a pass and had a good touch on the ball so a worthy man of the match performance.
Wednesday 22nd August 2018, Dorset Premier League: SHERBORNE TOWN RES 0 WESTLAND SPORTS 1
A local derby away from home is always a tough game and this one proved to be no exception. This game is always scheduled for midweek which usually draws in a good crowd and there was a decent turnout for this one with Westlands getting plenty of support. Team-wise, for Sports Olly Wake returned in place of Jack Dicker at the back and Sam Carney replaced Haydn Hodges in midfield. Sherborne had a strong team on show with their full quota of first team players and a few ex-Westlands lads who would be out to impress, so we knew it would be a hard game.
The first 10 minutes were spent scrapping around in midfield before Westlands carved out the first real chance of the game. Henry Lawrence-Napier chased a high through ball into the Sherborne box. As the keeper rushed out Henry headed the ball over him only for a covering defender to hook it to safety. From the corner Adam Barrett and Phil Wells worked a short one that ended with Henry flashing a shot just past the near post.
Westlands were settling now and a lovely passing move ended with Sam Carney just failing to connect properly with Josh Payne’s cross. Further pressure from Sports saw Adam Barrett fire across a corner that was just begging to be touched into goal, unfortunately no takers for Westlands. After 26 minutes a Sam Carney free kick was headed over the bar by Jonny Manley. A few minutes later Sports conceded a soft free kick on the edge of the box and the resulting kick flew just past the post. Finally, in the 38th minute, Westlands made the breakthrough. Ant Herrin spotted JAMIE IRWIN’s run in behind the square Sherborne back line and fed a perfect pass into his path. As the keeper came out Jamie stabbed the ball past him into the net. It was a good goal, and no more than Westlands deserved as they had been the more composed team up to this point, playing a more patient passing game. The goal however stung Sherborne into some retaliation and for the last 5 minutes of the half they had their best spell. They forced a couple of corners and from one a well struck shot came crashing off the Westlands bar. Another chance fell to a Sherborne player following a mistake by a Sports defender but he couldn’t get his shot away quickly enough and the ball was eventually scrambled clear. That brought an end to the first half with Westlands holding a narrow 1-0 lead.
Probably just about the right score as Westlands had played some good football in the first half and put together some good moves but the final pass or cross was just going astray. The home team were getting stuck in but were tending to hit long balls, which suited Sports defence.
The home team needed to do something and it looked as if they had changed their formation a bit in the second half. It almost paid off in the opening minutes when a ball into the box found a Sherborne player unmarked. He appeared to have a clear sight of goal but seemed to fall over the ball and the danger was cleared. In the 52nd minute Ant Herrin wriggled clear out on the right and drove a cross, low and hard, across goal. The keeper spilled it from his grasp but recovered just in time with Josh Payne waiting for a tap in. Four minutes later Westlands had a free kick about 25 yards out and out towards the right wing. Sam Carney swung in a deep one that the Sherborne keeper came to gather but missed completely and the ball came off the inside of the post and bounced to safety. Moving into the last half hour Westlands looked as if they were just making sure they didn’t concede as they didn’t need to go chasing a second goal. Fresh young legs were also introduced with Tommy Frampton, Louis Irwin and Malik Kamal replacing Adam Barratt, Josh Payne and Jamie Irwin. Sherborne huffed and puffed but Sam Watts in the Westlands goal wasn’t really tested and Sports were still causing the home team problems with some quick attacks. In fact it was Westlands who came closest to scoring with Malik Kamal’s goal bound shot taking a slight deflection that put it past the post.
The final whistle gave Westlands the 1-0 victory and three welcome points in our first away game of the season. It had been a tough match, these games always are, but we got the win which was needed after our defeat in the previous match.
The Man of the Match award goes to HENRY LAWRENCE-NAPIER who once again provided great energy in the midfield and was also an attacking threat throughout the match.
Saturday 18th August 2018, Dorset Premier League: WESTLAND SPORTS 0 HOLT UTD 2
Two of the more fancied teams this season squared up at Alvington so it was the first big challenge of the season. Westlands were hoping to continue the unbeaten start to the season but made four changes from the midweek win over Sturminster Newton. Olly Wake, Scott Smith, steve Ormrod and Dwayne Forshaw dropped out and they were replaced by Jonny Manley, Jack Dicker, Haydn Hodges and Jamie Irwin.
It was a fairly cagey opening with neither side creating anything of note until Westlands gifted the visitor’s an early lead in the 10th minute. A long ball upfield was missed by Jack Dicker who took his eye off the ball and allowed it to run under his foot. Holt’s lively #10 Saxby ran through, rounded Sports keeper Sam Watts, and slotted the ball into the empty net. Westlands tried to hit back, Jack Dicker went up for a free kick and headed Haydn Hodges cross wide of the post. Then in the 20th minute agood run and cross by the Holt right winger was met on the run with a powerful header and Sam Watts did well to tip it over the bar. A few minutes later Sam Watts was shown a yellow card for handling a long ball outside the box. Westlands Jonny Manly then went close when he went up for a corner and got a shot away which glanced the outside of the post on its way past. After 35 minutes Sports were forced into a change when Adam Barratt came off clutching his hamstring and he was replaced by Sam Carney. Just before half time Josh Payne put over a cross which a Holt defender almost sliced into his own net, the ball going for a corner. The from a good flick-on Sam Carney blasted way over the top. Half-time 0-1.
It had been a frustrating half for Westlands as they had found it hard to create chances against an extremely hard working Holt side who had got plenty of men behind the ball. And now that the visitor’s had a lead to defend they were going to be hard to break down in the second half.
Westlands started the half with a corner that was whipped into the goalmouth. The keeper fumbled it and it was booted off the line by one of his team mates. Sports were pressing hard now and a great cross from Haydn Hodges was thumped goalwards by Jonny Manley but again it was blocked on the line. Was it going to be one of those days ? In the 53rd minute a Haydn corner was headed powerfully by Josh Payne but the Holt keeper made a great save, turning the ball over the bar. On the hour mark Ant Herrin had a good run and shot which was blocked. Josh Payne hit the rebound but the keeper saved. A minute later a pinpoint cross by Josh picked out Jamie Irwin at the far post. He tried to place his header back across the keeper into the corner but put it wide of the far post.With 10 minutes to go Henry Lawrence-Napier was replaced by Tommy Frampton and a minute later Steve Ormrod replaced Sam Plumley in a last throw of the dice for Sports. This was followed by Haydn Hodges being sin-binned which meant we would have to play the remainder of the game with 10 men. Thng were getting a bit desperate now and Steve Ormrod got his head to a cross but put it wide.
In the dying seconds of the match Westlands pushed everyone up for a corner including goalkeeper Sam Watts. From the kick Josh Payne put in a strong header that looked to have crossed the line before seeming to be scooped away by a defender’s hand. Both officials claimed not to have seen the ball cross the line or any handball. While the Westland players appealed the ball was played up to Holt’s Nathan Saxby who had been left standing on his own on the halfway line and he ran through unchallenged and planted the ball into the empty net for the second time in the match.
That was the game over as far as the result was concerned but worse was to come for Westlands. As the players continued to appeal over the disallowed ‘goal’ tempers boiled over, players lost their composure and the referee started brandishing red cards. First Sam Watts got his marching orders, followed immediately by Jonny Manley and then Jack Dicker followed, apparently on the word of the linesman. With Sports now down to seven men the referee quickly blew the final whistle to bring an end to proceedings.
A sad way to end a game and no doubt the Westland players will be looking at their own part in the incidents. Nevertheless, we were runners up in the fair play Trophy last season and we had no yellow or red cards in the first two games this season, so it begs the question, how did we finish this match with one sin-bin, four yellow cards, and three reds in a match that was hard fought but with no malice between the two teams ?
The Man of the Match award goes to PHIL WELLS who gave his usual assured performance and continued to encourage his teammates right to the end. He also kept his head down and his opnions to himself which is an example to us all.
Tuesday 14th Aug 2018, Dorset Premier League: WESTLAND SPORTS 2 STURMINSTER NEWTON UTD 0
A couple of changes were made for this our second match in 4 days. Haydn Hodges was injured and Jonny Manley was rested so Scott Smith stepped in at the back and Dwayne Forshaw started wide on the left. A few other positional changes gave the team a different look to the one that had won well on Saturday. Our opponents had suffered a heavy defeat in their first match so a home win was a must.
As it turned out, the new formation just didn’t gell and with the visitor’s looking in determined mood, this match became a bit of a struggle for Westlands. It took Sports about 20 minutes to create an opening when Josh Payne crossed to Dwayne Forshaw but his shot was wide of the mark. Sturminster replied immediately with a good effort that slipped just past the post. Then Olly Wake lost possession in his own penalty area out on the byeline. The Stur attacker ran in and drove the ball past Sports keeper Sam Watts but the angle was too tight and the ball slipped just past the far post. In the 28th minute Westlands created a shooting chance but Josh Payne blasted over the top. The game was opening up a little now and the Sturminster #7 had a shot that flew just over the bar. Back came Westlands with Josh Payne shooting just over. Then the visitor’s keeper smothered a Steve Ormrod shot as the half drew to a close. Half-time 0-0.
Not a classic by any means and the visitors probably had the best opportunities to open the scoring in the first half but failed to hit the target with 3 decent chances. Westlands toiled away but found it difficult to penetrate a solid Sturminster rear guard who were getting lots of men behind the ball.
Some immediate action was taken by Sports management at half time with 2 substitutions and a more familiar look to the team. Steve Ormrod and Dwayne Forshaw were withdrawn and replaced by Sam Carney and Jamie Irwin with Ant Herrin pushing up front.
The reshaped home team came out looking much sharper in the second half and soon took the lead. A bit of a goalmouth scramble ended with Josh Payne thumping a shot off the crossbar and into the net off the head of SAM CARNEY. Westlands were in control now and in the 50th minute a strong run and cross by Henry Lawrence-Napier was met on the run by Ant Herrin but the keeper dived at his feet and made a great block. Then Henry had a snap shot but again the Stur keeper pulled off a good save.
On the hour Westlands made their final substitution with Tommy Frampton replacing Adam Barratt.
Then another bit of sloppy play in the Sports defence put a Stur player clear but Sam Watts dived low to his left and touched the shot round the post. That was a close shave and almost immediately Sam Watts was in action again, pushing away a high cross/shot. Westlands soon went back on the attack and Josh Payne made it a hat-trick of shots put over the bar ! Then Josh made a good run to the bye line and turned the ball across goal but no takers in the box fo a tap in. In the 74th minute Sam Plumley picked out Ant Herrin with a forward pass but Ant drilled his shot just past the post. Then Josh Payne got to the byeline again but again no-one could get on the end of his cut back.Josh was causing the visitor’s defence problems now and another good run saw him beat several defenders before firing a shot past the far post. In the 85th minute a Jamie Irwin free kick flew just over the bar and a couple of minutes later the Stur keeper pulled off a great save from Jamie after he was set up by Josh Payne. Westlands were knocking at the door but with only a one goal lead there was always the worry that the visitor’s would nick one on the break. Finally, with only a few minutes left, JAMIE IRWIN sealed the win for Westlands with a low drive from 20 yards which took a slight deflection and finished in the corner of the net.
That was the points safe and it was just about the right score as the Sturminster keeper had been outstanding in the second half to keep his team in the game for so long. From a Westlands viewpoint it wasn’t one of our better day’s and it had been a bit of a struggle to overcome a lively Sturminster Newton side who worked very hard for the 90 minutes. A bonus on the day was another clean sheet, that's two out of two now !
The Man of the Match award goes to the enigmatic JOSH PAYNE who missed several chances but always looked the player most likely to open up the visitor’s defence particularly in the second half.
Saturday 11th August 2018, Dorset Premier League: WESTLAND SPORTS 8 PORTLAND UTD RES 0
First game of the season and, to make it more interesting, unknown opponents who were newly promoted from the Dorset Senior League.
The pitch was hard, as expected given the recent weather, but some quite heavy rain on matchday made it a slippy surface which would test the first touch. We had lost our opening match last season so with a home match we were looking for a good win to get the season off to a flying start.
Westlands had a two or three players missing but it was a very strong team who took the field with an equally strong 5 man bench which included new signing Jack Dicker.
The teams kicked off in a bit of a downpour but Westlands were looking sharp and were soon zipping the ball around. Sports were having most of the pressure without really troubling the Portland keeper as the visitor’s defended well and looked to attack on the break. Westlands had a shout for a penalty when Ant Herrin was upended in the box but the referee waved play on. The first big chance of the game fell to the visitor’s in the 20th minute. The ball was squared to their number 10 who was unmarked on the edge of the box and he blasted in a shot which Sports keeper Sam Watts tipped over the bar at full stretch. Westlands kept probing at the Portland defence and eventually the breakthrough came in the 29th minute. Ant Herrin cut inside from the left and slipped a neat ball through to STEVE ORMROD who took a touch and drilled the ball into the far corner. Three minutes later came goal number two. Haydn Hodges squared to ADAM BARRATT on the edge of the box and he coolly picked his spot with a sidefoot finish. In the 35th minute it was 3-0 as Westlands turned the screw. A cross came over from the right, the visitor’s keeper seemed to hesitate and JOSH PAYNE rose to head home. In the 38th minute Josh skinned the fullback, got to the byeline, and squared the ball on a plate for ANT HERRIN to sidefoot in goal number four. A goal blitz by Westlands with 4 goals in 12 minutes gave the home side an unassailable 4-0 half time lead
Most people thought Portland had been competitive until that first goal went in but I thought Westlands had always looked a class above their opponents and it was only a matter of time but I was slightly surprised to be four goals up at the break.
As the teams came out for the second half Westlands made their first substitution with Sam Carney coming on for Haydn Hodges. No doubt Portland came out with a plan to tighten up in the second half but that went spectacularly wrong when Sports added a fifth goal only 2 minutes into the half. The ball was played through to JOSH PAYNE on the edge of the box and he turned and fired the ball into the far bottom corner. A neat finish that was followed in the 52nd minute with goal number 6. Josh Payne again did the damage down the left and his pass set up HENRY LAWRENCE-NAPIER who stabbed the ball past the keeper.
Josh Payne was then replaced by Tommy Frampton as Sports made their second substitution.
In the 61st minute came possibly the goal of the game as Westlands knocked the ball around from man to man. Finally Adam Barratt played a through ball to STEVE ORMROD who prodded it past the keeper.
Westlands then made their last substitution with Jack Dicker replacing Henry Lawrence-Napier.
The game dropped down a gear now but Westlands managed another goal in the 79th minute. SAM CARNEY broke through the opposition defence with a nice one-two and his shot went in off the far post to make it 8-0.
A minute later Westlands had a stonewall penalty when Tommy Frampton was wiped out in the box but the referee
again waved play on. However he did so with a big smile on his face which perhaps told a story !
The next action came at the other end when Sam Watts had to make a good save after the Westlands defence got careless and gave away possession in their own half. The final action came from Tommy Frampton who danced through the Portland defence then fluffed his shot past the post with only the keeper to beat.
A good start to the season for Westlands who quickly slipped into gear and looked to be in good form. Hard to assess the opposition really but it could be a long season for them.
The Man of the Match award goes to skipper ADAM BARRATT who looked in control in the midfield and set a good example to his team mates with his unflustered attitude. Add to that an excellent goal and you have a man of the match performance.
Sat 27th April, Dorset Senior League, ALLENDALE 2 WESTLAND SPORTS RES 3
Westlands travelled to Allendale, who are fighting for survival, knowing that 3 points would secure the Dorset Senior League title.
In the opening exchanges it was Westlands who were slicing open the Allendale back line with ease, Isaac Storey raced clear and pulled back for Joe Jarvis who couldn’t find a finish to match the build up play. Storey and Steve Flynn both had shots that failed to test the Allendale keeper.
The referee was starting to use his whistle increasingly more and more as the half went on and it was Allendale that were getting stronger and they deservedly took the lead with a fast paced raid that left an open net for the striker to tap home. Westlands were clearly rocked by this goal and really struggling to string any kind of play together with Allendale looking dangerous on every attack. It was now all about getting to half time to regroup without conceding again. This proved to be impossible and Allendale doubled their lead when a corner was met at the front past and turned home for 2-0. Half time 2-0 down.
Second half saw the introduction of Charlie Gay and Dan Ewens to try and change the course of the game. The play was now being dominated by Westlands but no clear chances were presenting themselves. With 70 minutes on the clock an ISAAC STOREY in-swinging corner eluded everyone including the Allendale keeper and ended up in the back of the net giving Westlands a glimmer of hope at 2-1 down. Joe Jarvis re-entered the game and joined Charlie Gay up top with a re-shuffle of the pack and formation.
With Westlands now pushing for an equaliser there were some rash tackles being made and this was presenting opportunities for Sports to deliver balls into dangerous areas with quality deliveries from Isaac Storey and Aaron Sweet. Westlands thought they had equalised when Storey headed home a Sweet delivery but the linesman’s flag said otherwise. The equaliser materialised with only minutes left on the clock with STEVE FLYNN heading in a Sweet free kick. Allendale were then reduced to 10 men for another bad tackle as Sports piled on the pressure in the hope of securing the league title.
With the game moving into stoppage time Isaac Storey took yet another corner and a perfect delivery was met by that man STEVE FLYNN who rose the highest to direct his header in to the top corner of the net and spark wild celebrations from everyone involved. Straight from the kick off Allendale tried to push for an equaliser that would secure their survival but a long ball into Westlands box was met by the head of Captain Jamie Burt who powered his clearance back over the half way line to the sound of the final whistle.
A massive second half performance from Westlands that showed huge character and a will to never give up. It has been an incredible season for all the lads involved and everyone that has played a part in it should be very proud of what we have achieved.
Man of the Match went to STEVE FLYNN, two magnificent headed goals to win the match.
Sat 20th April, Dorset Senior League, WESTLAND SPORTS RES 2 WINCANTON 0
Westlands had Rich Pippin back in goal for this one but unfortunately top scorer Charlie Gay was unavailable so midfielder Steve Flynn went up front. Scott Morgan, Jake Wolfe and Aaron Sweet were all starters as the management shuffled the pack. Wincanton had used their full quota of first team players as per the rules so we knew we were in for a tough match.
Westlands opened quite brightly, knocking the ball around and created the first chance in the 5th minute. Dan Ewens, who was operating in midfield, tried a rather speculative overhead kick that went wide of the goal. After 10 minutes came a quick raid from the visitors and Rich Pippin just tipped the final shot round the post. A couple of minutes later Jamie Burt got a header on target from a corner but the keeper saved fairly easily. In the 15th minute Westlands made the breakthrough. Jake Wolfe burst into the box and was tripped for a penalty. ISAAC STOREY stepped up and thumped the ball down the middle as the keeper dived to the right. 1-0 to Westlands.
In the 17th minute a free kick from Aaron sweet was turned into the net by Jamie Burt but the linesman spotted an offside and it was ruled out. After 25 minutes Isaac Storey was pulled down about 20 yards out and from the free kick Aaron Sweet thumped in an excellent shot that crashed off the crossbar and was cleared. On the half hour the Wincanton #9 drove in a good shot that had Rich Pippin at full stretch to turn round the post and a minute later the visitors #7 had a crack at goal that went just over the top. It was end to end at the moment and Westlands were next to have a go when Steve Flynn laid the ball off to Dan Ewens but his right foot shot had no power and was easily saved. Then it Wincanton who had a shot at goal but this one went straight into Rich Pippin’s arms. In the 36th minute a good pass from Dan Ewens set up Steve Flynn but he scooped his shot over the bar. Back at the other end Rich Pippin fumbled a shot round the post for a corner which was scrambled away.Half-time 1-0.
A one goal lead for Westlands was ok at the break but the general feeling was we could maybe have been a couple up with one “goal” ruled out for offside and a free kick rattling the bar. However the score probably reflected play in the first 45 as Wincanton had been tough opponents as we knew they would.
Five minutes into the second half Liam Stobbs had the first shot at goal with a good effort but it was a fairly easy save for the keeper. Then Rich Pippin fielded a well struck shot from a Wincanton attacker.
The visitor’s #11 was finding a lot of space out on the left and he put a couple of good crosses over that caused problems in the Westland’s defence. Westlands were looking for that crucial second goal and a bit of anxiety seemed to be creeping into the play. Steve Flynn made a good run and laid the ball back to Isaac Storey but his shot went just over. Then Steve Flynn broke through on his own but he duffed his shot tamely at the keeper and another chance was gone. But in the 80th minute it was STEVE FLYNN who grabbed that all important second goal and what a goal it was ! A long ball over the top was chased by Steve who outjumped the Wincanton centre half to head the ball on. He then chased his own flick-on and deftly chipped the ball over the advancing keeper. Great stuff that brought a huge cheer from the spectators and great celebrations from the players. I think everyone knew that was the goal that clinched the game and with about ten minutes left it was Westlands who looked likely to add to their score line as Wincanton heads dropped. A well worked free kick saw Aaron Sweet slip the ball out to Rory Thompson who put over a good cross for Isaac Storey who saw his shot blocked on the line. Then Steve Flynn controlled the ball in the box and thumped it into the net but it was ruled out for handball. That was the last of the action and so it finished 2-0 to Westlands.
Another good three points for the reserves that takes them a step nearer that league title. Not a vintage performance from Sports but they were depleted with unavailability and injury so the performance was a creditable one.
Man of the Match went to STEVE FLYNN who was full of running all match and scored that excellent solo effort that clinched the points.
Sat 13th April, Dorset Senior League, WESTLAND SPORTS RES 3 BROADSTONE 1
For the second time this season Westlands manager Jon Ritchie was between the sticks with Rich Pippin being called upon by the first team and his replacement Matt Alford unfortunately having work commitments. Westlands went into the game knowing that 3 wins from their last 4 games would secure the league title, so all to play for.
In the opening minutes, however it was Broadstone that started the brighter with some dangerous deliveries into the box from their left winger. After 10 minutes they struck the first blow when a beautifully delivered inswinger was headed past Ritchie to make it 1-0 to the visitors.
It was a game that Westlands were struggling to gain control of and a lot of sloppy passing was enabling Broadstone's defence to deal comfortably with everything coming their way.
Nevertheless Sports managed to get back on level terms after half an hour when a Joe Jarvis attempted shot found its way to LIAM STOBBS who finished nicely. That made it 1-1 and that was the half time score.
The second half was dominated by Westlands but with very little goalmouth action until the 70th minute when goal scorer Stobbs drove into the box and pulled the ball back for substitute ISAAC STOREY to hammer home to make it 2-1 Westlands. The energy levels started to rise and Sports soon grabbed another following a driving run down the left from full back Scott Morgan who put a low cross into the box which the Broadstone keeper failed to hold and LIAM STOBBS was on hand to grab his second goal, lifting the ball high in to the net. That made the final score 3-1 to Westlands. Just 2 more wins from 3 games needed to secure the league title.
The Man of the Match went to LIAM STOBBS who was heavily involved in everything that Westlands did well.
Sat 23rd March, Dorset Senior League, WESTLAND SPORTS RES 2 BEAMINSTER 1
Westland’s welcomed near neighbours Beaminster to Alvington in a game we knew would be a tough one. The reverse fixture saw Sports take the points at Beaminster with a single Liam Stobbs goal. Beaminster started sharper in this one and were causing Westlands trouble with the ball over the top and their front man outpacing the Sports back line on a couple of occasions inside the first few minutes before wasting the chances. Westlands were riding their luck a bit but also showed glimpses of what they could offer as an attacking force with Sam Fuller, making his first start, delivering a good ball into the path of Charlie Gay who fired over from close range. 25 minutes in and Westlands luck ran out when the same Beaminster striker raced through on goal and this time nicely lobbed the advancing Westlands keeper Rich Pippin to make it 1-0. The rest of the half proved fairly uneventful with neither team taking control but the physical presence of the Beaminster team was challenging for the young Westlands side. 0-1 half time.
A couple of changes at half time saw the experienced duo of Aaron Sweet and Jake Wolfe replace youngsters Sam Fuller and Isaac Storey. The message was to move the ball quicker and to bring an intensity to the game that was missing in the first half.
Westlands responded to the half time words and began to look like they believed they could get something from the game with chances presenting themselves but not being taking. The equaliser came courtesy of captain JAMIE BURT who met an in-swinging corner from Aaron Sweet to prod the ball over the line from close range.
1-1 and 20 minutes to find another goal and win the game ! Beaminster were proving to be a solid test but the attacking pace of Gay, Stobbs and Sweet was starting to open them up. Some good work from Joe Jarvis saw him drive into the box before squaring to Charlie Gay who again fired over the bar. With time running out the game was won by Westlands when the ball fell to the feet of LIAM STOBBS who calmly took a touch and slotted past the keeper for 2-1. Westlands had a good chance to make it 3 following good work down the right from Liam Stobbs who delivered the ball in to Dan Ewens but his effort failed to hit the target.
Final score 2-1 to Westlands and the team deserve a lot of credit after a poor first half performance. In the second half they fought back to win a hard game against strong opposition and increasing their lead at the top of the league with only 4 games to go.
The Man of the Match award, picked by the spectators and endorsed by the manager, was STEVE FLYNN whose work rate was exceptional over the 90 minutes.
Sat 16th March, Dorset Senior League, WESTLAND SPORTS RES 4 CORFE MULLEN 1
Westlands were at home again for the fourth week in a row, could we make it four wins out of four ? As usual, it was bitterly cold down at Alvington with a strong wind making conditions difficult for the players and a nightmare for the spectators ! Westlands had a couple of changes from the side that won well last week, Charlie Gay and Jake Wolfe dropped out injured and were replaced by Luca Martin and Isaac Storey with Brandon Scott, Scott Morgan and Steve Flynn giving Sports a strong bench.
Westlands took the initiative straight from the kick-off with Joe Jarvis making a strong run into the Corfe box and cutting the ball across goal. Unfortunately there was no Westlands player on hand to take advantage. A couple of minutes later Rory Thomson met a cross from the right at the front post but couldn’t get his shot on target, sending the ball just past the post. A goal was on the cards and it came after 10 minutes. Isaac Storey burst through and laid the ball off to LUCA MARTIN who curled a good shot into the far corner. 1-0 to Westlands and well deserved as they had attacked from the first whistle. In the 20th minute Liam Stobbs was put clean through but the keeper came out to make the block with his legs. The rebound fell to Luca Martin but his shot hit the top of the bar and went over. A minute later it was 2-0 when a Corfe defender miscued his clearance and presented the ball to LUCA MARTIN on the edge of the box and he drilled the ball low into the net. Only just over 20 minutes gone and Sports had a nice two goal lead which could have been more in all honesty. Spurred on by losing the second goal Corfe Mullen then made their best chance so far when, from a corner, their player blasted a shot goalwards only to see Rich Pippin turn it over the bar. Westlands next chance came after half an hour with a good run and shot from Dan Ewens that was blocked for a corner. From the kick Jack Dicker put a header just over the bar. Next Isaac Storey and Liam Stobbs combined well to set up a chance for Rory Thomson but he missed the target with his shot. After 39 minutes a good run gave Liam Stobbs a chance but he put his shot in the side net from an angle. Just before the half time whistle Luca Martin also put a shot just wide.
The 2-0 half time lead was fairly comfortable for Westlands but really they could have been further ahead had they shown a bit of composure with their shooting. The visitors hadn’t really threatened so it looked good at this stage for a home win.
As expected, Corfe came out and showed a bit more energy at the start of the second half and it took Westlands until the 57th minute to create a good chance. An Isaac Storey pass put Rory Thomson in the clear but again he missed the target with his shot putting it just past the post. In the 70th minute Westlands put the game beyond doubt with the third goal. Luca Martin made a good run down the right and put the ball into the box where DAN EWENS banged it in off the post with his right foot.
Two minutes later Steve Flynn played a pass out to Liam Stobbs whose cross was met with a diving header by Luca Martin that flew just over the top. In the 78th minute a good forward run by Steve Flynn was picked out by Jack Dicker with a lovely pass. As the keeper rushed out Steve lobbed the ball over his head and just wide of the post. After 80 minutes Sports scored a fourth goal. Matt Philips crossed to STEVE FLYNN who was unmarked about 15 yards out and he took a touch and coolly stroked the ball into the corner of the net. A great goal but Sports were then caught with a sucker punch, not for the first time in recent weeks. A long wind assisted kick by the Corfe keeper was picked up by their player and he smashed the ball into the net. A consolation goal well taken by the visitor’s striker but Westlands defence appeared to have switched off momentarily. Sports had one more chance to increase the score before the final whistle when Lewis Howchin ran on to a Matt Philips pass and hit the far post with his shot which bounced to safety.
Another good win for Westlands that puts them 7points clear at the top of the league.
Jack Dicker ruled himself out of the reckoning for Man of the Match by hoofing a clearance right over the perimeter fence into the road, never to be seen again ! The award, picked by the Sports management team, was shared by MATT PHILIPS and LUCA MARTIN.
Sat 9th March, Dorset Senior League, WESTLAND SPORTS RES 5 CHICKERELL UTD 0
A pretty strong line up for Westlands with a couple of changes from the previous week. Dwayne Forshaw was missing and was replaced by Rory Thomson, and with Scott Morgan called up for first team duty, Dan Ewens started at the back.The weather was dry but cold and the pitch looked in good condition as the teams kicked off under the watchful eye of experienced official Mr Perlejewski.
The first chance fell to Westlands in the 7th minute when a trademark long throw by Jack Dicker was headed wide by Jake Wolfe. Then Chickerell had a couple of chances. Their left winger drove over a cross from near the byeline that came off the face of the bar and bounced to safety. Then a shot from a Chickerell attacker flew just past the post before Sports responded with a good run and shot by Charlie Gay that the keeper parried for a corner. Liam Stobbs swung over the kick and Jamie Burt met it flush with his head but again the keeper turned the ball over the bar. Again the ball was swung over deep where Jamie Burt headed it back across goal only for Joe Jarvis to blast it high over the bar. A good little spell that for Westlands with only the Chickerell keeper stopping them from scoring. After 20 minutes another long throw from Jack Dicker picked out Jake Wolfe but he put his shot wide. Then Charlie Gay showed good control in the box to create a chance but the Chickerell keeper pulled off a brilliant one-handed save. In the 25th minute Westlands got the important opening goal. A deep corner was returned back across to LIAM STOBBS at the far post and he fooled the keeper by missing his shot before recovering to stab the ball into the net. Play was fairly even from then on until a few minutes before half time when we had a flurry of chances. Jack Dicker tried his luck with a low drive from about 30 yards that went just past the post.Then a long ball picked out Charlie Gay who turned and curled a shot just wide of the far post. The half finished with a narrow escape for Westlands. A rash tackle in the box saw the referee correctly point to the spot for a penalty to Chickerell. Their player thumped the ball straight down the middle and it came off the crossbar and was cleared.
So, half time and a narrow one goal lead for Sports but really it should have been 1-1 with Chickerell having that penalty chance. It had been a fairly even half but I thought Westlands had created more chances and had looked the more likely team to score.
Into the second half and with the Westlands players asleep a Chickerell player had a free header at the far post, luckily he put his effort past the post. In the 52nd minute Charlie Gay made a great run down the left and squared the ball to Jack Dicker who tried an audacious chip/flick that spun just wide. Charlie Gay was in full flow now and a minute later he cut in from the right and flashed a shot just past the far post. In the 60th minute an even better chance for Charlie as he ran clean through but the keeper came out and made the block. However a goal looked on the cards at it came in the 65th minute. Again CHARLIE GAY was put through but this time he rounded the keeper and squeezed the ball in from an acute angle. That was the end of Charlie’s involvement as he managed to injure himself scoring the goal. All the Westlands subs were on now, and with some fresh young legs they began to play some good stuff. In the 77th minute Westlands were awarded a free kick about 25 yards out and ISAAC STOREY stepped up and smashed the ball into the back of the net. The Chickerell keeper had been outstanding all game but I felt maybe he should have saved that one as it was straight down the middle. Nevertheless a cracking strike and with Sports now 3-0 up things looked bleak for Chickerell. Three minutes later Lewis Howchin went on a tremendous run and squared the ball to Isaac Storey. Isaac’s shot was parried by the keeper but RORY THOMSON was following up and forced the ball over he line. That made it 4-0 and a minute later it was five. A ball was played across the face of the Chickerell goal and RORY THOMSON smashed it in. Another great finish and Sports were cock-a-hoop now. A final corner for Westlands fell to Liam Stobbs who put the ball over the bar. The referee’s whistle brought the curtain down on a good 5-0 win for Westlands.
Until the 65th minute it had been a pretty even game but the second goal put Sports in charge. Another clean sheet for Westlands solid defence, the 7th in 8 games !
The Man of the Match award went to MATT PHILIPS who kept going right to the end despite the fact he was playing in an unaccustomed midfield role and had to wear a jersey that had obviously shrunk in the wash !
Sat 2nd March, Dorset Senior League, WESTLAND SPORTS RES 5 AFC BLANDFORD 1
Another dry fine day at Alvington but the chill wind had returned so it was still winter even although the kick off had been switched back to the 3.00pm start as we were now into March.
AFC Blandford had given us a 6-2 beating at Stourpaine earlier in the season so we knew this would be a tough match. However, the equation is simple, win all our remaining games and we will win the league !
Previous to this match, Westlands had gone six games without conceding a goal but that statistic was shattered after only 4 minutes when the visitors scored ! A simple pass was laid in to the totally unmarked Blandford #10 about 15 yards out and he smashed the ball into the top corner.
As we settled into the game the pattern that emerged was the visitor’s having a lot of possession but Westlands looking dangerous with fast raiding attacks. Charlie Gay was proving a big problem for the Blandford defence and his strong run and cross was just missed by Liam Stobbs coming in from the other wing. Then a corner for Sports was headed just over the bar by Lewis Howchin. Still Blandford had lots of possession but they were finding Sports defence a tough nut to crack now they had found their focus. In the 40th minute Westlands equalised with a fine goal. A free kick into the box was collected by CHARLIE GAY who turned and thumped the ball past the keeper. Two minutes later Sports had a good chance to take the lead when a lovely through ball from Lewis Howchin put Liam Stobbs clean through but he couldn’t get the ball out of his feet to get a shot away and the keeper came out to block. Half-time 1-1.
The second half seemed to continue as the first with Blandford having a lot of possession but not giving Rich Pippin in the Westlands goal any work to do while Westlands were pretty solid and looking for these quick breaks. As the half wore on without any real goalmouth action, it looked as if the visitors fancied they could go on and win the match as they seemed to be pushing more men forward. A dangerous tactic with Westlands pace up front and, sure enough, they were made to pay in the 70th minute. A long ball down the right was picked up by Liam Stobbs who quickly squared to CHARLIE GAY who scored with a cool sidefoot finish. Having taken the lead Sports went for the kill now and a couple of minutes later forced a corner out on the right. The kick was half cleared to Rory Thomson on the edge of the box and he fired in a shot that was heading for the bottom corner until the keeper turned it round the post. That corner was cleared but in the 75th minute another corner from the right was met on the run by DAN EWENS and his header flew into the far corner. That made the score 3-1 and with the pressure now off, Westlands quickly made it four in the 77th minute. A long ball over the top put LIAM STOBBS clean through and he managed to find the back of the net after playing a 1-2 with the Blandford goalkeeper. Three goals in seven minutes had put this game to bed and with a 4-1 lead Sports could relax. In the 86th minute LEWIS HOWCHIN made it five with a nice finish from the edge of the box and that was the final action of the match.
A strange game, as with the opposition having so much possession it didn’t really feel like a 5-1 match but on reflection Blandford had been blitzed in the second half !
The Man of the Match award went to LEWIS HOWCHIN who had an energetic game at right back and was an example to his team mates in terms of work rate. Also grabbed a goal to top things off.
Sat 23rd Feb, Dorset Senior League, WINCANTON TOWN RES 0 WESTLAND SPORTS RES 3
Westland’s travelled to near neighbours Wincanton looking to bring home the 3 points and keep their title hopes going. There was a first start for youth team player Dan Ewens and Rich Pippin returned between the sticks.
The opening 10 minutes were fairly even with the pitch proving a bit difficult.
Westlands were keeping the ball well in spells and the right hand side pairing of Lewis Howchin and Charlie Gay were causing Wincanton problems. A number of corners and crosses into the box were keeping Wincanton penned in and on 25 minutes Westlands took the lead. NAT CARNEY grabbed his first goal of the season with a long range effort that sailed over the keeper’s head and in to the far corner. This seemed to lift Westlands and a number of good chances in and around the box followed but they couldn’t find another goal. 1-0 half time.
The second half was again dominated by Westlands with a number of Isaac Storey set plays but no goal to show for it. On 65 minutes CHARLIE GAY was fouled when receiving the ball inside the box and picked himself up to slot home the resulting penalty for 2-0. Moments later the home side were reduced to 10 men with a straight red card for a dangerous tackle. Westlands who had dominated throughout were now keeping the ball well and pushing for a third. This arrived from another penalty when ISAAC STOREY was fouled following a good run and stepped up to score from the spot himself. Full time 3-0.
The score line was a fair reflection on the game as Westlands dominated from start to finish with once again the defence looking very strong. Westlands have now gone over 540 minutes without conceding a goal which at any level is a great achievement. The entire squad of 14 all chipped in this afternoon with a great work ethic and a very professional job done.
The Man of the Match award went to DAN EWENS who never put a foot wrong and looked very assured on the ball all afternoon, A fantastic start to his senior career.
There's a fantastic set of photographs of this match taken by our old friend Wayne Scott, these can be viewed by copying this link into your browser - https://www.flickr.com/photos/94737641@N02/sets/72157689938409573/
Sat 16th Feb, Dorset Senior League, CRANBORNE 0 WESTLAND SPORTS RES 1
Playing at Cranborne is never easy and with their near neighbours Witchampton folding a few weeks ago some recent signings have bolstered their squad making this a tough encounter for the Reserves.
Experienced keeper Matt Alford was dragged out of retirement to play between the sticks and there were four of the U18s involved as well so a full complement of 14 players on duty.
The first half started with both Charlie Gay and Luca Martin looking very dangerous for Westlands. Gay's driving runs into the box and Martin’s quick feet created some early half-chances but nothing to test the home keeper. In fact the first half saw both teams keep good possession for periods but never anything to worry either keeper.
Half time 0-0.
The second half started much the same as the first with the defences of both sides keeping anything dangerous out. Westlands had not conceded a goal since the reverse fixture in November when Cranborne left Alvington 4-1 winners and it was looking likely that both sides would share the points in this match. Chris Wells, Dan Ewens and Sam Fuller all came on to try and change the game. Westlands also changed formation in the hope of snatching a late goal but this nearly went the other way. In the dying minutes of the half the referee blew for a free kick on the edge of Westlands box which appeared to be a foul for Sports but was then awarded to Cranborne. The experienced Matt Alford set up his wall and everyone watched on in hope it came to nothing. The ball was curled round the outside of the wall taking a slight deflection off the outside man which sent it towards the top corner. Alford swiftly moved across his line and flung himself at full stretch to finger tip the ball on to the post and out to safety. It was an amazing save and one that we thought had rescued a point for Westlands. However, in the dying seconds, the lads pushed forward and earned a throw in deep in the Cranborne half. Long throw expert Jack Dicker picked the ball up and hurled it deep into the home sides box. A defender’s header diverted it away from danger only for Dan Ewens to head back across goal to CHARLIE GAY who acrobatically hooked the ball into the net to make it 1-0 to Westlands. A great moment for the lads who had battled hard all afternoon and won the match with the last kick of the game.
Full time 1-0 to Westlands.
Man of the Match award this week goes to JACK DICKER who was solid throughout but also a special mention for Matt Alford for that save.
Sat 26th Jan, Dorset Senior League, WESTLAND SPORTS RES 0 MERE TOWN 0
In a game that would have seen the winners take control at the top of the table, it was destined to be a cagey affair. With Westlands losing a handful of players to the first team and a couple struck down with the flu it was important that defensively they were strong against a Mere side who like to attack and have scored lots of goals this season, more than any other team in the league.
Jake Wolfe returned following a lengthy absence through injury and was pitched straight in to an unfamiliar role at right back ! Young Isaac Storey, starting his first game at senior level, was wide right with Matty Phillips, normally a centre half, in the centre of midfield. Charlie Gay returned to the team and ploughed a lone furrow up front, and there was a bench of the Management team Jon Ritchie and Aaron Sheard.
Westlands we're kicking into a very strong wind in the first half and Mere had a lot of possession with only one real chance to note when after 30 minutes Rich Pippin was forced to save with his feet following a downward header at the back post. The half was very stop start with a number of Mere bookings and referee Roger Hughes keeping a firm grip on proceedings. 0-0 at half time.
The second half saw Westlands start to put together spells of good possession themselves but without testing the away keeper. However the course of the game took a turn after 70 minutes when Mere's striker was shown a straight red card for foul and abusive language directed towards the referee. Westland still kept the same strong defensive shape but the runs from midfield of Steve Flynn and Joe Jarvis were looking like a good option for Westlands to grab the 3 points. The first real opportunity of the afternoon for Westlands fell to Flynn who's driving run into the box was found by Charlie Gay with an inch perfect cross. Flynn's header was destined for the bottom corner of the net until the keeper at full stretch managed to turn it behind. What a save ! Moments later the ball seemed to disappear in a goalmouth scramble before popping out to the feet of Rory Thomson who looked like he had won the game for Westlands before his shot was cruelly deflected off the line by his own team mate ! Unbelievable ! That was that and we had to settle for a 0-0 draw.
Westlands can take so much credit from this display with a good number of the squad not available and players with only a few minutes of playing time in their legs stepping in. Credit to Wolfe, Phillips, Howchin and Storey who all did a fantastic job playing in unfamiliar positions as did the other 7 lads who were all superb.
Man of the Match award this week goes to STEVE FLYNN who worked tirelessly in the midfield and his driving runs pushed Westlands up the pitch at vital points in the game.
Sat 19th Jan, Dorset Senior League, TISBURY UTD 0 WESTLAND SPORTS RES 3
The reserves travelled to Tisbury in a top of the table clash against a side that have won all of their home games to date this season. The pitch had some standing water that concerned the referee but he wanted to start the game and see how both sides approached it.
In the opening 15 minutes it was clear that the game was going to be a close fought affair on a very boggy heavy pitch. Both defences started well and contained either sides attacks with no clear cut opportunities being created. Westlands started to turn the screw with some driving runs from both flanks with Rory Thomson and Liam Stobbs creating problems for the Tisbury backline. On 30 minutes it was Thomson that broke down the left, beat his full back and delivered an inch perfect cross from the byeline for captain JAMIE BURT to bullet his header in to the bottom corner for a deserved 1-0 lead. This goal spurred Westlands on and they were now dominating all over the pitch against a strong home team. 40 minutes in and Westlands nearly grabbed a second from an in-swinging corner. Jamie Green’s header came back off the crossbar and Jamie Burt followed up to tap home his second of the afternoon. In the ongoing celebrations the assistant referee had raised his flag for what would appear to be an offside. The referee went with his decision and disallowed the goal stating that Burt had been offside despite the fact Tisbury had a defender on each post.
Westlands 1-0 up at half time. The message at half time was simple - don't let that decision cost us anything and to keep applying ourselves like we had been.
After 5 minutes of the second half JAMIE GREEN was upended in the box following a sustained period of pressure and the referee pointed to the spot. Green picked himself up and stepped forward to blast the ball into the roof of the net for a crucial 2 goal lead. This was very soon 3-0 with JOE JARVIS following up a Dwayne Forshaw effort that had been blocked on the goal line to smash the ball into the empty net and send Westlands into massive celebrations. The rest of the half saw Westlands deal with everything Tisbury threw at them. It was a superb performance from everybody involved on a difficult pitch against a team with a previously unbeaten home record.
Man of the Match award this week goes to JAMIE BURT who was a rock at the back and a menace in the Tisbury box although any one of the team could have been awarded it this week.
Sat 12th Jan, Dorset Senior League, WESTLAND SPORTS RES 5 POOLE BOROUGH 0
It was Westlands first game since December 8th and it certainly showed in the opening period with Poole going close to opening the scoring 4 times inside the opening 20 minutes but Rich Pippin single handily kept Westlands in the game with some excellent goalkeeping. Finally Westlands started to settle and began to test the back line of Poole with the pace of Charlie Gay in particular proving hard to handle and debutant Steve Flynn's bursts from midfield. It was CHARLIE GAY who opened the scoring after 25 minutes racing on to a Jack Dicker header before slotting past the advancing keeper from an angle. A good goal well taken and the second goal didn't take long in coming. Joe Jarvis forced his way into the box but the keeper and a defender managed to force the ball away from goal into the path of Charlie Gay who’s cross-shot towards the empty net was tucked away by RORY THOMSON from close range. That made it 2-0 and Westlands, who hadn't really got out of third gear were now looking likely to add more. The third came courtesy of SCOTT MORGAN who headed in a deflected free kick just before the 40 minute mark.
The half time score of 3-0 was certainly not a true reflection of the 1st half but a great position to be in for the first game of 2019. The message for the 2nd half was to keep working hard and get the rustiness out of the legs. Westlands introduced Isaac Storey after 60 minutes who looked very sharp and good in possession and it was ISAAC STOREY who made it 4-0 after 75 minutes when he found himself in front of goal with only the keeper to beat and he picked out the bottom corner with ease. The game still had time for more goals and DWAYNE FORSHAW finished off the afternoon with Westlands fifth, curling an effort into the net and completing a game where the result outweighed the performance.
The management team have got to be happy with 5 goals and a clean sheet after a month with no fixture as the next two games in January are very important to our league chances.
Man of the Match this week goes toRICH PIPPIN who kept Sports in the game with 4 brilliant saves inside first 20 minutes.
Sat 8th Dec, Dorset Senior League, BEAMINSTER 0 WESTLAND SPORTS RES 1
Westlands travelled the short distance to Beaminster in their last game of 2018 hoping for a win to see them maintain their top spot in the league. During the warm up the heavens opened up in what would prove to be the norm for the duration of the afternoon, short spells of sunshine followed by heavy downpours and a strong cross field wind.
The first half started with both sides getting used to the wet conditions and the referee who would be in for a busy afternoon showing early on that any sliding tackle would have to be timed to perfection or face his whistle. Westlands, playing up the slope were looking dangerous in possession and the pace of both Rory Thomson and Liam Stobbs was starting to worry Beaminster. Chances were starting to open up for Westlands with Dwayne Forshaw and Tom Aitken both striking the post in the opening 20 minutes. The threatening Thomson was starting to beat his full back with ease now and it was he who again eluded his opponent with good feet and delivered a cross to the back post for LIAM STOBBS who showed great desire to beat his man to the ball and head home for 1-0.
This goal seemed to wake the Beaminster team containing a few dual registered players up and the rest of the half they produced their best spell which the Westlands back line and keeper Rich Pippin dealt with well. As the half time whistle approached a slight defensive mistake in the wet conditions saw Jack Dicker pull back his man which resulted in a penalty with Rich Pippin diving to his left to save and keep Westlands nose in front at half time.
The second half saw Westlands struggle to gain any momentum as the game became quite scrappy with Beaminster picking up a number of yellow cards.
Liam Stobbs appeared to be fouled inside the Beaminster box with appeals for a penalty but very honestly stayed on his feet and the play continued. The midfield battle was certainly hotting up with both sides giving away free kicks that broke up the flow of the game. Westlands best chance of the half fell to Dwayne Forshaw who raced through on goal before cutting back to shoot only to be brought down for the games second penalty. Forshaw picked himself up and placed the ball himself only to see his effort saved by the keeper who guessed right. Still 1-0 to Westlands with the clock ticking down. Beaminster were reduced to long range efforts and Westlands always looking dangerous on the counter.
Overall a very solid display and a great 3 points.
Man of the Match this week goes to RORY THOMSON who was great both in possession of the ball and in his work ethic without it.
Sat 24th Nov, Dorset Senior League, WESTLAND SPORTS RES 1 CRANBORNE 4
The visit of mid-table Cranborne looked like an opportunity for Westlands to consolidate their lead at the top of the table. Although there was a lot of rain about, the pitch was quite firm but a bit slippery on top.
With Tom Aitken, Dwayne Forshaw and Joe Jarvis were all missing from last week, Matt Phillips, Lewis Howchin and Charlie Gay started the match. There was also a change in goal with new signing Liam Watkins-Ross between the sticks.
Westlands created two good chances to open the scoring in the first ten minutes. First Charlie Gay played a nice one-two with Lewis Howchin but then blasted his shot way over the bar. Then a neat Nat Carney pass put Lewis Howchin in the clear but the keeper tipped his shot over. A bright opening by Westlands but in the 15th minute it all began to unravel for Sports. It all started with a strong ball-winning challenge by Jack Dicker that the referee ruled to be two-footed. All the Westland players and bench were incensed by this decision and Jack got a yellow card for his protests. Cranborne took the free kick and their player smashed a great shot off the crossbar and back into play. With Westlands still all over the place the ball was fed through to a Cranborne striker who drilled it into the corner. 1-0 to the visitors.
Westlands gradually regained their composure and grabbed the equaliser in the 22nd minute. A throw in was headed on by Jamie Green and the ball bounced over the head of a defender to LEWIS HOWCHIN who thumped it into the corner of the net. This was better from Sports and in the 35th minute another Lewis Howchin shot was cleared off the line. A good little spell this for Westlands and Jamie Green shot just wide before Lewis Howchin had another shot saved by the keeper after a good run by Charlie Gay. With a couple of minutes to go until the break, Westlands conceded again. A free kick from their own half was punted long into the Westlands box where a Cranborne player chested it down and smacked it into the net. Scratched heads all round as to how a player could be unmarked from a set piece !
That made it 2-1 to the visitors at half time which was a bit disappointing as Sports had a few decent chances but failed to cash in.
Westlends came out with intent in the second half and in the 48th minute Charlie Gay shot just wide. The next chance came with a Jamie Green shot which the keeper blocked and Nat Carney’s shot from the rebound was also blocked. A couple of minutes later Liam Stobbs set up Jamie Green but a last minute lunging tackle sent the ball just past the post. Jack Dicker got his head to the resulting corner but the keeper pulled off another good save. Westlands had been pressing hard for an equaliser but shot themselves in the foot in the 58th minute.
A complete misunderstanding between the Westlands defence and goalkeeper saw them all stand still allowing a Cranborne player to collect the ball and tuck it into the empty net for a 3-1 lead.
Cranborne were full of it now and in the 61st minute had the ball in the net again but this one was ruled out for offside. However the fourth goal wasn’t long in coming as Sports defence didn’t clear the ball and a Cranborne player thumped it in from the edge of the box.
Still 20 minutes left but it was game over really with Westland heads down. In the 82nd minute Jack Dicker put a header just wide then headed a corner over the bar but there was no way back for Westlands. In the dying minutes Isaac Storey got a good shot away but it was straight at the keeper.
A 4-1 defeat was not what we had expected today and there are obviously lessons to be learned. Lack of continuity in team selection doesn’t help but unfortunately, being a reserve side, it’s par for the course.
Man of the Match this week goes to LEWIS HOWCHIN, scored one and could have had a couple more with a bit of luck.
Sat 17th Nov, Dorset Senior League, CORFE MULLEN 1 WESTLAND SPORTS RES 2
The reserves travelled to Milborne St Andrew to play Corfe Mullen who boasted an unbeaten home record to date. The pitch was in excellent condition although the cross wind and low sun was certain to make things interesting.
From the start it was clear that both sides were going to try and play football with the midfields battling it out for the right. The early exchanges failed to produce any real chances but Westlands were starting to get runners in behind the Corfe defence. Liam Stobbs was the man causing problems for Corfe with his direct running and he had Sports best chance to open the scoring after racing clear of the Corfe defence his shot was saved by the keeper to keep it at 0-0. A series of Westland corners followed of which Jamie Burt had the best chance with a header that rocketed over the bar from close range. Westlands were now on top and on 25 minutes Dwayne Forshaw received a ball in to his feet, turned and slipped a pass through to Liam Stobbs who's initial effort was saved only for JOE JARVIS, playing in a more advanced role, to follow up and tuck the rebound in to the empty net for 1-0 to Westlands. The game was certainly still in the balance and Corfe we're playing some good football without really worrying the Westlands backline of Scott, Burt, Dicker and Wells with Westlands keeper Rich Pippin not having to make a save the entire first half. 1-0 at half time.
The second half would see Westlands playing into the strong wind and the game followed the same pattern with very few chances being created. With 15 minutes left on the clock a long high ball into Westlands box seemed to cause confusion and ended with Pippin having to make a save off the legs of his own defender with the ball falling to the feet of Corfe attacker who stabbed home for 1-1.
It was now a huge reality that after looking so solid for 75 minutes Westlands would leave with only a point but up stepped young substitute RORY THOMSON minutes later. Thomson found himself inside the Corfe box with only the keeper to beat and he hammered his shot into the net giving him no chance to put Westlands back in to a deserved lead at 2-1.
Another 3 points away from home with a strong squad display.
Man of the Match this week goes to JAMIE BURT who was very solid all game with a special mention to Rory Thomson showing great composure to fire home the winner and grab his first senior league goal.
Sat 10th Nov, Dorset Senior League, BROADSTONE 3 WESTLAND SPORTS RES 5
With the weather proving to be very unpredictable in the run up to Saturday it was a surprise to all that the game was on with the rain still coming down. The pitch at Broadstone Rec was certainly going to prove a test with the extremely wet surface combined with a fairly patchy grass coverage.
The game started as expected with the ball zipping around the pitch and Westlands looking dangerous with the front three of Stobbs, Gay and Murphy. 10 minutes in and an Aaron Sweet in-swinging corner was powered home from the head of ALEX MURPHY to make it 1-0 to Westlands. Broadstone got themselves back in to the game with a curling long range effort that skipped off the surface and round Sam Watts in the Sports goal for 1-1. This equaliser seemed to knock Westlands into gear and a number of chances now presented themselves before LIAM STOBBS headed in his first goal of the afternoon on 26 minutes following some great footwork and delivery from Jack Dicker.
2-1 in front at half time but Sports could have been out of sight on another day with both Gay and Murphy missing good opportunities in front of goal.
At 2-1 the game is always on a knife edge and that proved to be the case when Broadstone levelled again at the start of the second half. Another strike from long range flew into the top corner with Watts having no chance of getting near to make it 2-2.
Now was the time for Sports to step up and that they did with 3 goals in a scintillating 10 minute spell. LIAM STOBBS was the man to kick start it and put Sports back in-front, lobbing the keeper from a tight angle after good work from Alex Murphy. That made it 3-2. LIAM STOBBS then completed his hat trick racing on to a Murphy flick before rounding the keeper and slotting into the empty net for 4-2. JAMIE BURT then grabbed his first goal of the season from close range following a scramble in the box for 5-2 with 15 minutes still on the clock. Chances were now presenting themselves to Sports who failed to add any more and it was Broadstone who finished the scoring off with another long range effort evading the outstretched arm of Sam Watts for 5-3.
Overall a very good team performance in tricky conditions and another 3 points away from home making it 4 from 4 with another away trip next weekend.
Man of Match this week has to be LIAM STOBBS for a superb hat-trick.
Sat 3rd Nov, Dorset Senior League, MERE TOWN 1 WESTLAND SPORTS RES 2
After beating the league leaders last week it was another hard away game for Sports at Mere Town who were only relegated from the DPL at their own request.
The first half was an evenly matched contest with Mere having the better of the play during the opening exchanges. As the half headed to its conclusion it was Sports who started to get a grip of the game and went into half time the better side at 0-0.
Westlands started the second half as they finished the first and looked sharp on the counter attack without really creating any chances. The game was proving to be the battle that was predicted before it started especially in the centre of the park. On 60 minutes Tom Aitken went on a fantastic run into the corner before delivering a ball into the box which the Mere keeper seemed to lose in the air only to tip it onto the bar with the rebound falling at the feet of JAMIE GREEN to tap home for 1-0. Sports were now looking to keep attacking and on 65 minutes a poor header back to the keeper fell kindly to ALEX MURPHY who ran on to chip the keeper for 2-0.
Mere began to get on top having a few chances to pull a goal back but Rich Pippin did well to make some good saves. Mere's urgency was clear now when they switched to 3 at the back and it proved to be a good tactical swap when after a break away down the left the ball ended up at the feet of their striker who fired it past Pippin to make it 2-1. The Last 10 minutes saw Mere on top looking for the draw but defensively the whole Westlands team worked tirelessly to seal all 3 points.
Man of Match was TOM AITKEN who proved very strong without the ball and used it excellently when in possession.
Sat 27th Oct, Dorset Senior League, CHICKERELL UTD 1 WESTLAND SPORTS RES 3
Sports travelled to the current league leaders with a full squad that included Jamie Burt returning from Injury, Jamie Green returning to the club and Tom Aitken making his first appearance of the season following his Injury sustained running the Berlin Marathon.
Chickerell won the toss and chose to attack down the hill first half which looked a wise decision when they took the lead after 10 mins following a fast break down the slope they slotted under Pippin from close range to make it 1-0. Sports were fully aware of the task ahead and this goal seemed to kick start us in to gear. Pippin was called into action on a few occasions but all efforts coming from distance. Sports started to settle and began causing Chickerell all sorts of problems defensively. Charlie Gay was the main worry for them with his pace and in the 20th minute was brought down on his way to goal some 25 yards out. AARON SWEET placed the ball with the outcome becoming more and more familiar from the left back. His effort curled over the wall and into the top corner to bring the game back to 1-1. Minutes later and Sports took the lead, LIAM STOBBS capitalising on some sloppy defending to intercept the ball before rounding the keeper and slotting into the empty net. Tom Aitken replaced Forshaw and with the midfield 3 of Green, Jarvis and Aitken now controlling the game it was the away side that looked most dangerous. Defending the base of the hill is not easy and the Sports back four of Howchin, Burt, Phillips, Sweet and keeper Pippin deserved a lot of credit for a very commanding first half performance.
With a one goal advantage starting the second half the message was simple. Stay tight and compact and if they don’t score we win the game. We also certainly fancied there was more goals in this one for us.
The second half followed a similar pattern throughout with Chickerell pushing for an equaliser without really troubling Sports. Alex Murphy was fantastic all afternoon, working tirelessly to defend for the team and also causing them trouble when going forward. And it was Murphy who provided Gay with the opportunity to wrap up the points, breaking away down the right with a powerful run before sliding a pin point pass through the defence for CHARLIE GAY to finish for 3-1 and reward Sports for an excellent team performance.
Chickerell is never an easy place to get a result but on this occasion we certainly stepped up to the challenge and proved to ourselves what we are capable of.
Man of the Match went to TOM AITKEN making his debut in the team but any one of the squad could have been named.
Sat 20th Oct, Dorset Senior League, POOLE BOROUGH 3 WESTLAND SPORTS RES 4
This was certainly a very stereotypical game of 2 half’s as Westlands came from behind to claim the 3pts.
16 year old Gabriel Cole made his senior league debut in goal for Sports in a team that also included Sam Carney playing his first game of the season for the reserves.
Westlands struggled to retain the ball in the early stages and Poole Borough’s experienced front man Conor Jevon was causing havoc leading their line. It was Jevon that opened the scoring finishing from a tight angle under the body of Cole after hesitation in the Westlands defence. 1-0 Borough.
Sports were caught out again soon after when a fast break from the home side saw Jevon double his tally. But Sports were starting to create some chances the best of which fell to the impressive 16 year old Rory Thomson who shot over from close range. JOE JARVIS however was the man to get Westlands back in the game, reducing the lead to 2-1 with a nice finish from a tight angle. The hope that Sports would now push on and take the game to Poole was soon dashed when the all too familiar Jevon was on hand to punish them with an individual strike when left one on one inside the box. This completed a first half hat-trick for the Borough striker and restored their 2 goal lead. Nevertheless, just before the stroke of half time Sports got themselves a lifeline when Alex Murphy beat the onrushing Borough keeper to the ball only to be brought down inside the box. DWAYNE FORSHAW stepped up and sent the keeper the wrong way from the spot to reduce the deficit at half time to 3-2.
It was the perfect time to score as Sports were certainly not at the races during the first half and to be only one goal down was a bonus.
The game was there to be won in the second half if Westlands applied themselves as the management knew they could and they definitely stepped it up dominating the early exchanges, playing with more tempo and squeezing the game to force errors from the home side. DWAYNE FORSHAW grabbed his second and levelled the game at 3-3. After racing through on goal he calmly slotted the ball under the advancing home keeper into the net. The game still had time for someone to win it and it was DWAYNE FORSHAW who decided he was going to settle the issue and he did that with a 25 yard screamer off his left foot which the keeper could only stand and watch as it nestled in the top corner and completed his hat trick.
Sports certainly made hard work of this one but to leave with the 3 pts was the only objective so mission accomplished this week.
Man of the Match this week is DWAYNE FORSHAW for a super striker’s display. Dwayne in full flow is a sight to behold and very difficult to stop.
Sat 6th Oct, Dorset Senior Trophy, Rd 1: WESTLAND SPORTS RES 0 HAMWORTHY RECREATION 4
Facing the Dorset Premier League leaders was a tough task so Westlands needed to be at their best for this one. Unfortunately they were without five of the regulars, Aaron Sweet, Dwayne Forshaw, Jamie Burt, Alex Leckenby and Nat Carney all missing out.
The game was very even for the first twenty minutes or so with Rec playing in their usual style, knocking the ball around well, but being thwarted by a stubborn Sports defence. In fact, the first real chance came when Westlands forced the visitor’s keeper into a fine, diving save, to be followed shortly after with a brilliant low save to a goal bound shot. Good stuff from the home side.
Rec then had chances, with a shot fired over the top and another effort just wide. But on 30 minutes Rec went in front when a cross was headed back across goal and the ball was bundled in from close-range.
Rec had early chances in the second period, a long-range shot went narrowly wide and then Sports keeper Rich Pippin made a good save. But on 62 minutes Rec scored the all-Important second goal when their player was slipped in and showed composure with a neat low shot for 0-2. The visitors were now well in control and on 76 minutes a perfect through-ball saw their centre forward finish with his right foot for the third goal. Two minutes from time another clinical finish completed the scoring as the Westland lads were tiring.
A good performance by Sports against a good side so out of the cup for another season.
Sat 29th Sept, Dorset Senior League: AFC BLANDFORD 6 WESTLAND SPORTS RES 2
Westlands travelled to Stourpaine knowing they were facing a strong side who had been promoted as champions from Division one last season. With a number of key Senior players missing Sports starting line-up had a rather unfamiliar look to it with young Rory Thomson making his first start at senior level and manager Jon Ritchie wearing the number 1 between the sticks.
Nevertheless it was Westlands who drew first blood with Joe Jarvis threading a ball through to CHARLIE GAY who beat the keeper with a neat finish. This goal prompted an immediate reaction from Blandford who replied within minutes when a cross cruelly swung over the head of Ritchie and went in off the far post. The second and third followed soon after as Sports found themselves under pressure that they struggled to contain. Dwayne Forshaw was replaced by Gabbi Nitecki and Sports rode their luck for the rest of the half and were very happy to hear the half time whistle.
The second half started slightly brighter for Sports who had periods of neat football but never really looked like scoring. Blandford made it 4 after a defensive error and Sports pulled one back with CHARLIE GAY converting from the spot after he was tripped in the box following a good run.
Blandford continued to push forward with goals 5 and 6 being added to round off a very disappointing afternoon for Westlands.
Man of the Match was awarded to JON RITCHIE who managed to keep the score half respectable with a number of saves (not bad for a 36 year old retired midfielder).
Sat 22nd Sept, Dorset Senior League: WESTLAND SPORTS RES 5 ALLENDALE 1
Sports raced out of the blocks and opened the scoring in the first few minutes when CHARLIE GAY slotted in off the post after some good build up play. The rest of the half saw both teams battle the conditions with driving rain and a strong wind making it difficult for either team to create chances.
It was the introduction of striker Alex Murphy 5 minutes into the second half that changed the game in Westland’s favour. His robust energy soon started to cause the opposition problems it wasn’t long before DWAYNE FORSHAW made it two poking home from a yard out after Liam Stobbs had beaten the keeper with a shot from close range. Number 3 soon followed as Sports began to dominate the game and ALEX MURPHY grabbed his first goal of the day.
Allendale then pulled one back with a cross from the left evading the defence allowing a finish from close range to make it 3-1. This seemed to spark Westlands back into action and ALEX MURPHY soon grabbed his second to increase the lead to 4-1. With Sports now starting to create chances with every attack, it was CHARLIE GAY who completed the scoring with 5 minutes remaining to finish off a good day for Westlands in terrible conditions.
Man of the match - ALEX MURPHY who gave us plenty of energy when coming on.
Sat 15th Sep, Dorset Senior Lge: DORCHESTER SPORTS RES 0 WESTLAND SPORTS RES 3
In the first half Westlands never really managed to get out of first gear but still created enough chances to worry the opposition. CHARLIE GAY opened the scoring for Sports mid-way through the half after slotting past the keeper when through on goal.
The half time whistle came at the perfect time for Westlands who were were under a lot of pressure as the half drew to a close.
However, having regrouped, Sports started the second half with a better tempo and, with Dorchester Sports pushing for an equaliser, started to get chances on the break. A reshuffle of the Westlands pack with young George Hooper entering the game at left back allowed Aaron Sweet to venture forward into midfield. This switch paid dividends as it was AARON SWEET who added the second goal and virtually ended Dorchester’s chances of getting back into the game. A long free kick from captain Matt Phillips sailed over the opposing full back and on to the head of Sweet who guided his header in to the far corner from a very tight angle. Westlands then wrapped the game up a few minutes later with CHARLIE GAY grabbing his second goal after racing on to a through ball and going round the keeper to roll the ball into the empty net. Substitute Rory Thomson almost grabbed a fourth when through on goal but was denied with a push in the back which the referee deemed as no foul to everyone's amazement.
Manager Jon Ritchie said afterwards “Overall a disappointing team performance as we are capable of so much more but a huge positive of a clean sheet and 3 pts when not at our best”.
The Man-of-the-Match award goes to AARON SWEET who had an excellent game both as a defender and a midfielder topped off with a lovely goal.
Sat 8th Sept, Dorset Senior League: WESTLAND SPORTS RES 2 TISBURY UTD 2
Westlands started the game with two of the Under 18 side, George Hooper and Gabi Nitecki, in our starting 11 with 3 more on the bench, Luca Martin, Peter Park and Felix Smee. New signing Owen Male also made his debut in goal in a much changed Sports line-up.
It was a very even first 25 mins but we started to get on top as the half went on. After about half an hour Luca Martin replaced the injured Dwayne Forshaw and he nearly opened the scoring straight away after breaking through on goal. His initial shot was saved by the Tisbury keeper and he hit the post from the rebound. Five minutes later Westlands grabbed the opening goal when LUCA MARTIN again went clean through on goal and this time found the corner of the net.
We started the second half on top with Liam Stobbs having a great chance through on goal to make it two but his lofted attempt went over the top. Nevertheless AARON SWEET did make it two a few minutes later from an angled free kick which slightly deflected off the one man wall and beat the keeper at his near post.
From then on it was one-way traffic with Tisbury dominating and forcing mistakes from our back line!! We rode our luck until 3 mins from the end when they managed to pull a goal back after a scramble in the box. Then with the last kick of the game they equalised after a ball into the box was pounced on at the back post for 2-2.
Disappointing to draw in the way we did after being two up but overall with 5 sixteen year-olds in our squad a decent result. Manager Jon Ritchie reported he was very happy with the young lads who showed they will certainly be able to play at this level when called upon.
The Man-of-the-Match award goes to skipper JAKE WOLFE who led from the front and inspired his team throughout the match.
Sat 1st Sept, Dorset Senior League: WESTLAND SPORTS RES 8 WITCHAMPTON UTD 1
At Alvington the Reserves opened their league programme with a crushing 8-1 win over Witchampton Utd. CHARLIE GAY was in top form with a hat-trick and the other goals were scored by LIAM STOBBS (2), GEORGE HOOPER, AARON SWEET, and DWAYNE FORSHAW. A great start to the season for our new management team Jon Ritchie and Aaron Sheard.
The Man of the Match award this week goes to CHARLIE GAY. The opposition just couldn't handle his pace and trickery. Add to the that some superb finishing with a nice opening day hat-trick.
Sunday 5th May, Somerset U18 League Cup Final: WORLE 1 WESTLAND SPORTS 1 (lost 4-2 pens)
A lovely day for the final and a nice venue so all set for a good game. Not so good was the fact it was 8 weeks since Westlands had played a league match and with Jacob Tailby pulling out the team during the warm-up due to injury we lost a strong presence in the midfield.
Worle grabbed the initiative in the early stages and had Sports pinned back in their own half. Eventually the pressure paid off when Pete Park barged an opponent in the back and the referee pointed to the spot. The kick was drilled in and Westlands had got off to the worst possible start, one down after 11 minutes ! However the team responded well and a couple of minutes later had their first attempt at the Worle goal, a Dan Ewens shot that went well over the bar. Westlands were definitely back in the game now and in the 24th minute a low corner from Rory Thomson was nearly turned in. Still Westlands were giving as good as they got and a late flurry saw Lewis Trusson put a shot over in the 41st minute followed by Isaac Storey firing a free kick over in the 45th minute.
Half-time 0-1 and generally an upbeat Westlands camp at the break even although we were behind. Sports had come back well after the loss of the early goal so we were optimistic for the second half.
Sports came out after the interval on the front foot and Gabi Nitecki had a great chance to equalise in the 62nd minute but hit the bar with his shot from about 6 yards out. Good early pressure from Westlands then led to the equaliser after 58 minutes. Isaac Storey flighted a free kick into the box and GEORGE WESTON rose to head into the top corner. Sports were cock-a-hoop now and kept the pressure on. In the 63rd minute a Lewis Trusson lob went just over the bar and 2 minutes later another Isaac Storey free kick was almost prodded home by George Weston at the far post, the ball rolling just past. Then Luca Martin was put through and he smashed his shot off the bar ! All these chances were slipping away and we began to wonder if we would live to regret these misses. Worle had a good attack in the 68th minute and George Weston came to the rescue, heading a shot away from under the crossbar. Worle continued their attack and a couple of minutes later a rash tackle by a Westlands defender saw the referee pointing to the spot for a penalty ! The Worle player side footed the ball low into the corner but Gabriel Cole dived to turn the ball round the post. A great save but Worle were having a good spell and a free kick into the box was missed by everyone and dropped just wide of the far post. A goal now for either team would win it and in the 88th minute Sports had a great chance when a good cross to the far post was put over the bar by Tom Jarvis. A minute later Worle broke and their #9 clearly pulled over a Westlands defender but somehow the referee and linesman between them decided it was another penalty to Worle, their 3rd of the match ! This time their player decided to blast it and the ball smashed off the crossbar and was cleared ! Another let off for Westlands but in injury time Sports managed to create two more chances. First Sam Fuller met a Dan Ewens cross at the far post but his shot found the side netting, and finally an Isaac Storey free kick was just scrambled away by the Worle defence.
That was that, 1-1 the final score and into 30 minutes extra time.
In the first 15 minutes it was fairly even with Westlands creating a couple of chances. First a good cross from Ben Pounder was headed over the bar by Luca Martin and a nice pass from Isaac Storey was put over the top.
Into the second half of extra time and both sets of players were getting tired with cramp setting in but each side managed to create a decent chance. A nice pass from Dan Ewens to Ben Pounder saw him put over a cross that Luca Martin fired over. Then Gabriel Cole had to make a good save as Worle pressed but the extra time ended with no further score.
That meant we were into a penalty shoot out to decide the fate of the cup. Worle had already had a bit of practice with 3 penalties during the game, but 2 misses gave us some optimism !
Westlands took the first kick and ISAAC STOREY slotted it in. 1-0
Worle responded to make it 1-1.
Sam Fuller side footed his effort but the keeper saved. 1-1
Worle drilled in their second, 1-2
Then Dan Ewens had his shot saved by the keeper who looked well off his line, 1-2
Worle scored again, 1-3
LUCA MARTIN was next for Sports and he put his kick in the corner, 2-3.
Worle then scored again to make it 2-4 and win the cup.
Its never a satisfactory way to lose a cup final but credit to the Worle lads they slotted in their kicks when it counted. Westlands however, can take great credit from this match as they dominated the second half and after equalising had several good chances to take the lead. Had we gone in front then I think we would have gone on to lift the trophy but it wasn’t to be. In the end it was a very evenly matched final and great entertainment for the spectators.
Man of the Match award goes to GEORGE WESTON who really rose to the occasion both in defence and attack.
The final league match of the season for Westlands and a chance to confirm runners-up spot in the league.
The visitors looked a big strong side and early on made a few charges forward which showed they were not here to make up the numbers. Sports soon got the ball down and in the 11th minute scored the opening goal when Lewis Trusson squared to SAM FULLER who smashed one in from 20 yards out giving the keeper no chance. As the half wore on Tone’s physicality was beginning to get a response from the Westlands players and the game developed into a bit of a scrap with not a lot of goalmouth action. However in the 31st minute Lewis Trusson got to the byeline and pulled the ball back to SAM FULLER who turned and buried a low shot into the back of the net. Things were getting a bit silly now with too many opinions being voiced. Sports managed to maintain enough focus to score again just before half time, SEB GODDARD getting up to head in a corner from the right. A good goal which ended the first half with Westlands in a comfortable 3-0 lead.
During the interval the referee gave both teams a stern warning as to their behaviour and it was pointed out to the Westlands players by the management that anyone sent off in this match would miss the cup final !
The second half proved to be a fairly even contest although Gabriel Cole in he Westlands goal wasn’t really troubled. In the 60th minute Westlands scored again and what a goal it was ! Lewis Trusson raced down the right wing and fired over a cross that SAM FULLER met on the run and bulleted a header into the net. The game was well and truly over now but there was just one more goal and it was for the opposition from the penalty spot. Rory Thomson, who was now playing at right back missed a cross and then hacked down the Tone player who had picked up the loose ball. The kick was tucked away in the bottom corner.
A nice win for Westlands to end a very successful league campaign, next stop the cup final !
Man of the Match award this week goes to SAM FULLER for a superb hat-trick, three cracking goals.
Sunday 3rd March, Somerset U18 Lge Cup Semi-Final: BACKWELL ATH 0 WESTLAND SPORTS 5
After a horrendous journey due to accident on M5 the KO was delayed by 20 mins.
Match warm up was short and rushed, there was a 25-mph wind blowing end to end, not enough blue socks, and unable to fill our water bottles as no cold water, it really felt as if was going to be one of those days.
In addition, Sports were still awaiting on a player arriving who eventually made it 15 mins after we started.
After winning the toss Backwell decided to go against the wind.
Just 3 minutes into the game, after good work by Luca Martin and Isaac Storey, SAM FULLER was played in and with a solid finish put Sports 1 up ! What a start for Westlands. Backwell tried to respond but Sports keeper Gabriel Cole was in fine form and pulled off a couple of strong early saves.
On 9 minutes Sports doubled their lead with a similar move which set up RORY THOMSON and he buried his shot into the roof of the net from close range. Backwell were clearly shocked at conceding 2 early goals as they are a team renowned for their solid defending. 2-0 Westlands, 9 minutes gone !
As the game settled Sports short passing game began to pay dividends particularly in the windy conditions. Dan Ewens and Jacob Tailby took control of midfield with Rory Thomson and captain for the day Isaac Storey a constant threat out wide. Luca Martin, although not scoring, was causing all manner of problems for the Backwell defence and he was constantly involved and combining well with those around him.
On 19 minutes Sports made it 3, RORY THOMSON being set up again after good approach work for a tap in to secure his double. Backwell then had probably their best spell of the game, they started to gain possession and cause problems, however the Westlands defence stood firm with Pete Park and George Weston solid in the centre and Kieran Webber and Tom Jarvis giving nothing away on the flanks as full-backs and also providing a threat going forward when they could.
Half time and a three goal lead for Westlands. The test would be how Sports coped against the wind in the 2nd half and although 3 goals to the good, there was no room for complacency.
Backwell started strongly as expected, however Westlands defence and keeper managed the conditions well and Sports remained a threat going forward. On 62 minutes, after a sustained period of pressure, Westlands scored again after a goalmouth scramble and an unfortunate OG from a Backwell defender, Dan Ewens being the last Sports player to touch the ball. In terms of the game this was a significant goal as it put a real damper on Backwell’s hopes of a fight back and certainly was a blow to their teams morale.
Sure enough, shortly afterwards SAM FULLER scored with a fanatastic effort for Westlands 5th goal to put the game beyond any doubt.
Lewis Trusson, Innes Davidson, Gabbi Nitecki and Ben Pounder came on to see the game out and added much needed energy. As impressive as it was to score 5, to secure a clean sheet in those conditions was a fantastic effort ! To their credit Backwell fought to the end and were gracious in defeat so we wish them well in the remainder of the season.
Special thanks to Sid and George Storey who drove to a shop and got a bag full of bottled water for the lads, missing the opening goal in doing so ! – much appreciated by the coaches and players.
Manager Rich Goddard said “a fantastic clinical away performance against a strong opponent in difficult conditions. The lads all worked hard for this result and should be proud of themselves in reaching the final”.
The Man of the Match this week is DAN EWENS for a dominant display in the middle of the park.
A glorious day at Alvington made a nice change from the normal sub-zero temperatures. The first match between these two sides had ended in a 2-2 draw so a good match was expected.
Westlands were soon pressing forward with wide men Lewis Trusson and Rory Thomson leading most attacks down the flanks. However Wembdon had a couple of strong lads in central defence and they were picking off most of the final crosses. The visitor’s were showing no attacking prowess whatsoever and Sports were in control of the match without creating any real goalscoring opportunities. In the 20th minute we eventually opened the scoring. SAM FULLER leapt highest to meet a corner from the right and his looping header went in at the far post. An excellent goal and just what Westlands needed. Lewis Trusson was giving the Wembdon left back a torrid time and another run and cross saw Rory Thomson swivel and shoot just wide. It took until the 40th minute for Wembdon to create a decent opening when Sports gave the ball away in midfield and their player put his shot just wide of the far post. The first half then finished with a flurry of chances. Rory Thomson headed just past for Westlands and then a Wembon player looked to have an open goal but fluffed his shot completely. The half ended with a Sam Fuller shot well saved by the Wembdon keeper.
A decent half from Sports with some good possession but there was just a feeling that we had not cashed in on our superiority in the first 45 minutes.
The second half started with some good play by Ben Pounder who set up a chance for Isaac Storey but his shot went wide. Then in the 48th minute some sloppy defending saw Wembdon equalise. A long through ball was not deal with by the defence and with the keeper seeming to hesitate the opposition attacker stepped in and thumped the ball into the net. Looked like a lack of communication there. Inspired by this Wembdon had another attack 2 minutes later but their player put his shot just wide. Westlands then put together a nice move with Ben Pounder and Malik Kamal setting up Sam Fuller but he shot over the bar. Then another good break by Wembdon saw another shot fly wide of the post.
The game had really opened up now with chances being created at both ends, so more goals were on the cards with 35 minutes still to play. In the 59th minute another good run and cross from Lewis Trusson was laid back by Sam Fuller to Isaac Storey who blasted over the top. A minute later Malik Kamal ran through a confused Wembdon defence, and as he dragged the ball round the keeper it pushed him a bit wide of the goal and a Wembdon defender got back to block his attempted lay back. In the 61st minute the pressure told and Sports went ahead. A throw in on the right set up SAM FULLER and he thumped the ball into the far corner. A clinical finish and only 4 minutes later Westlands scored again. A lovely through ball split the visitor’s defence and LEWIS TRUSSON ran through and, as the keeper came out, deftly clipped the ball over him into the net. A good goal, well set up and expertly finished and with a 3-1 lead things looked good for Westlands. Unfortunately Sports then got hit with the old sucker punch. Immediately after scoring they took their eye off the ball and conceded almost straight from the kick off. Again nobody attacked the ball and the opposition forward ran in and smashed it into the net. That had been an exciting ten minutes with 3 goals and the game poised again at 3-2 to Westlands with 20 minutes to play. The next chance fell to Ben Pounder but he rushed his shot and put it wide from a good position. Then Jacob Tailby tried his luck from about 25 yards but his shot cleared the crossbar. Going into the last ten minutes Luca Martin got a header in from a free kick but it went straight into the keeper’s arms. Finally, in the 87th minute, Westlands restored the two goal advantage. Luca Martin slipped the ball to MALIK KAMAL who took a couple of steps and drilled the ball low and hard into the back of the net from 18 yards out. That was game over and the referee’s whistle soon ended a good win for Westlands which takes them into second place in the league.
Man of the Match award this week goes to LEWIS TRUSSON for a great display of old fashioned wing play. He tormented the opposition full back in the first half, and when they changed him at half time the replacement was subjected to the same treatment. All topped off with a superb goal.
The U18s beat Minehead 9-2 at Alvington in the Somerset U18s League. However, it was a bloodless victory as their opponents only had 9 men ! Fair play to them for coming from Minehead to fulfil the fixture knowing they were 2 men short, and considering the final score, they put up a really good show. Westlands did what they had to do pretty efficiently with SAM FULLER (3), BEN POUNDER (2), LEWIS TRUSSON, JACOB TAILBY, PETE PARK and RORY THOMSON helping themselves to the goals.
Man of the Match award this week goes to GABI NITECKI whose performance was described by manager Rich Goddard as "solid and disciplined". After missing a long period of the season Gabi has just recently returned to the side and is now showing his value to the side.
The pitch was playable but sticky, or as someone described it, a mudbath !
In the first half it was definitely Westlands who were dominating but both teams were finding it hard to create clearcut chances. Having said that Sports should have taken the lead when they were awarded a penalty when Pete Park was impeded. Jacob Tailby stepped up to take it and his sidefoot shot was saved by the Worle keeper. Needed a bit more pace on the shot by all accounts. Half time nil-nil.
PETE PARK was causing the opposition all sorts of problems with his powerful running and it was Pete who drove into the box and opened the scoring. 1-0 Westlands. There was no stopping Pete now and as he drove into the box once again the only way the opposition could stop him was to wrestle him back. Penalty said the ref without any hesitation. LEWIS TRUSSON had the confidence to take the kick and he drilled it in to give Westlands that crucial 2 goal lead. Only 10 minutes left now and the home team obviously tried to mount a grandstand finish. However the Westland management's astute use of the 4 subs at their disposal kept the energy levels up on a testing pitch and Sports were able to keep Worle at bay with relative ease.
An excellent result that put us through to the semi-final and a great day for players, management and spectators alike.
Man of the Match award this week goes to PETER PARK who had a hand in everything. Won the 2 penalties and scored the opening goal, great performance.
Westlands created enough chances to win the game but generally failed to hit the target at the end of the moves. A good clean sheet as well albeit Sports keeper Gabriel Cole only had a few corners to deal with, no real shots but he punched well to clear the danger.
In the end a disappointing result and the energy levels were a bit disappointing, which all points to possibly some fitness issues. However, cup game next week so need to be at our best for that.
Man of the Match award this week goes to GEORGE WESTON for another solid commanding performance at centre half despite carrying an injury.
The pitch was looking good and we had a nice dry day for this important match that gave us the opportunity to claw back some points on the undefeated league leaders.
The first ten minutes or so were a bit of a midfield battle and it took 12 minutes before we had the first shot at goal from Rory Thomson, but it was a rather tame effort that the Wolves keeper gathered easily. Westlands were dominating and it was 19 minutes before the visitors had an attempt on goal, a header from a free kick that went well wide. Then Luca Martin had a long range effort which the keeper tipped onto the post. Eventually the pressure told when Sports took a well deserved lead.
Lewis Trusson crossed from the left, Jacob Tailby flicked the ball on and LUCA MARTIN finished the move with a spectacular overhead kick ! 1-0 to Westlands with 23 minutes gone.
The next attempt from Westlands was on the half hour mark when Lewis Trusson smashed in a shot but it was straight at the keeper. Westlands had looked quite comfortable up to now but in the 37th minute we shot ourselves in the foot. First we gave away a soft free kick out on the right wing about 5 yards out from the bye line. The angle was acute but the keeper asked for a wall of two players. This meant the rest of the defenders had to line up only 5 yards out from the goal line. Subsequently when the ball came over there was an almighty scramble in the goalmouth and the ball eventually was put in the back of the net off a defender ! That made it 1-1. There was a claim for handball by the Westland players and I thought I had seen the ball hit an arm but the referee claimed he was unsighted and the linesman didn’t flag ! Then a long free kick into our box put three Wolves players in the clear but none of them could connect properly and that was the last action of the half.
A draw was probably a fair result at half time as Westlands had looked in control early on but as the half progressed the visitor’s had taken the initiative.
The first action of the second half saw a Westlands defender give the ball away in his own half and that error led to a Bridgwater player thumping a shot just past the far post.
Then Isaac Storey sent a free kick into the box and the Wolves keeper made a great save from Luca Martin’s header. That was several good saves the Wolves keeper had made. He was also on the spot to fist away another free kick that was swung into the box a few minutes later. In the 54th minute came another big moment in the game. Wolves tricky little winger made a good run into Westlands penalty area and as two defenders converged on him he went down and the referee pointed to the spot. The player taking the penalty tried a stuttering run up which succeeded in sending Sports keeper Gabriel Cole diving the wrong way but with the goal gaping he then put the ball past the post. Bridgwater had the next effort, a shot that went over the bar in the 60th minute and a few minutes later we had another major incident. Sam Fuller pulled the ball back from the bye line beyond the far post and the Wolves centre half tried to clear but lashed the ball into his own net.The referee signalled for a goal but the linesman then raised his flag. After a consultation with the linesman the referee then changed his decision and gave Westlands a corner kick. Asked why the linesman had not flagged when the ball had supposedly gone out of play but then did so when the ball went in the back of the net he said he forgot to put up his flag !! Enough said !! That was a crucial moment in the game with both teams looking to get their noses in front and it would certainly have given the Westland players a boost had they done so. Sport players were now beginning to look a bit leggy and Bridgwater were doing more of the pressing now. In the 84th minute Wolves had a corner on the left which was helped on into the box where a powerful header put the ball in the back of the net. So, Sports were now behind 2-1 but in the final five minutes they created a couple of good chances that should have bought the equaliser. First a good cross into the box was met by Ben Pounder who unfortunately put his sidefoot shot straight into the keeper’s arms. Then a great low ball across the face of the goal by Ben was met by Sam Fuller at full stretch but agonisingly the ball flew straight up off his boot and over the bar. It was obvious then that this was not Westland’s day and the final whistle probably saw our slim chance of the title go up in smoke.
It had been a very good game contested in good spirit by two well matched teams so it was a real pity that the final result left a rather nasty taste in the mouth. However it was a good performance from the Westland lads and they can press on for runners-up spot and of course we still have the cup quarter-final to look forward to.
Man of the Match goes to INNES DAVIDSON who was a rock at the back against a team who have scored lots of goals this season.
Considering all the rain that had fallen the previous day, the pitch was in excellent condition as the teams lined up for the start. The rain was falling which made the surface a bit soft but there was no possibility of the game being called off.
Westlands looked to have an attacking 3-4-3 lineup with a back three of Kieron Webber, George Weston and Innes Davidson, a midfield of Isaac Storey, Jacob Tailby, Dan Ewens and Sam Fuller, and up front Rory Thomson led the line with Ben Pounder and Lewis Trusson on the flanks. Seb Goddard and Tom Jarvis gave us a strong bench.
Sports took control straight from the off and in the 3rd minute Rory Thomson had a shot saved by the keeper’s foot. Then Lewis Trusson had a long mazy run through the Falcons defence but he rushed his final shot and screwed it wide. Then Rory Thomson had another chance, but from 10 yards out leant back and skied it over the top. After 10 minutes Isaac Story had a pop at goal from distance but that too went over. It was one way traffic and the opening goal after 11 minutes was no surprise. SAM FULLER was tripped on the edge of the box and took the kick himself, drilling the ball low and hard into the corner of the net. A couple of minutes later Isaac Storey drove through the Falcons defence but missed the target with his shot. In the 16th minute the opposition created their first good chance of the match when they were awarded a free kick out on the right. The ball was swung over and a Falcons player, totally unmarked, put his header past the post. That should have been a goal and was a bit of a let off for Westlands. Sports soon resumed control but the finishing was not clinical and it took until the 24th minute to score the second goal. A corner from the right was picked up by SAM FULLER in a deep position and he turned inside a defender and curled a magnificent shot into the far top corner. Then we had a scramble in the visitor’s penalty box that resulted in Rory Thomson prodding the ball goalwards through the crowd but it bounced off the far post and into the keeper’s arms ! After half an hour of almost constant pressure Westlands grabbed the third goal when ISAAC STOREY picked the ball up on the edge of the box and smashed it into the net. The flood gates were opening now as ISAAC STOREY made it 4-0 when he turned in a cross at the far post and just before half time BEN POUNDER made it five with a superb curling shot from the edge of the box.
The half time score of 5-0 told its own story and for the second half it was really a case of how many, although Westlands needed to keep their shape and not go chasing goals. If they kept up the passing and movement that had been evident in the opening 45 then the goals would come.
Sports started the second half with Tom Jarvis out on the left and Seb Goddard at centre forward. Seb was quickly in the action, turning a cross from Ben Pounder just over the bar. Four minutes into the second half came goal number 6. Rory Thomson had a shot blocked by the Falcons keeper but he picked up the rebound and cut the ball back to ISAAC STOREY who thumped it into the net from 15 yards. Despite the score line the Falcons keeper was having a good game and he did well to save a rocket from Isaac Storey in the 53rd minute. On the hour came goal number 7. A corner from the left fell to JACOB TAILBY in the box and he had time to bring the ball down and prod it into the corner of the net. Four minutes later another corner from the left found JACOB TAILBY again unchallenged in the box and he headed in from about 3 yards out. Two good corners and two good opportunist finishes. That made it 8, and with the opposition out on their feet now, the chances were coming thick and fast. The Falcons keeper then miskicked a clearance straight to Tom Jarvis but he put his shot past the far post. Then a well hit Rory Thomson shot was turned round the post by the keeper. In the 83rd minute Tom Jarvis made a great run down the left and cut the ball back into the path of ISAAC STOREY who rifled it into the roof of the net for the ninth goal. A couple of minutes before the end Isaac Storey cut the ball back to DAN EWENS whose shot found the back of the net via a wicked deflection off a defender. That made it 10-0 and the final whistle put the visitors out their misery.
To their credit, although well beaten the opposition hadn’t thrown in the towel and kept trying to the end but they just couldn’t cope with the slick passing and movement of the Westlands team.
Man of the Match goes to ISAAC STOREY whose four goals capped a good midfield performance.
Westlands played an improving Wembdon side on a small pitch but a decent surface.
GEORGE WESTON rose well on 31 minutes to direct a bullet header into the Wembdon net from an Isaac Storey corner, after good work from Isaac won the corner. This was just about a deserved lead and Rory Thomson had a great chance to increase the lead just before half only to blaze his first time close-range effort over the bar.
Wembdon started strongly in the 2nd half and took a more direct approach, 20 minutes in this was rewarded as Sports keeper Gabriel Cole came out and clattered the attacker and the ref had no choice other than award a penalty which was comfortably slotted away.
Wembdon then had a good spell where they could have gone into the lead, Gabriel Cole made some fine saves during this period. Sports then finished the stronger and had several decent chances to secure all the points however a great display by the Wembdon keeper ensured the draw.
This was close game with differing styles, a draw was probably a fair result however both teams could have won it.
Man of the Match goes to ISAAC STOREY for a high energy display which was a constant threat to the opposition.
Sun 18th Nov, Somerset U18 League Cup, 1st Rnd: WESTLAND SPORTS 2 NAILSEA UTD 0
Perfect weather for the cup tie, glorious sunshine but a fresh east wind to keep the spectators on their toes. We knew nothing about our opponents as they play in the North section of the league but they are currently second top so are bound to be a useful side. Westlands looked to have a strong squad out but rumours of a birthday bash the night before were a bit of a worry.
Nailsea were the quickest to settle and they had the first attempt on goal in the 3rd minute but it was an easy save for Westlands keeper Gabriel Cole. Five minutes later the Sports defence were caught flat footed when a simple through ball put the Nailsea #10 through on goal. Luckily he rushed his shot and put it wide of the target. Westlands were beginning to settle but were a bit careless with possession and kept giving the ball away. Nailsea were a tidy side and they were passing the ball well but their attacks seemed to die out on the edge of the Westlands penalty box. It was a game delicately poised and in the 28th minute Westlands broke the deadlock with that important first goal. Lewis Trusson charged down the right wing and delivered a good cross into the Nailsea box. Luca Martin challenged for it and the ball fell to SAM FULLER who slammed it in. Nailsea tried to respond straight away with a cross into the Westlands box that was headed over the bar. With 15 minutes of the half remaining Westlands took control and began to play some good football which had the opposition on the back foot. Luca Martin met an Isaac Storey cross flush with his head but the ball slammed off the face of the bar and was cleared. The final chance of the half saw Sam Fuller fire in a strong shot which was saved by the Nailsea keeper.
It had been a tight first half but the 1-0 lead was well deserved as Westlands had dominated the game since scoring the opening goal. Possibly Nailsea heads had gone down a bit after the goal but their management would sort that at half time so we were expecting a big push from them in the second half.
A sloppy clearance from a Westlands defender presented the visitor’s with golden chance to equalise straight away. Fortunately the Nailsea player failed to hit the target with his shot which slipped past the post. In the 57th minute came Westlands first big chance of the half. Luca Martin got up to head a Dan Ewens free kick just over the bar. It was obvious the next goal was going to be very important and Nailsea were going all out to score it. In the 58th minute a big opportunity fell to a Nailsea player but he blazed his shot over the bar from about 5 yards out ! Then a Nailsea shot was blocked as they kept up the pressure. Time was passing with Sports still in front and in the 66th minute Westlands had what looked a certain penalty denied by the referee. That was the second big penalty shout for Westlands that was waved away as they had one in the first half. Malik Kamal was now on for Westlands and it was Malik who set up the second goal with a strong run into the box where he was upended for a penalty.LUCA MARTIN drilled the spot kick low into the corner to put Sports two up with 20 minutes left on the clock. Two minutes later Malik was yellow carded for kicking the ball away at a free kick ! Westlands created the next chance when Felix Smee had a go from 20 yards but it was straight at the keeper. Then in the 82nd minute, Malik Kamal, having already been booked, got involved in some silliness with a Nailsea player which ended with yellow cards for both. That of course meant red for Malik and Westlands were faced with seeing out the last 8 minutes with 10 men. Nailsea poured forward and Westlands dropped back to protect what they had. Sports were defending a bit desperately at times but were managing to get the ball cleared somehow. Nailsea finally produced a telling pass in front of goal in the 88th minute but their player duffed his shot in front of goal and Westlands escaped again. Somehow, Sports managed to survive until the final whistle which we were relieved to hear.
It had been a bit of a struggle for the 10 men but they had survived and managed to keep a clean sheet as well ! Nailsea had missed a few sitters but having said that Westlands could have scored another couple as well. This was a good result for Sports as the opposition were top class but were just lacking that finishing touch.
Man of the match goes to DAN EWENS, who made a big contribution in both attack and defence.
Westlands undertook our longest trip of the season to date with a long trek to Minehead on a wet grey afternoon with the match starting in heavy rain.
Minehead, who are known to be prolific goalscorers, were quick out of the blocks and nearly went into an early lead. However, after the dangerous Lewis Trusson had been hauled down, a well-placed free kick from Dan Ewens allowed GEORGE WESTON to lose his man and head firmly home to put Sports into an early lead.
Minehead then levelled and quickly went 2-1 in front and it looked like it was going to be long hard afternoon in front a lively home crowd although there was also a good show of support for the visitors.
Sports were starting to get a foothold in the game after the frenetic start and looking the stronger team. The pressure was starting to tell and after several corners a great near post header from the ever-dangerous SAM FULLER from a corner drew the scores level again.
Shortly after, good work by Ben Pounder on the left wing slipped in LUCA MARTIN who finished neatly to put Sports into a 3-2 half-time lead.
Westlands had finished the half on top after recovering well from the early deficit with Ewens, Tailby and Fuller starting to dominate the midfield and the front three of Pounder, Trusson and Martin a constant threat.
The second half continued much the same with Westlands on top. Seb Goddard who came on as sub at half time after missing several matches through injury, nearly got Sports off to a flyer. After he had been set up by Luca Martin outside the area, his half volley was tipped onto the bar and the post before running painfully across the goal line before being cleared. Goddard’s spell however was short-lived as his reccurring injury again flared up.
There then followed several decent chances for Sports to put the game to bed that were not taken. Minehead then got an equaliser which buoyed them on for a ten-minute spell where they dominated and looked favourites to take the points with Sports somewhat flagging on a decent but heavy pitch. Of note the defence of Kieran Webber, George Weston, Innes Davidson and Peter Park all did extremely well to curb the strong Minehead attacks. Gabriel Cole in goal was quick off his line on several occasions and was strong in clearing from corners throughout.
In the 73-minute Peter Park floated a pin point free kick from the half way line deep into the Minehead area, SAM FULLER rose magnificently and cleverly headed into the top corner to restore the lead. Westlands then tightened up to try and secure the win with Jacob Tailby showing good discipline and sitting deeper to offer protection as Minehead pressed.
The at times unplayable Lewis Trusson then danced in to the Minehead area and was felled for a clear penalty. Sam Fuller stepped up in a bid to secure his hat-trick and put the game to bed only to put his kick just wide of the post !
Minehead again came back strongly, however after good work from Innes Davidson, Trusson and Martin, Luca set up DAN EWENS who was bursting into the box and he finished superbly high up into the corner of the seasiders net to seal the points – a goal worthy of clinching the game. Ewens elaborate celebration said it all… despite being unwell (!) before the game.
This was a hard-fought win against a strong attacking Minehead side.
Man of the Match, despite not being on the score sheet, goes to LEWIS TRUSSON who terrorised the Minehead defence all afternoon.
Thanks to Minehead FC for making us so welcome and their generous hospitality.
Sports Under 18 side made it 4 straight wins when they defeated Burnham Utd 3-0 at Alvington in the Somerset League yesterday. Sports took a deserved 2-0 half time lead with goals from ISAAC STOREY and LUCA MARTIN and in the second half SAM FULLER wrapped up the points with the third goal.
Man of the match this week goes to PETER PARK who returned after suspension and had a solid game.
Falcons started the livelier with probing runs down the extremely narrow pitch and looked as though they would be a handful today. Early on the Westland keeper Gabriel Cole made a number of good crucial one on one saves that could have seen the home team a goal or two to the good early on. Westlands took 10 minutes or so to adapt to the lack of width on the pitch but then started to get their game plan together and realised the short quick passing game would be their best bet.
A superb passage of pass and move football on 12 minutes that started in defence with 6 or 7 accurate passes through midfield saw the ball in the back of the net after a clinical rebound finish by DAN EWENS following a good block by the keeper after a cracking effort from captain for the day Luca Martin.
That short passing game set the two teams apart with Westland defence, midfield and attack linking up well. Isaac Storey in midfield alongside Dan Ewens and Sam Fuller helped link up play well with the ball being comfortably passed back and forth between midfield and defence when there was no clear route forward.
Sports second came after a succession of cleverly taken corners from Lewis Trusson. LUCA MARTIN got on the end of the third corner and firmly headed past the stranded keeper to double the score. The home team closed down well throughout the first half but the 2-0 scoreline was a fair reflection of Westlands dominance with their short passing game albeit with goalkeeper Gabriel Cole in outstanding form keeping Falcons at bay.
The second half started well with the home team continuing to press hard but the Westlands defence doing a sterling job and some great possession and patient football by Sports. Of note Innes Davidson and Kieran Webber stood strong in central defence with solid hardworking displays from full backs Rory Thomson, Morgan Pomeroy and, making his league debut, Josh Denman.
Up front Westland always looked in with a chance of nicking another with both wingers Lewi Trusson and Ben Pounder causing the home defence particular problems within the limited width they had to work with. Ben Pounder worked tirelessly in his first full 90mins for Sports
LUCA MARTIN got his deserved second goal and Westland third after a great initial strike from the edge of the area by Sam Fuller which was too hot for the keeper to handle and was pounced on by Luca with persistent instinctive strikes, beating the keeper at the third attempt.
In the end 3-0 was a fair result with a strong hardworking and mature team display from Westland. This was a game where the strikers and midfield all did their jobs well, however the defensive performance was outstanding against a team who had scored 14 goals in their first 3 matches.
Man of the Match was between the two centre backs, Innes Davidson and Kieran Webber, and keeper Gabriel Cole, however GABRIEL COLE takes MOM on this occasion for what was his best performance of his season to date which helped secure the points and gain a second clean sheet in 3 games.
Sun 7th Oct, Somerset U18s League: WESTLAND SPORTS 9 ISLE OF WEDMORE 0
Westlands quickly got into their stride, started to assert themselves, taking advantage of the space they had to play the ball around and passing fluently and positively. It wasn’t long before the crossbar was hit for the first time by Luca Martin. The first Westlands goal arrived only 2 minutes into the game, a ball from the back picked out Sam Fuller who rose on the edge of the box to head the ball beyond the defence and into the path of LUCA MARTIN, who calmly lobbed the stranded keeper.
Wedmore, although physically strong weren’t able to string their passes together and a purposeful Westlands midfield continually broke up their play, stifling any opportunity they may have taken advantage of. The second Westlands goal came in the 17th minute when SAM FULLER ran on to a ball over the top and thumped it into the net. Three minutes later came a cracking goal from LUCA MARTIN as he curled a shot from the edge of the box into the far top corner.
The game followed a similar pattern for the rest of the first half, with Westlands dominating the game by playing some excellent passing football and closing any Wedmore possession down quickly. The times that Wedmore did make their way forward a solid back four felt comfortable in closing them out and calmly playing it out from the back.
Both wings, Rory Thomson and Lewis Trusson were successful in getting down the sides to the byline, always being closely supported from the midfield and lining up opportunities for the forwards to aim at goal. Wedmore were failing to close Westlands down and with the time to pass into space, the relentless pressure saw the fourth goal in the 35th minute when a good passing move ended with SAM FULLER ‘shinning’ the ball into the net. Two minutes later it was 5 when the ball was squared back to LUCA MARTIN and he banged it in. That ended the first half scoring with Westlands 5-0 up.
The second half saw the opportunity for fresh legs with Seb Goddard, Ben Pounder and George Weston coming on to take up the reins. The half started in similar fashion with Westlands controlling the ball, but a resurgent Wedmore decided that a more physical game was needed to break up the play. This unsettled Westlands and for 5 minutes they stopped playing their game of passing football. However as the tackles became more wayward from Wedmore the bookings followed. Westlands regained their composure and again the opportunities presented themselves for the forwards. In the 65th minute LUCA MARTIN was presented with goal number 6 after some slack opposition defending before JACOB TAILBY put a powerful header away following a corner for number 7. LEWIS TRUSSON got number 8 when he made a mazy run down the sideline, cut back from the byline and slammed it home. Finally KIERAN WEBBER confidently stroked the the ball home to close the game out. Somewhere in the melee of this one-sided game Wedmore snuck a goal in, frustrating what had been a solid defensive display. A good team performance.
Man of the match this week goes to SAM FULLER who showed some real quality.
Sun 30th Sept, Somerset U18s League: TONE YOUTH 0 WESTLAND SPORTS 5
Sports started the match strongly and went ahead on 20 minutes with a smart finish by SAM FULLER after he received the ball from a throw in. Many chances came and went for Sports in the first half however the finishing lacked a bit of composure. Half-time, 1-0 up.
The 2nd half started in much the same vein as the first with Sports on top. A second goal was added by LUCA MARTIN tapping in a long shot from Dan Ewens. JACOB TAILBY then rose well to head home a Tom Jarvis free kick for number three and SAM FULLER finished well after a clever free kick from Jacob Tailby for the fourth. DAN EWENS completed the scoring with a fine free kick in off the post.
Of note the defence were solid throughout in a good all round team effort.
Man of the Match goes to JACOB TAILBY for a polished all round performance
Our first game in the new league was away to the title favourites on a ‘caged’ 3g pitch.
Westlands started well, winning a lot of challenges and pushing forward into their opponents half. This paid off after 20 minutes when Sports took the lead. Luca Martin played a nice through ball to RORY THOMSON who had a touch and thumped it past the keeper.
The home team then began to put together some fast attacks and put Westlands under a bit of pressure. Nevertheless we were coping pretty well until the 42nd minute when they equalised. Their winger raced down the left flank and pulled the ball across to a team-mate who drilled it in.
That made it 1-1 at half time with Westands a bit annoyed not to have held on to their lead.
The second half proved to be a bit of a disaster for Sports. With the next goal crucial Westland thought they had scored it when Luca Martin whacked in a shot that the keeper palmed up over his shoulder into the roof of the net. As the ball dropped the keeper reached in and scooped it out. “No goal” said the referee from his vantage point in the centre circle. “I couldn’t see it from my angle” said the home linesman, so to the amazement of the spectators the match played on.
In the 60th minute the home side went ahead when their player turned his man and thumped the ball in. That was a body blow to Westlands and they began to look a bit heavy legged now.
With 10 minutes to go Bridgwater made it 3-1 with a simple through ball that their player ran on to.
A bit of a flare up then saw Pete Park red carded for retaliation to cap a miserable second half for Westlands.
Man of the Match goes to skipper DAN EWENS for a hard working display in the midfield.