Westfields Waders Humble Slimbridge Swans…
Slimbridge 1-2 Westfields
This was a strange affair, for visitors Westfields from the Midland League Premier Division, really displayed their strength, height, determination and attacking intent from the start. Slimbridge were muted and hesitant in many departments and yet, with more good fortune, the Swans might have prevented a loss. The guests deserved the win however, for they tested the two home ‘keepers on several occasions, were denied on the goal-line and struck the crossbar through Aidan Thomas. Slimbridge were less offensive, although one effort was cleared from the goal-line by Matt Reeve and replacement Sean Lawson’s late glancing header was off target. The subdued Swans were disappointing in truth and the visitors wrenched a hold on the game early and never really relinquished it, despite a number of substitutions being made. Two left-booted penalties, both conceded by left-backs, had restored parity to the game but a side-footed finish from a corner by James Febery won it for Westfields.
|"LET'S TOSS FACING THE OTHER WAY, YEAH?"|
|GODS, THAT REF IS STRONG, HE'S CARRYING A FENCE AROUND WITH HIM...|
A chap had retrieved a ball before the game started, he booted it high towards the dugouts from 20 yards left of me, misjudged his kick, yelled out “HEADS…” and I ducked instinctively, whilst looking into my camera and smacked my lower lip on the perimeter rail… Great start. Thanks for that… Looked like I’d been thumped by a drunk in a bar, or was doing an impression of a Spoonbill. Anyway, the game got underway with Westfields in the ascendancy.
|THE MAN ON THE LEFT PUNTED THE BALL...|
|THIS RAIL PUMMELLED MY LOWER LIP...|
What was surprising was that despite having a considerable height advantage, like storks and bitterns have over little stints and redshanks at the Wildfowl Trust, the hosts won the ball aerially from a few set-pieces inside the Westfields penalty-box, with Jamie Martin (he had to have a bird’s name…) nodding just over the crossbar from 16 yards and later latching onto a long kick, but not being able to head the ball over ‘Fields’ goalie Kieron Blackburn. Martin, however, spent much of the opening period in an ongoing scrap with visiting skipper Phil Plover, sorry GLOVER, resulting in medical attention for the huge Glover and a wrenching out of shape of Martin’s shirt, although that incident was interpreted as a foul BY Martin. The referee had to plead with both wrestlers to keep their heron, sorry, HAIR ON… Liam Orchard was poorly served on the Swans’ left but he was well marked on the day too by the combative Sam Rawlings and Orchard must have decided that it was pointless waiting until the fruit was harvested for a decent pass and moved inside, leaving the hosts with a lack of width on the left-flank at times. He did cut inside once but squandered his shot.
|JAMIE MARTIN: A FRUSTRATING HALF...|
|"WHAT? I DIDN'T DO ANYTHING..."|
|"YES YOU BLOODY DID..."|
The visitors were certainly looking more industrious and eager, too often dispossessing Slimbridge and rushing forward through Rich Greaves and Jamie Molineux, who displayed a little frumpiness on occasions, rather like a frustrated bar-tailed godwit. Craig Jones, not the Bromsgrove Sporting skipper, central defender and boxer, was inventive in the Westfields midfield and his left-booted set-pieces were threatening, as he picked out colleagues at will at times, especially Aidan Thomas. A free-kick was nodded across goal by Glover, frowning like a great bustard (that really is a bird, sorry mate…) but Greaves lifted his header too high. Greaves and Thomas caused more mayhem, Jamie Molineux sent a great cross beyond the far stick, Glover bundled a centre over the cross-beam and then nippy wide-man Sidric Grant fell over Adam Mace’s challenge to win a spot-kick. Jones despatched it into the bottom right corner of the net, although 'keeper Luke Merchant almost reached it. After Jones had sniped his penalty, Thomas began to realise that it wasn’t his day. First, the home ‘keeper Luke Merchant, no rover from goal, could only watch as Jamie Molineux’s cross found the unmarked Thomas at the left post but his shot lashed into the side-rigging near the angle of bar and upright, as if a particularly lively coot was thrashing its way out of a poacher’s net.
|"COME ON YOU TWO, PLEASE?"|
|THIS IS GETTING TEDIOUS...|
|GOAL FOR CRAIG 'WHITE BOOTS' JONES...|
Thomas came closer when Merchant beat out his shot but his under-hit rebound was comfortably dealt with on his goal-line by Adam Mace, who performed well in defence and offense for the hosts, his solid shaft topped by a heavy head after this defeat… Half-time arrived with me wondering whether the Swans would, or could actually shake themselves out of their lethargy, like resting tufted ducks on a lake, despite the efforts of the lively Archie Haskayne and fellow midfielder Jack Oldham. Blackburn and Oldham both in this game? The bloke who stood with me had been a season-ticket holder at Blackburn too… What was going on? Anyhow, despite the efforts of those two, the Swans had failed to really threaten at all.
|LIAM ORCHARD IN POSSESSION...|
|ORCHARD LOOKS SO FRUSTRATED...|
Replacements livened up the second period and in fairness, the Swans hissed a little, rustled wings and began to fight, leading to Matt Reeve nudging a Lawson effort from his goal-line, following a downward header by Sam Teal, sorry TURL. This was another header won by Slimbridge in the Westfields 18 yard box, which had seemed unlikely. From this incident, the ebullient Jamie Molineux broke away for ‘Fields, was chased all the way by home replacement Ben Prothero but was denied by the advancing replacement ‘keeper Pete Davies, who beat away the shot. Molineux though, attempted to shoot again, twice, despite the presence of Jones and Greaves, who were unmarked for a few moments but Oldham blocked the first drive and Ryan Thwaite the second.
|JAMIE MOLINEUX BENDS, AFTER MISSING THREE CHANCES IN ONE...|
The Swans’ penalty came when Lawson’s back-heel, Tyler Brock’s pass and Nathan Payne’s move led to Sam Plane baulking him, he fell, embarrassed like a red necked diver and naturally the left boot of Mace shot the spot-kick to the right of Blackburn and parity had been regained.
|GOAL FOR MACE...|
|A TASTY LEFT FOOT...|
The alert Rawlings managed to imitate a shoveler, scooping Thwaite’s header from his goal-line, another aerial win by Slimbridge, remarkably, Mace then clubbed a shot too high, after neat feet had created his opening, Febery, like a great crested grebe after a lusty fish, dived low to concede a corner from a Mace centre and Lawson’s late glancing header skidded across goal like a lapwing making an ungainly landing. The visitors, though, always looked likely to add to their goal tally, Jamie Molineux’s indiscretion apart, for Jones benefited from a quickly taken free-kick and curlewed, sorry CURLED a good effort just round the left stick, Thomas hooked a right-side corner back into the 6 yard box, causing the home defenders to scurry around like harassed mallards and Grant clipped a none too ferocious cross-shot too near to Davies.
|"SNIFF MY BOOTS, MAN..."|
After Jamie Molineux threatened again, a Jones corner was cleared and Thomas’ fine curling 19 yarder clapped against the underside of the crossbar but a fowl, sorry FOUL, spoiled any chance of a rebound strike. Greaves set up Thomas again but he was superbly denied by Thwaite, yet Westfields received their just reward from the ensuing Jones corner. Incredibly, in spite of their height advantage, Febery side-footed his finish from 4 yards, after wrenching Thwaite out of the way. Not quite an avocet but effective nevertheless. The guests then saw willing substitute Dan Polan shoot low past an upright and fellow replacement Matt Molineux curl an 18 yard free-kick at Davies, who parried it like he was batting away an irritated corncrake.
|1-2 & ALTHOUGH FEBERY IS PLEASED, JAMIE MOLINEUX IS MORE ATTRACTED BY HIS BOOTS...|
|FEBERY, SECOND LEFT, HAS WON THE GAME...|
Still dominating, Westfields looked a tough wigeon to net until the finish and with Alvechurch, Sporting Khalsa and the emerging Coventry United in their league to contend with, there should be some fine matches ahead. Slimbridge’s Swans weren’t quite at the lake on the day, this was a small knot in their pre-season, but there will no doubt be a turnstone in their fortunes when they host Winchester City next week. Oldham and Haskayne were the engines, Lawson will doubtless start in attack and the defence, despite this loss, looks competent enough. Skipper Jack Twyman didn't shirk his task and Ed Major played a minor role too.
|"FOUL? NO WAY..."|
Kane Kharki worked hard for the guests, Plane at left-back, wasn’t so plain at all but landed strongly in defence and with Glover a real power there too, the ‘Fields could be a bewildering team to play against this term. Good pace came from replacement James Baldwin in the latter stages.
|"ANOTHER FOUL? NO WAY..."|
Quote of the Day from a sideline:
“They don’t like bein’ bothered…”
I liked that.
Luke Merchant, Fred Ward, Adam Mace, Ryan Thwaite, Sam Turl, Archie Haskayne, Jack Twyman (Capt), Jack Oldham, Jamie Martin, Liam Orchard, Ed Major.
Sean Lawson, Tyler Brock, Nathan Payne, Ben Prothero, Pete Davies (gk).
Kieron Blackburn, Sam Rawligs, Sam Plane, Kane Khaki, Phil Glover (Capt), Matt Reeve, Craig Jones, Sidric Grant, Richard Greaves, Jamie Moineux, Aidan Thomas.
Jamie Saunston, Ben Miller, James Febery, James Baldwin, Dan Polan, Matt Molineux, Sam Gwynne.