Southern Combination Cup Semi Final
Westfield missed out on their first final for 23 years as they failed to make the most of a bright first half as they went out after extra time to Sandhurst Town.
The Premier visitors came into the match on a barren run of form and it showed early as the host’s started confidently. Inside the first minute Shane Cheeseman was denied by Watson when he appeared to be clean through and the ball bounced up for Hennessy to volley just wide of the goal from the edge of the box. Lee Allum in typical fashion made a driving run shortly afterwards but he sent his effort wide of the goal when well placed inside the box. The visitors first effort on goal came halfway through the half when a free kick was deflected just wide with McGregor wrong footed. At the other end Shane Cheeseman should have put the host’s ahead when he elected to head Matty Edwards’s drilled cross rather than bring the ball down. The visitors thought they had taken the lead on 26 minutes but the assistant’s flag intervened. Just after this Westfield were dealt a blow when Tom Hegarty hobbled off with a hamstring injury and replaced by Michael Leech. Matty Edwards immediately nearly opened the scoring from Leech’s first contribution but his flying header looped just wide of the far post as Westfield sensed the opener was imminent. Matty Edwards was again to go close and shot just wide from the edge of the box after being fed by Wright. A minute before the break McGregor failed to deal with a routine effort from range and after spilling the ball John Symons amazingly missed the gaping target from 6 yards. However in attempting to smother the ball the big keeper landed awkwardly on his elbow and after lengthy treatment was replaced by Brawley.
The nasty injury seemed to have an effect on the home side going into the second period and for the first time in the match Sandhurst grew in confidence. Watson in the visiting goal kept the scores level in the 58th minute when he made a superb flying stop to keeper out another Edwards’s header. With both sides lacking quality in the final 3rd it seemed inventible that the game would finish goalless and head into extra time. That being said both sides have a glorious chance each to win the tie. With 10 minutes remaining Brawley head to get down low to keep out Day after the visitors produced a well worked move. With two minutes left on the clock Shane Cheeseman flicked the ball onto substitute Rob Jones who raced clear of the defence and with the keeper just to beat had one touch too many and Watson got down bravely to block his effort.
Into extra time and both sides looked tired and neither threatened the opener. However in the last minute of the first period Watkins was allowed to cross from the right and Dan Jewell rose to head home via his shoulder into the far corner. The goal deflated Westfield and right from the kick-off for the second period Miller's run and cross found Day unmarked 6 yards out and he sidefooted home into the roof of the net. As Westfield poured forward the Fizzers added a 3rd late on as Jewell raced clear from the halfway line and slid the ball under Brawley.
All the best to Sandhurst in the final where they face Hanworth Villa on May Bank Holiday Monday.