Reserves lose unbeaten league record

Westend vs Wrington Redhill Reserves

Weston & District Division 3

10 January 2015 2.30pm

Westend comfortably brought Wrington’s unbeaten league record to an end as the reserves started 2015 with defeat against the team who could well be third division title challengers. In their first game for nearly a month, Wrington were second-best for much of the game, and a lack of match fitness was brutally exposed by an appalling playing surface and a hard-working Westend side.

An early postponement of Wrington’s first team fixture had presented manager Julian Moss with the opportunity to strengthen the side, but to his credit he chose to show faith in the players who had guided Wrington to the top of the division, with Rory Thomas the only first teamer in action on the left wing. In fact, a bizarre situation saw both sides fielding a Wrington player – Mason Gardener lining up directly opposite Thomas despite having played alongside each other for the first team seven times this term.

It was perhaps predictable that Gardener would influence the game, and he did just that – winning the home side a 15th minute penalty and adding another goal with a smart finish just before half time. These goals were sandwiched by a terrific “rabona” finish on 38 minutes which put Westend in control by half-time.

In truth the story of the game could have been completely different had Wrington been awarded either of two equally strong penalty appeals with the scores goalless. The away side had started marginally the brighter with Tom Johnson and Chris Vowles looking to pose the home defence problems, and the former was clearly up-ended inside the penalty area on two occasions. It was a shame for the young referee whose performance was being assessed, as he otherwise officiated the game very well, showing intelligence to allow several good advantages to be played as the game progressed.

In Nick Curtis’ absence, Moss welcomed back Paul Burnett in defence, who had a typically battling performance until his excellent return alongside Phil Williams and Louis Rouvrais was cut short at half time when he was replaced by his brother.

Having found themselves 3-0 down by half-time for the second successive game, Wrington again began the second half the brighter of the two teams, this time getting the goal they deserved, albeit in unusual circumstances. Johnson reached the goal-line and looked to fire a low cross into the area, which the Westend goalkeeper seemed to stand and watch as the ball snuck inside his near post.

Five minutes later, having pushed men further forward in an attempt to get back into the game, the visitors were caught out as Westend broke away to score a fourth. The away side were continuing to push forward – James Marshall being introduced for Rouvrais – and were at least creating half-chances – Vowles finding some joy down the channels without finding the crucial finish. With fifteen minutes to go, Thomas was able to fire home a second for Wrington after an untidy scramble in the penalty area, for his first ever goal in Wrington colours.

Nick Buck and Mick Edmunds had been let down by the wayward passing of fellow midfielder Joe Moore all game, and as Wrington committed men forward the latter capped a below-par performance by losing the ball on 80 minutes, allowing Westend to put gloss on the scoreline with the simplest of fifth goals.

Wrington will be disappointed with the way their heads dropped after the early set-back, and will look to put things right against Wedmore in a week’s time.

FULL TIME Westend 5-2 Wrington