Wrington Redhill Reserves vs Westend

Weston and District Division 3

12 May 2015 6:30pm

The Reserves assured themselves of promotion from Division 3 as Runners up with a comprehensive victory over champions Westend, taking the edge off their full-time champagne celebrations, well deserved for an excellent season. Only the visitors will know if they fielded a weakened team, but this should take nothing away from what was a terrific performance from the hosts, particularly in the first half, which went some way to exorcising the demons of the previous two lacklustre displays which cost the home side the title.

The first period was probably the most assured of the season, as the hosts looked dangerous in possession in building a 2-0 lead, and were quick to apply pressure to Westend when the away side had the ball.

Wrington’s first fell to top scorer Tom Johnson, who renewed his excellent understanding with Louis Rouvrais (Pictured) following the latter’s return to the side after some cosmetic work. Rouvrais put in an inkredible display, winning countless headers and using his strength to ensure a torrid evening for the visitor’s defence who could not “Deal with it”. After twice coming close to unlocking Westend’s high defensive line, Rouvrais slipped the ball through to Johnson who was slightly fortunate to see his scuffed effort sneak underneath the keeper.

At the other end, Paul Faulkner made no such mistakes as he again took the gloves, and another strong performance will surely leave manager Julian Moss wondering if he has uncovered a star ahead of next season. Faulkner was again well protected by Chris Holland, Phil Williams and Nick Curtis, who were combative in the tackle and assured on the ball. At the other end, Curtis was denyied a goal-scoring opportunity as midfielder Joe Moore slotted home from an offside position instead of letting the centreback run on to the loose ball.

In the end the error was swiftly rectified as Johnson’s second came shortly before half time. It was almost a complete opposite of his first, as he calmly took down a raking cross in the box before firing inside the far post through a crowd of bodies, leaving the keeper with no chance.

Wrington were expecting a reaction in the second half, and Westend did indeed threaten shortly after the interval as the excellent Simon Garrett was replaced by Dan Burnett and the midfield three (also including former captain Nick Buck) briefly lost their organisation and discipline. It was during this period that Westend looked to be back in the game, as a high bouncing ball evaded the Wrington defence, leaving Faulkner stranded and Williams just unable to chase back to hook the striker’s lob from the line.

Westend were well on top, and had two glorious chances to equalise as Faulkner made a fine save when one striker looked certain to score and shortly afterwards the other failed to control a straightforward cross with the goal at his mercy.

Mike Clements defied his 50+ years with an incredible energy on the right flank, matching the effort shown by Kyle Selman on the left, under half his age. Both men were instrumental in pushing Westend back into their own half as Wrington retook the initiative. The host’s best move of the game only resulted in a corner, as Johnson, Moore and Selman combined on the break before the latter curled a glorious cross which Rouvrais met on the volley and the keeper somehow tipped around the post.

Wrington were not to be denied for long, and in a very similar move to his first, Johnson completed his hat-trick and put the game safe with his 13th of the campaign as he chased down the keeper after Rouvrais again made a nuisance of himself. Somehow the keeper spilled the ball and Johnson was able to poke home.

As Wrington breathed a sigh of relief, they didn’t give Westend the chance to get back into the game as the hosts fourth goal of the night went to an unexpected source as Burnett burst free from his marker with a lung-bursting run from midfield, and shook off a defender to fire a thunderous strike from just outside the box which almost ripped the net. Cozza and Oliphant were introduced as late substitutes to see the game out.

In addition to securing second place, the result went some way to atoning for the 5-2 defeat suffered at the hands of the same opponent earlier in the season, and Wrington can get to within a single point of the Champions with a victory on Thursday.

FULL TIME Wrington 4-1 Westend

Wrington: Faulkner, Holland, Curtis, Williams (C), Moore (Cozza), Garrett (Burnett), Buck, Selman, Clements, Johnson, Rouvrais

MOTM: Johnson