Home league match played on 29 January 2022.
Kicked off at 2:00 PM

Westfield went back to the top of ESFL Division 2 after cruising to a relatively comfortable victory against a much changed Herstmonceux side who remain rooted to the bottom of the table.

A scrappy start to the game, not helped by the pristine looking but bobbly pitch, saw neither side create too much in the way of clear cut chances in the opening exchanges. After 10 minutes veteran centre back Leon Mende limped off with a calf injury and, just 10 minutes later, cultured midfielder Joe Page was also replaced following a similar injury.

As the half progressed Westfield began looking better on the ball but were still susceptible to the occasional Herstmonceux counter attack. Then, after half an hour, Billy Blackford, who had been performing admirably in marshalling an inexperienced back line, picked up a sickening injury after a Herstmonceux players high boot caught him in the face. The Westfield medical staff had their work cut out to stop the flow of blood but Blackford was eventually patched up and sent off to hospital for further treatment. We all wish him the very best and hope the talented defender makes a speedy recovery.

With three changes after just half an hour Westfield finally made a breakthrough when goalkeeper JJ Blanche spotted striker Lee Paine making a run through the opposition back line and proceeded to play an unreal, Ederson like 80 yard through ball to Paine who nonchalantly lofted a half volley over the Herstmonceux keeper to make it 1-0.

Westfield went for the jugular at this point and further extended their lead 5 minutes later when the lively Jay Edwards swung in a dangerous in swinging cross from the left flank and forward Jacob Shelton, who had a quite outstanding game, rose highest to glance a header in to the far corner. 2-0.

It was 3-0 on the stroke of half-time when Shelton’s in swinging corner found the ageless Alan Johnson who headed home from close range.

The second half continued much like the first had ended with the impressive Paine playing like a mix of a prime Bobby Firmino and a 2010 Zlatan Ibrahimovic with how he was dominating the back line and bringing others in to play, much to the delight of his proud family who were watching on from the stands. However Westfield just lacked the cutting edge to make the most of the chances they created.

Herstmonceux did pull a goal back with 20 minutes remaining when their right full back swung in a cross that missed everyone and inadvertently crashed in off the far post. Another excellent Kyle Churchman performance was unfortunately cut short when the combative midfielders strong challenge in the middle of the park saw him come off worse and he joined Blackford in the A&E department at the Conquest Hospital. Fortunately the scans showed no break but there could still be a significant lay off for the youngster as he will be in a protective boot for two weeks. A late cameo from the returning Ryan Harffey, including one moment were he unleashed three pile driving attempts at goal in a matter of seconds, still couldn’t extend the lead but Westfield comfortably saw out the game to make it 10 unbeaten in all competitions.

Westfield are yet to be scheduled a league fixture for the coming weeks but are in cup action against division three outfit AFC Hollington in February. ????

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