Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Westfield 0 v 7 Eastbourne Town

Tuesday 19th July 2016
Pre-season Friendly
Parish Field, Westfield
Admission and Programme: None
Attendance: 30 (head-count)
Match Rating: 3

This evening I took advantage, for the second midweek running, to visit a local club that I am usually unable to visit during the season as they are not able to host midweek games due to a lack of floodlights.

Despite having hopes for several years now to relocate to a new ground closeby which would be fit to host senior football, those hopes are apparently still no closer to becoming reality, and so Westfield continue to play in the humble surroundings of the Parish Field, which has a nice rustic charm about it. There remains no seats here, and the only cover is provided by overhang from the clubhouse, which is in converted cargo containers smartly painted in dark green to blend in with the leafy surroundings. No programmes were produced for this match.

In their first season back in intermediate football following demotion due to ground grading, Westfield finished last season in 10th place in the 16 team Division Two of the Southern Combination League. Eastbourne Town finished last season in second place in the Southern Combination League Premier Division, two divisions above Westfield.

On a very warm summer's evening following the hottest day of the year so far, it soon became apparent that this would be a very one-sided affair, with Eastbourne showing more skill, pace and invention whilst Westfield struggled to contain their opponents. The visitors took the lead on 9 minutes, with a glancing header from a corner with the ball going in just inside the far post. From the kick-off, they doubled their lead when the ball was quickly worked forward, resulting in a simple finish past the keeper. Two minutes later and it was almost three, when an Eastbourne player headed the ball against the woodwork, but they did score again on 18 minutes. The ball was played low diagonally forward, and the player ran on towards the byline before crossing low and the ball was turned into the net first time from a central position. They made it 4 on 29 minutes when another pacy run towards goal ended with a good finish past the keeper. They had a goal disallowed two minutes before the break for offside, and the four goal difference could have been considerably worse, such was Eastbourne's superiority in the first half.

The second half was more even, and Westfield even managed to force a few smart saves from the visiting keeper. But Eastbourne scored their fifth on 52 minutes thanks to a mix up between a Westfield defender and keeper, allowing the striker to nip in and poke the ball from a tight angle. It was six on 62 minutes, when a shot close to the outer corner of the area seemed to be going just wide of the far post, but a covering defender made sure it hit the back of his own net. After coming close to scoring on several occasions, Eastbourne finally scored their seventh four minutes from time when a shot from outside the area bounced just over the line.

So ultimately, the gulf between the two teams proved massive this evening, and Westfield will be glad that they will not have to play teams of Eastbourne's calibre once the league season gets going. Similarly, Eastbourne will presumably not have many easy games like this when they were given so much time and space to express themselves, but no doubt this evening would have been good for their confidence as well as building up fitness.

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