Westfield vs First Team
Reigate Priory made the long trip to Westfield near Hastings on Saturday and with a number of players missing, it meant returns to the starting eleven for David McLaughlin and James Long and recalls to the bench for Marcus Best-Osborne, Cappa Hughes and club captain Scott Johnson.
Priory started the brighter side with a strong press and Chris Parsons at left back finding himself with lots of time on the ball, enabling him to repeatedly find Callum Johnson down the left hand side. The first clear-cut chance came from a Parsons whipped free-kick which caused havoc with the Westfield goalkeeper before falling to Max Bicknell who could only fire over the bar. Bicknell’s younger brother Alex then went close with a powerful run from right back to the edge of the Westfield box before firing slightly wide of the left hand post.
Ten minutes before half-time, somewhat against the run of play, it was the turn of Westfield to deliver a delightful free kick into the back post for Harry Murphy to calmly head in putting the home side 1-0 up. Westfield doubled their lead mid-way through the second half when Priory’s Chris Parsons inadvertently played through former Millwall Youth and Ireland U16 attacker George Landais, who shifted the ball onto his right beating Scott Johnson before neatly finishing in the bottom left corner.
Priory’s response was immediate though when Tom Hayden lifted the ball in behind the Westfield left back for substitute Marcus Best-Osborne to latch onto, cutting the ball back from the byline to Max Bicknell on the edge of the box, who wonderfully whipped his shot into the top right hand corner.
It seemed as though Priory’s comeback was short-lived as Alex Bicknell was then given his marching orders for a cynical foul, but this Priory side just doesn’t know when it’s beaten. Having fought off an onslaught following the red card, Max Bicknell’s testing corner was steered towards goal by Scott Johnson before deflecting off a defender into the far corner to make it 2-2, which is how the game finished leaving both the teams mid table in the Mid Sussex Premier League.
Manager Dale Wyatt commented: “It’s disappointing to lose Alex Bicknell for a few games who had played brilliantly up until his dismissal which was a slight lack of judgement on his part, however it’s very pleasing to see the reaction of the lads to going two goals down and to then fight to a 2-2 draw despite being a man down. It felt like a group of lads determined not to allow Alex to feel like his mistake had cost the team and they rallied around for him. We’re now eight games unbeaten and going into two home games at Park Lane before Christmas, so we are hopeful of a strong finish to the year!”