Tuesday was a warmer than expected evening and the crowd was small due to the Feast of St Valentine.
Westbury came out and started with a good tempo but it was Portishead who had the first bit of meaningful action winning a corner and the taker selected to drill it low towards the edge of the box, Westbury’s defence was a little on its heels and the ball fell to a Portishead player who got a shot on target, Adam Sheppard, who was making his debut in goal, was more than equal to it and saved well.
Martin Johnson had an excellent chance on the 10 minute mark, he latched onto a Leon Greenland clearance, twisted the defender outside in, opened his body but couldn’t place his shot wide of the advancing goalkeeper.
The first half was frantic, both teams looked apprehensive and were struggling to string any quality passages of play together. Westbury’s best player of the first half was Ferris Lamrabet, he was strong in the challenge and unruffled when in possession but even he couldn’t stop the Portishead player from cutting inside onto his left foot and curling the ball into the top corner on the 40th minute mark The first half finished 0-1.
Westbury burst out of the changing room for the second half and were level within two minutes of the restart, Greenland surged down the left and cut back a low cross to Otis Young, Young scuffed a left footed strike into the net.
Westbury continued to attack in numbers, which left them open to the speed of Portishead on the counter. On the 60th minute mark Portishead found themselves in a three versus two counter-attack, fortunately the Portishead attacker had sped into an offside position when the final pass was made so the shot on target didn’t count.
Westbury continued to push in a bid to find a winner and they thought they’d got it when Johnson unleashed a rocket of a volley that went straight down the throat of the Portishead keeper to save with two strong hands.
Another goal came on the 69th minute, Portishead again using their pace to counter attack were fouled on their left wing, the resulting free kick was lofted in and went through Sheppards hand, I couldn’t tell through the tears of sadness in my eyes whether they bundled it over the line or if the ball was untouched after leaving the free kick takers boot.
George Bendle and Nathan Hallett-Young were introduced to the action which give Westbury a freshness and liveliness in attack, Hallett-Young could have got an equaliser when a low cross came in from the left, he opted for the same scuffed shot technique as Young had used earlier in the half but his tame shot ended up in the keepers hands.
There was late drama when the Portishead number 5 got sent off for a second bookable offence, Westbury tried to get the equaliser but couldn’t force the ball past the stubborn Portishead defence and goalkeeper.