Wiltshire Publications

Westbury Utd 0-2 Barnstaple Town – Toolstation Division One, Sat. 14th Feb.

Barnstaple returned to the top of the table but knew they had been in a real, hard-fought match after every Westbury player put in a great work rate throughout the match. 

The newfound team spirit under Shaun Gardiner’s management was clear for all to see, exemplified by a high tempo performance all over the pitch. Ultimately the result came down to two identical first half goals scored within five minutes of each other.

Before the opening goal, the visitors had a period of pressure with several set pieces well defended by the hosts, as well as Callum Hotine saving well from Ryan Turner and Jack Jenkins.

At the other end Brett Partner combined well with Tony McElhone, but after showing good skill to get into the box McElhone went down under a defender’s challenge with the referee waving away the forward’s penalty claim.

The opening goal came on 25; the impressive Liam Gregory swinging in a corner which was met by James Mayne with a powerful header.

Westbury went straight on the attack from the restart and Gary Tugwell played in Sam Clift, but he was unable to hit the target with his stretching attempt.

The 2nd goal on the half hour was a virtual carbon copy of the opener, only this time it was Jed Harper-Penman’s flag kick which found Mayne unmarked and able to head into the net.

United had a few chances to pull a goal back before the break; Partner’s set piece finding Callum Cooper who was unable to direct his header towards goal, then visiting keeper Ryan Draper saved excellently from Brett Partner’s free kick.

There was much less action after half time, with Westbury buffeting Barnstaple’s attacking threat while unable to force a way back into the match for themselves. The closest they came was through Jordan Mathews, midway through the half when he scooted past Josh Phillips but found Draper in good form to save his shot.

Turner tried his luck from long range but the effort went over the crossbar and the same player saw a late strike disallowed for offside, an outcome which was fully merited by the hosts as 0-3 would have been a harsh result.

TEAM – Callum Hotine, Josh Maguire, Grant Gunning, Nathan Hallett-Young, Callum Cooper, Sam Clift, Matt Mead, Gary Tugwell, Jordan Mathews, Tony McElhone, Brett Partner. SUBS – Marc Scammell, Marc Lanfear, Joe Cavalla (all used).