Wiltshire Publications

Sat. 4th August. Toolstation Premier Division Westbury United 3 Wellington 1

United mounted a brilliant comeback to win their opening fixture after promotion, although they were helped by their visitors losing their heads in the heat at Meadow Lane.

Several player departures and injuries  meant Westbury’s team looked somewhat different to the end of last season, however a few debutants impressed, in particular Ian Jeffery and Callum Demkiv.

The hosts started brightly in an even first half with Dan Kovacs and Demkiv to the fore, however Wellington took the lead through Josh Wadham’s strike on 11 minutes after United failed to react to a long kick by Josh McLean.

Kovacs fired inches over as Westbury attacked straight from the restart.

Play became tetchy and littered with fouls, especially a running battle between Ricky Hulbert and Kai Fisher that took centre stage for a while!

Wadham tried his luck again but found Ed Baldy, also debuting in the home goal, equal to his effort.

Ricky Hulbert headed wide from a Jeffery set piece, then a big shout for a penalty was waved away by the referee.

Baldy did well to save from Connor Bryant when Wellington mounted a counter attack, then United drew level in fine style on 44 when Jamie Jordan curled into the top corner from 20 yards.

The final action of the half should have resulted in a spot kick for Westbury but, having raced into the box and been hauled down by Fisher, Demkiv was amazed to see the referee say no.

The 2nd half got off to a slow start, although United put together a few fine moves with no end product, while Fisher and Josh Bryant missed the target with headers from set pieces at the other end.

The match exploded into life in a crazy 5 minutes soon after the hour.

Wellington’s Joe Chamberlain received a second yellow card on 62, then Dan Kovacs raced through and finished with composure to give Westbury the lead a minute later.

In the aftermath, Fisher was cautioned. He then fouled Kovacs, resulting in a second yellow for him and a penalty for United, which Kovacs dispatched to make it 3-1.

Westbury were now in cruise control and the introduction of Francois Allen saw further chances created as Allen brought a great save out of McLean.

Allen was then off target when well placed then, with Westbury easing up in the heat against 9 men, McLean fumbled Ryan Baggs’ direct ball with it narrowly going wide.

*Star Man ; Dan Kovacs. Team ; Ed Baldy, Ryan Baggs, Ian Jeffery, Jordan Pinder, Dan Jordan, Steve Hulbert, Jamie Jordan, Joe Kirkpatrick, Ricky Hulbert, Dan Kovacs, Callum Demkiv. Subs; Francois Allen, George Bendle, Waleed Bakali (used) Grant Gunning, Jordan De Silva (unused).

Above: Man of the Match Dan Kovacs, who got a brace in Westbury’s opening encounter in the Toolstation Premier League.