10-man Westies net splendid draw

Westfield captain Gordon Cuddington halts the progress of an AFC Uckfield Town opponent. Picture by Simon Newstead (SUS-141229-092523002)
Westfield captain Gordon Cuddington halts the progress of an AFC Uckfield Town opponent. Picture by Simon Newstead (SUS-141229-092523002)

Westfield’s footballers defied the odds to clinch an excellent point at home to high-riding opposition on Saturday.

The Westies came from behind to earn a 1-1 draw against AFC Uckfield Town despite playing around three-quarters of the match with 10 men.

Westfield manager Jethro Warren said: “Every time you see a team go down to 10 men, everybody seems to raise their game by an extra 15, 20 per cent. I’m disappointed not to get three points; it felt like two points dropped.”

The opening quarter of the Macron Store Sussex County Football League Division Two encounter was a fairly even and keenly-contested affair featuring a host of free kicks.

Then came the moment which put the visitors very much in the driving seat. Sam Henham under-hit a back pass on his return to the front side and Uckfield forward Sam Ellis was upended as he tried to round Connor Holland.

The referee duly pointed to the spot and showed a red card to Westfield’s goalkeeper. Full-back Jack Stapley took over the gloves and made a good save low to his left from the resulting Danny Andrews penalty, but Joe Miller turned home the rebound. Miller was caught by Warren in the act of shooting, though, and had to be carried off.

Westfield switched from a 4-4-2 formation to 4-4-1 with David Pugh up-front on his own and the plan worked well. Despite Westfield’s numerical disadvantage, Sam Willett was still bombing forward from right-back.

Although Stapley pulled off a couple of good saves from one-on-one situations, Westfield carved out several half chances of their own and were good value for their second half equaliser.

Matt Dadswell’s scissor kick was blocked on the goal-line by an Uckfield hand and Pugh drove the rebound into the bottom corner for his 15th goal of the season.

“It was impressive from the time Connor got sent-off,” added Warren. “Everyone after the game was absolutely made up. We seem to get up for the big teams, but we need to make sure we take every bit of the right attitude we had Saturday into the next game.”

Westfield’s sixth draw of the season - a figure matched by only Uckfield and Bexhill United - nudged them up a place to 11th in the 15-team division.

Westfield: Holland; Stapley, Warren, Henham, Bell; Willett, Dadswell, Cuddington, Ringwood; Coombes (Hales), Pugh. Subs not used: Discala, Whiteman, Booth.