Westfield chairman Jack Stapley admitted his side’s 3-2 extra-time defeat to TD Shipley in the Sussex County FA Intermediate Cup last Saturday was a ‘tough’ and ‘frustrating way to lose’.
The hosts were two goals to the good after 60 minutes but were pegged back with TD Shipley knocking in a 96th-minute penalty to take the game to extra-time.
With Westfield downhearted, Shipley added a third to complete a memorable comeback and unceremoniously dump Westfield out of the cup.
Stapley said: “It was frustrating to lose the way we did. We were comfortable in the first half and missed a chance to go 3-0 up in the second.
“They then controlled the game and put us under pressure that I thought we had dealt with until a lapse in concentration cost us in the 96th minute.
“Extra time was tough and penalties would have been a fair way of deciding the tie but that’s football and we must dust ourselves down for league action next week.”
The home side went into the game with a strong 15-man squad and, having controlled the early stages of the game, they took a deserved lead.
Reacting quickest to a free-kick, Roberto Martellini calmly slotted in from inside the six yard box.
TD Shipley carved out a number of opportunities themselves, however Westfield defended resolutely and little troubled Ben Ferguson or Jack Stapley at the back.
Westfield continued to press high as a team and nearly found themselves two up through Lee Paine.
However Westfield did eventually score their second following an excellent passage of play.
Ian May and Rob Higgins combined on the right as the ball found its way to Billy Kirkham and the 16-year-old finished superbly to notch his first goal for the club.
Westfield started the second half as they finished the first. They could and should have had a third but were punished on the hour as TD Shipley set up a tense finale with a well taken goal.
With 96 minutes played and with only one minute remaining on the clock, Westfield’s left back Martyn Durrant inexplicably barged over a TD Shipley player, giving away a last minute penalty.
Despite his fantastic debut for Westfield, goalkeeper Jon Gardner couldn’t keep out the resulting penalty.
Westfield’s heads dropped and, although they introduced three late substitutes, they couldn’t get the goal they needed in extra time.
Instead, it was TD Shipley who scored a deserved extra-time winner as Westfield were cruelly dumped out of the cup.
To compound a frustrating afternoon, Gordon Cuddington was sent off late on for a second bookable offence.
Westfield are next in action this Saturday where they face a trip to struggling AFC Uckfield Town II in the Mid-Sussex Football League Premier Division.
Westfield: Gardner, May, Ferguson, Stapley, Durrant, Higgins, Charlton (Page), Cuddington, Kirkham (Shelton), Martellini, Paine (Grindle).