This was the sternest test yet for Westbury’s long unbeaten run and they came through it to claim a point. The work rate of the whole squad was outstanding.
Both teams fiercely contested the whole 90 minutes and both defences had to be on top form to prevent any clear-cut chances. When called upon, goalkeepers Ed Baldy and Kenny Griffiths made fine saves.
Griffiths had to make a save within the first minute then found it easy to prevent Dan Kovacs from opening the scoring soon after. Buckland strikers Ethan Phillips and Ryan Bush were a constant threat and both had attempts off target midway through the half.
At the other end, Kovacs, Ricky Hulbert and Callum Demkiv were in a real battle with the visiting defence and the closest they came saw Kovacs adjudged to have fouled Griffiths in the 6-yard box, so Ricky Hulbert’s finish was disallowed.
Baldy denied Connor Clifford when the full back struck a brilliant free kick, then Jordan Ewing had his volley from the resulting corner well held by Baldy.
Late in the half Demkiv broke through and set up Kovacs whose strike was blocked.
A full throttle 2nd half saw continued strong play by both teams. Home skipper Steve Hulbert and vice-captain Ian Jeffery urged their men to keep going as well as leading by example.
Baldy saved a cross shot from Charlie Johanssen, then in the most open period of play, Steve Hulbert’s switch to Jeffery and the lattter’s direct ball led to Demkiv having a looping header saved by Griffiths. Athletic went straight on the attack and Phillips hit a great long range shot which Baldy had to backtrack to tip wide.
Josh Ferguson hit a powerful skidding shot which Griffiths did well to save and later in the half, he made a better save when Dan Price (on his return to Meadow Lane) headed goalwards from a corner.
Jamie Jordan and Baldy had to be alert when Buckland forced a series of corners, both doing well to block efforts.
There was little action of note in the closing stages with both teams happy to get away with a point.
Star Man ; Ed Baldy . Team; Ed Baldy, Jamie Jordan, Ian Jeffery, Steve Hulbert, Dan Price, Dan Jordan, Joe Stradling, Josh Ferguson, Ricky Hulbert, Dan Kovacs, Callum Demkiv. SUBS ; Will Stead, Jordan Pinder (used) Joe Kirkpatrick, George Bendle, Brandon Sawyer (unused).
Pictured: Ed Baldy (joint MOM) in action.