Sat. 29th December. Toolstation Premier Bridport 0 Westbury United 1
Westbury returned to winning ways with a hard-fought win in Dorset in a pulsating match where both teams gave everything. Bridport lined up with a good mixture of youth and experience, while United were missing Joe Stradling and Josh Ferguson from Boxing Day.
United enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges and got in behind the home defence in a number of occasions, but couldn’t fashion any real chances of note. It was the hosts who went close when a shot from distance was tipped over the bar by Ed Baldy. Play quickly broke to the other end where a Jamie Jordan through ball sent Callum Demkiv away, but his shot from the edge of the box was comfortably dealt with by the home keeper. Westbury then had a goal disallowed as Demkiv whipped in a ball that Ricky Hulbert was going to get on the end of before being bundled over, only for the ball to go in off his arm. But to everyone’s amazement, a free kick was given to the home side instead of the penalty kick that seemed to be the obvious decision. Westbury then created another chance with Hulbert crossing for Jamie Jordan to head frustratingly too close to the keeper.
The home side then started to come into the game more and a fast break saw Mark Salter hit a shot against the post which bounced to safety.
The second half continued where the first had left off with both teams going at each other and unfortunately for the home side were reduced to ten men as their number four picked up his second yellow card of the afternoon. This didn’t seem to affect the hosts who continued to battle away, but it was the visitors who should have taken the lead as Hulbert’s precise ball found Demkiv six yards out, but his powerful shot flew over the bar to the relief of the home support.
Once again play swung to the other end and Baldy produced the save of the game from a 25- yard curler that was destined for the top corner. A fabulous save.
Westbury skipper Stevie Hulbert was then forced off with a groin injury and Gaffer Joe Kirkpatrick came on to calm the United ranks, with eight minutes to go. Ricky Hulbert beat the offside trap and the advancing keeper to the ball and lobbed it towards goal where Demkiv made ground to smash home before a defender could clear to seal the three points. Westbury nearly doubled the lead as Hulbert curled a lovely shot against the post and the visiting defence, marshalled by the excellent Dan Price, saw out the last few minutes comfortably.
Bridport will feel unlucky not to have taken a point in what was a cracking game, but United just had the edge.
Man of match. Dan Price. Team: Ed Baldy, Steve Hulbert (C), Ian Jeffrey, Will Stead, Dan Price , Dan Jordan, Jamie Jordan, Jordan Pinder, Ricky Hulbert, Dan Kovacs , Callum Demkiv. Subs: Joe Kirkpatrick, George Bendle (used). Lewis Porter, Luke Smith, Brandon Sawyer (not used).
Report: Neil Kirkpatrick.