Willand vs Westbury Match Report 13th August 2022
There’s a certain familiarity to the changes that have taken place at Willand Rovers over the
summer. Departing Mike Mitchell may have resigned as chairman but remains embedded in
the fibre of the club while his replacement, Mike Hawkins, steps up to fill the role.
The other off-field change over the summer break saw manager Russell Jee depart on the
best of terms, to be replaced at the helm by his assistant, and some might say Tivvy legend,
David Steele. Joining the new manager in the dugout this season as his assistant is Liam
Raybould, another Willand alumni, who brings with him a wealth of knowledge and
experience of local football and a voice that can be heard in all corners of Silver Street.
On field the new management team has managed to keep the back four and goalkeeper
together from last season, which gives the advantage of familiarity as the season starts, and
have also addressed the achilles heel from the previous season, the small matter of putting
the white ball between the white sticks. Leading the line this season will be another familiar
face to the Silver Street faithful, Dean Stamp, somewhat of a coup for the club having seen
several successful seasons at Bristol Manor Farm, who is be joined by Lewis Hill who joins
the club on a permanent basis after having dual registration with Elmore last season, where
he became one of the top scorers in the Peninsula League. Joining the new attacking line
are a mix of experienced and younger players including Doug Camilo who joins from
Wellington, Adam Kelly who has experience with Tiverton, Taunton and most recently
Paulton, and a number of youngsters and loan signings who, on paper at least, give us the
team and much more balanced look about it.
The opposition for the opening day of the season was provided by Westbury United, making
their debut in the Southern Premier League after a good second place finish last season in
the Hellenic Premier League, which saw them suffer only four league defeats and who were
looking to kick off their historic campaign in style.
The conditions for the opening game however were far from ideal, with the temperature
charts troubling the middling 30s at kick off, with an accompanying breeze that seemed only
to blast hot air throughout the ground.
Early play from both teams found the distance of pass in the heat to be an issue and a
number of through balls and clearances, from both teams, missed their targets by some
distance, but it was the home team who found their rhythm first and early pressure nearly
paid dividends in the 6th minute when a good tackle from Hewitt on the halfway line saw the
ball breaking to Stamp who’s subsequent cross only found the garden’s lining Silver Street.
A minute later Willand had another half chance when a scuffed attempt from Camilo almost
landed at the feet of Stamp before a Westbury defender deflected it out for a corner.
The period before the drinks break was remarkable only for both teams decision to continue
to play the long ball game in 34c heat on a solid pitch but the game sprang back into life on
19th mins when Richards had a shot from distance that was easily gathered by the Westbury
No.1 and a minute later a Westbury freekick in the Willand left back position led to a drilled
shot that Burton tipped over the bar.
Early pressure from Willand following the rehydration break saw some quarter chances
which in turn led to a couple of corners which in turn turned into nothing, but Willand
continued in the ascendency and in the 32nd minute a Camillo corner almost floated into the
top corner on the warm wind. A minute later the ball was given away by the Westbury
defence again, a stray pass intercepted by Hill, who drove towards goal before playing in
Stamp whose shot was blocked by the keeper.
Westburys best chance of the half came in the 34th minute when a poor header by Bailey
dropped to Flippance, who cut inside well only to drag his shot wide.
The first booking of the game came in the 44th minute when Richards was adjudged to have
gone through the back of the Westbury forward but, true to form, the resulting free kick was
hit too long.
The final significant action of the half, and also its best chance, came in 46th minute when a
foul on Stamp led to a freekick that eventually found its way back to the Willand 11 who’s
fierce drive rattled off the crossbar, the rebound landing at the feet of Hewitt who’s shot was well saved.
Westbury started the 2nd half much brighter but continued to rely on the long ball without
troubling the Willand defence. It was the home team who had the first significant action of
the half, some intricate passing down the right between Searle, Camilo and Kelly saw a
cross that just failed to reach Stamp before it was cleared.
The game meandered on towards the drinks break with little to report other than an early sub
from both teams, with Baker replacing Camillo for Willand, until until the 65th minute when a
great ball from Guppy led to a panicked clearance from the Westbury defence, which
eventually dropped back at the feet of the No.6, but his shot was blasted over, and a minute
later the referee blew a late whistle for a foul by Hill as the Willand forward was bearing
down on goal.
The second hydration break clearly suited the home team as soon after Baker ran the
channel before finding Stamp, who did what he does best and held the ball up, before
laying off to Hill whose drive was well saved but the momentum was stopped abruptly when
Hill was adjudged to have committed a foul and became the 2nd player to trouble the
With the players fading in the late afternoon heat the game became a battle of midfield
attrition and was delayed for a few minutes when Richards was sent high into the air as
someone ducked under his jump, a move more akin the the wrestling ring that the Southern
League, a scene that was repeated shortly after with Burton the unlucky recipient of what
was clearly an accidental challenge.
Westbury continued to grow into the game and as the clock wound down and were assisted
by a duo of mistakes in Willand defence which led to a shot that was well saved by Burton,
followed up minutes later when a corner came out to the Westbury No.3 who drilled the ball
just over the Willand bar.
The final action of the game saw a Willand attack thwarted on the edge of the penalty area
as Kelly was brought down but the cross came to nothing and the points were shared at the
I would imagine that both managers experienced Schrodinger’s Manager syndrome after
the game, where they were both pleased with a point and disappointed that they didn’t
receive all three simultaneously. For Willand it was a solid display in uncomfortable
conditions and it’s already easy to see the new signings, both on and off the pitch, will
continue in the same manner as their predecessors. For Westbury, sometimes agricultural in
defence, which isn’t a criticism, they should take from the game that they not only belong at
this level but can be competitive throughout the season.
|Private: Will Richards||Yellow Card|
|Private: Lewis Hill||Yellow Card|
|Private: Adam Kelly|
|Private: Dean Stamp|
|Private: Callum Chivers|
|Private: Jamie Hearsey|
|Private: Ethan Matthews||Sub|
|Private: Jack Winsor||Sub|