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Summer was putting in another late appearance……. oh, no it isn’t, not a chance. That was how the report started the last time these two teams met. That was the second game of the season and the weather was very different from today. Looking on the bright side, the silver lining of today’s cloudy sky is that at least the rain has stayed away. 

The home crowd are hoping for a repeat of the last games score line, with the Rovers as 4-1 victors. With a full squad available to the coaches, it meant there should be no problem with post-Christmas lethargy as the competition to see out a full game should press the boys for maximum effort. The referee blows and the first game of 2020 is under way. 

It’s a good start for the Westwood team as they’re first to put together an attack but the Rovers defence are immediately closing down with Lucas C collecting and the clearance sends Nathaniel off at high speed, no luck as Westwood defend well. Again, some neat passing from Westwood and Jake M is called in to clear the pressure. 

Both sides are tussling in midfield but it’s the Rovers who come away with the ball at Sam F’s feet, he flicks the ball wide to Nathaniel, who in turn lays a pass into Alfie but it’s just beyond his reach. Again, Nathaniel flashes past the first defender only to be bundled to the ground by the second but no free kick is given. 

Great ball wide to the right and it’s that speed machine, Nathaniel who burst into the box and unleashes a powerful shot which is well parried by the Westwood keeper. The game now is end to end, with great defending from Ollie and Josh as they quell the threat from the Westwood left wing. The play switches to the right and this time it’s good link up play from the two Jakes that keep the scores level. Rovers break, a lovely flick from Alfie, sends Nathaniel through and again he’s flattened, free kick given. Four men around the ball Lucas C, Sam F, Jake M and Josh, who’s it going to be. It’s Jake M who blasts it and it takes the keeper two attempts to gather it. Still very even game with neither team being able to take control, Westwood certainly have some speed up front but not enough to outpace the Rovers at the back. Suddenly one of the Westwood attackers gets space and releases a floating shot towards the top left hand corner, is it going in? No, Luke makes a great save. 

Another attack and Westwood win a corner. In it comes, dropping towards the front post and somehow the forward manages to get enough contact on the ball to flick it inside the front post. One nil Westwood. Rover come back strong straight from the re-start and Nathaniel blasts down the right wing and puts a peach of a cross in to the box but there’s no-one there to meet it. More pressure again from Rovers and good passing sends Nathaniel through, this must be it, yes, a right footed drive and the balls in the back of the net. One all. Lovely finish from Nathaniel, he really is a fantastic centre forward, always running for every ball and it’s paid off. 

Immediately, Rovers press again and this time they win a free kick 25 yards out. No arguments this time, it’s Josh who steps up. Three steps back and in he comes, the ball curls towards the right-hand post but there’s just not enough pace on the ball and the keeper gathers. The half is getting scrappy now and pace has dropped. There’s a certain amount of negative banter coming from the home supporters, not directed at the teams, no. They’re having a pop at yours truly. 

Half time arrives and so far, it’s been Westwood who’ve edged it by obviously wanting the win more. One all though is probably a fair score line at this point. The second half is under way and the Rovers push to take the lead with a great tackle from Adam in midfield freeing up Kam to push through but there’s no space and Westwood break but Sam T is there to slide in and stop them. The ball is then played forward by James and Jake M manages to get the ball out Lucas C who shoots, unfortunately very high over the bar. The passing just isn’t there today for the Rovers and it’s not long before Westwood manage to lose the defence and their big number 12 drops a shoulder and strikes the ball high over Luke. It dips under the bar. Great goal. Two one to Westwood. 

Rovers start again and look eager for an equaliser. Much better passing, Lucas C and Sam F release Jake M who’s through on goal, only the keeper to beat, a flick with the outside of his right foot but the shot just roles past the right-hand post, so close. Westwood reply with more urgency with a few attacks which James foils with some clever play at left back. The next attack though comes down the middle before a pass to the right creates a shot that Luke saves only to see the ball drop to the opposition striker. He shoots and it’s passed Luke, headed goalward, what a clearance. Kam has raced back and cleared off the line. Brilliant defending. 

It’s now really becoming niggly with loose tackles from both teams and tempers are rising. Out of the midfield muddle the ball breaks for Bunny and Nathaniel to race though on the keeper but he gets there before them and they both have to pull up. 

The game re-starts but really there’s little chances for either team and the final whistle blows. There wasn’t much between the teams, but this case Westwood had more players who wanted to win the game. The Rovers need to rediscover their desire for future matches to get back to winning ways.


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