Fellow Yellows – Westfield FC

FA Vase, 2nd Qualifying Round
Westfield FC v Thame United FC
Saturday, 21st September 2013, 3pm
Woking Park
Entrance (including Programme) £6
Distance 35 miles, Attendance 76
“DO NOT do anything where you might knock your hand” declared the consultant, hypnotising me with his stare.
Pondering this back home, my mind attempted to dissect the footballing headache I now faced. Barnsley was clearly off the cards but as I scanned the possible “Yellows”, one fixture leapt off the map.
Sited within a pleasant area of parkland on the affluent side of town, this “other team” provided the perfect answer to my dilemma. Somewhat overshadowed, Westfield have always cut out a niche existence, literally over the road from Martin Tyler’s boyhood team, Woking FC.
130921 FAVase 2QR Westfield v Thame Utd (126)???????????????????????????????Founded as Westfield Boys Club in 1953, within twenty-five years the team had risen up the pyramid, moved into their current home, notched up Surrey Senior League titles, and become founder members of the Home Counties League. Now renamed the Combined Counties League, Westfield FC have played in it ever since however, fortune has once again begun to cast its eye their way.
Following massive ground improvements three years ago, Westfield have managed two cup runners up spots before last season, securing promotion to the Premier League. Over hearing fans during the match, it’s clear there are aspirations to go higher still.
Avoiding Wiggins & Co’s Tour of Britain, my wife dropped me in White Rose Lane, for the leisurely short stroll to the ground, through Woking Park. Passing the skate park en route naturally brought back some uncomfortable memories but the sight of floodlights towering behind drew me in like a homing beacon.
As the players warmed up, a circumnavigation of the beautiful pitch they share with the ladies team, revealed grass banks topped with newly planted trees. Whilst these would make for very relaxed viewing in the warmer months, the highlight of this ground is surely the clubhouse’s 1st floor veranda. Situated above a small stand, fans were already socialising on it as club volunteers finalised arrangements for the young mascots.

130921 FAVase 2QR Westfield v Thame Utd (44)w

Once pleasantries were out of the way, Thame kicked off, signalling the start of some big cup tie caginess. Without making any real advances both teams tested out the opposition but in truth, both also looked lethargic. The highlight of the opening exchanges was a wonderful air-kick by Thame’s Louis Cordice which took out the corner flag as the ball trickled into touch.
Up the other end Liam Parrington, Max Blackmore, Dan Band and Jack Williams all demonstrated promising build up play without actually seeing what the visiting keeper, Lee Farrow, was capable of. Then twenty minutes in, to everyone’s surprise, and some relief, Shame Cheeseman hit a low half volley from the edge of the crowded box, which somehow crept in.
130921 FAVase 2QR Westfield v Thame Utd (62)It still wasn’t pretty but being a goal up, Westfield relaxed more and began to improve. “Come on Thame… You can do it”, came a retort to my right (even though all evidence seemed to belie such optimism, until the final 10 minutes of the half). First Luke Beale went on a terrific run into the danger zone, then Williams overhead kick was blocked on the line, James Norman shot wide and in goal Craig Bradshaw made an incredible save, low down to keep Westfield in front.
Starting the second half Bradshaw again made two unbelievable blocks. Determined to compete, Thame had improved but the centre halves marshalled them well, setting up attacks on the break. The first to capitalise from this was Blackmore who twisted and turned before firing home. From then on the contest was over, Westfield increasing dominated in defence and when Adam Beale drove the ball in, in injury time, it was just the icing on the cake.
Stepping back into the clubhouse for more of the fine hospitality, one visitor – nicely demonstrating the pleasant atmosphere off the field – graciously admitted “well they were the better team”.
In a week when Gianfranco Zola was insisting Watford needed to be prepared to win ugly, it was enjoyable to observe a team following his instructions so precisely. Even better was witnessing a Watford fan, centre back Mark Tyler, wearing black boots and being named Man of the Match.

130921 FAVase 2QR Westfield v Thame Utd (74)w

shorts league
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Initially appearing in the 2013-14 Watford FC matchday programmes, consequently these reports will have a delayed publication on here.

Fellow Yellows programme (10)

This entry was posted in 2013-2014, Combined Counties Football League, FA Vase, Fellow Yellows and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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