Home sweet home! Westfield move into new HQ – and celebrate with win
and live on Freeview channel 276
Westfield finally hosted their first game in the new Knight & Davey Community Stadium last Saturday.
The first visitors, for a Mid Sussex League premier division game, were Rotherfield, who had yet to taste defeat against the Westies in the previous five meetings between the sides.
After team photos were taken to mark the first game in the new surroundings, the action began.
Manager Harry Stapley made two changes from the previous week’s victory over Battle, with Ryan Moir replacing the unavailable Harry Lovick at left-back and Josh Pickering replacing the unwell Liam Ward.
Defender Noah Rivers made his first appearance in the squad following his recent move from Little Common.
In front of an impressive crowd of over 350 supporters, Westfield started slowly.
Struggling to gain any rhythm in their normally crisp passing, they were allowing the resolute Rotherfield midfield plenty of time to regroup and snuff out any danger.
Although Westfield had the majority of the ball, and keeper Jack Stapley was a complete spectator, they struggled to create any clear-cut chances.
As the half seemed destined to peter out goalless, Alfie Simmons stepped up and struck a tremendous free-kick which grazed the crossbar, with the Rotherfield keeper beaten.
But it remained 0-0 at half-time.
Stapley made one change after the interval, with Micheal Rwabigwi replacing Warren Pethig, who was struggling with a knee injury.
The change also meant a slight tweak in formation and the Westies started the half with much more purpose.
Rwabigwi was causing the Rotherfield right-back all sorts of problems and it was from his good work that the first big chance for Rooney went begging.
The Westies piled on the pressure with the Rotherfield defence manfully holding out.
Westfield created numerous half-chances, which came and went.
The closest they came was following more good work from Rwabigwi down the left. He beat his man, cut inside and unleased a drive which seemed destined for the roof of the net, only to rattle the crossbar.
In the 90th minute, as the first match in their new home seemed destined for a goalless draw, good work from Simmons played in Pickering.
As Rotherfield appealed for offside, Pickering unselfishly squared the ball to Rooney to tap home and give Westfield a deserved lead.
The Westies controlled the final few minutes to record another victory to extend their winning run to three games and move into fifth place in the table.
It was the perfect ending to a memorable day for all involved at the club.
The man of the match award, kindly sponsored by Bexhill Town Taxis, was Kyle ‘KJ’ Young for yet another excellent midfield display.
Next up for Westfield – tomorrow – is a home against Balcombe side one place and one point above them in the premier division table.
Four points separate the top five sides at the top of a very congested division.
Manager Stapley hopes to welcome Liam Ward and Charlie Collins back into the squad.