Match report by Peter MacQueen
The original good time had by all, this was a trip down memory lane / a glimpse of the future for many of the Dons in attendance. A trip to Woking FC's ground, and a chance to savour steep plastic seat splattered terracing, will bring back memories of halcyon days for some, and a look at not-to-distant hunting grounds for many more.
By half past two I found myself wandering through the park in Woking, before glancing behind me to discover that I was leading a forty strong mob to the ground. In true 'Follow the gourd' fashion, I had no idea of where I was going, and was fortunate to find the ground with some time to spare. In warming up, Westfield looked relatively dangerous, and their run of nine victories was enough to make most Wombles apprehensive of today's fixture. Fears were calmed when several Westfield players attempted to kill passing birds with their woeful shooting practice. By the time kick off had come, most were propped up in the main stand, and were ready to be vocal.
With Daly's lengthy ban starting, Simon Bassey made a return to his left back position, an area where he had impressed earlier in the season, with Gareth Graham taking Bassey's usual midfield berth. The Wombles kicked off, shooting towards the plastic and steel giant of a main stand. Within moments, the Dons fans were screaming for a blatant penalty, as the ball was manhandled by the Westfield back-line. It was declined, but it did lead soon after to a corner (the first of a great many) swung in by Sully, before being blazed over the bar by Gavin Bolger. This was all within the opening two minutes of the match, and established the pattern of the whole match. Westfield's goalkeeper appeared to be in fine form, denying the Dons several times early on, from Kevin Cooper on eight minutes, after some good play from Sheerin. For a brief time in the first half, there was a fear that the match could all go a bit 'Farnham' and we could be denied all afternoon.
The match really took off on the fifteen-minute mark, when Sheerin chased down a defender, forced possession before winning a corner. The resulting kick, taken by Sully swung out, was missed by the defence, and found its way to Kevin Cooper on the left of box, ten yards out to smash in a phenomenal half volley. With the goal, several Westfield heads appeared to drop, and in the rest of the half they began to give away free kicks and corners without the Dons applying any real pressure. Bassey began to push along the wing a lot more, on one occasion showing immense determination in winning a corner from nothing, and 'Uncle' made several jollies into the box as the half drew to a close. Only one real moment of danger emerged, when Danny Oakins needlessly shoved an attacking Westfield player to the floor near the corner flag, and was lucky to escape without a booking.
If Westfield's keeper had had a blinding first half, he will want to forget the second. Running onto the pitch looking a little more fired up, Westfield tried to take the game too us, but only succeeded in giving us more space in which to attack, and within a minute Sheerin saw a good strike saved, while Everard bothered the corner flag with a strike of his own. Gareth Graham unleashed a stinging volley, and Bolger crossed into the box a ball the deceived everyone, including the keeper. But after ten minutes or so, the sleeves appeared to be rolled up by AFC. Bassey sashayed towards goal, before lifting the ball into the area, where Sully was waiting to guide the ball past the flustered keeper for a healthy 2-0 advantage. The crowd and the team sighed a collective relief, as all remaining nerves subsided.
Captain fantastic added goal number three himself. Chasing a lost cause, Joe powered through a defender, before almost casually passing the ball around the keeper and into the net, demonstrating the presence of mind and quality touch which we all know he possesses. Soon after this Gareth Graham left the field for 'Frodo' Frankum, just in time to witness Westfield mess up their only real chance of the game, a shot screwed high and wide on the edge of the six-yard box. Soon after Sully took his place on the bench, with Passmore on in his place, and Joe left the field to an ovation, replaced by Ali Russell.
Almost instantly, Ali began to bother the defence, his size and striking deep into Westfield's defensive fears. And not long after his introduction we picked up another goal, a scrambled effort for four nil, flicked in from the left, the initial header in the box was by Everard, rising high and relatively un-marked, before Danny Oakins took a decisive touch to steer the ball past the prostrate keeper. More good saves from the unlucky shot stopper denied Ali, Bolger and Cooper by the final whistle, but Westfield were a broken team. They nearly lost their number three to a pathetic display of dissent, upon his concession of a corner. To his credit, the referee demonstrated a cool controlled head and issued yellow. A good display from the man in black, on another afternoon we could well have seen many more bookings, and the flavour of the game changed through petty stoppages. The only strange thing he did all afternoon was blow the whistle what appeared to be a full minute early ...still, on a day like today, no-one appeared to be too bothered.
MAN OF THE MATCH - Simon Bassey. A clinical display at left back, while his forward runs proved incisive. Best of a very good bunch in a great team display.