Almondsbury 0 - 1 Westbury United
Saturday 13th January 2018
When Almondsbury skipper Dan Lane watched his bundled shot roll away off the foot of the post with the very last kick of the match, visiting Westbury United had somehow escaped and remained two points clear at the top of the Division One table at a chilly and gloomy Field on Saturday, wrotes Kerry Miller.
Ten minutes earlier their skipper Dan Price had nodded in the winner and half an hour before that both teams were looking at the real possibility of an abandonment when the floodlights steadfastly refused to play ball, which sums up how Westbury were more than pleased to escape with the points after a gutsy home display. Almondsbury are looking for their first win since a run of four straight in October and were not helped by having a handful of players missing while the league leaders were at full strength apart from the holidaying Ricky Hulbert and should have been home and dry early in the first half. Jamie Jordan crossed for leading scorer Dan Kovacs, who mistimed his shot which went for a corner then he had another effort scrambled off the line with the help of a good save from home keeper Matt Semple. The same man was in action moments later saving well down to his left from Jordan and then blocking an effort from Kovacs after good work from Mark Robinson.
Almondsbury had watched as the impressive Alex Bisp blasted over following a fine pass from Lane then Gregg Parr’s drive was held easily by Lewis Porter but the cold and stiff breeze and soft pitch was doing nobody any favours, least of all striker Stuart Alexander who limped off after half and hour to be replaced by Chris Church.
Parr could have given Almondsbury the lead but for Porter’s save to his left and the keeper then kept out a Matt Baker free-kick as the home side threatened to hand Keynsham top spot by taking the points. After the break Westbury looked stringer for a while and almost caught the defence napping with a quick free-kick but Semple pulled off a fine save to deny Robinson however for a short while it all appeared possibly academic as the lights flickered on and off in the gloom which brought some alarmed looks from all those assembled. In the end all but one of the pylons sprang to life which was sufficient and with Bisp seeing plenty of the ball on the left and Almondsbury looking dangerous on the counter Westbury were looking occasionally vulnerable. Steve Hulbert and Robinson went close around the hour mark before at the other end a fine home move ended with a weak shot from Lane but when they also lost Josh Scully-Rogers, who limped off Westbury sensed the victory and from their next corner Dan Price was left alone to nod in what proved to be the winner.
It could easily have been a draw as with the final play the ball refused to roll in off the post and referee Graham Pearce, who had a fine, unfussy game, called full-time. While Almondsbury can be rightly pleased with their performance, the Wiltshire side will have to up their game again on Tuesday when they are on the road again to face Radstock Town.