After an excellent start to the League campaign, it would be interesting to see how the Rovers would respond to last week’s wake-up call at Plymouth Parkway, writes Nick Miles.
On a warm, cloudy day and on a worn pitch, Willand attacked the changing room end and surprisingly got into the groove quite quickly. Macca and Reece did well down either flank and JJ looked sharp although it was Jordan who came closest to scoring when the ‘keeper came out to foil him in a one-on-one after 15’.
The hosts looked lively on the counter-attack and minutes later, from a run down their right, a shot flashed across the face of Willand’s goal. But the deadlock was broken on 23′ when Macca’s great work and quick feet on the right, saw him cross low to the far post where ReeceKingdom tucked the ball home from 5 yards. It was probably a fair reflection of the game but the contest remained tight.
Into the second half and having probably had the lion’s share of possession in the first period, Willand would face longer periods without possession as Brixington fought to get back into the game. But clear openings on the visitors goal were few and indeed it was Willand who came closest to scoring again, but the ‘keeper did brilliantly to deny Armstrong again.
At the other end, Jez Cross performed heroics at full stretch to touch a ground shot onto his post and away. Then Willand broke and when Hayfield fed Armstrong for a clear run at goal, he went to take the ball around the ‘keeper and although he did get his shot away, he was simultaneously and unceremoniously bundled over. Jordan’s shot hit the post and bounced to safety. The referee who was very fair all day to the players, awarded a freekick outside the area and although he could have brandished red, simply showed the yellow to the keeper.
Minutes later though – it didn’t matter as Willand were awarded a penalty for a trip on Hayfield and he duly despatched it, altho’ the ‘keeper, Charlie Hooper, did very well to get a hand to it. 2-0.
But Brixington wouldn’t give up and sensing Willand were tiring perhaps, they upped their pressure led by a fine performance from Aarron Denny. After an odd intervention by the referee, which led to a contested drop-ball, a Brixington player crossed high to the far post and it was met for a simple nod-in. 2-1 – game on. Now Willand had to show character and organisation to defend as a team. Alex Wright rallied his back four exceptionally well and his perfectly executed last ditch tackle a little earlier, epitomised his lead-from-the-front style.
In the final minute, Willand broke down the right and Macca fed a glorious ball into the path of Armstrong whose sheer pace and desire got him to the goal-line and his low cross was met at the far stick by Kingdom. 3-1.
A very watchable game again and well refereed. For Willand Ash Matthew’s range of passing caught the eye as did Tom Roberts and Tim Miles in the full-back roles.