Willand Rovers 2 - 0 Hengrove Athletic
Wednesday 1st November 2017
Willand duly moved in second place in the Premier Division table, three points behind leaders Street but with a game in hand, after finally getting past a resolute, and in the end slightly unlucky Hengrove side writes Kerry Miller.
Having made the awkward trip down from Bristol, they were not about to roll over and when substitute Billy Vaughan curled a shot inches wide with Mike Searle beaten with two minutes left, it was almost inevitable that Willand substitute Brad Ausden would go up the other end and seal the win only moments later to add salt to the wound.
Willand were on the back of a 2-0 win at Hallen which followed the extraordinary wind-blown Vase clash with Street while Hengrove had recently made good progress in the FA Vase and Somerset Premier Cup before a slight stumble in drawing with lowly Longwell Green Sports.
Hengrove began well with Luke Crewe driving wide from a good position inside two minutes and Jack Fillingham misfiring from inside the area soon after before Craig White put his free-kick over the bar. With Hengrove appealing in vain for offside Luke Mortimore then escaped and his lob was shovelled past the post by Carl Bush, one of a string of superb saves from the burly keeper. Bush then somehow kept out what would have been an own goal from Josh Searle’s cross then denied Veal with another fine save with his feet as Willand did everything but score. Veal and Brett Worbey were then frustrated by more saves from Bush and he almost single-handedly kept his side in the running until with seven minutes left in the half when Veal collected the ball around the edge of the area and drilled a right foot shot home for what was a deserved lead.
Just on the break Hengrove had a good shout for a penalty when Fillingham was in the middle of a three man collision but it wa s waved away and Willand preserved their advantage.
Straight from the restart Mortimore brought another save out of Bush and it should have been rewarded at the other end as Ben Crewe, Craig Parsons and Fillingham combined but Gary Shorney missed from two yards. Hengrove were looking likely to level things up and Joe Brimble crashed a shot against the post moments later and from the rebound Fillingham’s goal bound header was somehow kept out by Searle for the save of the night just before the hour.
Lewis Dunn then dissected the defence with a 40 yarder to the hard-working Fillingham who drove agonisingly wide which prompted home boss Russell Gee to throw on Ausden and Joe Curtis, with Mortimore going off with looked like a chest strain, and they got together to bring out another stop from Bush. Fillingham and Parsons mad ethinsg awkward for Searle who just kept out a dipper late on before Vaughan’s close thing all but salvaged a point for Athletic. It was not to be as almost on the whistle Ryan Guppy threw over a cross and Ausden volleyed home the clincher to put his side within a win of top spot.