A depleted Westfield side produced a spirited performance in defeat to useful opposition on Saturday.
The Westies gave Wick & Barnham United a good run for their money before exiting the Macron Store Sussex County Football League Division Two Challenge Cup at the first hurdle following a 4-2 defeat.
Assistant manager Mark Smith took charge of the side in the absence of boss Jethro Warren. He said: “We probably could’ve got something out of it. Overall we didn’t play that badly and we probably could’ve been 3-1 up.”
Westfield were comfortably beaten by second-placed Wick when the teams met on the opening day of the league campaign, but they put up a much better fight this time around despite falling behind to an Ashley Harper goal after seven minutes.
The visitors started to gain a bit of control after the 25-minute mark and were on top during the remainder of the first half with the impressive Lawrence Brand pulling the strings in midfield.
Dave Seymour just cleared the crossbar and fellow central defender Sam Henham also went close in the first half before Westfield levelled early in the second period. David Pugh held off a pair of defenders before slotting past the goalkeeper and has now scored in six of Westfield’s last seven matches.
Rather than press on from that, though, Westfield seemed to lose energy and struggled to cope with Wick playing good football at pace down the flanks.
Dan Cox and an own goal put Wick 3-1 up, and Westfield looked out of the game at that point. The visitors seemed to get a second wind in the last 10 minutes, however, and pulled one back courtesy of a fine volley by Brand from the edge of the box at a corner.
Westfield were caught on the break as they pushed for an equaliser and Joe Matthews scored Wick’s fourth in added time. Brand, Henham and, in particular the energetic Andy Hales, had very good games.
It’s back to the league for Westfield this coming Saturday and a tough trip to leaders Worthing United.
Westfield: Holland, Williams, Seymour, Henham, Morris, Dadswell (Whiteman), Brand, Willett, Ringwood (J. Booth), Hales, Pugh.