A Westfield debutant scored a hat-trick before the football club conceded two late goals to be edged out by table-topping opposition.
Levonte Johnson netted three times, but it wasn’t quite enough to prevent the Westies from losing 5-4 away to Angmering Seniors in round one of the Southern Combination League Division Two Challenge Cup.
Westfield chairman Jack Stapley said: “It was one hell of a game. I’m not sure how we haven’t won it. I suppose when you’re down the bottom and struggling for results, that’s the sort of thing that happens to you.
“It’s frustrating that we worked hard to get in the position we had and ultimately come up short, which has been the story of our season. We certainly could’ve been out of sight and there’s so many positives to take.”
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Westfield opened the scoring when Johnson broke down the right, beat an opposing defender and crossed for the excellent Ryan Harffey to tap home from six yards.
Jason Ward was then brought down outside the box by the home goalkeeper as he tried to round him, but the referee opted not to produce a red card.
The visitors conceded two poor goals to fall behind. Zach Swain made it 1-1 after an attempted Westfield clearance hit one of their own players and dropped kindly to him six yards out, and another ‘horror show’, as Stapley put it, led to Stan Elder making it 2-1.
Westfield were level at half time, though, thanks to a brilliant goal from Johnson, who beat the opposing left-back, drove into the box and fired into the net via the crossbar from around 15 yards.
The away side went ahead when an Angmering defender and the goalkeeper left it to each other, allowing Johnson to nip in, round the goalkeeper and tap home.
Although Dan Cooper got Angmering back on terms at 3-3, Westfield went back in front when Angmering’s goalkeeper tried to head the ball clear outside his area only for Johnson to chip him from 35 yards with his weaker foot.
Harffey had two fantastic chances to add to Westfield’s tally, but on both occasions was denied by Angmering’s accomplished goalkeeper.
The second of them came just before Angmering made it 4-4 in bizarre fashion. Westfield goalkeeper Kerri Fordham allowed an 89th minute Michael Hendrick cross to go only for the ball to go straight in.
That goal got Angmering’s tails right up and although Westfield cleared several balls into their box in added time, the pressure told in the end as the hosts grabbed a 93rd minute winner. The ball bounced around in the box before Fordham dropped it at the feet of Swain, who turned it home.
“I don’t think we played particularly well performance-wise, but we played the game well,” added Stapley. Johnson was The New Inn (Westfield) man of the match.
Westfield: Fordham; Histed, McNamee, Robinson, Durrant; Ward, Ferguson, Charlton, Harffey; Frazer-Bates, Johnson.