Hartley revenge earlier home defeat with a win at Westfield
It was a beautiful, hot summer's day on Saturday afternoon as Hartley travelled to the excellent facilities of Westfield FC. Hartley made a few changes which saw the inclusion of Paris Hutt, who was celebrating his 18th birthday, into centre midfield partnering Max Elward, who had been doing a great job as a centre back.
Hartley secure a valuable three points against high flying Westfield FC despite a nervy and shaky start.
A frustrating start for Hartley as a lack of concentration allowed Westfield's striker through on goal and he finished superbly from just outside of the box. In recent times, Hartley have hit the self destruct button following a conceded early goal, yet there was a different attitude on Saturday; Hartley continued to press the ball in numbers and began finding space in higher areas. Our hardworking midfielder turned striker for the afternoon, Ian Jones, played superbly, notably so, and he has been in magnificent form of late, so it was no surprise to our side.
It was Paris's neat footwork that released two quick short passes which ended with the ball at the feet of Sam Argent, who did what he does best, putting the ball beyond the keeper into the back of the net. In a first half of rare strikes on goal for either side, the teams entered the changing room for half time at 1-1.
The second half started, and the swirling wind that was proving quite difficult within the first half continued to blow, this time in the direction of Hartley's attack. Ryan Stephens scored our second goal - some tricky footwork, which turned his marker inside out, allowed him space to get his shot off, and a wicked deflection took it beyond the keeper.
A lapse in the Hartley defence allowed Westfield to get back into the game. The ball found its way through to the on-running striker, who passed the ball into the back of the net. Craig Atkinson, minutes before, had made a tremendous save, keeping the ball out from point blank range.
Hartley were reminded to keep playing football in the right manner, and at times some of the movement, creativity and willingness to take risks in the correct positions was exceptional. Ian Jones continued to torment the Westfield back four, dropping deep to secure the ball and driving it forward to the tireless Argent, who was a thorn in the side of the Westfield defence. It was Jones who seized the opportunity to give Hartley the lead for the second time during the game.
Nick Kingston came on to replace the excellent Paris Hutt. He was given one simple message - do not let them score. Nick completed his mission with his usual machine like standards. Not only that, but after some clever forward play he found himself strutting through their back line with the ball and cooly slotted the ball above the keeper. Westfield 2 - 4 Hartley Wintney - a superb second-half display and a great response from Thursday night's disappointing defeat. [DB]