Saturday saw a tough second game of the season for West End away to one of the main title challengers for the coming season Downfield JFC.
Both teams started brightly with some early opportunities but the best chance of the match fell to Payne on the 20 minute mark, when he struck a sweet shot from 25 yards that cracked the woodwork much to West End’s relief.
This woke up the visitors and on the 27th minute the deadlock was broken, Irons raced clear and a good first save from Thain in the home goal wasn’t enough as Irons found space for a cross where McBride was on hand to head the ball home from six yards out.
West End was now very much on the front foot and further chances for Irons and Cox went a begging, and Cox picked up a caution for simulation in the box.
The home side looked like they were running out of ideas and were resulting to the long ball approach but M. Black and McDonald were more than equal to deal with anything thrown at them.
West End seemed comfortable, but a bit of overplay at the back nearly let in Hood but his shot was well wide of the target, much to the relief of the West End backline.
The second half got off to the worst possible start for the visitors when straight from kick-off a loose Cox pass nearly let in the home side, but West End recovered and got the ball to safety.
This seemed to give the home team a lift and further chances fell to Hood and Payne but to no avail. Just as the home team were lifted a sucker punch in the 50th minute, when a Cox cross just evaded McKenzie but following in behind was Garrick who headed the visitors into a two-goal lead, this was Garrick’s first strike of the campaign and an important one at that.
Just as West End thought the game was done and dusted, the home side were awarded a penalty in the 56th minute, this was the second penalty in two weeks that West End had conceded, when R. Black was adjudged to have tripped the onrushing striker, no second yellow was awarded much to the home side’s disbelief, up stepped Payne to bring the home side back into the game. Johnston guessed the right way but the power in the shot was enough to find the bottom corner.
Downfield started to press the game high a created a few chances, and their best chance was when Johnston parried a shot out and the onrushing Hood was inches away from knocking the ball home, but his outstretched leg just couldn’t make contact with the ball.
In the closing stages Tinley made way for Mullen. And then R. Black received his marching orders in the final minute of the match when a foul awarded against him, then he proceeded to kick the ball away and the match official produced a second yellow, from the resulting free kick McDonald headed clear and the referee brought the game to a close with a vital three points gained for the visitors.