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MATCH REPORT: Swindon Town 0-3 Westbury United

Despite a spirited performance, a young Swindon Town side fell to defeat in the Wiltshire Premier Shield final...

9 May 2023

Goals from Ryan Bole, Joe Stradling and Stephen Hulbert saw Westbury United crowned champions.

Having looked assured of themselves in the game’s opening stages, it was the youthful Town team who fell behind in Tuesday evening’s final after nine minutes. A Westbury counter led by Harvey Flippance eventually saw the ball break for Ryan Bole on the edge of the Swindon box, and the midfielder provided a pinpoint first time finish to find the bottom right corner.

Westbury came within inches of doubling their lead just five minutes later, when captain Daniel Price met a floated free-kick with a leaping header, only to see his effort denied by the crossbar.

The visitors managed to make their chances count and double their lead in the 22nd minute when Gary Higdon broke free of the Town backline, driving down the right-hand side and into the area before setting up Joe Stradling, whose strike deflected past Jack Copland and into the net.

The young Robins’ first real chance of the contest came moments later, with Fletcher Hubbard firing over with a left-footed strike from 18 yards.

Neat interplay between Hubbard and Harvey Fox saw Town carve out another opportunity just minutes later, but the latter’s ball across the box couldn’t find a red shirt.

After 30 minutes it was Westbury who threatened a third, when Sonny Hart inadvertently allowed Flippance to race through on goal, but left-back Fox was there to halt the danger.

The visitors found themselves with another chance to add to their lead two minutes later, when a free-kick was awarded within shooting range, but Bole’s attempt flew well over.

Town number 10 Flynn Hamilton gave himself time and space in the Westbury area with some tidy footwork after 38 minutes, but the midfielder couldn’t keep his low-driven shot on target.

The visitors looked good for their lead with a flurry of opportunities to make it three just before half-time, but had to settle for a 2-0 lead at the interval.

Mere seconds into the second period, and it was Westbury who thought they’d made it 3-0, when a powerful effort clattered off of the crossbar and into the path of Stradling, who headed home from a yard out before being ruled offside.

A minute later, however, and the step four side did add a third, with Stephen Hulbert making no mistake from the penalty spot after a foul on Flippance in the box.

Looking for a way back into the final, Town made their first changes shortly before the hour mark, when George Cowmeadow and Flynn Hamilton were replaced by Dani Gonzalez and George Alston.

It was nearly an instant impact for Alston, who immediately got past Hulbert on the Town left and teed-up Fletcher Hubbard, but his first time effort didn’t trouble Jonathan Hill in the Westbury goal.

Dizzying footwork from Hubbard saw the home side presented with another opportunity to pull one back after 66 minutes, but the Town number 7’s precise effort whistled just over.

At the other end, it was Stradling making things happen for Westbury once more, as the midfielder broke with pace down the left before supplying Higdon with just Copland to beat in the area, but the young Town ‘keeper made an impressive stop from point-blank range to deny the visitors a fourth.

The young Robins came agonisingly close to a consolation after 73 minutes, when Hubbard whipped an inch-perfect ball towards the Alston at the back post, but his header slammed off the crossbar.

It looked like a certain fourth goal for Westbury when Higdon won the ball inside the Town half, playing Toby Cole through for a one-on-one with Copland, but Fin Tombes recovered well to thwart the danger.

Three further changes for the home side saw Finn Adams, Archie Milne and Tom Wynn-Davis introduced after 80 minutes, but despite a battling second-half display, the youthful Robins could not find that elusive goal.

Full credit must go to Westbury this evening, who are crowned Wiltshire Premier Shield champions for the first time.


Swindon Town:

1. Jack Copland (GK) - 2. Liam Hutt (14. Archie Milne, 84’), 3. Harvey Fox (12. Finn Adams, 78’), 4. Jaxon Brown (c), 5. Sonny Hart, 6. Fin Tombes, 7. Fletcher Hubbard (16. Tom Wynn-Davis, 84’), 8. Ali Stewart, 9. George Cowmeadow (17. Dani Gonzalez, 54’), 10. Flynn Hamilton (15. George Alston, 54’), 11. Joel McGregor

Subs not used: 13. Redman Evans

Scorers: None

Yellow Cards: None

Red Cards: None

Westbury United:

1. Jonathan Hill (GK) – 2. Stephen Hubert, 3. Ryan Bole (18. Emmanuel Adepitan, 55’), 4. Aaron Cockerill, 5. Daniel Price (c), 6. Jacob Hutchings, 7. Ashton Shanley (12. Ben Griffiths, 78’), 8. Joe Stradling, 9. Harvey Flippance (11. Toby Cole, 63’), 10. Charlie Walton, 14. Gary Higdon

Subs not used: 13. Ed Baldy, 17. Ricky Hulbert, 19. Sam Jordan, 20. Jack Biddiscombe

Scorers: Bole 9’, Stradling 22’, Hulbert 48’

Yellow Cards: None

Red Cards: None

HT: 0-2

Referee: Sam Read

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