Westfield FC travelled to the Capital for the first time this season to take on Croydon Athletic FC in a 1st Round County Cup match on Wednesday night.
The kick off was delayed 15 minutes because the away team were held up in traffic, but the match started at 7.45 and within 4 minutes the Yellows were a goal to the good.
A through ball from Max Workman found Titi Babington who outpaced his marker and fired under the on rushing keeper to score.
It was a bright start for a Westfield side who were up against a Croydon outfit that made the Final of the County Cup last season and were not about to let the away side have it all their own way.
On 13 minutes the Rams were level when from a free-kick, that looked a little soft to begin with, curled around the wall and keeper Leo Sergiou was left blinded and the ball found its way in close the left hand post.
But just 4 minutes later the Yellos retook the lead and it was set up by some outstanding play down the right from full-back Aidan King. Like a dog with a bone King refused to lose the ball after working his way past at least 4 would be Rams tacklers and with the ‘thief in the night’ Babington coming over to lend support the pair got the ball to Workman on the edge of the box. Workman shot from a slight angle into the far corner of the net with the home keeper rooted to the spot.
A minute later from a Workman corner captain Michael Hagan had a chance to extend the lead but his header went a yard wide of the upright. This was followed up by a Workman shot that was saved.
3 minute on and a pinpoint cross from King should have seen Adam Khan add to his 10 goals this season, but his header was saved by a now overworked home keeper.
Leading upto the half hour mark the Rams had a excellent chance to draw level but some desperate defending by Hagan and then by fellow Centre-back Zac Jose did just enough to see the big Rams forward put his shot over the bar.
The Yellows then looked to have added to their lead when a driven in cross from Calvin Camara found the head of Khan and from a very tight angle his header smashed into the back of the net. Unfortunately the linesmans flag was up to stop the celebration in their tracks.
Sergiou then made a fine save low down to turn a good shot onto the post on 31 minutes. And a minute later the Yellows could have gone further in front when Khan flicked on a goalkick, to which Workman had gambled and getting close to the box clipped a little ball over the top and sideways to Babington whose shot was well saved.
It was end to end with the defending a little sloppy from both side, but the forward play especially from the yellows very good.
On 35 minutes the match was all square when from a corner the ball rebounded of a number of players before bouncing off a unlucky Hagan into his own net. One minute later some desperate work from Khan saw him play the ball to Babington who plays a little square ball to Workman who really should score from 10 yards out, but his shot fly’s over the bar.
The Academy finally get the lead again, one that this time they won’t give up on 39 minutes when again Khan did the hard graft and plays in Babington to get his brace as he slides the ball under the keeper.
It was nothing less than the Academy deserved and it the space of the next 5 minutes the match was all but over. Firstly on 42 minute Babington was pulled over in the box from a corner and got up to take the spot kick himself. It could not be considered to be in the top 20,000 penalties of all time as it bounced 2 or 3 time before reaching the keeper who somehow saw the ball slip under his body for a comical goal, truth be told. But in saying that it was a hat-trick in a Cup Round against last season Finalists and very much deserved.
A much better goal and probably the pick of the night happened 3 minutes later when again Khan was being a nuisance of himself and this time running down the left and leaving players behind him, he drove slightly inside just past the edge of the box and opening his body perfectly placed the ball with power across the out stretched left hand of the keeper and into the net just inside the post.
The Rams had the first shot in anger of the second half and Sergiou did well to tip the powerfully driven shot from 30 yards over the bar.
But the Academy were soon back in the stride and on 51 minutes Babington played the ball to Workman and he must score from 6 yards out with only the keeper to beat, but the home keeper saves well.
The midfield of T’Sharne Gallimore, Mitchell Smith and Vic Cardenas were all playing well and for the most controlling the way the match was being played. And it was the latter whose free-kick from a angle on the left was well saved again by the home keeper who tipped the ball around the post for yet another corner to the Yellows.
Khan then saw his shot screw just wide of the post on 61 minutes, but the Yellows didn’t have to wait long as only a minute later from the goal kick the ball was played straight to Babington on the edge of the box and he didn’t need a second invitation and buried the ball across the keeper and into the net for his 4th and the teams 6th
The Rams had a chance on 68 minutes to get a goal back but the header went wide and on 74 minutes sub Jason Dwumfuo absolutely should have made it 7 when he failed to hit the target from 3 yards out hit it over the bar after a wonderful Babington cross.
The Rams had the real last shot of the game from a long range free-kick on 79 minutes hit the post and then the ball rebounded on to the face of Sergiou.
A couple of half chance fell to both teams in the last 10 minutes but the Academy move into the 2nd Round of the County Cup and have been handed a bye. Thus then sends the Yellows into Quarter Finals in January.
Goals: Babington (4’, 39’, 42’, 62’), Workman (17’), Khan (45’)
Man of the Match: Titi Babington
ACADEMY CROYDON ATH
6 GOALS 2
13 SHOTS ON TARGET 5
11 SHOTS OFF TARGET 5
12 FREES FOR 13
10 CORNERS 4
5 OFFSIDE 5
0 YELLOW CARDS 1
0 RED CARDS 0