Stratford Town 2 Westfields 1

WESTFIELDS are still chasing their second Midland Alliance win and, despite a spirited second-half performance, came away from their first ever visit to Stratford empty handed.

Fields failed to adjust to the pace of the game as their high-flying hosts dominated early play and deservedly took a 25th-minute lead when Lee Darilson beat goalkeeper Mark Hopkins with a rasping left-footed drive, the ball cannoning in off the underside of the bar.

Minutes later Stratford looked like increasing their lead but Hopkins made a superb save to deny Scott Darrock with an outstretched leg.

Westfields lifted their game and went close to getting back on terms when Roy Jordan's 20-yard free-kick was blocked by the defensive wall and striker Paul Burton brought a flying save from goalkeeper Wayne Starky.

Substitutes Dean Clarke and Kevin Jinks livened up Westfields after the break and soon produced a chance for Derek Craddock but Stratford cleared off the line.

The home team went two goals clear against the run of play with a hotly-disputed penalty, converted by Lee Darilson.

Westfields tried to salvage something from the game and were rewarded in the 78th minute when Craddock reduced arrears with an acrobatic overhead kick from a right-wing cross.

They continued to press for an equaliser but the solid home defence held firm.

Westfields 0 Stourbridge 1

Westfields failed to take their chances in this midweek encounter and paid the price against the reigning champions of the Midland Alliance.

The Hereford club also finished the match with just 10 men when Scott Jackson was dismissed in the 85th minute following a scuffle with a Stourbridge striker.

Westfields had the better of the first half, with Mark Hibbard heading narrowly wide from a right-wing cross, Roy Jordan having a fierce free-kick blocked on the line and Wayne Hoskins heading wide from a good position.

But Stourbridge hit back after the break and took the lead in the 55th minute when Adam Bastable was given too much time and space by the Westfields defence and drilled a powerful shot into the bottom corner.

Jordan missed two good chances to salvage a point for Westfields and he also had a 20-yard drive well saved as Stourbridge held out.