West hits winner in derby day thriller

First published in Local Sport

BRENTWOOD TOWN 3 HEYBRIDGE SWIFTS 2

THREE headed goals saw Brentwood edge this game on Saturday, a match in which both sides came from behind in a fluctuating second half.

It was a league double for Brentwood over their Essex rivals who started the afternoon in second place in the Ryman North table.

Blues had Gary Henty in midfield, a new signing who is beginning his second spell with the club.

They started the first half well, capitalising on their early dominance when Steve Butterworth opened the scoring with a fine header from Abs Thompson’s cross in the seventh minute.

Thompson was creating openings on the right with his pace and it took a good interception from Swifts defender Lee Kersey to stop Abs Seymour from connecting a cross from Thompson in the 17th minute.

However, the visitors also threatened the home goal and Brentwood survived when striker Luke Callander got a foot to the ball just before keeper Richard Wray but the ball fell safely and was cleared.

Thompson found Butterworth with another good ball but Heybridge goalkeeper Nicky Eyre smothered the effort.

With Callander a constant threat up front, Swifts looked much stronger in the second half.

Callander had a number of efforts on goal including one well-struck freekick that went just wide of the near post and he was involved again when Heybridge equalised in the 60th minute.

Callander found space on the right of the goal and hit a good shot that Wray did well to get a hand to, but Solomon Ofori was on hand to convert from a few yards out.

Two minutes later Ofori scored again from an almost identical spot to put his team 2-1 ahead and seemingly in control.

But Brentwood raised their game and Sam Bantick, who had replaced Butterworth at half time, had a shot blocked after another assist from Thompson on the right.

Eyre then made a fine double save from Alex Read and Bantick. It was 2-2 in the 70th minute when Darren Blewitt headed in a Greg Cohen corner.

And it was Brentwood’s other centre back, Sam West, who scored with a bullet header from a Cohen free kick in the 85th minute to secure a win for the Blues.

Brentwood have now won eight and drawn two of their last 11 league matches and if they can continue this form, they will be on course for a top five position and a place in the play-offs at the end of April.

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