How we use Cookies

Westley sees red

Farnborough Town chief Graham Westley was sent to the stands and had to be ushered to his seat by stewards in Boro's controversial 2-0 defeat at Yeovil on Tuesday night

GRAHAM Westley was caught in the centre of a bizarre incident with stewards as Farnborough Town's fourth Conference defeat of the season descended into controversy.

Westley was sent from the sidelines and then had to be restrained by a group of matchday officials after he refused to sit down and accept a number of questionable refereeing decisions which threatened to put paid to Boro's chances of repeating their victory at Yeovil last season.

The incident began when referee Rob Lee sent Westley into the stands after he complained about a late second half lunge by Yeovil's Michael McIndoe on Micky Warner, which earned them both a yellow card after Warner retaliated.

But when walking up the steps to the stand to a chorus of boos from the home supporters, Westley found that no seats on the front row were available, so decided to direct matters while leaning on the barrier, again to the anger of the home fans behind him.

Within minutes, Westley was confronted by around six or seven Yeovil stewards, but instead of accepting his fate, the Boro boss tightened his grip on the barrier and the burly men in illuminous vests began tugging at his legs to try and force him to let go.

Westley held his hands aloft at one points to indicate he wasn't to blame for the push and shove which was causing a great deal of amusement to fans behind him and dismay to the Boro fans who had made the trip down south.

Eventually, after a lengthy grapple, Westley did sit down and the match resumed, although he had vacated the area before the final whistle when the police showed up.

Indeed, unconfirmed reports suggest that police ushered Westley onto the team coach to avoid further trouble.

The incident put the seal on another disappointing night's work for Boro, culminating in their third successive away defeat and their first by a two-goal margin this season.

Now, for the second season running, they will be looking to the fixture at Southport on Saturday (ko 3pm), as the turning point for their season.

Last year, they ran out 5-2 winners on the road, and that seemed to settle them down after a similarly rocky start to the campaign.

Boro started well enough but disaster struck on 28 minutes when Tim O'Shea added his name to the lengthy queue for the treatment table. He hobbled off with a hamstring pull, to be replaced by skipper Steve Watson, making his first start this season after a five-match suspension.

Within ten minutes though, Watson had found his way back into the referee's book following a late and somewhat needless tackle.

With Barry Laker, Nathan Bunce, Gary Patterson and now O'Shea out of the Boro back line, Westley was forced to switch formations to a 3-5-2 with Watson taking his place in the middle and Chris Piper dropping back to join Jim Rodwell and Darren Annon in a three-pronged rearguard.

Unfortunately it wasn't to be as effective as the tried and tested 4-4-2 and Boro were made to pay with two shoddy pieces of defending which proved to be their downfall.

The first goal came just five minutes into the second half when former Chelsea winger Nick Crittenden eluded Chris Piper and his ball into the six-yard area was scuffed by Annon into his own net.

Try as they might, Boro couldn't quite find their feet, especially after the Westley spectacle, and it was Yeovil who looked the more likely to bag the crucial second goal - even though Chris Piper came closest to scoring for Boro with a dipping shot from 25 yards which clipped the top of the crossbar.

Boro hearts were sunk, however, on 72 minutes when Lee Johnson evaded four Boro defenders to slot the ball home past Tony Pennock, with the aid of a slight deflection, to make the points all but safe.

There was still time for more controversy, however, when McIndoe, sent off in the corresponding fixture last year, made it two in two when he inadvertently elbowed Warner for his second yellow card, leaving his team to have to fend off a fired-up Boro with a numerical disadvantage.

Boro's late pressure was unconvincing at times, although Ken Charlery almost pulled one back with a header which flew narrowly wide of the target.

Westley's main problem now going into the trip to Southport on Saturday is who to pick to partner Jim Rodwell in that second centre back role now that he has four injuries in that position.

Darren Annon remains favourite, but Westley could call up Gareth Gwillem for his first Conference match or drop Garry Butterworth into a new role.

A lot depends though on O'Shea, whose injury doesn't look as bad as first feared and will undergo tests this week to determine his fitness.

And Westley knows it won't be easy. Unbeaten Southport are currently second in the Conference table with four wins and two draws from their opening half dozen matches. And they will be looking to build on Tuesday night's 4-2 win over Leigh RMI.

BORO: Pennock, Warner, Rodwell, O'Shea (sub Watson 28mins), Annon, C. Piper, Holloway, Butterworth (Carroll 79), Taggart, L. Piper (Griffiths 63), Charlery. Subs not used: Lee, Osborn.

Ref: R Lee. Att: 2,231.

l Farnborough Town's Capital League match at Croydon on Monday night is in danger with Croydon currently in dispute with League officials.

If the game is called off, Boro are looking to re-arrange a game for Wednesday, so to keep abreast with the latest information, call the FTFC Clubcall on 09068 400224.

Latest Sports News


Charlotte Neal
Chief Reporter (Aldershot)
Joshua Smith
Farnborough Reporter
Jon Couch
Sport Editor
Stephen Lloyd
Fleet & Yateley Reporter
Ros Collins
Junior News & Mail
Full newsroom contact details
Tell us what's happening in your area