MATCH REPORT | Atherton LR 2-2 West

West made it back-to-back draws against Atherton sides in pre-season as they were held 2-2 by Atherton LR at Crilly Park.

West started brightly down the hill and came close on 8 minutes to an early lead when Nic Evangelinos cut inside from the left and fired a hard low effort just wide of the post from 20 yards out.  Six minutes later Chris McDonagh came close himself when he fired just over other corner of the crossbar and upright from 18 yards out.

The game evened itself out as the home side came into the game but it took an excellent save from the LR goalkeeper on 27 minutes to keep the sides level when McDonagh almost caught him out with a quick free kick from 40 yards out with his effort tipped just round the post.  From the corner Harry Hagon headed just wide from a yard out at the near post.

West’s pressure continued as Michael Simcock flashed a free kick just wide of the left hand post on 33 minutes before Matty Kay fired one just wide of the other post moments later. The tackles began to fly in from both sides and when Joe Shaw was flattened at the edge of the penalty area; he promptly saw his free kick whistling just past the post.

Simcock continued to influence the game from the left as his cross found Georgi Whyment in the middle whose volley following a chest down was superbly tipped over the bar on 42 minutes.  Kay’s corner was subsequently pushed onto the bar but he would make no mistake on 44 minutes when he fired a volley into the bottom left hand corner following a defensive header straight into his path.

A sign of what was to come in the second half came on the stroke of half time as Conrad Betton in the West goal, a virtual spectator, was forced to push a hard effort down to his left away from goal in the home side’s best chance to ensure West protected a one goal half time lead.

The second half was a tighter affair with both sides making changes and it was until the 56th minute that the next chance was created as an excellent cross from Saul Henderson picked out Tom Bailey but his first time volley was headed wide for a corner.  The move of the match should have produced a second on 64 minutes as a 15 pass move with every player touching the ball finished with Harvey Scott firing just over from the edge of the area.

On 70 minutes terrific link up play should also have produced a goal when Josh Tinker played in Bailey but his shot flew inches wide of the post. From the resulting goal kick LR levelled as a quick move down the left saw a low cross into the near post turned home by Heath Ainscrow to cap off a terrific move from the home side. A reward for a side that’d increasingly threatened throughout the match.

West went in search of the lead again and almost found it from the restart as Tinker’s hard effort across goal dipped and was pushed away by the finger-tips of the LR goalkeeper. West remained dangerous at corners and Bailey saw his effort deflected wide from the resulting set piece.

Tinker, now playing on the wing, went close again from yet another corner as his hard header was pushed over the bar. However it was Nia Bayunu who found the way to goal as he powered home a header from another corner on 76 minutes.

Scott had a superb chance to put the game to bed on 82 minutes but he fired his shot straight at the LR keeper one-on-one and the home side took full advantage of a mistake by Potts on 84 minutes when his header fell to the feet of the Ainscrow and he fired beyond Betton in off the bar from 6 yards out to earn a hard fought draw.

Subs: Betton, Botchey, Simcock, Hagon, Potts, Shaw, Kay, Whyment, Evangelinos, McDonagh, Henderson. Subs: Bayunu, Woodward, Lilley, Tinker, Scott.

Goalscorers: Kay, Bayunu

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