MATCH REPORT | Burscough 4 – 5 West

Burscough 4-5 West Didsbury & Chorlton HT: 1-3
Burscough scorers: Rex Kimona-Puissance (6) Chad Whyte (50) Adam Gilchrist (55) Adam Gilchrist (82)

West scorers: Thomas Bailey (4) Ashley Woods (27) Thomas Bailey (29) Joseph Shaw (52) Joshua Tinker (73)

A West side in a horrendous run of form that struggled to find a first eleven – nevermind a bench – overcame the odds to edge in-form Burscough with the odd goal in nine.

With several regulars being unavailable, Steve Settle was forced to name an experimental side in this must win tie. Daniel Clarke and Christopher Middleton were two of the names brought in, while Carlos Mendes Gomes returned to the first team. New arrival from rivals Maine Road, forward Omar Clarke, made a bench whose only other occupants were the management duo of Settle and Brockley.

West got off to a dream start, courtesy of a dipping shot from distance by top scorer Tom Bailey which left the Burscough keeper stranded as it dipped beneath the bar. Having gained the lead in the sixth minute, parity was restored 2 minutes later: a free kick given somewhat controversially against the bright Prince Banya on the left, with the subsequent delivery headered home. The West bench had shouts for the goal scorer having used a defender for leverage, but the officials saw the incident differently and let the effort stand.

West, having recently let heads drop when they have conceded, then took control of the game – Bailey twice attempting from similar range that had brought the goal before without the same outcome. He would play an instrumental role in the second goal however – threading through to Woods, who beat his man on the turn to fire low and hard into the bottom corner on 27 minutes.

2 minutes later, Bailey would double his own tally. A Burscough corner was cleared to leave him unmarked on the halfway line. An unchallenged run into the box was capped by sliding the ball under the onrushing keeper, who may feel he could’ve got more on the shot.

The drama had not finished there, however. A strong Ash Woods challenge in time addendum on resulted in a several players getting involved in a minor skirmish. Though pushes were thrown on both sides, Woods was the only one shown a card. This would prove crucial from the subsequent free kick.  Closing the cross down before the ball was kicked, the striker was shown a second yellow for encroachment after the ball struck him, leaving West down to 10 on the half time whistle.

Burscough started the second period strongly, hitting the crossbar on 48 minutes, before bringing it to 2-3 on 50. Winning the second ball from a long diagonal, Whyte smartly slotted home from close range for example home side.

West’s 2 goal cushion would be restored on 52 minutes, when Joe Shaw tried his luck from range. Struggling with the bounce, Burscough’s keeper was unable to get a meaningful touch, seeing the ball end up in the net.

Burscough once again clawed it back on 55 – Gilchrist scoring the first of his brace after a break saw the ball passed across for him to tap in unmarked – before West captain Josh Tinker had his say. Shaw found the right back in space, before he steadied himself and rocketed then inside the far post to make it 3-5.

The nerves were still to be shredded, however. Undone by another diagonal, Gilchrist drilled home to give the hosts hope of a draw with less than 10 to go. They would then miss a gilt edged chance with seconds of normal time left: a slaloming run by Burscough’s 16 saw him shake off 3 defenders, but left one on one he blazed over.

4 minutes of added time will have felt like an eternity to the away following, but the relief at the full time whistle was palpable. Ending their worst losing streak since entering the NWCFL, in the kind of game that even side have been known to crumble: it should give a lot of heart heading into Christmas.

West XI: Dryden, Tinker(c), Banya, Sergeant, Clarke, Middleton, Whyment (McKenzie, 61), Shaw, Bailey, Woods, Mendes Gomes

Unused subs: Settle, Brockley

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