MATCH REPORT | West 2 – 3 Barnoldswick Town

 West Didsbury & Chorlton 2-3 Barnoldswick Town  HT: 2-1
Scott Mason (4)
Saul Henderson (37)
Zack Dale (15)
Jack Coop (68p)
Andrew Hill (80)
Att: 147

West flew out of the blocks, but still fell to a home defeat against Barnoldswick Town in their first midweek home game of the season.

After only 4 minutes, Scott Mason put the home side ahead, with a smart counter finding Joe Shaw, who slotted through for the number 7 to drive home over the goalkeeper. Quick, incisive, and clinical – it stirred a hope in the home crowd that a second successive win may be on the cards.

10 minutes later, however, that familiar sinking feeling took hold. Having done much of the running for the first quarter of an hour, the visitors drew level almost out of nothing – a cross from deep on the left being headed home from near the penalty spot, leaving Burgess in net with no chance. He was then forced to pull off a save one-on-one minutes later to keep his side at 1-1.

From there, West pushed, with a Henderson header on the half hour mark being the clearest of the half chances. Soon later, a quick Joe Shaw free-kick nearly wrong footed the opposition, but just whistled wide of the far post – leaving the Barnoldswick keeper furious, and somewhat lucky to avoid a yellow card for dissent after a teammate was forced to move him away from the referee. This stroke of fortune would prove vital later in the game.

Maybe still aggrieved, on 36 minutes a hopeful ball forward ended in a 50-50 between Henderson – who had been instrumental in West’s pressing throughout the opening salvos – and the goalkeeper, with the West striker coming out on top before strolling the ball into an empty net to give his side a deserved lead going into the break.

The second period saw a marked change in tack for the visitors, who used every opportunity to try put the ball over the top. The distribution from the goalkeeper was particularly key, with a kick from the hands able to reach the edge of the opposing penalty area. Still, it was West who looked the most likely: John Rodgers hitting straight at the keeper on 51, before Joe Shaw hit the bar from an overhead kick 2 minutes later – an effort that would’ve been ruled out for offside, anyway.

It was on the hour mark that the decisive moment of the game came. Rushing well out of his area, the Barnoldswick #1 was only able to scramble the ball to Tinker, who played back to Rodgers. With his back to the play, he was cleaned out from behind by the keeper who seemed to get very little of the ball. Despite cries from the home crowd for a dismissal, the away side managed to retain 11 men when only a yellow was brandished. From there, the visitors took control.

With the West backline under deluge, a long ball into the box was headed wide by an opposition player – a whistle pierced the cool night air, and a penalty awarded for a push in the back. The protests of the entire West XI weren’t enough to reverse a decision, but the celebrations of the away side showed just what this meant for the title chasers. It was dispatched to the right, with Burgess sent the opposite way.

On the 80th minute, West were once again undone by the direct play of the hosts – and this time it was rifled home for the winning goal. Unable to get their rhythm in a bitty, physical second period, a bit of pinball in the box during added time was the only time when it looked like the home side may draw level. It was a game where both sides likely felt that they deserved victory, but none of the three points remained in Chorlton at the full time whistle.

West XI

1️⃣ Burgess 2️⃣ Tinker 3️⃣ B Woods 4️⃣ Eckersley (c) 5️⃣ Brew-Butler 6️⃣ Eiselt 7️⃣ Mason 8️⃣ Andrews 9️⃣ Henderson 1️⃣0️⃣ Shaw 1️⃣1️⃣ Roberts
Substitutions 1️⃣2️⃣ Thompson 1️⃣4️⃣ Tsegay 1️⃣5️⃣ Howard 1️⃣6️⃣ Woodward 1️⃣7️⃣ Whyment

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