MATCH REPORT | West 3 – 1 Padiham
West made it four wins in a row, and avenged a 6-1 loss at the hands of their visitors, as they defeated Padiham 3-1 on a mild spring evening in Chorltonville.
The early stages of the game saw both sides have chances to go ahead – first West clipped the bar through a Matty Kay volley, and then Affleck squared to Bailey who had a shot cleared from the line. However, it was Padiham who had the best chances to break the deadlock, with West goalkeeper Aaron Ashley forced into a series of saves to keep the scores level. It wasn’t merely the number of saves either, but the variety that made the away side look the more likely: one on ones, shots from distance, looping long balls finding their man at the back post: but for each, Ashley had an answer.
Padiham were left to rue their missed chances just before half-time, with Matty Kay sending the majority of the 110 in attendance into raptures. Steer, who looked lively all evening, crossed from deep finding Ash Woods in the box, who unselfishly knocked it across to Kay who fired home from 10 or so yards – a beautiful team effort. There were more chances before the break, most notably when Bailey was slipped clean through but had a borderline offside decision go against him, but at the whistle it was West 1 – 0 Padiham.
While the first period had featured some slick play and was a fairly ding-dong affair that wasn’t really reflected in the scoreline, the second seemed to be a lot more based around the midfield battle. With Jack Sergeant back from international duty, West were thankfully winning that – and producing the majority of chances. Affleck arguably should’ve scored when put through on goal, and there was also a disallowed effort when the ball – and the goalkeeper holding it – was bundled into the net. However, West took advantage of the spell of pressure through a name that is becoming a familiar sight on the scoresheet. Captain Matt Eckersley rose from a corner to nod home once more on 54 minutes, his third such goal in three games. Like his other efforts, this one was guided into the net rather than powered home, a testament to his excellent timing and aerial ability.
With a two-goal advantage, Steve Settle started to ring the changes: Affleck, Steer, and Kay – who had all had great games – were brought off for Sam Dickenson, Mark Rogers, and Chappy Massamba. For club captain Rogers, this was his first return to the Brookburn Road pitch for the first team in some time, following some time away from the game for personal reasons, and manager Steve Settle had commented in his programme notes on quite how much his side had missed his calming influence in the middle during many games this season. The headlines were to be stolen by fan favourite Chappy Massamba, though. Within a minute of his introduction, he found himself through on goal: his first effort hit the keeper, but he wasn’t to be denied as he poked home. As his name rang around the Rob Turley end, he celebrated with the fans, finally earning himself the goal that his explosive performances have deserved. After 78 minutes, West were three goals to the good, and well worth the advantage.
Aaron Ashley can feel aggrieved that he didn’t get the clean sheet that his performance definitely deserved: an 88th minute Padiham free-kick took a deflection so wicked that the North West Counties website has credited it as an Ash Woods own goal. Regardless, it sadly left Ashley without a chance of keeping it out: the saving grace being that his performance earlier in the tie, and the effectiveness of those ahead of him, had made the goal somewhat academic. West move up to 11th, behind the defeated Padiham in 10th only on goal difference – a win against relegation threatened AFC Liverpool at home this Thursday and they can perhaps start to consider themselves serious contenders for a top 10 finish, something that would’ve been a ridiculous proposition even a month ago.
|West Didsbury & Chorlton||3-1||Padiham|
|Matthew Kay (40)
Matthew Eckersley (54)
Chappy Massamba (78)
|Ashley Woods (88)|
|Starting XI||Starting XI|
|Aaron Ashley||1||Marcus Burgess|
|Benjamin Reader||2||Samuel Tattum|
|Joshua Tinker||3||Adam Freeland|
|Matthew Eckersley||4||Michael Morrison|
|Christopher Middleton||5||Jack Sanders|
|John Sergeant||6||Mark Ayres|
|Steven Affleck||7||Kenneth Taylor|
|Matthew Kay||8||Dominic Craig|
|Thomas Bailey||9||Spencer Jordan|
|Ashley Woods||10||Daniel Boyle|
|Benjamin Steer||11||Jake Hargreaves|
|Ryan Eiselt||S1||Aaron Fleming|
|Sam Dickenson||S2||Cameron Lancaster|
|Georgi Whyment||S3||Jason Hart|