West recorded their biggest ever South Manchester Derby win as they ran out 3-0 winners away to Maine Road on a blustery night at Brantingham Road.
On a cold evening in Chorlton West supporters were warmed by the returns of Ash Woods and Martyn Andrews into the starting line ups as they returned from Trafford and Glossop North End respectively for the final run in.
West started brightly and were a goal up inside three minutes when Ben Steer was tripped inside the penalty area by Louie Inniss. Matty Kay stepped up and drilled his penalty inside the right hand post for his third goal in the last four South Manchester Derbies.
West continued to press despite the conditions and on 13 minutes saw Kev McGrath effort cleared off the line from a Matty Kay corner. A minute later Ben Steer’s through ball almost released Ash Woods clear through on goal but goalkeeper Ryan Livesey did well to smother the ball.
On 24 minutes a superb pass from Joe Shaw found Steer who did well to lift the ball over Livesey but couldn’t divert the ball towards goal. West’s pressure continued as Woods was brought down from behind inside the penalty area but appeals for a penalty were waived away before a superb Steer cross found Kay but he couldn’t turn his header towards goal. Next it was Steers turn as he was picked out with an excellent cross field pass before cutting inside onto his left foot but could only fire over.
Despite the constant pressure it was Maine Road who finished the half stronger as Scott Mason was called to clear a Maine Road corner directly off the line on 31 minutes. It was the home side who finished the half stronger as first Rory Breslin saw a 25 yard effort flash a whisker past the post but West goalkeeper Aaron Ashley was called into a superb save from a point blank header six minutes before half time. Ashley was called into action a second time to push another effort away to ensusre that West took a lead into half time.
The weather conditions eased in the second half as Ash Woods fired a low cross into the hands of Livesey moments after the restart. However Livesey could do nothing but watch on 55 minutes when Joe Shaw’s long range effort from 35 yards flew into the top corner to give West a priceless second goal. Suddenly it was all West as Steer, Kay and Saul Henderson combined at the edge of the area but were denied by two last ditch challenges.
West rang the changes as Nia Bayunu, replacing Anthony Potts, entered the action and almost scored with his first touch as he saw a header cleared off the line from a corner on 60 minutes. Fellow substitute Georgi Whyment saw an curls effort deflected just round the post from 25 yards out on 69 minutes. From the resulting corner Henderson made it 3-0 as he tucked in Kay’s corner at the near post with his second attempt to send the travelling West support into raptures. It was Saul’s 12th goal since joining from Maine Road and he celebrated in style jumping into the West supporters to celebrate sans shirt.
From there West strolled to victory and had even further chances to extend their lead when Mason sore his free kick strike the foot of the post on 84 minutes. Henderson’s follow up struck the other post but Carlos Mende Gomes pull back was fired wide by McGrath with the goal at his mercy. Mason almost went close from another free kick as Livesey could only parry away his low effort before making another save from Mendes Gomes with the rebound.
The game’s final moments were for the supporters who’d noisily backed West from the first whistle as shouts of ‘West Didsbury & Chorlton’ and ‘South Manchester is Ours’ rang out around Brantingham Road.