West kick started their pre-season with an entertaining 3-3 draw at home to NWCFL Champions Atherton Collieries which saw Gary Lilley cap his first West appearance in over a year by scoring with his first touch.
A scorching hot day saw a bumper crowd of 208 descend on Brookburn Road and it wasn’t long before they were treated to the game’s first chance when Conrad Betton was forced into saving a Darrhyl Mason header from an Ian Howard cross on four minutes. Two minutes later responded with their first chance as Gareth Peet was forced to clear Joe Shaw’s header off the line from a Matty Kay corner.
West continued to cause Colls some issues from corners but took the lead from open play on 18 minutes when a well worked move on the left-hand side saw Ben Steer drill home from close range at the far post from Carlos Mendes Gomes low cross. The lead lasted just six minutes when a superb cross field pass from Mark Truffas found Ben Hardcastle on the right-hand side; he cut inside beating Paul Socha before his low cross found Mason at the far post giving Betton no chance firing his effort into the roof of the net.
West weren’t setback for long as Matty Kay whipped in a free kick from the left-hand side just after the hour mark finding Nia Bayunu at the near post as his header flew into the top corner inside the far post giving West a 2-1 half time lead.
West rang the changes at half time and the second half was just a minute old when West doubled their lead as Scott Mason burst down the right finding debutant Tom Bailey at the near post whose pull back found Gary Lilley who drilled home from 12 yards out.
West continued to create chances as Mason again burst down the right and his cross found Georgi Whyment at the near post with his flick on comfortably saved. Colls continued to prove their champion credentials as they went close twice from close range but failed to hit the target.
Just after the hour mark Kay had a superb chance to put the game beyond Colls as his 35 yard free kick was pushed round the post by Colls goalkeeper Adam Reid. Five minutes later Colls took full advantage of their reprieve as Hardcastle again latched onto a cross field pass on the right before finding Jordan Cover inside the area who unselfishly squared to Gorman to tap into an empty net.
The game became stretched as both sides looked to score with Bailey forcing a strong block from Reid with a hard effort before Mason almost deceiving the Colls goalkeeper with a looped cross just evading the inside of the far post. However it was Colls who levelled as they again worked the West left hand side with Mason drilling across goal allowing Gorman to add his second with a tap in.
Mason might have won it for Colls at the death but Betton produced an excellent save to deny him at the near post with a draw proving a fair reflection of an even well spirited pre-season friendly.
Team: Betton (GK), Tinker, Bayunu, Rogers, Socha, Poole, Shaw, Kay, Steer, McDonagh, Mendes Gomes.
Subs: Mason, Earlam, Weston, Lilley, Whyment, Bailey
Goalscorers: Steer, Bayunu, Lilley