It was a week to forget for West as they collapsed to their third straight home defeat on a night that was ultimately overshadowed by Lee Gavin suffering a dislocated shoulder.
Ahead of kick off, West were boosted by the return of Richmond Botchey and Scott Mason to the starting line up with the later playing against his former club. With the injury crisis refusing to relevant however, Steve Settle named himself and Head Coach Steve Brockley on the bench.
The game start out with a furious tempo as both sides attempted to gain the upper hand with fast passing football but it took until the 32nd minute for either side to fashion a clear cut chance as Irlam broke the offside trap and forced Dean Williams into an excellent save at his near post one-on-one.
It was the visitors who created the half’s only save although the did twice create attempts on goal from long range but without troubling Williams and ensuring the sides remained deadlocked at the break.
The second half was as incident filled as the first wasn’t and was merely a few seconds old when Ben Woods burst into the box only to have his path blocked by the hand of the Irlam defender. However the referee awarded a free kick just on the edge of the area rather than inside.
West failed to make the most of the free kick but led 6 minutes later when a superb through ball released Ash Woods one-on-one and the West striker kept his composure to lift his shot over the Irlam goalkeeper.
The lead last just seven minutes when Irlam were awarded a penalty for a push inside the area following a free kick much to the bemusement of the home crowd and players. Steve Nixon made no mistake however and drilled his penalty confidently down the middle to bring Irlam level.
West looked to press for another and on 64 minutes Joe Shaw narrowly volleyed over after West’s best passing move of the game to that point. Disaster struck 4 minutes later as Lee Gavin, having turned his marker, was cynically kicked from behind with the impact of the fall causing him to dislocate his shoulder which saw the West midfielder hospitalised.
With the loss of Gavin, Irlam looked the likelier of the two teams as they forced a superb save from Williams on 78 minutes after a whipped in free kick was headed towards goal. West survived a scare on 90 minutes as a defensive mix-up between defender and goalkeeper saw the ball desperately cleared off the line. Irlam’s winner came in stoppage time, having forced a series of corners, it was headed home at the near post from Steve Nixon with Williams protesting for a push in the West goal. Replays suggesting a combination of a slip and a shirt pull aiding Irlam for in their winner but take nothing away from Irlam who extracted their revenge of a 6-0 thrashing earlier in the season.