West ended a run of three straight defeats with an incident filled 3-0 home win against AFC Darwen.
West manager Steve Settle rang the changes following Wednesday’s mid-week defeat away to Runcorn Town as Dean Williams, Rick Gleave, Jordan Poole and Jonny Poizer were recalled to the starting line up, albeit the latter following Martyn Andrews withdrawing in the warm up.
West started brightly and on five minutes Rob Black forced Darwen goalkeeper Proctor into the games first save as he blocked a hard shot at his near post following a superb through ball. A minute later West rattled the crossbar as Jonny Poizer unleashed a furious volley from a tight angle. Darwen responded on seven minutes when Jason Cunliffe rolled a long range effort barely round the post. However it was West who took the lead on 10 minutes when a superb through ball from Ash Woods released Rick Gleave one-on-one and the West number 10 did well to open his body and pass his effort into the bottom left hand corner.
Darwen’s response came on 20 minutes when they were awarded a penalty for handball but fortunately for West Williams guessed correctly pushing out a low effort to his right. West capitalised on the reprieve as they doubled their lead on 29 minutes as Ben Woods found his way into the penalty, following good work on the wing from Black and Carlos Mendes Gomes, pulling his cross back allowing Ash Woods to bury his first time effort into the bottom left hand corner.
The joy would be short lived for West as Nina Bayunu limped off following the goal to be replaced by Steve Brockley with Captain Anthony Potts also being forced off at the break. West pushed for a third before half time as Ash Woods headed just wide from a Botchey free kick and Jonny Poizer had a hard low effort pushed just barely round the post. They had the ball in the net just before half time as Potts flicked on a wonderful free kick allowing Ash Woods to finish from close range but the flag was up for offside.
The second half was just two minutes old when West created their first chance as Brockley rose highest to a Ben Woods corner and saw his shouldered effort cleared off the line. Darwen had their own effort cleared off the line just before the hour mark as Williams failed to hold onto a free kick into the box.
On 63 minutes substitute Ben Steer made it 3-0 as he raced through and unleashed a rocket off an effort into the top corner from 25 yards out. Three minutes later he should have doubled his goal tally as a wonderful West counter released Ash Woods down the left, his low cross found Steer at the far post but he was denied by a sensational block on the line. Moments later Ash Woods was denied himself by another superb block as Darwen put their bodies on the line.
Darwen, to their credit, didn’t give up and had a goal disallowed with 15 minutes to go when they headed home a free kick but the referee blew for a foul. A minute later another free kick saw their header rebound off the bar but West scrambled it away.
The save of the match came on 77 minutes when West countered a Darwen attack and Black forced Proctor into a superb finger tip save to force Black’s curled effort round the post. Not to be out done Williams himself came up with a terrific save from another Darwen free kick on 82 minutes. In the final moments Darwen had a goal disallowed for offside but West saw the game out for a deserved and hard fought three points.