West kicked off 2017 in familiar fashion as they overcame a new look New Mills side in a seven goal thriller at Brookburn Road. In Steve Settle’s absence Head Coach Steve Brockley took charge of the team as he oversaw a reshuffle as Nia Bayunu returned to partner Kevin McGrath and Mark Rogers in a back three. West were also boosted by the return of Rick Gleave as the re-shuffle also saw Saul Henderson and Nic Evangelinos partner up front.
The new partnership combined almost immediately as a superb flick on released Henderson, one-on-one, drawing New Mills goalkeeper Oliver Martin but his low effort flew inches past the post. On 11 minutes some lovely build play on the right found wing back Jordan Poole in the final third but his low cross was blocked for a corner with Gleave waiting for in the middle.
Two minutes later Martin was again called to make a superb save as Botchey drove forward from deep finding Shaw with his pass who flicked it into the path of Henderson who in turned laid it off to Evangelinos has his effort was superbly stopped. A minute later the New Mills defender under-hit a back pass allowing Henderson through on goal but again he was denied as Martin made a superb tackle. From the corner Martin again came to the rescue as he blocked Henderson’s shot from point blank range.
West’s bright opening continued as on 25 minutes a lovely pass released Evangelinos as an equally superb pass found Gleave who again was denied by a superb save from the goalkeeper. A minute later Henderson had a low curled goal bound effort blocked away.
Having weathered the early onslaught New Mills went close on 31 minutes as they fired an effort just wide from a narrow angle. It was a warning sign as two minutes West surrendered possession in their own half and Nathan Neequaye was played in, rounding Dean Williams in the West goal and slotting home from close range.
Three minutes later it should have been 2-0 as Kiarno Samms ran the length of the pitch and saw his cross rebound off the inside of the far post before bouncing clear. A minute later West felt they should have had a penalty as Botchey burst into the box, dragging the ball back but had his feet taken from under him by a sliding tackle but the referee, in a good position, waved away the appeals as the home side went into the half behind.
The second half was 10 minutes old when West drew level as a superb through ball released Henderson one-on-one and he finished superbly with a little dink over the goalkeeper, a terrific finish. Five minutes later West were awarded a free kick six yards from goal as the New Mills keeper was adjudged to have picked up a deliberate pass back. From the free kick Nic Evangelinos drilled Martyn Andrew’s lay off through the New Mills wall. The comeback was completed on 65 minutes when substitute Ben Steer fired in from close range after another quick passing move.
On 74 minutes it was 4-1 as Nic Evangelinos added his second with a wonderful curled effort over the keeper from 25 yards out, a terrific strike. However, in typical West fashion, the game was far from over as New Mills pulled a goal back on 78 minutes when Williams pushed a low hard shot away but the cleared ball deflected off Neequaye and into the net.
Suddenly the game came alive as a great run from Steer saw him beat two players before forcing yet another great save from Martin. At the other end New Mills went close as they lobbed Williams but the shot bounced just wide of the post. On 84 minutes West had a goal disallowed for offside when substitute Jonny Poizer hard shot was spilled by Martin and Steer reacted quickest to fire in the rebound but the flag was up for offside.
West fans were made to sweat for the final minutes as Dennis Sherrif volleyed in off the underside of the crossbar from close range. However West survived the late scare to register their first win of 2017.