West returned to winning ways for the first time since January 7th with a hard fought 3-0 win away to Barnton in which they were forced to play with 10 men for more than an hour.
Playing for the first time in three weeks Manager Steve Settle handed debuts to new signings goalkeeper Aaron Ashley and fullback Josh Tinker. Without Ben Steer and Rick Gleave, Setts opted for an unfamiliar 3-5-2 formation lining up with Kevin McGrath, Anthony Potts and Nia Bayunu along the back line.
The game started at a frantic pace and saw Anthony Potts booked for a foul on the half way line after just three minutes. West then took an early lead through Saul Henderson as a good move down the left found Nic Evangelinos inside the penalty area, his pull back to Matty Kay was diverted to Henderson whose flick with the outside of the foot and in off the inside of the post.
West went in search of a second as Evangelinos dragged an effort just wide of the post after a flicked on header by Henderson on nine minutes. Two minutes later Barnton goalkeeper was called into action as Matty Kay forced an excellent save with a hard effort from outside of the penalty area.
Barnton responded with a chance of their own as a free kick was swung to the far post but the header was comfortably taken by Ashley in the West goal. Barnton came close again on 23 minutes when a low cross along the six yard box was superbly cleared by Richmond Botchey with a last ditch tackle. The biggest talking point came on 29 minutes when Potts was dismissed for a second yellow card for a trip at the edge of the area.
West reshuffled to a back four and continued to push forward as Tinker found Scott Mason with a good pass before playing in Evangelinos who couldn’t strike it cleanly towards goal. On 39 minutes Barnton were denied a goal for offside before Botchey again came to the rescue with a superb tackle. Barnton grew into the halves final minutes as Ashley was called into action to push away a cross before superbly blocking a corner at his near post to ensure the scores remained the same at half time.
The second half began with Henderson breaking the offside trap and a superb cross along the 6 yard line just evaded Evangelinos out stretched boot. Barnton responded as Ryan Malone forced Ashley to make a good save at the near post moments after they’d had another goal ruled out for offside.
Despite their numerical disadvantage West doubled their lead on 65 minutes when a superb move down the right found Hendrson who picked out Evangelinos with another low cross who turned it home beyond the helpless Conkie.
It was three on 73 minutes when Henderson chased down a loose pass, dispossessing Conkie before laying it off to Matty Kay who squad to Mason; the West midfielders cross found Evangelinos who volleyed home into the top right hand corner.
Substitute Georgi Whemnt almost made it four with his first touch as his volley from a narrow angle was parried away by Conkie in the Barnton goal but West comfortably saw out the remaining minutes to secure their first clean sheet away from home since September.