MATCH REPORT | West 4-3 Burscough
It took an 89th minute Nic Evangelinos winner for West to earn three points over a determined Burscough in yet another offering designed to tested even the strongest of hearts.
Injuries meant a re-shuffle for West as Pauli Loukola and Scott Mason were both forced to miss out meaning that Declan Rydings became left back for the evening whilst West were boosted by the return of Anthony Potts and Aaron Ashley.
The visitors seized the initiative in the opening stages as they moved the ball around West’s third quickly albeit without testing Ashley in the West goal. It was West who created the first chance on seven minutes however when Matty Kay headed wide at the far post from a Ben Steer corner.
It’s fair to say the opening goal came against the balance of play when Steer found himself in space 25 yards out and powered a curling effort over the Burscough goalkeeper Louis McCarthy. Almost from the kick off it West doubled their lead as Tom Bailey’s back heel found Kay whose low cross found Evangelinos to drill home; his 51st goal in a West shirt. 2-0 West and only 14 minutes played.
It should have been 3-0 three minutes later when a Steer throw in dropped to Evangelinos but McCarthy made a superb point blank save on his line. It proved vital as Burscough immediately went down the other end as a deep cross from the left was knocked down at the far post and converted inside the six yard box by Terry Cummings.
The game levelled out until 28 minutes when the Burscough goalkeeper was again called into action to turn a Bailey effort round the post before saving again from the West number nine from the resulting corner. Not to be outdone Aaron Ashley in the West goal made an equally fine save from a corner moments later.
Bailey came closer still on 32 minutes when a terrific cross from Josh Tinker on the right found Bailey in the penalty area and his header flew inches past the post with the keeper beaten.
However the two sides would go into the half level as West surrendered possession in their own half; a quick Burscough break down the left saw Ashley make a good stop initially down to his left but Cummings reacted quickest and tapped in on the line to make it 2-2.
West restored their lead just three minutes into the second half when a Steer throw feel to the feet of Bailey and he simply guided it under the Burscough goalkeeper to re-establish West’s lead. Two minutes later a great through ball released Steer one-on-one but the winger took an extra touch allowing Hafeez Hamzat to make a brave diving block to deny West a fourth.
Burscough brought themselves level on 64 minutes with another fine move as they broke down the left hand side and Adam Gilchrist found himself unmarked at the far post to fire into the roof of the net from 6 yards out.
From that point the game became increasingly scrappy as both sides went in search of a winner. On 68 minutes Steer fired a volley wide after Evangelinos had played him in. Seconds later West were denied a penalty when Evangelinos looked to have been flattened in the penalty area.
Burscough thought they’d won it with five minutes remaining a cross from the right saw a powerful header from unmarked John Cheetham pushed onto the crossbar by Aaron Ashley before it was cleared off the line. The latest in a collection of astonishing saves from the West goalkeeper.
The save proved even more important four minutes later when a Steer cross found the head of Evangelinos and he powered home a header from 6 yards out to hand West three points and spark jubilant celebrations from the West supporters.