MATCH REPORT | West 5-0 Abbey Hulton United

Tuesday 10th September 2019, NWCFL First Division South

West 5 (Steer 11, Middleton 38, Tinker 55, Cottee 78, 90+3)
Abbey Hulton United 0
Att: 241

Five-star West eased past Abbey Hulton United to consolidate their place in the First Division South top four.

Ben Steer, Chris Middleton and Josh Tinker all scored inside the first hour as West moved up to second, with James Cottee claiming a late brace to secure a biggest win of the season so far.

There was no FA Cup hangover as Brad Cooke’s side shrugged off the disappointment of last week’s exit to Stalybridge Celtic with a comprehensive win over an Abbey side that came to Brookburn Road in good form, but ultimately had no answer to a clinical West display.

West were missing a number of players who have played key roles so far this campaign, but this win – along with a fifth clean sheet in ten games – demonstrated the strenth of Cooke’s squad, typified by Steer, making his first start of the season. He seized his opportunity with an irrepressible performance and a trademark spectacular goal.

The match was only two minutes old when Steer burst through on goal and fired just wide under pressure from Abbey defenders, but another impressive midweek home crowd didn’t have to wait long for the opening goal. Steer took the ball onto his left foot from outside the area and sent a fierce drive across Abbey keeper Jacob Holding and into the top corner of the net.

Steer continued to torment the visitors, going close on two more occasions – most notably after latching onto Dylan Moloney’s raking pass, beating his marker and shooting just over the bar – but West’s lead remained narrow for much of the first period, despite an Abbey player spending ten minutes cooling off in the sin bin.

West had struggled to put opponents away in previous home games but any jangling nerves were settled seven minutes before the break, as Middleton helped himself to a second goal of the season. Steer’s corner was recycled by Tinker at the far post, and the unmarked West centre-back had the easiest of opportunities.

There was still time for Abbey’s big chance to pass by before the interval as a free header was turned wide at the far post, but that was the extent of the visitors’ attacking forays and West authoritatively put the game to bed in the second period.

Ten minutes after the restart, Josh Tinker added a third in almost surreal circumstances – the West midfielder motored onto a loose ball in midfield and drove forward with the Abbey defence seemingly refusing to close him down. The West supporters behind the goal can claim an assist as their pleas for a shot were eventually heeded by Tinker, and his effort was simply too powerful for Holding who could only palm the ball into the net.

Despite West’s dominance, centre-forward Cottee had been relatively quiet but the arch-poacher added his third and fourth goals of the season in the final minutes. First, he was on hand to gobble up the scraps after Holding had palmed a Tom Horner header into the air, and in the final minute of stoppage time he rounded off the scoring, beating the hapless Holding to an Andrew Jones long pass and nodding the ball into the net.

West: A. Jones, Cook, Cooper, Tinker, Middleton, Horner, Grimshaw (C. Jones 69), Gavin, Cottee, Moloney (B. Woods 69), Steer (Dale 78).

West media man of the match: Ben Steer.

Post-match podcast

Reaction from the West media team, Brad Cooke and West supporter Xavi Heras.

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