West 3-1 Abbey Hulton United
Tuesday 27th October 2020, NWCFL First Division South
West 3 (Matthews 2, Heathcote 12, 36, Matthews sent off 67)
Abbey Hulton United 1 (Benton pen 90+4)
West eased past Abbey Hulton United to move into the First Division South top four for the first time this season.
Chris Rowley’s side looked on course for another big win after Billy Matthews and a Sam Heathcote brace gave them a three-goal lead at the interval, but a curious second half saw Matthews blot his copybook with two yellow cards before Abbey claimed a late consolation from the spot.
Coming four days after West hit seven against Alsager Town, this second comfortable Brookburn Road win in a row means Rowley’s team are back on course ahead of Saturday’s key visit to Wythenshawe Amateurs, but there may be mild frustration at a flat second period and the prospect of losing Matthews for a game following his needless dismissal.
Understandably, Rowley opted not to tinker with the side that demolished Alsager and his unchanged team were back on the goal trail inside two minutes. Ben Elliott’s snap-shot on the turn was too hot for Abbey keeper Morgan Wooliscroft to handle, and the red-hot Matthews was first on the scene to snaffle the rebound.
A dominant West had the game effectively tied up inside the opening 36 minutes thanks to a pair of goals from Sam Heathcote, proving just as potent in the opposition penalty area from centre-back as centre-forward. There may have been an element of fortune about his first goal, Rhain Davis’ low corner striking his standing leg before nestling inside the near post, but his second was wholly deliberate – this time converting a Harry Sheridan set-piece, bringing the ball down before expertly firing a half-volley past Wooliscroft.
Connor Hancock looped a header onto the crossbar and over with the final action of the first period, but West had to be content with just the three goals at the break on this occasion. But though there may have been an expectation around Brookburn Road that another rout was in the offing, it failed to materialise as the second period was played at a significantly lower tempo.
The only action of note for much of the second half was Matthews’ red card – his first caution was unfortunate, adjudged to have a collided with a midfielder just past the halfway line, but his second was unnecessary as he over-enthusiastically tried to retrieve the ball from underneath a prone Abbey player.
The incident sparked a fracas which did at least allow some of the Abbey players to involve themselves in the game, but once order had been restored the match continued to amble towards a conclusion despite the best efforts of substitute Aarron Grewal. The evening ended on a frustrating note from West’s perspective as Sheridan was adjudged to have a fouled an Abbey player in the box, but despite Jordan Benton beating Andrew Jones from the spot the destination of the points had long since been decided as West completed a satisfactory Brookburn Road double-header.
West: Jones, Sheridan, Hancock, Delaney (Swift 72), Dibble, Heathcote, Matthews, Taylor, Elliott (Grewal 78), Davis (Gavin 60), Gabidon. Not used: Clarke, Tinker.