West 7-0 Alsager Town
Saturday 24th October 2020, NWCFL First Division South
West 7 (Gabidon 31, Davis 39, Matthews 43, Delaney 45+1, Greenwood og 50, Heathcote 60, Elliott 88)
Alsager Town 0
West lit up a sodden Brookburn Road as they hit Alsager Town for seven to register their biggest-ever NWCFL win.
Chris Rowley had promised a reaction after his side’s heavy defeat at Wythenshawe Town in midweek, but this demolition of the Bullets must have been beyond what even the West manager had in mind.
It’s difficult to pinpoint the most pleasing aspect of this win – the fact that West’s three-game run without a win was ended in such comprehensive fashion, that the goals were spread around with six different scorers along with Dwayne Greenwood’s own goal, or that the home side recorded a clean sheet for the first time this season. Alsager, on the other hand, endured another nightmare visit to M21 and have now conceded a total of 17 goals in their last three trips to Brookburn Road.
Inclement weather seems to have become a theme of the 2020/21 season and as such the heavens opened in the minutes leading up to kick-off. The teams spent the first 20 minutes trying to adjust to the foul conditions, and for West there was also a personnel shuffle to think about – Sam Heathcote dropping back into central defence, allowing Ben Elliott to start in the centre-forward position for the first time this season.
Elliott had West’s only half-chance of the opening period as the ball escaped his attentions inside the box and rolled through to Alsager keeper Eric Merner. At the other end, Andrew Jones saw a couple of speculative attempts drift wide of his goal, but gradually a football match began to emerge from the gloom and it was West who took total control with a dizzying 15-minute spell at the end of the first half.
There looked to be little on when Elliott was shepherded to the byline just after the half-hour mark, but he found enough space to dig out an exceptional cross that was matched by the quality of Dontai Gabidon’s finish – the West winger stooped to nod the ball past Merner and register his third goal of the season. Eight minutes later, Elliott narrowly missed Billy Matthews’ centre from the right but Rhain Davis arrived in the nick of time to bury the ball into the net.
West were completely rampant at this point and it was just a case of how many more goals they would score before the referee blew for half time. It turned out to be two – the excellent Matthews, enjoying a superb start to the new season, finished a neat move to add West’s third, before Liam Delaney marked his first appearance in over a month by rising highest at the far post to convert a Davis corner.
With West completely dominant, they probably didn’t need any favours from the Bullets but they were gifted a fifth goal five minutes after the restart. Davis’ corner was met by an unmarked Greenwood, who gave Merner no chance with his header – the only problem being that the Bullets defender was at the wrong end. And when Sam Heathcote’s free kick on the hour mark took a wicked deflection off the wall and completely wrong-footed Merner, the beleagured visitors may have suspected that there were higher powers at work.
Rowley’s side were in no mood to ease up on the punishment in the closing stages, with Elliott and substitute Aarron Grewal close to adding brackets to the scoreline. And it was Elliott who wrote his team into the West record books two minutes from time, as he beat a Bullets defender to the ball before cleverly steering his shot around Merner and into the bottom corner.
West: Jones, Sheridan, Hancock, Delaney, Dibble, Heathcote, Matthews (Swift 69), Taylor (Ryan 65), Elliott, Davis, Gabidon (Grewal 59). Not used: Gavin, Clarke.