West 1-2 Radcliffe
Saturday 12th December 2020, friendly
West 1 (Heathcote)
Radcliffe 2 (Akpa-Akpro, Navarro)
Behind closed doors
West returned to action at The Step Places Stadium with a keenly-contested friendly against Northern Premier League outfit Radcliffe.
Chris Rowley had arranged a tough test for his side with Radcliffe 52 places above West in the pyramid, but his team gave as good as they got ahead of next weekend’s planned NWCFL resumption.
Radcliffe took the lead halfway through the first period as Jean Louis Akpa-Akpro converted from close range, with Billy Matthews going closest for West at the other end.
Luca Navarro doubled the visitors’ lead after the break as he saw his wide free-kick evade everyone and creep inside Andrew Jones’ far post. But West reduced the arrears not long afterwards, with good play from Aarron Grewal leading to Radcliffe keeper Cameron Belford palming Reece Coley’s shot into the path of the lurking Sam Heathcote.
West pushed in vain for a leveller in the closing stages with Marcus Dibble nodding wide and Heathcote having a late effort cleared off the line. However, there was much for Rowley to be pleased with as he looks forward to the trip to Eccleshall in seven days’ time.
After the game, the West boss had words of praise for his side: “If you were a fan in the ground you’d have struggled to decide which team was of a higher level. We got exactly what we wanted out of the game – we wanted to see how the boys would react against a team three leagues higher.
“The work rate was there and you can see the lads have done a lot of work. We had a game on Thursday night at the training ground against Altrincham reserves, which we won, but this was a completely different battle on a wet pitch. We’re going to have games coming up on wet and heavy pitches.
“We’re disappointed to lose – we don’t want to lose against anybody. That’s what we’re now building – we’ll be going into every game from now until the end of the season aiming to win and to be fighting at the top of the table.”
West: Jones, Hancock, Gabidon, Taylor, Clarke, Heathcote, Matthews, Tinker, Swift, Ryan, Grewal. Subs used: Sheridan, Dibble, Delaney, Coley, Dale, Gavin.