West 3-0 Atherton LR

Saturday 24th April 2021, friendly

West 3 (Elliott 57, Coley 60, og 76)
Atherton Laburnum Rovers 0

Reece Coley came off the bench to inspire West to a friendly win against Atherton Laburnum Rovers.

Coley created two goals and scored the other as Chris Rowley’s side took their post-season record to three wins out of four.

This was a highly-competitive encounter despite the energy-sapping spring sunshine, although chances were at a premium in a scrappy first period. Joel Swift prodded wide when well-placed, and when Ben Elliott did beat former West man Morgan Newns in the LR goal, the assistant’s flag cut his celebrations short.

A more open second half almost began with an LR goal as a shot from the right cannoned off Andrew Jones’ bar, but Coley’s introduction in the 54th minute proved to be a pivotal moment. Three minutes later West were ahead – Aarron Grewal’s searching ball found the substitute, who motored into the box and squared for Elliott to tap home.

Coley then added his own name to the scoresheet on the hour mark, wriggling into the box and exchanging passes with Rhain Davis before squeezing a shot into the bottom corner.

LR momentarily pressed for a way back into the game and Jones saved well to preserve his clean sheet, but a second consectutive 3-0 win was secured with 14 minutes remaining – the goal was almost a carbon copy of the first with Grewal superbly finding Coley on the right wing, but this time it was an LR foot that steered Coley’s cross into the net.

West boss Rowley was full of praise for his wide players after the game: “We changed the shape in the second half to allow our wide men more of an opportunity. Reece Coley came back into the fold and was electric. We had Aarron was on the one side tearing people to pieces, then we bring on someone like Reece Coley who’s a similar sort of player but more powerful. He scored and set two up, so his introduction was massive to the game”.

West: A. Jones, Matthews, Hancock, Taylor (Delaney 69), Heathcote, Dibble, Swift (Coley 54), Davis, Elliott (Hall 69), Ryan (Gavin 54), Grewal.