Report: Rocester 0-2 West

Saturday 23rd October 2021, NWCFL First Division South

Rocester 0
West 2 (Gabidon 31, Elliott 51)
Att: 106

Goals from Dontai Gabidon and Ben Elliott ensured that West remained top of the First Division South with victory at Rocester.

Gabidon’s sixth goal of the season, just after the half-hour mark, was followed up by Elliott’s 12th strike of the campaign as West responded positively to last week’s draw at home to Ellesmere Rangers.

West’s first-ever visit to Hillfield is unlikely to go down as a classic as genuine opportunities were hard to come by in a combative opening period. The home side, currently lying in the relegation zone but buoyed by the recent appointment of manager Mark Grimley, had the clearest sight of goal in the opening exchanges as a corner was narrowly volleyed over Andrew Jones’ bar.

But the visitors gradually grew into the game, and after Elliott and Sam Heathcote had fired narrowly off-target, Gabidon opened the scoring with something of a collector’s item. Elliott darted down the right wing and clipped a fine ball into the area, and the West number 11 arrived perfectly to head the ball past Romans keeper Charlie Wood and into the net.

That goal was enough for a half-time lead, but the game became much more open after the restart with West working Wood more often. And it only took six minutes for Elliott to grab his second goal in three games, shrugging off a defender before rounding the keeper and firing home.

Elliott was then frustrated in his search for a second of the game, as the home side threw bodies in the way of a goalmouth scramble before Wood blocked the West forward when one-on-one. Substitute Aarron Grewal then saw his effort blocked by the Rocester keeper’s face, before another West replacement did find the net in the dying moments – Joel Swift nodding Callum Jones’ corner inside the near post.

However, the assistant referee cut short celebrations by perhaps unfairly ruling that Jones’ delivery had gone out of play, meaning West had to be content with two goals that ensure they remain the team to beat in the First Division South.

West: A. Jones, Cook, Hancock, Delaney, Dibble (Graham ht), Heathcote, Matthews (Grewal 63), C. Jones, Cottee (Swift 75), Elliott, Gabidon. Not used: Westall, Tinker.

Eckersley’s Plumbers & Locksmiths Player of the Match: Callum Jones.

Chris Rowley post-match reaction