Report: West 2-1 Stockport Town

Saturday 20th November 2021, NWCFL First Division South

West 2 (Gabidon 10, Davis 16)
Stockport Town 1 (Dasilva-Olajide 32, Turnbull sent off 90+5)
Att: 703

West held off Stockport Town to register a 17th league win of the season.

Chris Rowley’s side raced into a two-goal lead inside 16 minutes through Dontai Gabidon and Rhain Davis, but Wealth Dasilva-Olajide halved the deficit just after the half-hour mark.

The home side had to rely on their trademark defensive solidity in an attritional second period, but ultimately did enough to secure another three points that extended their lead at the top of the First Division South.

A tight game seemed unlikely in the opening stages, though, as West tore into the visitors – Billy Matthews and Gabidon had already had chances before the two wingers combined to open the scoring. Callum Jones won the ball in midfield, and Matthews’ pass gave Gabidon the opportunity to slide the ball under Town keeper Ellis Craven.

One became two six minutes later as Craven had a moment to forget – following a mix-up in the visitors’ defence, his miscued clearance fell invitingly for Davis to snaffle the opportunity and double West’s lead.

At this point it looked as if West might overwhelm the Lions completely, especially when Sam Heathcote’s free kick rebounded off a post before Davis turned the rebound over. But that miss proved to be something of a turning point, and the visitors got a foothold on the game not long afterwards.

This time it was West’s turn to suffer a defensive error, as they shipped a league goal for the first time in 515 minutes of football – Andrew Jones’ kick fell at the feet of Dasilva-Olajide, who had a task just as simple as Davis 16 minutes earlier.

That goal changed the complex of the game completely – chances were suddenly at a premium, with West’s best opportunities in the second half coming from set pieces. Marcus Dibble and Heathcote went closest from Davis deliveries, before substitute Zeke Eme had a goalbound shot charged down late on.

But it was the visitors who had the clearest chance in the second period, as Dasilva-Olajide rattled the crossbar from close range just before the hour. However, a West side that has now conceded just 13 goals in 20 league games were in no mood to drop points and Town captain Paul Turnbull’s dismissal for an agricultural stoppage-time challenge on Tom Westall proved to be the final act.

West: A. Jones, Cook, Westall, C. Jones, Dibble, Heathcote, Matthews, Gavin, Elliott (Swift 84), Davis, Gabidon (Eme 68). Not used: Delaney, Tinker, Grewal.

Eckersley’s Plumbers & Locksmiths Player of the Match: Dontai Gabidon.

Chris Rowley post-match reaction