Report: West 5-0 Eccleshall

Saturday 6th November 2021, NWCFL First Division South

West 5 (Gabidon 21, Heathcote 48, Elliott 58, 68, Grewal 74)
Eccleshall 0 (Woodroffe sent off 53)
Att: 494

West swept aside Eccleshall to light up Brookburn Road on a murky afternoon in M21.

Dontai Gabidon’s 21st-minute goal was all West had to show for a dominant first period, but a Sam Heathcote free-kick – coupled with a red card for the visitors’ George Woodroffe – in the opening stages of the second half heralded a rout, with Ben Elliott claiming a brace and Aarron Grewal registering in the final half an hour.

Elliott and Marcus Dibble were both narrowly off-target in the early exchanges as West looked to assert their authority against the relegation-haunted Eagles, with Liam Delaney also forcing a save from keeper Aaron Woolrich. But it took until just after the 20-minute mark for the first goal of the afternoon – after Matthew Cook’s cross went all the way across to Tom Westall on the left flank, Gabidon diverted Westall’s wicked delivery into the net.

Further half-chances passed by as West looked to go into the break in a more commanding position – a Callum Jones delivery found Delaney in the six-yard box, but the West number 4 was just unable to adjust his feet quickly enough to capitalise. Meanwhile, the returning Eziekel Eme was a constant threat on the right wing, but Chris Rowley’s side had to be content with just the one goal at the interval.

One soon became two after the restart, however – there was a sense of inevitability when Heathcote was presented with a free kick 25 yards from goal, and the West captain duly dispatched his effort low past Woolrich. And the Eagles’ mood was beginning to match the south Manchester weather five minutes later, when Woodroffe was dismissed for a crude challenge on Eme.

West quickly capitalised on the player advantage, with Elliott grabbing his 13th and 14th goals of the season in a ten-minute spell – first swivelling and firing across Woolrich after good work from Callum Jones, before firing through a forest of legs into the same corner.

Substitute Grewal completed the scoring with 16 minutes remaining, running through on goal and assuredly finishing into the corner – inking his name on the scoresheet for the first time since the end of August, and putting gloss on a hugely satisfactory afternoon for Chris Rowley’s side.

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

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

Chris Rowley post-match reaction