Bury AFC 00 West

Bury AFC 00 West

21 Feb 2023

Bury AFC 0-0 West

Tuesday 21st February 2023, NWCFL Premier Division

Bury AFC 0
West 0
Att: 1,352

Chris Rowley praised his squad's resilient qualities after West earned a point at promotion-chasing Bury AFC.

“We're really chuffed with all the lads”, the West boss said. “There's some tired bodies out there, we've had some tough games against some tough teams recently. We've had to rotate recently and it shows the strength of the squad.”

West were certainly much more competitive than in the reverse fixture in October, when Bury had eased to a 3-0 win. And the point continues West's recent good form against the leading sides, with Rowley's team looking at home in the Premier Division's upper reaches.

Ben Elliott almost caught out the home side in the opening six minutes, beating Bury keeper Jack Atkinson to a ball outside the area - Atkinson upended the West forward and picked up a yellow card, as the incident took place too far wide for Elliott to be clear on goal.

The home side began to dominate possession and territory midway through the first half, and it was in this period that they looked most likely to break through West. Lewis Gilboy wriggled into the box and was thwarted by the onrushing Andrew Jones, before a Gilboy cross flashed across the face of goal without a telling touch.

Rhain Hellawell's looping header towards the far post was gathered by Jones as the interval approaced, and West were able to return to the dressing room with no damage.

Jones was again tested shortly after the restart, diving low to his left to keep out Charlie Doyle's drive from the edge of the box. But the West keeper's exertions became less regular and less notable, as the visitors became increasingly comfortable as the second half progressed and began to make inroads into the Bury half.

If there was one criticism of West's performance, it was that they didn't make the most of opportunities when they did work the ball into the final third - though unlocking the door was always going to be easier said than done against a side that has conceded seven goals in 12 home games this season.

The introduction of Jean-Jacques Kirongozi gave the home side something else to think about, and Atkinson was called into action when he had to paw away Matthew Cook's cross-shot.

West began to drop deeper in the final ten minutes, and the home side won a series of late set-pieces as they looked to increase the pressure. But the excellent Ben Hampson and Markell Foulds ensured that Jones wasn't unduly tested, as West closed in on a second consecutive clean sheet.

At the other end, Cook was bundled over 30 yards from goal in stoppage time, giving Darren McKnight the opportunity for a dramatic winner. His effort was blocked, but Cook inadvertently went closer moments later from just inside the home side's half - returning a clearance and forcing the backpedalling Atkinson to catch the ball on his goalline.

For West, a first goalless draw of the season secured a seventh game in a row unbeaten, and Chris Rowley will challenge his players to continue their momentum when Wythenshawe Town visit M21 on Saturday.

West: A. Jones, Cook, Westall, McKnight, Hampson, Foulds, Davis, Delaney (Kirongozi 65), Elliott (Swift 79), Dickinson, Matthews (Eme 59). Not used: Taylor, Lewens.

Eckersley's Plumbers & Locksmiths Player of the Match: Ben Hampson.

Chris Rowley reaction in full

What it means

Our 50th point of the season keeps us in 8th position in the NWCFL Premier Division table.

What's next

We return to Brookburn Road this Saturday, 25th February (3pm), facing neighbours Wythenshawe Town.