by Robert Lee · 18/09/2022
Saturday 17th September 2022, NWCFL Premier Division
Longridge Town 0
West 8 (Gabidon 24, 45+1, Elliott 36, 74, pen 81, Eme 58, Hampson 60, Vayro 90+4)
Rampant West put eight past Longridge Town to register a club-record win in the NWCFL Premier Division.
The margin of victory didn't flatter Chris Rowley's side on a day where they were completely dominant and ruthlessly efficient - responding perfectly to the midweek defeat at Northwich Victoria.
Dontai Gabidon conjured a first-half brace, with Ben Elliott poaching another to put West in a commanding lead at the break. The visitors continued to flood forward after the restart and were rewarded with further goals for Elliott, who completed his hat-trick, along with strikes from Ezeikel Eme, Ben Hampson and Luke Vayro.
West supporters in the Ribble Valley were given a boost even before kick-off as Gabidon's name appeared on the team sheet - the talismanic winger available for selection as a result of being cup-tied for his new side FC United. Inevitably, Gabidon was at the centre of much of West's good work in the first period, curling narrowly wide in the opening exchanges.
Elliott then had a shot pawed away by Longridge keeper James Aspinall, but the two dangermen combined in the 24th minute to open the scoring. Elliott's presence was enough to disorientate the home defence, and when the ball dropped to Gabidon's left boot on the edge of the box, there was only one outcome.
West's grip on the game began to tighten 12 minutes later - Darren McKnight and Curtis Miller combined to carve open the Longridge back line, and the lurking Elliott tapped home Miller's cross at the far post.
In the closing moments of the first period, a Longridge expedition into the West half resulted in them winning a free kick on the edge of the box. But it proved to be a platform for a West counter-attack as the game ended as a contest - Miller found Gabidon, who slalomed into the Longridge area and past two defenders before slotting past Aspinall.
Three became five in the blink of an eye shortly before the hour mark, with Ezeikel Eme first sweeping home Elliott's pass. Moments later Hampson, who had scored at the same end in West's FA Cup victory in August, repeated the trick as he nodded home Miller's cross.
West's fifth goal preceded a raft of substitutions, but five switches had no impact on the visitors' momentum. One of those replacements, Jack Ryan, provided a sixth - quickest on the scene to seize on a loose ball in the box, before providing Elliott with a simple finish. Shortly afterwards, fellow substitute Max Lewens tormented the home defence, winning a penalty which Elliott rolled home to complete his treble.
The visitors' cake hardly needed any further icing, but Luke Vayro converted a McKnight corner in the fourth minute of stoppage time - ensuring that West scored eight at this level for the first time.
West: A. Jones, Cook, Graham, Taylor (Delaney), Hampson (Vayro), Foulds, Eme (Ryan), McKnight, Elliott, Miller (Lewens), Gabidon (Gavin).
Eckersley's Plumbers & Locksmiths Player of the Match: Darren McKnight.
As well as providing a healthy boost to our goal difference, the win pushes West up to 7th in the NWCFL Premier Division - we now have 15 points from our opening nine games.
We now take a break from league action to compete in two cup competitions - firstly visiting Garstang in the Lancashire Challenge Trophy First Round (Wednesday 21st September, 8pm) before welcoming Nostell Miners Welfare in the FA Vase Second Qualifying Round (Saturday 24th September, 3pm).