Saturday 13th August 2022, NWCFL Premier Division
West 5 (Gabidon 13, 63, 67, Miller 44, Delaney 90+2)
Barnoldswick Town 2 (George 42, Knox 87)
West hit five against Barnoldswick Town to maintain their position in the NWCFL Premier Division top six.
Chris Rowley’s side comprehensively ended Barlick’s 100% league record on a sweltering day in M21, with Curtis Miller and Liam Delaney adding to Dontai Gabidon’s hat-trick.
The baking heat didn’t appear to have any effect on West, who put in their most dominant display of the season so far to shake off any lingering disappointment from Tuesday night’s concession of a late equaliser at Congleton Town.
Gabidon set the tone after just 13 minutes, collecting Joel Swift’s knockdown before shrugging off his marker, cutting inside from the right wing and rolling the ball past Barlick keeper Harry-Joe Smith.
West had enough chances to end the game as a contest before the break – Sam Dickinson rolled wide from the edge of the box, and Tom Westall and Ezeikel Eme both flashed crosses across the six-yard box. But the visitors struck against the run of play three minutes before the interval, as Mitchell George’s opportunistic strike caught Andrew Jones off his line.
However, West would head into the dressing room with a deserved lead – almost immediately after George’s goal, Miller ran clear from the halfway line and crashed a shot past Smith to follow up his goal on Tuesday night.
Clear chances were harder to come by in the opening period of the second half, though Eme was close to converting another tempting Westall delivery. But Gabidon took control of the game midway through the half – first beating Smith from the edge of the area, before robbing a Barlick defender in the six-yard box to stab home.
The visitors rallied as they looked for an unlikely way back into the match, forcing Jones into a sharp save before having a goal disallowed for offside. But they did grab a second after 87 minutes, as Bradley Knox found space in the box to find the far corner.
The more weathered West supporters may have recalled Barlick’s comeback from three goals down in March 2017, but another dramatic ending was unlikely to materialise and Delaney added gloss to the scoreline in stoppage time. His free kick wrongfooted Smith to put the seal on another three points, as West look increasingly at home in the Premier Division.
West: A. Jones, Cook, Westall, Dickinson (C. Jones 66), Hampson (Vayro 80), Foulds, Eme, Gavin, Swift (Delaney 66), Miller (Iacovou 75), Gabidon (Ryan 76).
Eckersley Plumbers & Locksmiths Player of the Match: Dontai Gabidon.