West made it six wins on the bounce to secure 6th place as they came from a goal down twice to beat Bootle 5-3 in a thrilling tie at the Delta Taxi’s Stadium.
The fourth game of the week saw another round of changes in the West as Josh Tinker and Nia Bayunu returned to the starting line-up with Carlos Mendes Gomes and Saul Henderson returning to the bench. The game started with a touching moment as both teams formed a guard of honour for retiring Bootle Captain Jamie Hay.
West started brightly and forced Bootle goalkeeper Ryan Jones into an early save on 2 minutes when he pushed a deflected effort from Matty Kay round the post. Five minutes later Ben Steer’s throw in was flicked on by Bayunu to Kay at the far post but his first time effort rolled just wide of the post.
West continued to press and on 11 minutes Steer played in Kay who turned and fired a low effort just wide of the post. On 17 minutes West went closer still as another corner was flicked on by Bayunu and Ash Woods saw his effort cleared off the line by Ordish.
Bootle’s first chance came on 21 minutes when Carl Peers saw a hard long range effort well held by Aaron Ashley in the West goal. However West continued to pressure the Bootle goal and on 22 minutes a superb run down the left from Woods saw him beat several players before pulling it back to Steer from the wing whose effort was deflected wide for a corner. From the corner Bootle broke down the middle as Peers was denied by a goal saving tackle from Kay; who’d taken the corner.
Kay continued to be influential as he saw a 25 yard left footed effort flash just wide of the post on 24 minutes before narrowly missing the target from a narrow angle two minutes later. On the half hour mark Ordish almost deceived Ashley with a cross caught in the wind as the West goalkeeper reacted smartly to reach behind him and push the effort over the bar.
West took a deserved lead on 32 minutes when Steer was put through, seeing his initial effort blocked before turning and rolling his second effort into the bottom left hand corner from 20 yards out. The lead last barely three minutes as a free kick from Liam Loughlin from 40 yards out deceived everyone and bouncing into the top corner. A minute later Bootle were almost handed a freak lead as Ordish’s cross from the left was deflected just wide of the post by a Bayunu head.
Suddenly it was all Bootle as Hay headed over from the resulting corner. It was a brief respite as the home side took the lead on 39 minutes when Ashley did well to save a hard long range effort diving low to his left but Hay reacted quickest to fire the rebound into the roof of the net from 6 yards out.
This time the lead last barely two minutes as a superb move from West on the right as Mason collected a free kick, ghosted inside two players before finding Steer inside; he laid off to Kay who drilled a hard effort into the bottom right hand corner from the edge of the area.
West and Bootle finished the half in crazy fashion as first Ashley was forced into a great save from a Peers volley before Woods headed just over from a Steer cross to end a sensational half of football.
As dominant the visitors had began the first half was matched by the home side at the beginning of the second half as Ashley was forced into another great save to deny Powell from six yards out two minutes after the restart. The home side led two minutes later when Hay was allowed the space to advance and fired a hard effort from 25 yards inside the right hand post. It was almost four on 50 minutes as Bootle broke from a West corner and Ordish fired just wide of the post. A minute after that Hay was denied his hat-trick only by the crossbar as he saw his header from close range rebound off the middle of it following an excellent cross from the right wing.
On 52 minutes Ashley was called into action again as he first denied Peers after a terrific Bootle move before diving on the ball to stop a second effort a point blank range; a sensational save. The save would prove definitive as four minutes later West were awarded a penalty for handball. Kay stepped up to send the keeper the wrong way with an effort inside the right hand post to bring it to 3-3 on 57 minutes.
Suddenly West were back in the game as Rogers fired just over the bar from the edge of the area after a Steer cross was knocked down. On 70 minutes a quick throw in from Tinker found substitute Carlos Mendes Gomes who laid the ball off to Woods but his first time effort curled just away from the far post. Mendes Gomes introduction proved influential as he did well to hold up a through ball, before turning and playing in Kay whose shot was well saved by Jones but the loose ball found Woods who sliced it into the bottom right hand corner.
Mendes Gomes went close himself on 75 minutes as he beat two players before firing just wide of the post. At the other end Ashley was again called into action to make another terrific save after calamitous defending from West at the back. As per the first half the game became end-to-end as a West free kick found Woods who couldn’t strike his effort cleanly before the blocked shot fell to substitute Jimmy Woodward who fired over.
West made the game safe on 87 minutes as Kay flicked on a through ball finding Woods who in turn played the ball back inside finding Kay who slotted into the bottom right hand corner for his hat-trick. The drama wasn’t over however as Kay was denied a 6th as his free kick was pushed round the post by Jones in the Bootle goal. Hay, playing his final game, was denied his hat-trick with the final kick of the match as a low cross found him at the far post but he was again denied by Ashley.
The full time whistle saw the players applauded off by the travelling supporters as West celebrated a record points total for the NWCFL Premier Division securing their second top 6 finish.