Eccleshall 0-5 West – West Didsbury & Chorlton AFC

Eccleshall 0-5 West

Tuesday 1st March 2022, NWCFL First Division South

Eccleshall 0
West 5 (Westall 29, Heathcote 48, Elliott 80, Hooper 81, Cook 85)
Att: 96

West put five goals past Eccleshall without reply for the second time this season, returning to the First Division South summit in the process.

Tom Westall’s tidy finish gave the visitors a slender half-time lead, and West moved up the gears after the break with Sam Heathcote, Ben Elliott, James Hooper and Matty Cook sealing a comprehensive win.

The weekend exertions on the Isle of Man looked to be having an impact in an occasionally scrappy first period as West struggled to create real opportunities. It was the home side who eked out the clearest sight of goal in the early stages, but Andrew Jones reacted quickly to paw away the danger.

However, Chris Rowley’s side grew into the game and took the lead shortly before the half-hour mark with the game’s first moment of genuine quality. Quick passing between Heathcote, Dontai Gabidon and Elliott sliced the home defence open, and Westall was lurking on the corner of the box to slide the ball underneath keeper Morgan Chilton.

West didn’t have to wait long after the interval to take a firm grip on proceedings, as captain Heathcote looped a header over Chilton for his 22nd goal of the season. The visitors continued to hunt for goals, with Hooper going close with a series of shots, and the home side’s evening began to unravel completely when Chilton – who had been forced off with injury against FC Isle of Man two weeks earlier – was again withdrawn following a collision with Elliott.

Eagles forward Liam Robinson donned the gloves, and though he shovelled away a Heathcote free kick, it wasn’t long before he was picking Elliott’s fierce drive out of his net.

It was now a case of how many West were going to score, and after Hooper had rolled home a fourth, Matty Cook took the opportunity to score his first goal in West colours – seizing on a loose ball, motoring to the edge of the box and finding the top corner.

There was still time for Jones to bookend the action with an excellent save to preserve a first clean sheet in 2022, and West move on to Saturday’s visit to Wythenshawe Amateurs looking to build what would be a promotion-sealing winning run.

West: A. Jones, Cook, Westall, Taylor, Vayro, Heathcote, Matthews (Swift 80), Gavin (Delaney 76), Elliott, Hooper, Gabidon (Eme 86). Not used: Dibble, C. Jones.

Eckersley’s Plumbers & Locksmiths Player of the Match: Luke Vayro.

Chris Rowley post-match reaction