From the dugout: Chris Rowley ahead of Irlam – West Didsbury & Chorlton AFC

From the dugout: Chris Rowley ahead of Irlam

Chris Rowley’s notes ahead of our game against Irlam, taken from the match programme.

Good evening and welcome to The Step Places Stadium for this evening’s match against Irlam. I would like to welcome the supporters, players and staff from Irlam and I hope you have a safe journey home after the match.

Friday night’s FA Cup win against Northwich Victoria is up there as being one of my favourite moments as West manager, and there have been a few! To win in the manner we did and to progress to the First Qualifying Round for the first time in our history was really special.

Vics had done their research on us and made it tactically very difficult for us in the first half. In the second half though, we raised our game and showed what we are capable of. The character of the team to win the match after a late equaliser was brilliant and is something I hope we can carry with us for the rest of the season.

We’ve conceded some sloppy late goals so far this season which is very uncharacteristic for us as a team but to overcome this is another big step for us. All three of our goals were excellent in their own way – Benji’s composed finish, Dontai topping his good performance with a great goal, and the rocket from Curtis at the end to win the game was spectacular.

The support that we received from the travelling fans was phenomenal yet again. It really does feel like having a 12th player on the pitch at times and there’s a reason why the players love to run over to the supporters after each goal. It’s an unbelievable feeling for the coaches and players to perform in front of that support.

After such a great night, we’re all itching to get back out on the pitch again but we know this evening’s match won’t be easy. Irlam are an established team at this level and are no pushovers. Their win on Saturday away at Lower Breck shows they are capable of causing home teams a lot of problems and we’ll need to play well to keep our good home form going.

After tonight’s game, we look forward to Saturday’s FA Vase match at home against Ashton Town. We want to keep our good home form going and your support will play a big part in that.

Come on West!