MATCH REPORT | Barnton 0-1 West – West Didsbury & Chorlton AFC

MATCH REPORT | Barnton 0-1 West

Monday 26th August 2019, NWCFL First Division South

Barnton 0
West 1 (Cottee 22)
Att: 100

West rounded off a terrific Bank Holiday weekend with victory over Barnton at a stiflingly-hot Townfield.

James Cottee’s instinctive finish midway through the first half proved enough for a sixth win of the season in all competitions, and ensured West followed up Saturday’s FA Cup draw at Stalybridge Celtic in the best possible fashion.

Coming 48 hours after West went toe-to-toe with Stalybridge at Bower Fold, this trip to mid-Cheshire was never likely to set pulses racing. But on another oppressively warm afternoon, Brad Cooke’s side dug in to secure a second clean sheet in two games and a win that closes the gap at the top of the First Division South to two points.

The battle scars from the weekend exertions on Tameside were evident as Kris Holt, who limped off at Bower Fold, was absent for the first time since arriving at Brookburn Road. There was also the unusual sight of a West defence without Matt Eckersley, with Chris Middleton taking his place.

Townfield’s rock-hard pitch made it almost impossible to string together combinations and the sides exchanged long-range efforts in the early stages – Andrew Jones made a comfortable save inside the first ten minutes, before Matty Boland’s free kick was narrowly wide of the post at the other end.

Lee Grimshaw headed a Boland set-piece over the bar as West began to seize control of proceedings, but Grimshaw would play a major role not long afterwards as the visitors scored a decisive opener. Josh Tinker’s rabona, fast becoming his signature move, found the former Prestwich man inside the area and Cottee turned his shot past Barnton keeper Aaron Lyons.

Chris Middleton spurned a presentable opportunity from another Boland set-piece but the half would end on a sour note as Jamie Forbes was forced off with a hamstring injury – Tom Horner taking his place in the centre of defence.

Bar a Cottee half-chance when his shot was blocked by Lyons, the second period was low on action at either end as West tapped into their energy reserves. Despite three changes from Saturday’s back four, West’s obstinacy meant Jones had precious little to do with Matthew Cook in particular excelling at right-back.

Substitutes Dylan Moloney and Ben Steer provided fresh impetus with Moloney almost crafting a second goal as the game entered the closing moments, and the home side’s number was up when the referee lost patience with Leon Wright, showing the Barnton forward a second yellow card in stoppage time.

West were given a fully-deserved ovation from the away support after another exceptional effort stretched the unbeaten start to the season to eight games – and with a free weekend coming up, attentions can now turn to next week’s mouthwatering reconvening with Stalybridge.

West: A. Jones, Cook, Cooper, Tinker, Forbes (Horner 34), Middleton, Grimshaw, C. Jones, Cottee (Steer 84), Boland, B. Woods (Moloney 59). Not used: McLaughlin, Dale.

West media man of the match: Matthew Cook.