MATCH REPORT | Eccleshall 0-4 West – West Didsbury & Chorlton AFC

MATCH REPORT | Eccleshall 0-4 West

Saturday 3rd August 2019, NWCFL First Division South

Eccleshall 0 (Johnson sent off 55)
West 4 (Cottee 14, Forbes 25, Eckersley 41, Tinker 84)
Att: 80

West swept aside Eccleshall to give Brad Cooke a perfect start to his managerial reign.

This was as straightforward an opening assignment as new boss Cooke could possibly have wished for, with James Cottee, Jamie Forbes and Matt Eckersley all converting Matty Boland set-pieces to effectively seal the points by half time. Josh Tinker added a fourth late on to round off a comfortable win over an unravelling home side, who had Miles Johnson sent off for a crude challenge on Lee Grimshaw after 55 minutes.

There will be sterner tests to come in West’s bid for an instant return to the NWCFL top flight but this was a ruthless and professional job well done, with Andrew Jones virtually unemployed in goal as Cooke’s side also recorded a clean sheet at the first time of asking.

After a summer of change at Brookburn Road, Cooke named seven debutants for the trip to Staffordshire and his side swarmed over the hosts from the first whistle, with Boland, Forbes and Kris Holt all passing up opportunities inside the first 15 minutes.

But West didn’t have to wait long to open their account for 2019-20, and it was a simple goal that set the tone for the rest of the half – after Lee Grimshaw, irrepressible on his West bow, did superbly to win a corner, Boland’s delivery was tapped into the net by fellow debutant James Cottee via Eckersley’s knock-down.

Rampant West continued to press, with Lee Gavin firing over from 25 yards, and soon doubled their lead with a goal that infuriated Eccleshall – after Matthew Cook won a free kick, Boland’s delivery was nodded past keeper Louis McCarthy by Forbes. Celebrations were quickly cut short as the assistant flagged for offside, but the referee overruled the decision and awarded the goal, sparking frenzied protests from the home players and dugout.

Pershall Park was simmering but West remained cool, Kris Holt going close again, and were rewarded with a third goal just before the interval. Boland again provided the ammunition from a set-piece, and this time it was Cottee who nodded the ball across goal for the unmarked Eckersley to steer into the net.

It was no surprise when the home side were reduced to ten not long after the restart – Johnson departing the scene after flying in late on Grimshaw. The home side even played with nine for a period after Luke Lewis was invited to spend ten minutes in the NWCFL’s new sin bin facilities following a show of dissent.

With the game effectively won and Wythenshawe Town visiting Brookburn Road on Tuesday, West slowed the game down after this flurry of incident but could have added further goals – Grimshaw and Gavin had shots well saved by McCarthy and Eckersley headed wide from close range.

A wonderfully-crafted fourth did arrive in the closing stages. Substitute Dylan Moloney showed poise and precision to find Tinker, who had an age to pick his spot underneath McCarthy and complete a hugely satisfactory first day of term.

West: A. Jones, Cook, Cooper, Tinker, Eckersley, Forbes, Grimshaw (C. Jones 74), Gavin, Cottee (Moloney 64), Holt (A. Woods 53), Boland. Not used: Middleton, Dale.

West Media man of the match: James Cottee.