by Rob McKay · 06/09/2017
A 3-0 defeat to Irlam under the Friday night lights saw West end their run of nine games unbeaten in the league in emphatic manner.
West Manager Steve Settle was without Anthony Potts who’d required an injection to avoid infection from a deep cut suffered in the 4-0 win over Runcorn Linnets. He was also without the suspended Richmond Botchey followed by Josh Tinker pulling up in the games early moments with a suspected hamstring injury.
The home side were the quickest out of the blocks and saw a Steven Mills header cannon off the underside of the bar and bounce off the line from a corner just two minutes in. Irlam eventually took the lead on 6 minutes when Marcus Perry was able to ghost past the injured Tinker and fired a rocket of an effort inside the near post beyond a helpless Aaron Ashley.
The home side, buoyed by the goal, were on top for much of the first half until Tom Bailey latched onto an under-hit backpass but he couldn’t strike the ball cleanly and Lee White was able to make the save in the Irlam goal.
The move awoke West who finished the half slightly the better side as first a knock down from Bailey found Saul Henderson on 40 minutes and he volleyed just wide from 25 yards out. At the other end Ashley was called into action twice to deny Irlam as first he got down low to his right to save a hard effort from Isaac Illidge before making another strong save seconds later.
West countered with a move of their own as they moved the ball quickly through midfield before a chip over the Irlam backline found Bailey but the ball wouldn’t come down for him. West’s best chance came right before half time as another well worked move saw Bailey cross to the far post, finding the head of Matty Kay whose header missed the post by inches.
West came out much stronger in the second half but it wasn’t until the 56 minute they created a clear cut chance as Evangelinos beat his man to the goal line before pulling a hard low cross back along the six yard into the path of Bailey who couldn’t quite turn it home as it was cleared off the line.
Carlos Mendes Gomes was introduced into the game just before the hour mark and his impact was instant; twisting and turning at the edge of the area his cross found Kay but he could only head into the grateful keepers hands. In 64 minutes West went even closer when Gary Lilley smashed a thunderous volley off the underside of the crossbar and off the line.
Two minutes later Irlam went close with another effort when a near post header was cleared off the line by the head of the impressive Daryl Weston. On 70 minutes they should have made it 2-0 when Berry broke the offside trap but he blazed over the bar one-on-one.
With 13 minutes remaining the game was put to bed however as substitute Timmy Kinsella ran onto a chip over the West backline and finished with a confident effort slotting under Ashley. On 86 minutes Irlam added their third, a slightly harsh reflection for West, as he broke the offside trap running from inside his own half before firing the ball inside the left hand post; a terrific finish to end a miserable night for West.