MATCH REPORT | Maine Road 1-4 West – West Didsbury & Chorlton AFC

MATCH REPORT | Maine Road 1-4 West

Manchester Premier Cup first round

Maine Road 1 (Morgan 1, Hughes sent off 89)
West Didsbury & Chorlton 4 (Potts 18, Bailey 45 pen, 59, Pozier 45+2)
Att: 238

The away fans packed into Brantingham Road serenaded their team off the pitch at the end of this eventually one-sided South Manchester derby, with West fully deserving of the reception after a resounding second consecutive win at Maine Road – a perfect tonic after Saturday’s FA Vase exit at the hands of West Auckland Town.

Steve Settle’s side, though, have made doing things the hard way an art form this season, and again set themselves the task of coming from behind. The match was not even a minute old when Matthew Morgan reacted quickest to James Ormrod’s through ball and finished neatly to put the home side ahead. West were stunned, on and off the pitch, and Road could have doubled their lead soon afterwards when Luke Heron forced a save from Aaron Ashley.

The visitors gradually forced their way into the game – Ben Steer served notice of intent when his cross from the right invited a touch which never came – and did have the ball in the net after 16 minutes when a Steer throw was bundled over the line, unfairly in the view of referee Jason McAuley. West would not have to wait long to restore parity, however, and Steer was again involved – after shooting against a Road defender to force a corner, his delivery was met at the near post by Josh Tinker. Keeper Ryan Livesey parried Tinker’s header straight at the feet of Anthony Potts, who could hardly miss.

The match now swung from end to end – Road were finding joy from diagonal balls to both wings, with the effervescent Morgan a constant threat, and Ashley again denied Heron after a miskick from Harold Hagon had set up the Road striker. Tom Bailey was presented with West’s best chances – after narrowly failing to connect with another Steer delivery from the right, he missed the target when returning Livesey’s poor clearance.

Just as it looked as though an absorbing first half would end level, the match swung decisively in West’s favour. First, Bailey won and dispatched a penalty when his feet were too quick for the sprawling Livesey. The hapless Road keeper then made another telling contribution seconds before the interval when Jonny Pozier charged his attempted clearance straight into the net.

The second half began as the first ended – Bailey could have completed his hat-trick inside the first five minutes, his chip from outside the area nudged over by Livesey and a goalmouth scramble ending with the keeper again turning his effort behind. Bailey did put West three goals ahead just before the hour mark. Ben Steer, inevitably, was hugely influential, cutting inside from the right and firing a low shot which beat Livesey via the West number 9.

West were enjoying themselves at this point, and Ashley was even afforded the opportunity to defy gravity when he flung himself to his right to claw away Connor Hughes’ header. The exultant West fans demanded a fifth goal which almost arrived when substitute Carlos Mendes Gomes sashayed his way into the box and found Steer, who was crowded out at the near post.

Hughes’ constant dialogue with the referee earned him a second yellow card in the closing stages, completing a chastening night for a Maine Road side who have now lost five games in a row, leaking 22 goals in the process. The final whistle blew moments later, and West’s travelling contingent roared their approval of a result which sets up a quarter-final meeting with Hyde United.

West: Ashley, Mason (Botchey 66), Houghton, Tinker (McGrath 63), Hagon, Potts, Steer, Kilheeney, Bailey, Shaw, Pozier (Mendes Gomes h/t). Not used: Weston.