MATCH REPORT | Stone Old Alleynians 0-1 West – West Didsbury & Chorlton AFC

MATCH REPORT | Stone Old Alleynians 0-1 West

Saturday 18th January 2019, NWCFL First Division South

Stone Old Alleynians 0
West 1 (Hall 31)
Att: 64

West produced one of their best performances of the season to claim a vital three points at promotion rivals Stone Old Alleynians.

A moment of inspiration from Stephen Hall just after the half hour proved to be enough, and the visitors could even afford the luxury of spurning opportunities from the penalty spot in either half.

Chris Rowley’s side, looking to respond after Wednesday’s frustrating reverse at Cheadle Town, were as easy on the eye with the ball as they were tenacious without it, and could have taken an early lead after seven minutes. A free kick from the right bounced up onto a Stone defender’s hand, but Hall shot too close to home keeper Adam Alcock from the resulting spot kick.

West shook off this disappointment and George Blackwell could have found an opener when he shot over from a promising position inside the area, but Stone, who handed West their first defeat of the league season in September, shot across the bows when a forward ran through on goal and fired narrowly wide of Andrew Jones’ far post.

The visitors took a deserved lead on 31 minutes, with Hall making amends for his earlier miss in impudent fashion – good work from Blackwell and Josh Tinker led to Hall finding space on the edge of the box, and his chip could only be palmed into the net by the onrushing Alcock.

The home side saw more of the ball after the restart but an obstinate West defence, including Matt Cook in an unfamiliar centre-back role, kept clear chances to a minimum. Stone’s big opportunity came and went with 20 minutes remaining, when a right-wing cross was headed onto the post with Jones rooted to the spot.

Blackwell forced a save from Alcock as West looked for the cushion of a second goal, and when substitute Reece Coley was bundled over in the box with five minutes remaining Callum Jones assumed the responsibility of ending the game as a contest. However, his effort was overcooked, hitting the bar and going over and ensuring a nerve-shredding final few minutes.

Rowley’s side were not about to throw away all of their good work, though, and after Callum Jones cleared away a final Stone set-piece, the visitors could celebrate a timely away win that closes the gap on the First Division South promotion places with key visit to Wythenshawe Town on the horizon.

West: A. Jones, C. Jones, Gabidon, Tinker, Cook, McLellan, Matthews (Argent-Barnes 75), Gavin, Hall (Coley 64), Ryan (Dale 90), Blackwell.