MATCH REPORT | West 1-1 Wythenshawe Town – West Didsbury & Chorlton AFC

MATCH REPORT | West 1-1 Wythenshawe Town

Tuesday 6th August 2019, NWCFL First Division South

West 1 (Gavin 4)
Wythenshawe Town 1 (Byrne 81, Wright sent off 70)
Att: 313

West were forced to settle for a point as Wythenshawe Town struck late on a pulsating night under the Brookburn Road lights.

In a high-octane Manchester derby that more than lived up to its pre-match billing, West drew first blood through Lee Gavin inside five minutes. The momentum oscillated from that point onwards and though Jerome Wright’s red card after 70 minutes appeared to make Town’s task tougher, the visitors rallied and claimed a point nine minutes from time via Brad Byrne’s low shot.

The final whistle was initially met with mild disappointment by a bumper midweek crowd, chiefly because West had surrendered their lead with a man advantage. But Brad Cooke’s team remain unbeaten this season and the West management can take immense encouragement from seeing their effectively brand-new team compete at a high level so early in August. On this evidence, it would be a major surprise if both sides were not seriously contending for the top four promotion spots come April.

Cooke’s satisfaction with Saturday’s 4-0 opening day win at Eccleshall was underlined by his decision to name an unchanged team, and West started as they had left off, stylishly taking an early lead. Kris Holt’s deft ball into the box was chested down by James Cottee, and Lee Gavin arrived to crash a shot past Town keeper Callum Jakovlevs.

Holt forced a save from Jakovlevs soon afterwards as West looked for a second, but Town were proving dangerous on the break and were left cursing the assistant referee when a near-post header was ruled out for offside.

Town then sent a cross flashing across the box with no contact, while at the other end Cottee turned a shot over when well-placed and Matty Boland saw his low finish meet the same fate as the visitors’ disallowed goal. But West entered the interval with a hard-earned lead.

The game took a belated breather after the restart with Town forcing a series of ultimately fruitless free kicks, and it wasn’t until the 65th minute that Holt was able to manufacture a shot over from the edge of the area.

West motored into life as night drew on Brookburn Road with Josh Tinker and Lee Grimshaw going close, and when Wright upended Tinker to collect a second yellow card, it appeared as if they would seize the initiative. But it was the visitors who looked the stronger from this point and it was not a complete surprise when, after West failed to clear a set-piece, Byrne swivelled and shot past Jones to secure an ultimately deserved point.

West: Jones, Cook, Cooper, Tinker (Moloney 88), Forbes, Eckersley, Grimshaw, Gavin, Cottee (A. Woods 72), Holt, Boland (B. Woods 76). Not used: Middleton, Steer.

West Media man of the match: Jamie Forbes.
Opposition man of the match: Jamie Forbes
West supporters man of the match, chosen by George Lockett: Kris Holt

Watch or listen to Brad Cooke’s post-match reaction here.