MATCH REPORT | West 2-1 1874 Northwich – West Didsbury & Chorlton AFC

MATCH REPORT | West 2-1 1874 Northwich

Saturday 21st April 2018, NWCFL Premier Division

West 2 (Bailey 68, Woods 80)
1874 Northwich 1 (McGowan 48)
Att: 455

West extinguished their 1874 Northwich hoodoo as two goals in 12 second-half minutes secured victory at Brookburn Road.

Ash Woods’ winner with ten minutes remaining, following Tom Bailey’s equaliser against his former club, overturned Scott McGowan’s opener for the visitors and sealed a win against 1874 at the 11th time of asking.

It was a conclusion out of keeping with a game which was mostly played at an end-of-season pace, but West’s two leading scorers finished clinically as Steve Settle’s side killed off the spectre of relegation once and for all. The visitors left empty-handed despite spending most of the first period in the West half and suffered a severe blow to their hopes of promotion.

West, without captain Matt Eckersley after his injury at AFC Liverpool on Tuesday night, appeared to start the match in a daze following the stoppage-time defeat on Merseyside. The visitors could have been ahead inside six minutes when Jack Pritchard headed a corner over the crossbar, and when they did hit the target they found Aaron Ashley in typically miserly form. The West keeper spectacularly threw himself to his right to claw Ryan Jackson’s half-volley around the post and denied the same player moments later when he rushed from his line to narrow the angle.

Visiting keeper Greg Hall was considerably less busy in the first period – Matty Kay and Bailey had West’s only notable chances but were off-target on both occasions.

1874 didn’t have to wait long after the interval to open the scoring. Three minutes after the restart, Kazim Waite-Jackson drove into the box and pulled the ball back to the lurking Scott McGowan, who swept his 35th goal of the season beyond Ashley and into the corner.

Any thoughts that the early goal was to herald a high-octane second half were mistaken as the game appeared to drift inexorably towards a third 1874 win over West this season. But out of nothing West dragged themselves level, and there would be no prizes for guessing the identity of the scorer. Bailey seized on Ben Steer’s through pass and arrowed a shot low past Hall for his third goal in four games against the club he left last summer.

Woods completed the turnaround from almost the same patch of grass – after fashioning space in the box through sheer force of will, he beat Hall for power with a fierce right-footed effort.

The visitors, staring at a third late defeat in four days, appeared to lose their heads in the closing stages and Hall raced from his goal to complain about an innocuous Jack Sergeant challenge on halfway. 1874’s final charge never materialised and it was West who looked the more likely to score, Steer hitting a post at the end of a West counter. In the end, two goals were enough to claim a long-awaited win against the Greens.

West: Ashley, Reader, Eiselt (Botchey 64), Olapade, Rogers (Whyment 61), Middleton, Steer, Kay (Dickenson 84), Bailey, Woods, Sergeant.