by Robert Lee · 25/08/2018
Saturday 25th August 2018, NWCFL Premier Division
West 2 (Dos Santos 10, Henderson 26)
Bootle 2 (Peers 47, Foy 55)
West were forced to settle for a point after being pegged back by Bootle at Brookburn Road.
Junior Dos Santos and Saul Henderson had put West into a commanding position after an excellent first half, with Marcus Burgess saving a Bootle penalty seconds before the break. But the Bucks hit back after the interval and were level within ten minutes of the restart, and despite chances at both ends in the closing period the points were shared.
There will be frustration at failing to secure a first win of the season from such a strong position, but this was an excellent response to last weekend’s hugely disappointing defeat at Runcorn Town. West were in the ascendancy straight away with Dos Santos and Leather a constant menace on the flanks, and took the lead after ten minutes when Leather sped past his marker on the right wing and laid Dos Santos’ first goal in West colours on a plate.
Dos Santos turned provider as West doubled their lead 16 minutes later – the former Prescot Cables man showed skill and determination to burst into the box, then awareness to slip the ball into the path of Henderson, who snaffled his third goal of the season.
West were rampant at this point and could have put Bootle out of sight – Eckersley had a header cleared off the line following a Leather corner, and Henderson had an effort smothered by Bucks keeper Ryan Jones. Bootle were struggling to make any impact in the West half, though Burgess was forced into a smart stop at his near post when a Bucks winger cut into the box.
The referee waved away a visitors’ penalty claim as the half neared its conclusion, but Bootle were afforded the opportunity of halving the deficit from the spot with seconds remaining when Botchey brought down a forward inside the area. The increasingly-impressive Burgess guessed right, however, and sprung to his feet to deny the Bucks from the follow-up.
Bootle emerged from the dressing room looking more like the team who finished fifth last season and were back in the game almost immediately when Carl Peers tapped home a cross at the far post. And a rapid comeback was complete eight minutes later when Johnny Foy slipped the ball underneath Burgess after a move down the right hand side.
This time it was the home side’s turn to weather a storm as the Bucks peppered Burgess’ goal, and the West keeper produced another outstanding stop when he plunged to his left to turn a snap-shot around the post. Dos Santos was withdrawn in favour of Josh Tinker as Steve Settle looked for more defensive solidity, but Leather remained a threat on the counter and set up Joe Shaw at the near post, but the angle was too tight for the West midfielder.
An absorbing contest swung from end to end right to the last, and Tinker had the final opportunity of the afternoon when he cut inside from the left and whipped a shot agonisingly wide of Jones’ far post. West remain without a win this season, but an immediate opportunity to rectify that presents itself on Monday with the visit of Whitchurch Alport.
West: Burgess, Botchey (Brew-Butler 77), Stachini (Langford 71), Andrews, Mason, Eckersley, Leather, Shaw, Bailey, Henderson, Dos Santos (Tinker 63). Not used: Eiselt, Banasko.