by Robert Lee · 28/08/2018
Monday 27th August 2018, NWCFL Premier Division
West 3 (Shaw 45+4, Leather 58, 82)
Whitchurch Alport 1 (og 40)
West hit back against Whitchurch Alport to secure a well-deserved and much-needed first win of the season.
Joe Shaw’s free-kick hauled West level at the end of a cagey first half after an own goal had given the visitors the lead, but the second period belonged to Ashley Leather as he scored two superb goals to seal all three points.
This win completed a very satisfactory bank holiday weekend for West following Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Bootle, but while West flew out of the traps against the Bucks there was a somewhat more sedate opening against the visitors from Shropshire. The home side suffered an early blow when Tom Bailey was forced off with an ankle injury, resulting in a premature introduction for Junior Dos Santos, who had been rotated to the bench due to a knock of his own.
Both keepers had front-row seats for an attritional midfield battle for the opening half an hour, but Leather was inches away from a spectacular opening goal when he caught Alport goalkeeper Dave Parton off his line before seeing his long-range effort cannon back off the crossbar.
Alport, who were also looking for a first league win of the season, took the lead with five minutes of the first half remaining when a cross from the right was diverted in off a West defender under the close attentions of Alex Hughes. Jack Langford had a shot from the edge of the box pawed away by Parton as West looked for an immediate response, but just as it looked as though the visitors had done enough to go in ahead at the break, Joe Shaw whipped a free-kick inside Parton’s near post after Saul Henderson was felled 25 yards from goal.
Leather, rapidly becoming a Brookburn Road favourite, took centre stage 13 minutes after the restart with his first goal in West colours. It was a goal as simple as it was effective – taking control of the ball 30 yards out, he steadied himself before firing a fierce shot into the top corner which left Parton grasping at thin air.
West had surrendered a lead against Bootle two days earlier, but were far more solid after getting their noses in front on this occasion. Alport enjoyed periods of possession but Marcus Burgess had very little to do in the West goal as the visitors’ eventual efforts were either off-target or easily swept to safety.
The home side pushed forward and should have made the game safe when Shaw burst into the box but tried to play in Henderson when a shot may have been a better option. But a first success of the season was secured with eight minutes remaining – Leather cut inside from the right, exchanged passes with substitute Jimmy Woodward, and neatly finished over the advancing Parton.
West: Burgess, Botchey, Tinker, Andrews, Mason, Eckersley, Leather, Shaw, Bailey (Dos Santos 15 (Woodward 78)), Henderson, Langford (Brew-Butler 84). Not used: Eiselt, Banasko.