Remembering West’s 2012-13 Division One Trophy win – West Didsbury & Chorlton AFC

Remembering West’s 2012-13 Division One Trophy win

With our first game in the Division One Cup – known as the Cup this season for sponsorship reasons – coming up this weekend as we take on Nelson, the match will mark the first time the club has taken part in the competition since we lifted the trophy back in 2013. As well as being our last piece of silverware, it was also won over the course of a campaign which ended with then-manager Andy Nelson’s side promoted to the NWCFL Premier Division at the first time of asking: a feat that would be wildly celebrated by supporters at Brookburn Road were it to be replicated this season.

To mark the occasion, we’re taking a look back at a cup run that had a fair few twists and turns.

Starting with a bye in the first round, West met Atherton LR in the second on Saturday 24 September 2012 – a clear day at Brookburn Road saw goals from Danny Summers in the 33rd minute and a Michael Aston penalty in the 62nd progress to the next round, with 58 in attendance. Atherton would go on to finish 13th in the league that campaign, and currently compete in the Northern section of Division One having flirted with relegation a few times in the intervening period since this game.

The next round saw West travel to Ashton Town after the turn of the year, where a crowd of 20 saw West fall to a 3-1 defeat on Saturday 2 February. A late Michael Aston consolation was all Andy Nelson’s side could muster as they limped out of the First Division Trophy. Ashton would then go on to defeat Daisy Hill 3-0 on aggregate over the course of a two-legged semi-final before it emerged that they had fielded an ineligible player against West. Expelled from the cup, Ashton chairman Mark Hayes described it as his “darkest day” at the club, stating, “The error was an innocent mistake from the club’s management committee, who wrongly informed manager John Brownrigg that he could play a player, who had in fact already represented another club earlier in the competition”.

Ashton’s mistake meant the NWCFL was forced to hastily arrange a one-legged semi-final between the two sides eliminated by Ashton, with West welcoming Daisy Hill to Brookburn Road on Saturday 13 April – a game announced only 3 days prior, following a NWCFL statement on Town’s expulsion. 84 people – our best attendance in the competition to date – saw Tre Baldwin Willis win player of the match, scoring the second as West eased to a 2-0 win. Lee Malkin, a lynchpin of the side that season, notched the first. He’d go on to play an even more important role in the final, played just over two weeks later.

A big-ticket final requires a neutral ground – Runcorn Linnets’ own Millbank was chosen as the venue, with West running our first-ever supporter’s coach for the game, helping contribute to a relatively bumper crowd of 208 on Tuesday 30 April. Fellow finalists Abbey Hey had defeated Nelson 2-0, Holker Old Boys 1-0, and AFC Darwen 3-0 on aggregate en route to the final, and looked to have one hand on the trophy when they were awarded a penalty shortly before half-time. Fortunately, Hey could only find the post from the spot, and in the second period, Lee Malkin would score the only goal of the game in West’s first real attack, 70 minutes in. A nervy finish naturally ensued, but West captain Anthony Potts would finish the evening by lifting the cup and finishing a banner season for the club with an important piece of silverware.

Speaking to the NWCFL website, manager Andy Nelson said: “It was a little unexpected in the end, I felt they were the better side. I thought they seemed to lose their free flowing football when we went 1-0 up, and if they had carried on playing they were playing, they would probably have got back in it. We rode our luck in the second half, another referee might have given them a penalty and they were guilty of some poor finishing after some good moves, but when you have good shape and pace up front, you have a chance and we knew that we had pace up front to cause problems, and Lee Malkin has real quality and that showed.

“It’s a great finish to the season for us. We have come into a league where I’m sure many thought we’d do well just to survive. I’ve not used many players this season, we have a very settled squad and I think that gives us an advantage. We’ve kept to a squad of 17-18 throughout the season, and I think you saw the benefit of that tonight, where they all dig in for each other. They have a great attitude and we have a good camp, and I’m delighted that they have earned a medal this season”.

The West squad that day: Benjamin Simpson, Callum Jones, Scott Jones, Anthony Potts, Callum Schofield, Michael Aston, Gareth Thomas, Mark Woodcock, Tre Baldwin Willis, Lee Malkin, Lewis Schofield.
Subs: Steven Settle (for Tre Baldwin Willis 60), Thomas Walsh, David Kilbride Ratcliffe (for Scott Jones 86), Daniel Summers (for Callum Jones 46), Lee Shillito.

You can watch highlights from that fixture – sadly missing West’s goal – below.