Report: Brocton 1-2 West – West Didsbury & Chorlton AFC

Report: Brocton 1-2 West

Tuesday 18th January 2022, NWCFL First Division South

Brocton 1 (Osborne 31)
West 2 (Elliott 80, Devoir og 90+2)
Att: 128

West snatched three points from Brocton’s grasp with two late goals to extend their lead at the top of the First Division South.

With ten minutes remaining, Chris Rowley’s side were staring down the barrel of a second league defeat of the season thanks to Cameron Osborne’s first-half opener. But in a dramatic denouement, Ben Elliott’s 18th goal of the season levelled the scores, before Badgers skipper Kenny Devoir turned the ball into his own net in the second of eight minutes of second-half stoppage time.

Devoir’s inadvertent winner was in keeping with an incredibly untidy affair that was played to the soundtrack of the referee’s whistle, but the West players and supporters’ celebrations at full time showed the importance of a win that creates a three-point gap at the top of the table.

West had swatted aside Brocton in M21 in the sides’ September meeting, but the Badgers – unbeaten in six prior to kick-off – were a completely different proposition on their own patch. Lee Gavin had the clearest chance of the opening period, scooping over the bar when well-placed, but the home side capped a period of pressure just after the half-hour mark when Osborne converted a low right-wing cross.

The visitors responded strongly but after Elliott and Liam Delaney couldn’t decide who should strike a loose ball in the box and Sam Heathcote saw a header deflected just wide of the post, West went into the interval behind. It was thanks to Andrew Jones that the deficit was just one goal, with the West keeper producing a crucial block in the dying moments of the half.

If the stop-start first period wasn’t one for the purists, the second was suited for masochists with football occasionally interrupting the stoppages. Despite this, the sides did manage to eke out half-chances – Heathcote’s free kick from the edge of the box was blocked by the Brocton wall, while Jones had to be alert to prevent the home side from grabbing a decisive second.

With 80 minutes on the clock, West broke through the Badgers rearguard with a classic striker’s goal from the excellent Elliott. After Dontai Gabidon had been upended on the corner of the box, substitute Callum Jones’ free-kick was powerfully headed into the top corner by the West number 9.

The game belatedly began to open up as West chased maximum points, and Gabidon’s shot was pawed away by home keeper Tony Allsopp after the winger had created space in the box. But it was the home side who handed a winner to West with a goal that could only be filed under “calamitous” from their perspective. After Elliott had nodded a loose ball into the Brocton area, Devoir’s header caught Allsopp unawares and rolled inexorably into the net.

Six minutes of stoppage time remained, but a further twist never looked likely to materialise and West were able to see out the game. The final whistle was met with a mixture of relief, disbelief and joy among the West contingent, as Chris Rowley’s side claimed three more hard-earned points.

West: A. Jones, Cook, Hancock (Westall 82), Delaney (C. Jones 76), Dibble, Heathcote, Eme (Cain 62), Gavin, Elliott, Davis, Gabidon. Subs: C. Jones, Westall, Ryan, Cain, Swift.

Eckersley’s Plumbers & Locksmiths Player of the Match: Ben Elliott.