Report: Stafford Town 0-3 West – West Didsbury & Chorlton AFC

Report: Stafford Town 0-3 West

Saturday 21st August 2021, NWCFL First Division South

Stafford Town 0
West 3
(Heathcote 4, Elliott 12, Matthews 48)
Att: 86

West made it nine goals and six points for the week with an assured win at Stafford Town.

Following Tuesday night’s 6-0 rout of Barnton, West were dominant again in Staffordshire and moved up to 3rd in the First Division South thanks to goals from Sam Heathcote, Ben Elliott and Billy Matthews.

Chris Rowley will be delighted with his team’s response after something of a blip in going three games without a win, with two big wins and two clean sheets establishing West as one of the league’s frontrunners after six games.

West started quickly on Town’s artificial surface and were ahead inside five minutes – Rhain Davis’ corner to the far post was inevitably met by Heathcote, who buried his header past keeper Henry Smith to score his ninth goal of a remarkable season.

Ben Elliott is another player consistently getting his name on the scoresheet, and the West forward made it two – and five for his season’s personal tally – eight minutes later. Davis was again integral, with his low shot proving too hot for Smith to handle and Elliott arriving on the scene to snaffle the rebound.

Elliott could have had a brace before the interval following good work from Matthews and Matt Cook, but he steered Matthews’ cross just the wrong side of the near post.

West were relatively untroubled at the other end – Connor Hancock and Marcus Dibble’s absences meant Dontai Gabidon, making his first start of the season, was at left-back and Josh Tinker partnered Heathcote in central defence. The only real scare came courtesy of Andrew Jones just before the interval as he pulled up clearing a ball into touch – thoughts begin to drift to which outfield player would don the gloves, but Jones resumed play after treatment.

The second half started as the first had, with West on top and finding the net. Jack Ryan was at the centre of a well-worked move, playing Matthews in down the left. The winger beat his man and coolly rolled the ball into the far corner for West’s tenth goal without reply across three games.

With his side three up and coasting, Chris Rowley handed a second debut to James Cottee and the returning striker made an instant impact, teeing up Elliott whose half-volley was well saved by Smith. Cottee was then inches away from a goal of his own – Callum Jones’ cross from the right found him on the edge of the six-yard box, but a Town defender intervened at the last moment to clear for a corner.

Jones ensured a second consecutive shut-out when he tipped over a Town effort in the closing moments. West will now look to solidify the promotion challenge with three home games in a row – starting with FC Isle of Man next Saturday.

West: A. Jones, Cook, Gabidon, Gavin (Cottee 62), Tinker, Heathcote, Davis (Swift 69), C. Jones, Elliott, Ryan (Delaney 60), Matthews. Not used: Lewis, Eme.

Eckersley’s Plumbers & Locksmiths Man of the Match: Dontai Gabidon.

Full gallery of images from Simon Cook.

Post-match reaction from Chris Rowley