by Robert Lee · 13/12/2021
Saturday 11th December 2021, NWCFL First Division South
Stafford Town 0
West played out a goalless, but entertaining, Brookburn Road draw with Stafford Town.
Goalkeepers proved to be on top in a game which didn’t lack goalmouth excitement – Andrew Jones was the main reason the visitors didn’t go into the break at least one goal ahead, while visiting keeper Sam Amedu excelled in the second half to frustrate the West forward line.
Though the weather was not quite as violent as the previous weekend’s maelstrom in Sandbach, M21 was battered with driving rain almost from the second the referee blew the opening whistle. But like last weekend, the sides shrugged off the conditions to serve up an entertaining affair. West had comfortably beaten the Reds in Staffordshire in their August meeting, but this was a very different encounter and the visitors served notice of intent when Nathan Scott cut inside from the right before seeing his shot cannon off the crossbar.
At the other end, West’s best moments were coming from the wide positions. Dontai Gabidon looked to have supplied Ben Elliott’s 16th goal of the season when the number 9 met his cross at the far post, but Amedu provided an indication of things to come as he threw himself at the ball to deflect it away.
Jones needed to be equally alert in the opposite goalmouth as the visitors continued to create openings – a Stafford counter ended with the West keeper needing to beat the ball away, before striker Joshua Oultram’s shot from inside the area was diverted to safety by Jones’ legs.
If Stafford had edged the first period, West were on top after the restart as the majority of the action took place in the visitors’ half. However, clear chances were hard to fashion against an obstinate visiting defence – Elliott having a series of shots charged down and Marcus Dibble heading wide from a corner.
As the game began to reach its final act, West breached the Reds defence more regularly, but found keeper Amedu in inspired form. Gabidon forced a spectacular save when his angled drive was tipped out of the top corner, and when the wet conditions did lead to a Amedu handling error, he redeemed himself by getting his body in the way as subsitute Harry Cain looked to snaffle the rebound.
If West were destined not to win the game, they had to be careful not to lose it as the visitors posed a threat on the break. Oultram proved a constant nuisance and Jones was twice forced to burst from his line to prevent the Reds forward running clear on goal. West had the clearest opening during an elongated period of stoppage time, though, but Tom Westall was unable to keep his shot on target and the sides deservedly shared the spoils.
West: A. Jones, Cook, Hancock, C. Jones (Delaney 78), Dibble (Westall 84), Heathcote, Eme (Cain 65), Gavin, Elliott, Davis, Gabidon. Not used: Matthews, Swift.
Eckersley’s Plumbers & Locksmiths Player of the Match: Lee Gavin.