West 1-0 AFC Blackpool – West Didsbury & Chorlton AFC

West 1-0 AFC Blackpool

Tuesday 6th December 2022, Lancashire Challenge Trophy second round

West 1 (Elliott 85)
AFC Blackpool 0
Att: 127

Ben Elliott’s late goal edged West past AFC Blackpool and sealed a Lancashire Challenge Trophy quarter-final berth.

Elliott’s opportunistic strike with five minutes remaining settled an encounter that had chances at both ends and averted a second shoot-out in four days – though Andrew Jones did repeat his heroics from Saturday’s win at Whitley Bay, saving a first-half penalty.

West’s weekend exertions on the north-east coast told, with Chris Rowley making eight alterations to his starting line-up, and the NWCFL First Division North visitors enjoyed the clearest opportunities in the opening stages. Jacob Gregory prodded wide with just Jones to beat, and the West keeper was called into action regularly as the Mechs looked to open the scoring.

The visitors’ clearest chance came and went with ten minutes of the first half remaining. After the referee ruled that Tom Westall had fouled an attacker on the byline, Ben Duffield – who scored two spot-kicks in AFC’s weekend draw at Daisy Hill – shot too close to Jones, who followed up his pair of shoot-out saves on Tyneside with another stop.

West emerged from the interval with renewed vigour as Mechs keeper Daniel Hall became increasingly engaged. The industrious Westall went close with a pair of attempts and had a penalty appeal of his own waved away, before Markell Foulds stepped out of defence and flighted a through-ball into the path of Billy Matthews, who could only shoot into Hall’s legs.

The visitors maintained a threat on the counter but West struck decisively with five minutes remaining. Chris Rowley could claim an assist as two of his substitutes were integral – Jean-Jacques Kirongozi’s wicked right-wing cross flew across the face of goal, with Joel Swift on hand at the far post to turn the ball back into the path of the obliging Elliott.

Kirongozi and Elliott then both had chances to put the tie beyond doubt, but a welcome clean sheet ensured that West are still on course to follow last season’s road to Leyland.

West: A. Jones, Graham, Westall, Taylor (Elliott), Vayro, Foulds, Matthews (Kirongozi), Delaney, Swift, Dickinson, Lewens (Eme). Not used: Cook, Miller.

Eckersley’s Plumbers & Locksmiths Player of the Match: Tom Westall.

What it means

We progress to the Lancashire Challenge Trophy quarter-finals, with the draw expected to be made following the final game of the second round – Charnock Richard v Padiham on 20th December.

What’s next

We return to league action on Friday 9th December (7:45pm), welcoming Ashton Athletic to M21.

Chris Rowley reaction