by Matthew Durrant · 01/08/2017
December was a busy month for West as they took to the field seven times and saw no less than 27 goals scored at both ends.
The month began in Cheshire as Sett’s was forced to name a side dealing with injuries and featuring just two recognised defenders as they travelled to an in-form Congleton Town team. West took a deserved lead through Saul Henderson on the counter attack before the bears capitalised on a mistake from the otherwise superb Jordan Poole, playing centre back on the day, allowing them to draw level. Just as it looked like the teams would be forced to settle for a point Rick Bailey popped up with a stoppage time winner. It was his second winner in a month against West having previously done it for 1874 Northwich.
Three days later Radcliffe Borough extracted their revenge of being dumped out the Manchester Premier Cup by West as they defeated them on penalties in the quarter finals of the Lancashire Trophy. The game was overshadowed by an arson attack at the club the night before as West agreed to waive their share of the gate money meaning a bumper crowd of almost 300 was on hand. Despite falling behind just after half time Ben Steer brought West level and almost won it in 90 minutes before West crashed out from the resulting spot kicks despite Dean Williams best efforts.
The arrival of Kevin McGrath brought some much needed stability to West’s back line as their form improved to win the next three matches. The first was a thrilling tie against Winsford United in the back drop of the second West Annual Christmas Miracle. The offer of a free drink in exchange for a donation to the Chorlton Food Bank caught the area’s imagination as more than 251 people witnessed a classic as West ran out 4-2 winners thanks to goals from Saul Henderson (2), Matty Kay and Carlos Mendes Gomes.
Lifted by the occasion, the buoyant mood carried over to their next game as they upset high flying Glossop North End in the Quarter Finals of the Manchester Premier Cup at Surrey Street. Having fallen behind West quickly levelled thanks to the quick reactions of Joe Shaw before Nic Evangelinos scored one of the goals of the season to give West a brief lead before the hosts pulled it back before half time.
In the second half, West took an early lead through a sensational strike from Jonny Poizer, only restored to the starting line up moments before kick off after the discovery that Saul Henderson was cup tied, before Nic Evangelinos put the tie beyond Glossop in the dying seconds to send the travelling West support into raptures. A superb team performance capped off with an impressive display in goal from Dean Williams.
A third win in a row was secured on a first ever visit to Hanley Town on a cold final Saturday before Christmas. West took an early lead through a fine Nic Evangelinos volley before Hanley Town were reduced to 10 men with less than 10 minutes played. Hanley levelled from the penalty spot on the hour mark before Anthony Potts headed home in the games final quarter to hand West a deserved albeit hard fought three points.
Sadly West couldn’t maintain their momentum in their final home game of 2016 as a record crowd of 674 was on hand to witness the South Manchester Derby played the day after boxing day. West dominated proceedings having taken an early lead through Matty Kay but disaster struck as Maine Road were gifted a later leveller with West having to survive a late siege to earn a point.
West’s final display of 2016 summed up their season to date within one 90 minute spell as they raced into a half time 2-0 lead away to AFC Liverpool on New Year’s Eve. Goals from Joe Shaw and Saul Henderson didn’t reflect their dominance as they went into the half 2-0 up. However the visiting side rallied pulling level in quick succession before earning a late winner to earn their revenge for having been knocked out of the cup by West in August.
December saw West finish the month in 8th place having recovered from a season low 10th albeit having advanced to the semi finals of the Manchester Premier Cup against FC United of Manchester.
You can buy our 2016/17 Yearbook now. Created, designed and illustrated by Lew Currie, it features recollections, stats and writings on last season. Find out more here: https://wdcfc.co.uk/201617-yearbook-lew-currie-pre-order-launch-night/