West 3-0 AFC Liverpool – West Didsbury & Chorlton AFC

West 3-0 AFC Liverpool

Saturday 18th February 2023, NWCFL Premier Division

West 3 (McKnight 44, Foulds 64, Davis 90+4)
AFC Liverpool 0
Att: 832

Chris Rowley hailed his side’s “complete” performance as West secured an impressive win at home to AFC Liverpool.

Darren McKnight edged West ahead on the stroke of half time, before a dominant second-half display was rewarded with goals from Markell Foulds and Rhain Davis.

“I’m really happy”, said Rowley. “We’ve had some good results over the last few weeks, but there’s been some first halves where we haven’t started well or spells where we haven’t performed – whereas today we were pleased at half time. And we were able to get at them in the second half, believe in ourselves and move the ball better.

“I think we fully deserved the result.”

The opening period couldn’t have been much different from the first half when the sides met six weeks ago – in January, the Reds led 3-2 after 24 minutes, the amount of time it took before Ben Elliott volleyed West’s first half-chance wide this time around.

By that time, the visitors had passed up their clearest sight of goal, when Tom Douglas wriggled into the box and shot into the side netting.

But just as it looked as though the sides would return to the dressing rooms scoreless, Davis’ low cross from the right found the unmarked McKnight, who checked back onto his right foot before finding the net from close range.

Buoyed by the goal, West began the second period with vigour – McKnight and Elliott going close in the space of a couple of minutes – and a crucial second goal arrived in the 64th minute. Davis’ foray down the left wing was crudely ended by Finlay Heath, who was booked for his troubles – but a crueller punishment was to come when McKnight’s wicked free kick was forced home by Foulds, the centre-back scoring his first goal in West colours.

Rowley paid tribute to his wider squad after the game, saying “We’ve said that every member of the squad will be involved at some point over these next few weeks – we’ve got so many games and it’s hard work.”

One of his substitutes, Laurence Taylor – making just his third appearance since the turn of the year – had a vital role to play as West added an exclamation point in stoppage time. One of his first acts was to win the ball in midfield, before finding McKnight – and it was apt that the game ended with its two chief orchestrators combinining, as his pass allowed Davis to chip the ball past oncoming Reds keeper Jack McGovern.

West: A. Jones, Cook, Westall, McKnight, Hampson, Foulds, Kirongozi (Matthews 65), C. Jones, Elliott (Swift 75), Davis, Eme (Taylor 90). Not used: Delaney, Dickinson.

Eckersley’s Plumbers & Locksmiths Player of the Match: Rhain Davis.

Chris Rowley reaction in full

What it means

We rise to 8th position in the NWCFL Premier Division, leapfrogging Congleton Town and drawing closer to Prestwich Heys, who lost at Winsford United.

What’s next

Our league programme continues, as we head to the Neuven Stadium to face Bury AFC this Tuesday, 21st February (7:45pm).