West 3-1 Burscough – West Didsbury & Chorlton AFC

West 3-1 Burscough

Saturday 4th February 2023, NWCFL Premier Division

West 3 (Davis 9, C. Jones 28, Kirongozi 56)
Burscough 1 (Boydell 78)
Att: 682

West secured a second NWCFL Premier Division win in a week with an assured victory over relegation-threatened Burscough.

Rhain Davis and Callum Jones gave Chris Rowley’s side a commanding half-time lead with Jean-Jacques Kirongozi adding a third after the break, ensuring Adam Boydell’s late Linnets goal was a mere consolation.

With half an eye on next weekend’s FA Vase trip to Coventry Sphinx, Rowley shuffled his pack – Matthew Cook had a rare weekend off, with new signing Keil O’Brien stepping in for Ben Hampson. Kirongozi, who opened his West account in Tuesday’s win at Wythenshawe Town, operated as the point of West’s attack, with substitute Ben Elliott’s name returning to the teamsheet for the first time since his injury at AFC Liverpool.

Despite the changes, West made a confident start to proceedings, helped by an assured debut from former Trafford man O’Brien. The home side were ahead inside ten minutes – Tom Westall’s cross-field pass found Billy Matthews, who jinked to the byline and pulled the ball back for Davis to scramble home his second goal in a week.

West continued to probe, with Ezeikel Eme going close, but a second goal arrived in more spectacular circumstances. Jones met a loose ball 30 yards from goal, and his first-time shot roared high past Linnets keeper Charles Monks and found the net via the inside of the left-hand post.

Matthews was the architect of West’s third, eleven minutes after the restart – again making his way to the byline on the right wing, and firing a ball across the face of goal for Kirongozi to slide home at the far post.

With the points secured, attentions began to turn more fully to next week’s Vase assignment in the West Midlands. Elliott was given a quarter of an hour as he looked to regain sharpness, firing across the face of goal with a late effort, while there was also a return for Jack Ryan – making his first appearance since the Lancashire Challenge Trophy win at Garstang on 21st September.

Burscough pulled a goal back with 12 minutes remaining, as Boydell hammered a shot through a crowd of bodies after an initial Linnets free kick was blocked. Andrew Jones was called into action to prevent a nerve-jangling finish, but West had done enough for maximum points and a momentum-building victory.

West: A. Jones, Graham, Westall (Dickinson), Delaney (Ryan), O’Brien (Hancock), Foulds, Matthews (Taylor), C. Jones, Kirongozi, Davis, Eme (Elliott).

Eckersley’s Plumbers & Locksmiths Player of the Match: Jean-Jacques Kirongozi.

What it means

We remain 9th in the Premier Division, though we do gain ground on Congleton Town after the Bears’ draw at home to Irlam.

What’s next

We switch focus to the FA Vase, as we travel to Coventry Sphinx in the Fifth Round (Saturday 11th February).