by Robert Lee · 21/12/2022
Tuesday 20th December 2022, NWCFL Premier Division
West 4 (Hampson 8, Eme 34, Delaney 82, Swift 90+2)
Ashton Athletic 1 (Wilson 65)
West signed off for Christmas with a comfortable win over Ashton Athletic.
Ben Hampson and Ezeikel Eme gave West a half-time lead against the league’s bottom side, with substitutes Liam Delaney and Joel Swift striking late after Calum Wilson had threatened a comeback.
Like much of the Premier Division, West were coming into this game off the back of a frustrating three-match string of postponements, and Chris Rowley’s side were keen to compensate for lost time – Ben Hampson converting a Curtis Miller corner inside eight minutes.
The Yellows responded well without forcing Andrew Jones into serious action, but Eme clinically seized control of the game just after the half-hour, latching onto James Hooper’s pass and finishing neatly past visiting keeper Joseph Smith.
West were unable to drive home their advantage in the opening moments of the second period, with the visitors gradually growing in confidence. Wilson reduced the arrears midway through the half, left free in the six-yard box to convert a set-piece.
The Yellows had pegged West back to claim a point in the reverse fixture on the opening day of the season, and a repeat looked like it may be on the cards as the visitors sniffed another leveller. But Delaney ended the game as a contest with eight minutes remaining, exchanging passes with Ben Elliott before placing a shot into Smith’s bottom corner.
Darren McKnight and Elliott had chances for a fourth as West finished strongly, but it was Swift who added the final gloss – robbing the ball from Smith inside the area, and rolling it into the unguarded net.
Swift’s goal added an exclamation mark to a result which consolidates West’s position in the upper reaches of the Premier Division table, and ensures the Christmas dinner will taste that little bit better on the back of a seven-game unbeaten run.
West: A. Jones, Graham, Westall (Lewens 61), McKnight, Hampson, Foulds, Miller (Swift 87), Dickinson (Delaney 70), Elliott, Hooper (C. Jones 81), Eme (Matthews 70).
Eckersley’s Plumbers & Locksmiths Player of the Match: Callum Graham.
The win means we consolidate 8th spot in the Premier Division, moving onto 37 points from 21 games.
We return to Brookburn Road on Boxing Day, taking on Charnock Richard (3pm).