Ashton Town v West report continuedâ€Ś
On 8 minutes the linesman flagged for a foul on Tommy Walsh resulting in a red for the centre back before Mike Aston made it 3-0 from the spot kick. Ashton were very rattled by the decisions and it was 20 minutes before the 10 men created a chance only to volley well wide from close range. After 28 minutes it was 4-0 when Gareth Thomas split the home defence and Malkin scored with a superb lob over the advancing keeper. Ashton made 2 substitutions after half an hour but on 35 minutes things got even worse as their number 8 was carried off after a bad fall. In the 45 minute Ashton were awarded a penalty following a push from a corner but Ben Simpson made a stupendous save to turn the ball onto the post and behind for another corner which came to nothing. The second half was a scrappy affair as the dry and dusty pitch and high wind made it difficult to keep the ball on the ground. Callum Schofield rose highest to direct a header which the keeper saved under the cross bar but chances were few and far between at either end. The game was concentrated in midfield and West made little headway playing up the slope despite the extra man advantage. Walsh and Malkin gave way to Baldwin Willis and Summers after 53 minutes and as West stifled any prospect of a home recovery the game became very scrappy. On the hour things Mark Woodcock ploughed through the Ashton 7 on the touchline with a very poor challenge resulting in an unpleasant skirmish and scuffles between both teams. The justified red card followed with a second for Ashton and two Ashton officials were also dismissed from the technical area as they vented their frustration at the officials. Dave Kilbride came of for Aston after 80 minutes and the game stuttered to a close. Another great team performance when we totally outplayed the home side with some scintillating football in the first half hour and fully deserved the 4-0 win.
Monday 22nd April: Atherton Collieries 0 WEST 2 This was another hard fought victory on the road with Atherton pushing forward down the slope for the first half. However for all their industry there was little quality football as the ball was launched forward at the West defence with little interplay on the ground. The defence stood firm with Potts, Schofield and Aston displaying great composure under pressure and Ben Simpson pulling off another game changing save after 27 minutes to touch a great Colls free kick over the bar. A couple of minutes later WEST took the lead when a Gareth Thomas free kick fired low into the area and was deflected past the home keeper. The home side looked rather deflated as West began to play more controlled possession football and when the interval arrived it was 1-0 to WEST. We could not have had a better start to the second period as it was 2-0 within a minute of the restart. Gareth Thomas was the main man as he stepped up to curl in another superb free kick of even better quality than the finish at Ashton Town. Colls had no answer and West continued to look solid as a series of free kicks from all directions were fired or lofted into the West penalty area. West were defending with composure and great organisation reminiscent of the away victory at Formby which reignited the push for a high placed finish. The midfield and forward played their part too with industrious displays from Tommy Walsh and Tre Baldwin in front of the influential Woodcock. Ben Simpson was rarely troubled apart from a last minute effort from outside the area which flew wide of the post. This was a really professional display throughout the team again demonstrating the strength in depth of the squad and giving manager Andy Nelson a few nice headaches as the final two big games arrive today and next Tuesday night. Once again it was nice to be congratulated by the home club fans and officials who graciously recognised that we have fully deserved our two recent victories over a very competent and competitive Collieries side. Rob Turley
NWCFL 1st Division Saturday 27th April 2013