LIVERPOOL SEFTON 1 – 1 KESWICK WEST CUMBRIA
This Sunday saw West’s second weekend fixture, travelling to face mid-table Liverpool Sefton.
Having secured an emphatic win on Saturday, West’s confidence was high and boasting a strong away record, the omens looked good for KWC.
This fixture was both team’s opening game of the current campaign which saw Wests run out 7-2 victors. West’s season has gone from strength to strength which sees them in a 4 way battle for promotion where the hosts have had a mixed season and currently sit just outside the relegation places. 3 Points for either side would be hugely beneficial for hugely different reasons.
Wests fielded a strong squad but were without James Fennell or Mark Bowen but did see Dan Chippendale and Olly Kendrick recalled to the squad.
Sefton also appeared to have some changes. Few faces were recognisable from the opening game which could lead one to make an assumption that this was not the squad of players that usually turn out on a weekly basis. One could also make the assumption that these new faces were called in from the club’s higher standard teams to strengthen their line up for this crucial game in their campaign. And One could even be as bold as to say if the team is not good enough over the course of a season for the league they currently find themselves in, then drafting in players from other sides to help them avoid the drop in close season fixtures ‘questions the fundamentals of sportsmanship’. One could say that.
However ethical issues aside the fact remains that the team Wests have fielded in every game over the course of the season their strongest team available, and for the majority of these, stuck within a pool of approx 16 players and it is those players that have earned Wests their position in the league. Hard work, not hand me down help.
Wests however could only play the team they were faced with and the patchwork effort that was before them had an admitted nice blend of youth, skill and experience making the game more of a challenge than league form would suggest.
The game began at mid-pace temp with the majority of the work being done in midfield although flourishes down the wing were utilised when appropriate.
Wests shaded possession but could only muster a couple half chances as the opening period passed by and it was Sefton who had the best opportunity dribbling though on goal and shooting only to be denied by a Harris.
Proctor battled well in midfield driving forward but was brought down before entering the D on numerous occasions allowing the home side to rebuild but was unlucky with a back stick effort.
On the stroke of half time Wests managed to get the upper-hand when Barnes turned nicely and lashed the ball into the goal to give KWC the lead at the break.
The second half brought about much of the same as the game continued to be a tight and closely contested midfield battle.
Wests began to get more of a hold on the game and began passing well with Paul Sloan a commanding role in the center. Eventually a couple of chances were crafter to double the lead through Barnes and Proctor but the home keeper was equal to both.
Although being reduced to attacking pretty much on the counter, Sefton began committing more bodies forward which in turn began creating a couple half chance but were sufficiently dealt with however with 10 minutes to go one such half chance resulted in the equiliser – a shot seemingly blocked took a wicked deflection looping high in the air and over keeper Harris issuing a cruel blow to Wests title hopes.
From that point Wests dominated and attacked at every turn of possession but could not break down the resilient home defence and were eventually lucky to leave with a point after a last minute counter attack was saved well by Harris to keep the game at a tie.
A frustrating afternoon for Wests who sit 4 points behind league leaders Morecombe with just 2 games to go, with next weeks game versus the leaders a must win in order to take the title down to the last game, but also with Lymm potentially just 1 point behind West – three points would take one more giant step towards promotion