LYMM 2 – 2 KESWICK WEST CUMBRIA
This week Wests travelled to Lymm for what promised to be a tough contest between two promotion chasing sides.
Wests headed into the game in second position three points ahead of the hosts, but having played a game more, today’s fixture was the classic ‘6 pointer’. As the season draws to a close only a handful of games remain so each game becomes more vital than the last and each point needs to be earned.
Having seen their grip on promotion falter somewhat over the past couple weeks Wests needed a strong display to once again stamp their name on the league and regain their early season momentum.
Having met three times over the past couple years both sides were aware of the threat the other posed and with the spoils currently being shared overall, the game couldn’t be set up any tighter.
Wests travelled with a strong squad and boasting a stronger away record than home, were well prepared for the contest.
The game began as expected with Lymm coming out of the traps early; Lymm needed the points more than Wests and from the off it was clear they knew it. A flurry of attacks followed the opening sparring but Wests held firm although found it difficult to get a grip on possession and their passing eye in.
Lymm continued to push forward with the off ball movement and precision play that has seen them win 7 consecutive promotion and finally the deadlock was broken. An attack down the left hand flank and interchanging passes allowed the striker the time to pick his place with a neat flicked finish beyond Harris.
Wests then began to take the game more to the hosts and although the game became more even, few chances were created on the home goal. Lymm themselves continued to cause problems on the attack but left themselves open at the back for potential counter attacks. Wests rode their luck and only a last ditch Mattear interception prevented a second. However with only a few minutes to go before the break Lymm doubled their lead following a neat series of basic triangle passes setting up an easy finish at the back post.
With their season possibly coming to abrupt end, Wests needed a strong second half. From the restart there was an air of new found intent and Wests immediately began pushing forward. The game was still very much a midfield battle but was more closely contested, eventually, the ball broke to the travelling attack and a short corner was given presenting Wests with a window of opportunity.
Cook out to Morgan with the offload to Bowen who struck fiercely towards goal which was saved but rebounded again to Bowen to lash another strike towards goal where Rikki Barnes bravely deflected the ball into the goal and the game was back on.
Wests continued to push and cause problems but lived life dangerously; twice Lymm worked their way round the back and cut the ball back across the goal line for the simplest of tap ins but twice the chance passed without the finish and West breathed a sigh of relief.
Still a tight encounter, Wests battled back and earned the equaliser. Morgan burst down the right flank and offloaded to Paul Sloan who set up Cook beautifully at the top of the D to unleash an unstoppable shot into the corner of the goal.
Wests now had the momentum and should have taken the lead; Wests won another short corner and amidst the folly of the setpiece the whistle was blown in favour of another Wests short, however an advantage would have seen Bowen strike the ball over the line for the goal.
As the game came to a close both sides had chances to claim all the spoils. Lymm were denied a simple strike on goal by an outstanding sliding interception from Morgan to keep the tie level and Proctor was denied by a brilliant save from the home keeper to finish the game all square.
With four games left to go, and with the top 4 teams all squaring off against at least 1 of each other, the top of the table could not be closer. Other results on the day leave 3 teams, incl Wests, having the Championship in their own hands while 4 teams can secure promotion. However with only 1 team to be crowned champions and only 2 to take the step to Div 2, the next 3 weeks are will make or break the entire team for the top 4.