Washington 1-3 West Auckland
Midfielder Tom White returns to West, on-loan from Gateshead for a month. Tom previously turned out for West under Steve Skinner.
West Auckland were yet to lose a game in their league campaign and were sitting just one point behind league leaders Morpeth Town. Washington played hosts at the Nissan Sports & Leisure complex, still searching for their first win of the season.
West Auckland did not waste any time in showing the style of play that was serving them well this season, some neat link up play through the middle testing Washington keeper Daniel Gladstone early on. But it was a slip at the back from Michael Laws which gifted West Auckland the opener, captain Nathan Fisher pounced and slotted it into the far corner just seven minutes into the game.
Just three minutes later, a quick free kick allowed West Auckland the opportunity to double their lead but Adam Mitchell looped his shot narrowly over from a tight angle.
West Auckland continued to threaten with a lively style of play, causing problems for a patient Washington who were struggling to make an impact early on. While displaying discipline in their shape and a good deal of fight, Washington found it hard to string their passes together and were reduced to long balls going forward in the opening half hour.
Their first real opportunity came shortly after when Matthew Waters found himself with the ball at his feet inside the West Auckland area but some sharp defending smothered the shot and the save was made relatively comfortable for Adam McHugh.
As West continued to press, Washington were making attempts to disrupt the free-flowing style with Jordan Jewson and Jake Pickard both receiving lectures from the referee. But their attempts to spoil were in vain when, just after the half hour, West Auckland doubled their lead. A cross from the left travelled across the face of the goal before being turned back in by Amar Purewal and headed home again by Nathan Fisher. Washington were looking deflated as West weren’t showing any signs of letting up, fighting for every ball and winning most of them.
Five minutes from the half time whistle Auckland made it three, with little pressure on Adam Mitchell on the edge of the box he was free to pick his spot and beat Gladstone at full stretch.
However, a spirited performance before the break saw Washington create a handful of chances with Pete Watling coming close before they got off the mark through Matthew Waters who worked his way into the box and saw his shot in off the post. Going into the break, Washington had a life line.
In the early stages of the second half, Washington appeared rejuvenated, stringing their passes together and pushing for a second goal. However they almost came undone when goalkeeper Gladstone took one too many touches and almost had his pocket picked by the West Auckland striker.
At the other end, Washington were finding more joy with a string of good crosses and balls into deep. Gladstone made amends with a brilliant double save twenty minutes into the second half, denying West Auckland’s Amar Purewal and preventing his side from being killed off.
Five minutes later, Waters almost found the net again, turning sharply and getting his shot off but McHugh did enough with an awkwardly bouncing ball to deny Washington a second goal.
McHugh was called into action again minutes later, a drilled shot from Waters was well saved with Watling failing to put the rebound away.
Washington had done well to battle their way back into the game but as time drew on the score line suggested they had left it too late. The second half display contained a lot more spirit but the final stages of the game did not hold much opportunity in front of goal for either side.
West were happy to run down the clock as Washington pressed and the game finished with the visitors making the journey home with all three points.
West:- McHugh. Cobain. Holden. Colquhoum. Parker. Mitchell. Richardson. White. Fisher. Purewal. Wearmouth.
Subs:- Wood. Marron. Morris. Close. Galpin.
Goals:- Fisher 2, (7′ 32′). Mitchell (38′)