West Auckland 3-0 Whickham FC
Goals from Amar Purewal, Adam Mitchell and Rees Greenwood gave West Auckland Town a dominating victory over Whickham.
Purewal and Mitchell struck before half time and Spennymoor Town loanee Greenwood wrapped up West’s first clean sheet of the season late on as they climbed into 14th in the Northern League Division One table.
Matty Pattison was shown a straight red card for a rash late challenge on Mitchell with seconds remaining as Whickham stretched their winless run in all competitions to six matches.
Gary Forrest made three changes from Wednesday’s 1-0 defeat to Northallerton Town as Daniel Mitton, Nathan Fisher and Adam Burnicle were replaced by Mitchell, David Dowson and new on-loan signing Arron Thompson.
In sunny conditions, it was Whickham who threatened just four minutes in when Kieran Galbraith headed Pattison’s back post corner narrowly wide of Tom Flynn’s goal.
A few moments later, West had a promising chance of their own to take an early lead when Mitchell’s right-sided free-kick was whipped into the danger zone for Chris Hunter to attack though the former Darlington defender could only divert his delivery high over the bar.
West’s bright start paid dividends in the 18th minute as Purewal beat the offside trap, courtesy of a terrific pass over the Lang Jacks defence and finished confidently past Liam Connell in the bottom left corner.
Robin Falcus’s side looked for a reaction and nearly responded through Scott Robson, who found himself in on goal a quarter of the way into the contest, though Flynn was essential to West’s aid with a determined right-footed save.
Two minutes before half-time, West added more misery on Whickham as Mitchell latched on to a long ball over the top before impressively volleying home for his first goal at the Wanted Stadium this season.
Last time the two sides met in November, it was a thrilling seven-goal thriller, with West also coming out on top on that occasion and although this time it didn’t meet up to the same standards – it was a more professional defensive display from Forrest’s side.
On 64 minutes, ex South Shields starlet Carl Finnigan created good movement to get on the end of Galbraith’s free kick, only to see his close-range header expertly tipped over the woodwork by Flynn.
In what was a rather flat second half with chances at a premium, West had a few opportunities to add a late third. Firstly, a delightful through ball from Greenwood into the feet of Purewal was squandered as the frontman dinked the ball inches wide of the right-hand post.
And Dowson also came close to getting on the scoresheet only for a smart save by Connell to deny the Auckland Derby Day hero.
The Lang Jacks day went from bad to worse when Greenwood drilled home on the edge of the box as it took a key deflection along the way which wrongfooted Connell to wrap up West’s first clean sheet of the season as well as a second successive victory at home.
Next up for West is a League Cup (Group E) tie against Newton Aycliffe on Tuesday evening (19:30pm).
West Auckland – Flynn, Hegarty, Price, Dodds (c), Hunter(Burnicle, 45), Cobain, Mitchell, Thompson, Dowson, Purewal, Greenwood
Subs not used – Connor, Bell
Goal – Purewal (18), Mitchell (43), Greenwood (89)
Whickham – Connell, Howard, Hedley (Kay, 87), Little, Galbraith, Peareth (c), McAndrew (Cowburn, 67), Pattison(S/0, 90), Robson, Finnigan, Southern (Collins, 78)
Subs not used – Bulford, Grieve
Referee – James Welsh
Attendance – 151
Report by Harry Connor Crowe