Report - Esh Winning 0-3 West Auckland
A West Auckland side down to the bare bones gained an impressive 3 points at Esh Winning. So short on numbers, goalkeeper David Lanning played as an emergency forward - and scored!
It took only 5 minutes for West to fashion an opening. Good quick passing involving Garthwaite, Lanning and Shaun Ross led to Adam Nichols finding space 20 yards out, the midfielder took one touch before volleying narrowly wide.
In the 10th minute Garthwaite, still only 17, played a delightful dinked ball into the box, just an inch or two too high for Ross who could not gather the ball in front of goal.
It was a very different role to normal for David Lanning but it was his hard work that started West’s next chance four minutes later. Lanning blocked a defender’s clearance, Nichols took on the ball and played in Daniel Olusoga and he came close to breaking the deadlock with a shot that hit the outside of the post.
Half fit keeper Billy Hanson was quickest to a through ball and cleared the ball to safety before Tony Hanson could get a rare sniff at goal. At the other end Brown had a half sighting of goal that was comfortably saved as the teams went in level at the break.
West though came flying out of the blocks after the restart – 2 minutes in Adam Nichols was clearly fouled in the area but the referee surprisingly waved away the strong protests. Perhaps this was still on his mind in the 50th minute when he did point to the spot for a foul on Daniel Olusoga although this looked much less clear cut. From the spot, Steven Brown sent Andrew Spence the wrong way to score the opener.
By the 54th minute, West had doubled their lead by an unlikely source when emergency forward David Lanning was coolness personified in front of goal, latching onto a defender’s misplaced header, and steering the ball calmly past Spence before being mobbed by his team mates – well except for Olusoga who was on the floor laughing in disbelief that a keeper had scored before him in a West shirt!
Lanning got little chance to add to this goal tally as he was back in goal shortly afterwards due to another injury. This time it was a purely accidental but bad injury as Tony Hanson caught keeper Billy Hanson on the side of his head with his knee, the young keeper starting to get to his feet before collapsing unconscious. After a long stoppage he came round and was helped from the field. Fortunately Chris Beckett had just arrived from work and he was straight onto the field as Hanson’s replacement, so West did not go down to 10 men.
Despite this goalkeeping change, it was West who continued to look the more dangerous going forward. Shaun Ross had a shot deflected wide for a corner and from this Ian Maddison headed just the wrong side of the post. Olusoga then set up Adam Nichols on the edge of the box, and his shot crashed off the post.
Olusoga himself was desperate for a goal his efforts deserved and in the 75th minute he tried to make room for his own shot before playing in Nichols, he cut the ball back towards Olusoga who again could not get room for a shot so he laid the ball back to Paul Garthwaite and the youngster smashed the ball past Esh’s substitute keeper for his first Northern League goal. (Spence had moved up front to replace an injured defender)
Nicky Martin flashed a shot inches over in a rare Esh Winning effort but there was never any threat of a comeback. In fact it could have got worse for Esh when a through ball released Nichols and Ross in the clear but the keeper tackled Ross to deny a fourth.