FT: Wythenshawe Town 0 Eccleshall 2
Eccleshall travelled to Wythenshawe Town on Saturday with the record home defeat back in September still fresh in the mind. Since then there has been a change in management and playing personnel. Kyle Adams and Craig Bould introduced new signings Louis McCarthy and Josh Graham into the starting line up with Callum Downie on the bench.
McCarthy was called into early action punching clear from a corner. Ben Steer was posing early problems on the right, firstly cutting in to the box leaving three Eagles defenders in his wake before being stopped for a corner. Then a cross into the area was half punched by McCarthy with the ball clipping the bar before being cleared. In the first fifteen minutes, Town had applied all the early pressure without capitalising on it. In reply, a Nwachukwu free kick was headed clear by Nia Bayunu. Eagles were coming more into the game and, on 19 minutes, took the lead through Bradley Carr. Graham won the ball and laid it to Carr who was running clear and his low shot went under advancing Town keeper Ben Purdham to find the far corner of the net. This inspired the Eagles as firstly, a sliced clearance by Purdham led to Graham crossing and Tom Wakefield headed over the bar and then another Graham low cross into the box evaded everyone when it needed just a touch to find the net. However, on 25 minutes, Eccleshall went two up when Graham scored on his debut. He ran on to a Harvey Collins through ball and, although Purdham got his feet to the low shot, the ball had enough pace to find the net. Town looked to get back with efforts by Steer and Lee Gregory either side of a shot by George Burslem as half time approached. The Eagles defence was holding firm to defy the Town front line.
HT: Wythenshawe Town 0 Eccleshall 2
With the second half under way, a low shot by Steer brought a good save out of McCarthy as Town looked to pull a goal back and then brought on Matt Landregan to boost the attacking threat. Eagles were knocked back on 60 minutes when Burslem found Graham for a good chance but he was flagged offside. Referee Clarke suddenly produced a red card for Burslem for a comment to the linesman, giving Town the opportunity to press forward with half an hour remaining. Eccleshall were now forced to defend in numbers, relying on breakaway opportunities to pose a threat. On one of these, Graham found Carr running clear and Purdham had to rush out to concede a corner from which Carr volleyed over the bar. Moments later, Jordan Benton tested Purdham, forcing him into a diving save. Further Town efforts to get a goal back were stifled by a resolute Eagles defence, superbly marshalled by Collins. David Neligwa came on for his debut for the injured Graham and soon after spurned a great chance to make it three when he misjudged a cross ball when it seemed easier to score. Steer, whose long throws into the box had caused one or two problems, hurled another one in which was headed over the bar. Wakefield beat three defenders before his pass led to Neligwa firing over.
This was a tremendous team effort which will put the Eagles in good heart for Wednesday evening’s tough home local derby against Stone Old Alleynians (7.45pm).
FT: Wythenshawe Town 0 Eccleshall 2
Eagles: McCarthy, Collins, Dunn, Benton, Johnson, Griffiths, Wakefield, Nwachukwu, Graham (Neligwa), Carr, Burslem.
Unused subs: Downie, Baker-Haynes.
Referee: Matthew Clarke
Following tonights match against Stone Old Alleynians, Eagles are on the road again on Friday evening when they meet FC Oswestry Town (8pm). The match has had to be brought forward due to their landlords, Welsh Premier League side TNS, having a Saturday fixture.