McDonnell breaks duck but Sandbach lose to leaders
5th Oct 2021 | Local Sport
A late winner saw West Didsbury & Chorlton extend their gap at the top of the table after beating Sandbach United 2-1.
The game was billed as the top fixture to watch in the NWCFL South before kick-off, with it shaping up to be a real '6-pointer' as the hosts looked to assert their position as league leaders whilst Sandbach hoped to maintain pace with the other promotion challengers.
Hockenhull opted to bring Chris Rowntree back into the side over Sean Moscrop, whilst Kallam Boyle and Robbie Hatton also earned starts.
Didsbury began the game well and looked a real threat going forward, living up to their status as the league's top scorers so far this season. It took until the 21st minute for Sandbach to register their first shot on target, as Jack Hart saw a low shot parried away to safety.
Stanley Tatters was next to step up from a similar range a moment later but only received the same outcome.
Dontai Gabidon opened the scoring for the home side when he took on a long-range strike on the half hour mark.
It looked to be comfortable for Danny Hamlett in the Sandbach goal, but a heavy deflection saw the ball veer off towards the opposite corner before trickling into the net.
Sandbach responded well to going a goal down and forced a fantastic diving save minutes later after a Robbie Hatton curler needed stopping.
The next chance also fell the way of the visitors when a great low cross from Kallam Boyle was very close to Ollie Pope tapping home, but it just evaded the forward.
The Ramblers looked well on top and got their deserved equaliser in the 41st minute through Bobbie McDonnell. Callum Chapman lifted his head up from his advanced right-back position and sent in an excellent cross to the striker.He then produced the goal of the game with a wonderful touch to control it, before lashing a brilliant half-volley across the goalkeeper in one motion into the bottom left corner. McDonnell thought he had a second goal 6 minutes into the second half after a beautiful passing move from Sandbach culminated in a composed finish from the young striker, but the linesman raised his flag for offside and the goal was chalked off. The home side continued to prove they were a threat going forward despite a good start to the second half from Sandbach, and Sam Heathcote clipped the top of the crossbar in the 55th minute with a powerful free kick, although Hamlett did appear to have it relatively covered. Substitute Billy Buckley has proved since his re-signing for the Ramblers that he can produce the spectacular, and almost did just that in the 67th minute with a wicked, whirling strike that looked destined for the top corner before a brilliant fingertip save from Jones turned it away. The hosts threatened throughout the contest with their size and physicality from set pieces, and it was indeed a goal from a set piece that turned out to be the winner in the 89th minute. A free kick into the box was bundled home by Marcus Dibble from close range, but it was not without controversy. Several Sandbach players had questioned the decision to award the home side a free kick after it appeared that Boyle had made minimal contact with his challenge for the ball, but the decision stood, and the league leaders had the decisive goal both sides had been chasing throughout the second half. Despite the Ramblers' best efforts, an assured defensive performance in the final few minutes saw Sandbach fall to defeat at the Step Places Stadium. The defeat sees Sandbach remain in 5th place in the NWCFL, but victories for the rest of the chasing pack means the Ramblers are now 5 points behind 4th-placed Abbey Hey. They travel to Stafford Town next weekend.