West Didsbury & Chorlton 3, Barnoldswick Town 2
This was another game where you felt Town should have come away with at least a point.
Barnoldswick fielded a team which was again stripped of players for various reasons, with Mark Threlfall, Liam Blades and Kieran Lee all missing, but they included new signing from Padiham Robert Lint in the starting line-up.
Once again Town shot themselves in the foot on six minutes as keeper Lyle Davy picked the ball up outside the penalty area and conceded a free kick. Scott Mason slipped the ball sideways to Steven Settle, who shot through a crowded goalmouth into the net.
Worse was to follow three minutes later, Davy parrying a shot at the near post into the path of Thomas Walsh, who found the far corner.
Town tried hard to get back into the match, and Bill Williams crossed into the penalty area, Aaron Hollindrake heading on the ball to Sam Howell on the edge of the box, but he screwed his shot wide.
At the other end, Mason shot over from a good position, and Walsh again missed a good chance on the half hour mark.
Town thought they had pulled a goal back after 33 minutes, as Joel Melia, who was causing a lot of trouble for the Didsbury defence, crossed to the far post, and Hollindrake, making up a lot of ground, netted at the far post, only for the linesman to rule him off-side.
Town did score a minute later, and it was no surprise that Melia was on target, as he wriggled past a defender on the edge of the area before shooting past Benjamin Simpson in the Didsbury goal.
Six minutes before half-time Melia again broke free down the Didsbury right, and he took the ball to the corner of the six yard box, Simpson saving his shot with his legs.
But right on the whistle, the Town defence failed to clear a ball and were punished as Walsh claimed his second goal of the half.
Town nearly scored on the hour, as a cross to the far post wasn’t cleared and the ball ran back towards the far post, Simpson and Hollindrake chasing the ball. Hollindrake won the race, but saw his shot come back off the post, hit the keeper’s legs and fall to another defender who cleared for a corner.
Town made their first substitution after 66 minutes , manager Paul Fildes replacing Connor Smith, and almost immediately Town won a free kick 30 yards out.
Harry Thompson delivered a perfect pass to Fildes, who took the ball on before crashing a great shot past Simpson.
Unfortunately it wasn’t to be as Town failed to break down the Didsbury defence again.
Town, after the Boxing Day home clash with Silsden, had no game this weekend.