Following their midweek victory at league leaders Brocton in the Edward Case Cup, Eccleshall travelled to lowly Winsford hoping to get their league form back on track. Manager Liam Kelly fielded the same starting line-up following the performance at Silkmore Lane, but the home side had picked up some decent results themselves of late and would provide a challenge.
On a very heavy pitch following overnight rain and a cloudburst on arrival, Eagles made a disastrous start going behind within a minute of the start. Burly striker Jeanny Leblank-Akpo ran on to a through ball before firing past Aaron Woolrich. They almost equalised within a couple of minutes when Mitchell Glover’s free kick was turned around the post by Winsford keeper Jerry Legrand-Akpo. Liam Hallam then headed over before a last-ditch tackle by Samuel Cryer prevented Jonathan Kapend advancing on goal. Eccleshall went two down on 18 minutes when Reece Davies lobbed the ball over the advancing Woolrich, although it looked like a blatant foul on Jordan Darlington leading up to the goal. Minutes later, the Eagles keeper had to make another fingertip save to prevent Davies netting again and then a header by Leblanc-Akpo hit the bar with Woolrich beaten. Eagles did find the net after 37 minutes through Darlington, but he was flagged offside. Max Raine was then running clear onto a through ball, but Legrand-Akpo ran out to blast the ball away. With the interval approaching, Davies fired wide from an easy chance before Woolrich made another good save from Leblanc-Akpo. Winsford had mastered the conditions far better than Eccleshall.
HT: Winsford United 2 Eccleshall 0
Eccleshall looked to get back in the game and Kelly made early changes with George Woodroffe and Luke Lewis coming on, but it was Winsford who almost added a third when Jamie Dawson’s effort was saved by Woolrich’s outstretched leg. Glover then went close when his shot went just wide of the post past the diving Legrand-Akpo. Josh Beamond was brought on for Kapend and then a Callum Feeney shot was well wide. Lewis, who had a couple of warnings from referee Walton was then cautioned for a lunging tackle. Glover was then unable to connect with a loose ball in the six-yard box before Kelly brought Kyle Diskin on for Feeney. Another Glover free-kick was held by the diving Legrand-Akpo before a Lewis cross found Hallam and his point-blank header brought a decent save from Legrand-Akpo. In added time, Woolrich made another save from Ross Aikenhead’s shot.
FT: Winsford United 2 Eccleshall 0
On the day, the very heavy pitch proved a great leveller and Winsford’s direct approach proved more successful than Eagles’ attempts with their usual flowing passing game. The result was a disappointment and Eccleshall now face two away games against Alsager Town, the first in the Macron League Cup on Tuesday before returning for the league fixture next Saturday. This result proved another blow against pre-season ambitions for the play-offs and next week’s games will be a test.
Eagles: Woolrich, Benton (Woodroffe), Darlington, Glover, Warren, Minshall, Kapend (Beamond), Feeney (Diskin), Raine (Lewis), Robinson, Hallam.
Unused sub: Tomlin
Referee: Justin Walton