Stafford Town became the first team to prevent unbeaten table-toppers West Didsbury & Chorlton from scoring in the league this season, a 0-0 draw making them only one of five sides to take any points from the current league leaders. Stafford defended superbly, especially in the second half as West looked to apply more pressure, whilst also looking a threat on the counter-attack; both sides battling hard in difficult, wet conditions as the pitch understandably deteriorated beneath their feet. The slippery, wet conditions made it difficult for either side to play the football they would have liked, West looking to apply pressure and get the ball into the box from out wide and set-pieces, whilst Stafford looked to hit them with pace on the counter, making for an exciting, tense game. There was a half-chance for West in the fourth minute, the ball headed wide from a right-wing cross. Following a mix-up in the West defence a Stafford corner found its way to Josh Wilson who hit the bar with a delightful curling effort. Stafford were displaying an outstanding defensive shape, Ryan Blagbrough, Matt Dudley, Ben Vangucci and Chris Anderson playing as a tight back four and dealing with a series of balls into the box and the occasional direct effort over the top. Stafford ‘keeper Sam Amedu was also doing his bit when called upon, saving well with his feet when the ball was headed down from a cross on the left. The West ‘keeper was also getting in on the act, making himself big to block a shot from a tight angle by Josh Oultram after he had been released down the left by Declan Arber. Just before the half hour, Stafford worked the ball out to Nathan Scott on the right, his low cross finding Oultram in the box but his well-struck side foot finish was blocked by the ‘keeper who appeared fortuitously placed. After another West header was saved by Amedu, a clever Stafford throw-in to Arber in the box led to a nice set back and shot by Scott that was well saved. As half time approached, a dangerous-looking West attack through the middle ended with a shot that was dragged wide of the target. HT 0-0. West looked to up their game in the second period and put Stafford under more pressure, making them defend the threat of shots from the edge of the box in addition to the crosses they saw in the first half. There was a great chance for Stafford two minutes into the half, a ball by Anderson sending Arber free but he did not manage a clean connection on his shot and dragged it across goal. After a West shot from the edge of the box was saved, a short corner minutes later by Stafford resulted in a ball into the box that dropped invitingly for a finish, West scrambling the ball away dangerously close to the goal-line. West then had two good chances, the first a shot that was blocked for a corner and the second a free kick from a wide area that was headed off target. Stafford then wasted two chances on the counter; poor final passes seeing them come to nothing. Amedu was becoming the star of the game as West really put the pressure on in the final thirty minutes or so, making a top save in the 60th minute on a rare occasion that a West player found himself free in the box. Ben Wood had been battling hard in midfield all match and he made an outstanding last-ditch tackle to prevent a dangerous looking attack in the 63rd minute. In the 89th minute Amedu made the highlight reel again, saving an initial effort from the edge of the box and somehow recovering himself to block the follow-up at close quarters. Stafford were then forced to play almost eight minutes of injury time, Amedu pushing away another shot from distance early on. There were a final couple of chances for Stafford too, Oultram rounding the ‘keeper on the edge of the box on a breakaway but he was forced wide in doing so and appeared to get a nudge in the back by the recovering defender, although it was not clear if it should have been a foul and subsequent penalty. Young Stafford substitute Morgan Payne also attempted a speculative lob of the ‘keeper on a final break, but the West stopper backpedalled quickly enough to pluck the ball out of the air. FT 0-0. Stafford’s final two games of 2021 are both home affairs at Evans Park; East Staffordshire rivals Rocester visiting on Saturday 18th December followed by the clash with Maine Road on Holiday Monday 27th December.