Saturday February 18th
North West Counties Football League First Division South
Brocton 2 Eccleshall 1
Brocton named an unchanged starting line-up from the side that won at Abbey Hey last weekend. Jack Bostock and Will Finlay returned to the squad with places on the subs bench. Eccleshall came into the game with one of the meanest defences in the league and in positive vein after stopping Cheadle Heath Nomads recent run of victories in midweek.
Brocton made their usual fast start with Ben Haddaway firing over the bar after just 46 seconds. Eccleshall too had an effort inside the first two minutes with leading scorer Chris Boast also clearing the crossbar with his first attempt on goal. Brocton took the lead in the third minute. The ball was played into the penalty area for Christian Blanchette. He won a 50/50 challenge and when the ball broke free, Jake Thomas placed his shot past Aaron Woolrich. Eccleshall responded with a fierce shot from Mitchell Glover which was well blocked by Ben Haddaway. Moments later, a mistake from Tony Allsopp almost let in the visitors but Tom Vaughan was on hand to clear. Brocton went close to doubling their lead in the 9th minute. A ball forward came off the back of Blanchette into the path of Will Whieldon and his volley was inches over. Blanchette then was just wide with another effort as Brocton pushed for a second. In the 15th minute, a superb ball from Reg Smith into the area, was met by Blanchette who beat the keeper, with his header looping over the crossbar. Blanchette had another chance two minutes, later a pinpoint through ball from Connor Haddaway, inside the defender, and Blanchette lifted his shot over the bar. Brocton were made to pay for their misses when Eccleshall equalised in the 22nd minute. Glover picked up the ball on the left, cut inside and fired a shot into the net off Allsopp. A long throw from Blanchette was flicked on by Thomas at the near post, and Whieldon couldn’t divert it past Woolrich. Woolrich kept the scores level in the 33rd minute, tipping a volley from Whieldon onto the crossbar. Eccleshall should have taken the lead a couple of minutes later. A ball across the box from Jordan Flattley picked out the unmarked Boast and somehow he turned the ball wide of the post from in front of goal. Whieldon tried his luck again but failed to keep his shot down. In the 38th minute, Eccleshall wasted another glorious opportunity. Glover, in space, simply had to hit the target but he blasted his shot over the bar. On the stroke of half-time, a shot from Smith was well gathered by Woolrich.
Half-Time: Brocton 1 Eccleshall 1
Smith had the first effort of the second half, volleying over the bar from a tight angle. In the 53rd minute, a floated ball into the area from Connor Haddaway was headed wide by Smith. Brocton should have taken the lead a minute later, a driving run from Thomas saw his cross flicked goalwards by Blanchette, the ball taking a deflection away from goal. The game was flowing end to end. Boast beat Vaughan and his shot at the near post was well caught by Allsopp. In the 62nd minute, Eccleshall had the ball in the net, the header at the far post being ruled out for offside, much to the chagrin of the visitors. Brocton re-took the lead in the 72nd minute. A first time ball from Adam Weldon sent Blanchette clear. His shot was well saved by Woolrich but substitute Morgan Payne, on the field for less than three minutes, was on hand to tap in the rebound. Payne had the ball in the net again three minutes later, turning in a free-kick at the far post. Again, this was ruled out for offside with Brocton now nonplussed by the decision. Some excellent approach play from Brocton ended with Smith skimming the bar with a fierce shot. With five minutes left on the clock, Brocton were indebted to Jack Bostock for an excellent defensive header and to Allsopp for a flying punch to clear his lines as Eccleshall pressed hard for an equaliser. Luke Lewis had a shot which was deflected for a corner but try as they might they could not get past Allsop. As the game approached full-time, a challenge from Boast sparked a confrontation in the middle of the park. When the referee eventually restored order, Brocton saw out the nine minutes of added time to record their thirteenth win in fourteen league games, a remarkable run.
Full-Time: Brocton 2 Eccleshall 1 Attendance:127
Brocton: Tony Allsopp, Adam Weldon, Jake Triggs, Kenny Devoir (Jack Bostock 45), Tom Vaughan, Ben Haddaway (Morgan Payne 69), Will Whieldon, Jake Thomas, reg Smith, Connor Haddaway, Christian Blanchette (Charlie King 83). Subs (Not Used): Luke Haddaway, Will Finlay
Eccleshall: Aaron Woolrich, Jordan Darlington, Lewis Dunn, Ryan Pickup, Aiden Blaise, Ethan Stanton (Luke Lewis 79), Jordan Benton (Lucas Green-Birch 76), Callum Feeney (Ryan Malbon 82), Chris Boast, Jordan Flattley, Mitchell Glover. Subs (Not Used): Mark Groom, George Woodruffe
Yellow Cards: Triggs, Vaughan, Whieldon (Brocton), Pickup, Flattley, Glover (Eccleshall)
Sin Bin: Lewis (Eccleshall)