Tuesday 24th January
North West Counties Football League First Division South
Brocton 4 Ashville 0
Brocton made three changes from the side that were beaten by league leaders Stockport Town last week. Jonty Kearns and Jake Triggs replaced the injured Henry Smith and Adam Weldon, whilst Ben Haddaway replaced Christian Blanchette. Visitors Ashville were playing their first game under new manager Gary Jones.
It was the visitors that started brightly. In the 3rd minute, Peter Morgan was tripped outside the Brocton penalty area. The referee took an age to sort out the ensuing gathering of the clans issuing three yellow cards in the process. The free kick came to nothing. Ashville were awarded another free-kick in the seventh minute, Tom Hartley’s effort cannoning off the back of Connor Haddaway. Brocton’s first attempt fell to leading scorer Reg Smith who shrugged off the attentions of the defender and forced a decent save from Michael Dixon. Jake Thomas forced another fine save from Dixon, a pattern that was to be seen throughout the evening. In the 12th minute, a superb effort from Morgan Payne was deflected past Dixon’s post for a corner to Brocton. Ashville were playing balls over the Brocton midfield to use the pace of the forwards. One of these balls picked out the run of Ben Greenop but Kenny Devoir kept pace with the striker and blocked his shot. A flighted ball into the penalty area from Connor Haddaway was inches away from the run of Thomas. Brocton were into their stride playing the ball through the Ashville back line. Smith took a short pass, and his left footed effort flashed just wide. A period of one touch passes created an opportunity for Thomas but his shot was straight at Dixon. Brocton opened the scoring in the 28th minute. Smith beat the Ashville offside trap and forced a fine save from Dixon. The rebound fell invitingly to Payne who made no mistake. Brocton were hungry for more and Will Whieldon was narrowly wide with an effort from just outside the box. In the 33rd minute, a throw in from Triggs picked out Smith and his shot on the turn was well wide. Greenop was Ashville’s main threat and a rare foray forward saw him shoot wide from 25 yards. Dixon was a thorn in Brocton’s side, and yet again he pulled off another good save to thwart Smith. In the 41st minute, Connor Haddaway picked out Whieldon and he placed his shot but it was inches wide. Connor Haddaway went for goal himself, his shot taking a deflection and forcing an excellent save from Dixon. Deep into first half stoppage time, Joshua Maldon tried his luck from distance with Kearns saving comfortably.
Half-Time: Brocton 1 Ashville 0
Brocton began the second half dominating possession as they had throughout most of the first half. They doubled their lead five minutes into the half. Whieldon picked up the ball on the right, ran forward beating two defenders, cut inside onto his left foot and curled an exquisite shot int the far corner. The second goal allowed Brocton to relax and play some excellent football. In the 56th minute, Connor Haddaway left his defender on his backside with a Cruyff turn, his cross slightly too far in front of Smith. Twenty seconds later it was three, Whieldon finding space in the heart of the Ashville defence and clipping the ball over Dixon. Ashville continued to show a real fighting spirit and Greenop was unlucky with an effort that skimmed Kearns’ cross bar. In the 63rd minute, Brocton were awarded a free-kick, and Whieldon, looking for a hat-trick, shot straight into the arms of Dixon. Smith was again foiled by Ashville’s excellent keeper, lifting a shot from the edge of the penalty area which Dixon rose high to parry. The chances kept coming for the home side. Ben Haddaway played a one-two with Whieldon, but Dixon was on hand to save. Connor Haddaway unleashed a shot which looked to be heading into the net until a last ditch block sent the ball clear. Brocton’s fourth goal came three minutes from time. Charlie King spotted Blanchette in space and he took the ball in his stride and found the corner with another excellent finish. The spirit in the Badgers camp was summed up a minute from time when Will Finlay pressed near the corner flag to ensure that Ashville couldn’t get out of defence, His tackle brought cheers of encouragement from all of his teammates.
Full-Time: Brocton 4 Ashville 0 Attendance:75
Brocton: Jonty Kearns, Jack Bostock, Jake Triggs, Kenny Devoir, Tom Vaughan, Ben Haddaway, Will Whieldon (Will Finlay 81), Jake Thomas (Charlie King 81), Reg Smith (Mario Novaku 87), Connor Haddaway (Lewis Rowley 88), Morgan Payne (Christian Blanchette 71)
Ashville: Michael Dixon, Ellis Jones (Max Williams 73), Thomas Hartley, Nathan Haynes, Alfie Dwyer, Shaun Farrall, Daniel Hardman (Joe Dulson 65), Joshua Maldon, Ben Greenop (Lee Davey 73), Tom Davies (Gary Jones 77), Peter Morgan. Sub (Not Used): Kynan Mason
Yellow Cards: Bostock, Vaughan, Connor Haddaway (Brocton), Ellis Jones, Haynes (Ashville)