Tuesday 22nd February
North West Counties Football League First Division Cup Round 1
Stafford Town 4 Brocton 1
Thanks to the impact of storms Dudley, Eunice and Franklyn, the pitch at Silkmore Lane was deemed unplayable and the decision made to reverse this league cup fixture to Evans Park. Brocton rested Kenny Devoir, Dan Evans, Brad Rolston, and Cam Osborne. Into the starting line-up came 16 year-old Jack Bostock for his first start, Adam Weldon, Christian Blanchette and Tom Vaughan.
It took 15 minutes for the game to settle and when it did Brocton took early command. A cross from Reg Smith skewed off the outside of Matt Dudley’s boot for a corner. Alex Curtis delivered the corner with Ben Haddaway heading over from a decent position. An excellent crossfield ball by Connor Haddaway picked out Curtis with Town doing well to force the ball out for a corner. Town’s first sign as an attacking force came from a long ball from Dudley, Declan Arber picking up the ball and forcing a corner off Vaughan. In the 22nd minute, Charlie Swingwood had an opportunity for Town but dragged his shot well wide. Within a minute, Brocton went close to an opener. Ben Haddaway was fouled on the edge of the area. Smith lined up the free-kick and struck a low shot which rebounded off the post. Luke Haddaway was on hand to hit the rebound goalwards and his effort was superbly blocked by the Town defender. Brocton were very much in control and Vaughan was off target with a header from a Connor Haddaway corner. In the 27th minute, Samuel Amedu was the hero for Town, twice saving well from Smith before Ben Haddaway cleared the bar. Smith was inches over when he clipped a cross from Connor Haddaway with Amedu beaten. Brocton finally got the goal their domination deserved in the 34th minute. A cross from Luke Haddaway saw Ben Haddaway challenge the defender and when the ball fell to Blanchette, he made no mistake. It should have been two, a couple of minutes later. Connor Haddaway played a ball perfectly into the path of Curtis, but his effort cleared the bar. Town began to rally and establish a foothold of their own. An excellent move by the home side ended with Ben Wood hitting the side-netting. Karen Danilian picked out Ravel Wallace in the area but poor control from the full back allowed Tony Allsopp to gather. At the other end, Amedu again thwarted Smith. As we approached half-time, Nathan Scott threaded the ball through to Arber and his shot was tipped past the post by Allsopp. A minute into stoppage time, Towne were level. Danilian received the ball from a throw in, cut inside and his low shot took a deflection as it flew into the Brocton net.
Half-Time: Stafford Town 1 Brocton 1
Brocton had the ball in the Town net two minutes into the second half when Connor Haddaway picked out Curtis, but the effort was ruled out for offside. Town took the lead in the 49th minute. A long ball picked out Scott on the right hand side. He controlled the ball, raced forward, and beat Allsopp with an inch perfect lob. It was now the home side in the ascendancy and Danilian created a chance for himself, but the shot was weak. On the hour, Morgan Payne forced a save from Allsopp and when the follow up fell to Arber, Luke Haddaway was on hand with a superb block. Town made sure their dominance counted in the 61st minute with a third goal. Scott, again down the right, outpaced Luke Haddaway and fired a superb low shot past Allsopp. The game boiled over in the 65th minute. A rash challenge by Danilian went unpunished and Ben Haddaway, went flying in with a reckless challenge. Madness ensued with most of the players, subs and benches involved in an ugly fracas. The aftershock was felt when the referee and his assistants finally came to a decision, after seven long minutes. Ben Haddaway was shown a red card for his challenge which came as no surprise to anyone. Devoir was then called over by the man in black and he too was shown a red card, much to his and everyone else’s astonishment. How many more would be taking the walk of shame? None. The referee decided to speak to both captains and leave it at that. Danilian could consider himself extremely fortunate to still be on the pitch. The atmosphere on the pitch had turned very ugly with the referee having lost all control and respect from both sets of players. With ten minutes remaining, Town added a fourth with another superb effort. Arber picked his spot from thirty yards giving Allsopp no chance. There was time for a third red card, this time for Town joint manager Dominic Heath after the linesman took offence at being sworn at! Brocton hunted a consolation with the final action of note being an excellent save from Amedu to thwart Smith yet again. Town thoroughly deserved their victory after an excellent second half performance but yet again, it was the performance of the match officials which was the main talking point after the game.
Full-Time: Stafford Town 4 Brocton 1 Attendance:158
Stafford Town: Samuel Amedu, Matt Dudley, Ravel Wallace (Jamie Weldon 52), Ben Wood (Matthew Pinder 62), Chris Anderson, Henry Smith, Nathan Scott, Charlie Swingwood, Karen Danilian, Morgan Payne (Dylan Cook 62), Declan Arber. Subs (Not Used): Ryan Blagborough, Harry Bowers
Brocton: Tony Allsopp, Adam Weldon, Luke Haddaway (Dan Evans 75), Jack Bostock, Tom Vaughan, Ben Haddaway, Alex Curtis, Jake Thomas, Reg Smith, Connor Haddaway, Christian Blanchette (Cam Jackson 75). Subs (Not Used): Brad Rolston, Cam Osborne
Yellow Cards: Swingwood, Danilian, Weldon (Stafford Town)
Red Cards: Heath (Stafford Town), Ben Haddaway, Devoir (Brocton)