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Badgers go four clear

Tuesday 26th March

North West Counties Football League First Division South

Abbey Hulton United 1 Brocton 3

Brocton were forced into a number of changes from the side that won at Maine Road. Reg Smith (suspended) and Adam Weldon (unavailable) were replaced by Christian Blanchette and Josh Simcox. Jake Thomas replaced Ben Haddaway, who took his place on the bench, in midfield. Abbey Hulton were playing their first game for a month due to a mixture of weather and the vagaries of the NWCFL fixture gurus!

It was the home side that shook the league leaders in the 2nd minute by taking the lead. Jamie Turner swivelled on the edge of the box and sent a fierce shot past a motionless Tony Allsopp. In the 5th minute, an overlap from Charlie King won the first of many corners for Brocton. Brocton should have been level in the 9th minute. Will Whieldon found space but his ball into Morgan Payne was a poor one and Abbey cleared their lines. The home side were causing Brocton problems with their pace and direct balls over the top. From a quick break, Bradley Wilson cleared the bar with an effort. Brocton gradually began to dominate possession and they were level in the 20th minute. A mistake at the back allowed Whieldon to drive forward. He beat the defender, checked back and calmly side footed the ball into the corner giving Barry Weston no chance. Brocton went close to taking the lead three minutes later. Simcox, with his best performance in a Brocton shirt, crossed low. The ball was met by Payne on the volley but well blocked by an Abbey defender on the line. Brocton were not to be denied and they took the lead on the half hour mark, skipper Connor Haddaway curling a superb shot over the keeper from 25 yards. Brocton were now playing the type of football that the large contingent of away supporters have got used to. In the 39th minute, a cross from the left picked out Thomas in front of goal but on this occasion a rare piece of poor control allowed the ball to bobble towards Weston. Chances were coming thick and fast. Thomas turned provider for Whieldon, and he side footed past the post with Weston beaten. It should have been three a minute into stoppage time. Whieldon beat Weston to the ball, laid it on a plate for leading scorer Payne who inexplicably put his shot wide with the goal at his mercy. A minute later, Payne raced through, and with Christian Blanchette in acres of space to his left, chose to chip the keeper and cleared the bar.

Half-Time: Abbey Hulton United 1 Brocton 2

Abbey started the second half in a similar manner to the way they started the first. A minute into the half, Matt Ward was off target with a shot when he should have made Allsopp work. In the 54th minute, Wilson again cleared the bar with an effort. Again, Brocton regained the ascendancy In the 58th minute, the league leaders were inches away from a third. Payne beat the defender and the keeper, and his shot trickled towards goal. Blanchette arrived at the far post at the same time as Callum Woolrich and it was the home defender that scrambled the ball away. Brocton continued to press. An overlap from Connor Haddaway was cut out by the defence, the ball falling invitingly for Whieldon who blasted wide. In the 65th minute, a clever spin from Payne sent him clear and his cross across the face of goal could not be turned home. Brocton got the third goal they deserved in the 67th minute. A corner from Connor Haddaway was not dealt with by the Abbey defence, and Blanchette was on hand to force it over the line despite a valiant attempt to clear from a home defender. Brocton should have had a fourth in the 77th minute. Weston gave the ball away to Whieldon, and with an empty net to aim at, hoe put it inches the wrong side of the post. The home side rallied with Turner and Courtney Franklin having decent chances, but Brocton remained in complete control to move four points clear at the top of the table.

Full-Time: Abbey Hulton United 1 Brocton 3 Attendance:104

Abbey Hulton United: Barry Weston, Callum Woolrich, Sam Wytcherley (Courtney Franklin 77), Joe Lewis, Daniel Allen (Jake Wood 65), Matthew Plant, Aiden Lloyd (Jayden Shepherd 74), Jack Gumbley, Bradley Wilson, Matthew Ward (Benjamin Shipley 79), Jamie Turner (Max Gardner 89)

Brocton: Tony Allsopp, Josh Simcox, Matty Bestall (Ben Haddaway 61), Kenny Devoir, Tom Vaughan, Charlie King, Will Whieldon, Jake Thomas (Charlie Marshall 81), Morgan Payne, Connor Haddaway (Lucas Green-Birch 83), Christian Blanchette (Cam Osborn 71). Sub (Not Used): Seb Conaghan

Yellow Cards: Woolrich, Allen, Plane (Abbey Hulton); Blanchette (Brocton)


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