Monday January 16th
North West Counties Football League First Division South
Stockport Town 5 Brocton 0
Brocton travelled to league leaders Stockport Town following two postponements in the past week. Brocton were forced into one change to their starting line-up with Morgan Payne coming in for the unavailable Ben Haddaway. Both sides came into the game in fine form, Brocton winning their last eight league games and Stockport winning their last five.
In below freezing conditions, the benefits of an artificial surface enabled the game to go ahead. It was the home side that started on the front foot. In the 5th minute, Scott McGowan ran through the Brocton back line, but his lob was over the bar. A minute later, the home side took the lead. Michael Raynes found himself in space and he clipped the ball nonchalantly over Henry Smith into the net. Things got even better for the league leaders a minute later. Excellent approach play from Stockport sent Dan McLaughlin clear down the left and his cross, across the face of the goal, was slid home by Kyle Foley. Brocton rolled up their sleeves and gradually gained a foothold in the game. In the 18th minute, Christian Blanchette won the ball on the left with a suspicion of handball, played the ball inside to Reg Smith and his shot was just wide. In the 23rd minute, the dangerous McGowan took aim and the shot hit Blanchette, the referee awarding a free kick for handball.
McGowan himself took the free kick and Henry Smith watched it carefully skim the outside of the post. Good work by Adam Weldon down the right created a chance for Jake Thomas but his shot cleared the bar. In the 26th minute, Brocton went close to pulling a goal back. Will Whieldon picked his spot from around 20 yards and forced a fine save from Josh Schofield. Almost immediately, Stockport snuffed out any potential comeback by bagging number three. Another excellent run by left back Will Calligan, saw his low cross parried by Henry Smith and Toby Green was on hand to tap the ball home. A three goal deficit seemed harsh on Brocton who continued to push forward. A cross from Weldon was half cleared to Payne whose volley was blocked. Excellent footwork from Reg Smith created space and his shot flew across the face of the goal.
The home side were quick to capitalise on any Brocton mistake and when the ball was given away cheaply, Green took the ball onto his left foot and forced an excellent save from Henry Smith. Chances were at a premium for Brocton and when they came the Stockport defence threw themselves into the path of efforts from both Reg Smith and Thomas. Stockport had a great chance to make it four with two minutes of the half remaining. A cross from McGowan picked out Foley but he shot straight at Henry Smith. McGowan then tried to chip the Brocton keeper, but the long arms gathered the ball. In stoppage time, a great break down the right from Ben Darby saw the ball come back to Sam Hare in space. Thankfully, for Brocton his connection was poor, and the chance was wasted.
Half-Time: Stockport Town 3 Brocton 0
If the half-time break gave Brocton the chance to regroup and come out with the intention of getting something from the game, those thoughts evaporated four minutes into the second half. McLaughlin was played into space and his lob beat Henry Smith. With everyone expecting a goal, Kenny Devoir acrobatically cleared the ball off the line. Unfortunately for Brocton, Green was on hand to collect the loose ball and fire it into the roof of the net. To their credit, Brocton continued to play the football which has seen them climb to third place in the table.
A cross from Payne, cannoned off Blanchette and trickled wide of the post. In the 57th minute, a surging run forward from Tom Vaughan finished with a wayward shot. Stockport broke quickly, Calligan’s cross deflected goalwards by Thomas and gathered by Henry Smith. Stockport had the ball in the net on the hour mark. A shot from McLaughlin was well saved by Henry Smith, the rebound being tucked home by Hare, but he was ruled offside. Thomas tried his luck from 25 yards with his shot comfortably held by Schofield. McLaughlin had another great chance for Stockport, spinning Jack Bostock and then blasting wide with only Henry Smith to beat.
McGowan wasted an opportunity blasting over the bar when he should have hit the target.
Brocton were awarded a free kick outside the box, and Schofield produced a fine save, tipping Whieldon’s shot past the post. Stockport scored their 5th in the 68th minute. Calligan beat Weldon on the left, played the ball inside to McGowan and this time the striker made no mistake with a composed finish. Brocton’s final chance of the game saw Weldon play an excellent ball through to Reg Smith, but the ball skipped off the ever greasy surface and away to safety.
Full-Time: Stockport Town 5 Brocton 0 Attendance:204
Stockport Town: Josh Schofield, Ben Darby, Will Calligan, Paul Turnbull (Matthew Russell 81), Tom Morris, Michael Raynes (Jamie Wrench 69), Toby Green (Will Shawcross 79), Sam Hare, Dan McLaughlin (Leandro Tanswell Vargas 64), Scott McGowan, Kyle Foley (Jamie Walsh 79)
Brocton: Henry Smith, Adam Weldon (Mario Novaku 83), Jack Bostock, Kenny Devoir (Jake Triggs 74), Tom Vaughan (Luke Haddaway 74), Morgan Payne (Charlie King 64), Will Whieldon, Jake Thomas, Reg Smith, Connor Haddaway, Christian Blanchette (Will Finlay 76)
Yellow Cards; Walsh (Stockport Town)