Saturday October 28th
North West Counties Football league First Division South
Brocton 2 Alsager Town 1
Brocton came from their first class 8-0 win at Market Drayton with only Christian Blanchette coming in from the bench to replace Adam Weldon. The bench had returns for Dan Evans and Lucas Green-Birch and a second chance for youngster Ben Hackett. A tough game was expected as Alsager Town had shown themselves to be a good match for the Badgers.
Early exchanges confirmed that opinion with Brocton coming close via a Will Whieldon shot deflected wide and showing slick combinations between Tom Vaughan, Christian Blanchette and Morgan Payne, the latter going close with a header . Alsager mounted a quick break themselves and the eventual shot was hit wide. On just 7 minutes, the same Vaughan, Blanchette, Payne move foundered in the box with a good block and Alsager's long response had to be swept by an alert Tony Allsopp in Brocton's goal.
A long throw showed another string to Alsager's bow and on 12 minutes one was launched high into the box and headed high again. Tom Vaughan was able to head the ball out for a corner., which in turn found an attacking head, but pressure was enough to ensure that the effort went high.
Brocton found joy down the right flank and the best of these moves was only brought to a halt when the elusive Blanchette was fouled. Nothing came from the free kick, but the very next attempt had Blanchette on the end of the move to slot home on 33 minutes.
Alsager did not wilt and were able, through their long throws, to get close to Brocton's box, but were unable to make the position count and it was Morgan Payne, who controlled a long ball from Tony Allsopp, who set up another chance for Brocton. Payne was able to find Blanchette and this time, when he was brought down the result was a penalty for the home side. Will Whieldon stepped up and his strike was good and true but Jacob Kirwan was equal to it, chose correctly and pulled off an impressive save.
There was still time in a breathless half for Payne to hit wide when well placed, for Alsager to threaten via a free kick defended well by the Badgers and for Reg Smith, who to that point had found himself having to battle for every ball. getting free and hitting a powerful strike across the goal mouth with no one able to turn it in.
Half Time: Brocton 1 Alsager Town 0
Alsager substituted Louis Johnson for Jacob Stretch at half time. It was soon Brocton in attack with the combination of Vaughan, Smith and Blanchette winning a corner. Alsager Town beat it away and a quick break had Kenny Devoir having to defend well and happy to give away a throw. The Alsager Town pressure continued with a high cross needing a Tony Allsopp punch in an attempt to clear. the ball was headed back at goal and still needed to be cleared off the line.
Brocton could have increased the lead on the hour mark when a free kick into Reg Smith's feet saw him turn and strike well, bringing a fine save from Kirwan at the foot of the post. Blanchette then had two chances in quick succession, both when under pressure and on both occasions could only find a well placed Kirwan.
On 68 minutes Brocton replaced Charlie Marshall and Morgan payne by Dan Evans and Lucas Green-Birch and five minutes later Alsager Town brought on Sam Latham, who was returning from a long lay off, for Jordan Cobley. Unfortunately for Latham, the first tackle saw him exacerbate the injury and have to come off, being replaced by Brevin McCurdy.
Ten minutes later, Brocton continued with their substitutions replacing the excellent Will Whieldon with Cameron Osborne. Alsager Town, almost immediately, took a leaf out of the Brocton play book with a slick move of their own down the right flank where the industrious Saem Son had been impressive all game. Ryan Jackson took the ball into the area and brought Alsager level with a clean strike.
Brocton do not wilt themselves at a set back and Connor Haddaway hit a tempting deep cross which was headed down but came to nothing. With Brocton now threatening deep into Alsager Town territory, a foul just outside the box gave Reg Smith a chance. Despite Kirwan screaming at his defensive wall to cover the goal, Smith was able to power his shot low into the corner of the net and put Brocton back in front.
The final moments had mixed fortunes for the home side. The lead was maintained, but Jake Thomas had a nasty injury as he fell from a height onto his neck when contesting a header. The injury gave youngster Ben Hackett him his first taste of senior football as he replaced Thomas for the remainder of the match.
Full Time: Brocton 2 Alsager Town 1: Attendance 118
Brocton: Tony Allsopp, Charlie King, Charlie Marshall ( Dan Evans 68 ), Kenny Devoir, Tom Vaughan, Will Whieldon ( Cameron Osborne 78 ), Christian Blanchette, Jake Thomas ( Ben Hackett 88 ), Reg Smith,Connor Haddaway, Morgan Payne (Lucas Green-Birch 68 )
Sub not used: Alex Curtis
Alsager Town: Jacob Kirwan, Saem Son, Chris Hunt, Louis Johnson ( Jacob Stretch 45 ), Liam Kettle, Lukas Jacobsen-Murphy, Jordan Cobley ( Sam Latham 73 )( Brevin Curdy 75 ), Jack Hart, Ryan Jackson,Kallam Boyle, Oliver Pope.
Subs not used: Ben Chesters, Jack Woolley