Saturday 5th February
North West Counties Football League First Division South
Brocton 0 FC Isle of Man 1
Brocton made one change from the side that drew 0-0 at Maine Road last week with Tom Vaughan returning from injury, Cam Jackson dropping to the bench. Isle of Man were playing their first away game since mid-December and were on a run of consecutive victories which had lifted them to second in the table.
It was Brocton that started brighter with Jake Thomas forcing a decent save from Dean Kearns inside the opening three minutes. Within a minute, Kearns pulled off an excellent one-handed save to claw away a header from Brad Rolston, who got on the end of a cross from Thomas. Brocton continued to push their high flying visitors and a through ball was just too far in front of the lively Rolston. A deep free-kick from Tony Allsopp was headed over his own crossbar by a backpedalling Sam Caine. In the 21st minute, Thomas shot on the turn with his effort just over the bar. A Crossfield ball by Reggie Smith was into the path of Cam Osborne but he couldn’t get enough of a connection on the ball, and it ran to safety. Isle of Man took the lead with their first meaningful attack in the 26th minute. A corner from the left from Lee Gale was met by the head of leading scorer Sean Doyle and he made no mistake. The goal galvanised the visitors who began outing pressure on the Brocton back line. In the 40th minute, Dan Simpson beat two defenders down the left and his low cross was cut out by Vaughan. Brocton had a chance to equalise just before the break when Osborne beat two defenders, however his finish was poor as he dragged his shot wide of the near post.
Half-Time: Brocton 0 FC Isle of Man 1
The Isle of Man started the second half in a manner indicating that they had felt the wrath of manger Chris Bass at half-time. A couple of corners in succession from Simpson caused problems in the Brocton defence with Michael Williams firing over from the second. Another Simpson corner again created an opportunity for the Isle of Man with Luke Murray this time off target with his effort. Isle of Man were striving for a second and when Murray reached the by-line, his cut back to Williams saw the midfielder miss the target again. Brocton weathered the storm and Thomas shot from distance straight at keeper Kearns. On the hour mark, Connor Haddaway fed Thomas and his shot was well held by Kearns. Brocton had a great chance in the 67th minute. A through ball from Alex Curtis was perfectly into the path of Osborne but with Kearns looming large, Osborne failed to get anything on the ball and the chance was gone. Williams saw a shot blocked at the other end as neither side gave an inch. Isle of Man thought they had sealed the three points in the 75th minute. Simpson found space on the left, played the ball inside to Murray and his goal bound shot was superbly saved by Allsopp with his legs. With three minutes of normal time left, Brocton had a great chance to equalise. Curtis played a superb ball in from the right. All it need was a touch from Smith, but the ball was flicked away by Kearns just behind Connor Haddaway and the visitors cleared their lines. In the third minute of stoppage time, a corner from Curtis was met by the head of Cam Jackson but his header was wide of the target and the visitors held on for an invaluable three points in their bid for promotion.
Full-Time: Brocton 0 FC Isle of Man 1 Attendance:135
Brocton: Tony Allsopp, Luke Haddaway (Alex Curtis 65), Dan Evans, Kenny Devoir, Tom Vaughan, Ben Haddaway (Cam Jackson 81), Brad Rolston, Jake Thomas, Reg Smith, Connor Haddaway, Cam Osborne (Christian Blanchette 72). Subs (Not Used): Matt Kilkenny, Jack Bostock
FC Isle of Man: Dean Kearns, Alex Holden, Sam Caine, Jack Camarda, Alex Maitland, Jack McVey, Lee Gale (Stephen Whitley 65), Michael Williams, Sean Doyle, Luke Murray (Chris Bass jnr 77), Daniel Simpson. Subs (Not Used): Sean Quaye, Samuel Baines, Jacob Crook
Yellow card: Ben Haddaway (Brocton)