Saturday December 11th
North West Counties Football League First Division South
Brocton 4 Eccleshall 1
The Badgers welcomed back Tony Allsopp and Reg Smith replacing Alfie Brooks and Christian Blanchette in the starting line-up. The weather again did it’s worst with driving rain accompanying the players onto the pitch.
Brocton started on the front foot with Alex Curtis overhitting a cross after just 18 seconds. A corner from Connor Haddaway was miss punched by Eccleshall keeper, Eric Merner, with Ben Haddaway clearing the bar from distance. A free-kick from the Brocton right by Curtis was well held by Merner. A quick break by Brocton saw Smith lay the ball into the path of Connor Haddaway and his cross was cleared for a corner. Brocton took the lead in the 15th minute. Smith picked up the ball, turned his defender and found the bottom corner from 25 yards. Eccleshall’s response was immediate. A through ball picked out Louis Downs, who dragged the ball back and then slotted the ball past Allsopp. Smith was proving a real handful for the Eccleshall defence and from a Connor Haddaway cross, he controlled the ball on his chest before attempting a bicycle kick which was narrowly off target. Jordan Hall was almost through for Eccleshall, but Kieren Nelson was on hand to clear when the Eccleshall forward lost control. Eccleshall wasted a decent chance in the 24th minute when Ashley Hodkinson headed a Harvey Collins cross over the bar. Brocton should have regained the lead just after the half hour mark. A corner from Curtis appeared to hit Smith and when the ball fell invitingly for Jake Thomas, he lashed his shot way over the bar. Eccleshall were indebted to their keeper Merner in the 40th minute. A cross from Thomas picked out Cameron Osborne in front of goal and his point blank header was brilliant saved by Merner. In first half stoppage time, a free-kick from Curtis beat the backpedalling Merner but landed on top of the cross bar.
Half-Time: Brocton 1 Eccleshall 1
It took a minute of the second half for Brocton to take the lead. Curtis did well to win the ball down the right hand side. His cross to the near post was diverted across goal and Osborne was on hand to knock it into the corner. Within two minutes, Eccleshall had a chance when Downs volleyed wide from a Nelson clearance. A minute later, Smith wasted another chance, dragging his shot wide after getting the wrong side of the Eccleshall defence. Brocton continued to waste chances and Curtis was guilty of the worst miss in the 55th minute. Smith’s shot was fumbled by Merner, and Curtis managed to clear the bar from within the 6-yard box with the goal at his mercy. Eccleshall were still scrapping for an equaliser, and they should have been level in the 56th minute. The dangerous Downs saw his shot well blocked by Nelson, and somehow, he put the rebound into the side netting when he should have hit the target. Brocton increased their lead in the 62nd minute. A free-kick from Tom Vaughan was hooked on by Thomas, and Smith slid in at the far post for his second of the game. Brocton were now well on top. Curtis played an excellent ball through to Smith who beat his defender, but his shot was just over the bar. Curtis again missed a glorious chance after being teed up by Thomas. In the 79th minute a shot from substitute Christian Blanchette was intercepted by Smith whose shot was well saved by Merner. A through ball from Connor Haddaway almost played in Smith but the Eccleshall defender took the ball off his foot. Eccleshall were reduced to ten men in the 84th minute when Hodkinson received his second yellow of the afternoon. Smith made him pay in emphatic fashion, hammering his free-kick low and into the bottom corner for a well deserved hat-trick. There was no way back for the visitors and Brocton continued their fine home form since the appointment of Alex Curtis and his management team.
Full-Time: Brocton 4 Eccleshall 1 Attendance:92
Brocton: Tony Allsopp, Ryan Douglas, Dan Evans, Keiren Nelson, Tom Vaughan, Ben Haddaway, Alex Curtis (Brad Rolston 86), Jake Thomas, Reg Smith, Connor Haddaway (Ethan Scutt 89), Cameron Osborne (Christian Blanchette 75). Subs (Not Used): Luke Haddaway, Kenny Devoir
Eccleshall: Eric Merner, Taylor Draper, Daniel Taylor (Liam Robinson 67), Jordan Benton, Ashley Hodkinson, Harvey Collins, Lewis Doughty (Ryan Rowe 78), Callum Feeney, Jordan Hall (Jack Dundas 74), Louis Downs, Lewis Dunn. Subs (Not Used): Lewis Rowley, George Woodroffe