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Monday 1st April

North West Counties Football League First Division South

Brocton 3 Stafford Town 1

Brocton welcomed back Reg Smith from suspension, and he replaced Christian Blanchette. Adam Weldon also came into the starting eleven replacing Matty Bestall. Stafford Town came into the game on the back of a 6-0 win on Saturday and determined to upset the Brocton promotion party.

With Stockport Town dropping points in the early kick off, Brocton knew that one point would be enough to secure the title. It was the home side that started in the ascendancy. A left wing cross from Connor Haddaway was brilliantly cleared by Taylor Draper. In the 5th minute, the first of many attempts on goal came from Will Whieldon who volleyed over the bar. Four minutes later, Whieldon sent Morgan Payne clear, and he was stopped by the excellent Stafford keeper, Adam Jenkins. In the 12th minute, a shot from Jake Thomas was comfortably saved by Jenkins. Brocton were awarded a free kick on the left, Smith hitting his shot against the defensive wall. In the 18th minute, a header from Ben Haddaway looped over the Stafford crossbar. Brocton took a deserved lead in the 12st minute. Smith chested the ball into the path of Whieldon who took a touch and then volleyed the ball into the far corner. Brocton continued to drive forward. A direct run from Connor Haddaway ended with a shot which was saved by Jenkins. An excellent Brocton move deserved a goal in the 26th minute. Weldon fed the ball inside the defender to Smith. He played the ball perfectly into the path of Whieldon whose shot was inches over. The visitors had their first attack of not when Matt Hearsey found space and his cross was over Tony Allsopp but drifted wide for a goal kick. On the half hour mark, a cross from Whieldon was headed over the bar by Connor Haddaway. A minute later, an excellent run by Payne into the area saw Whieldon take the ball off his feet and shoot wide of the target. Stafford shocked their hosts by drawing level in the 34th minute. A ball over the top picked out the run of Hearsey. He checked onto his right foot and placed his shot into the corner. Brocton came straight back and a fierce shot from Smith was straight at Jenkins. Whieldon thought he had given the Badgers the lead, but his curling shot came back off the post. Brocton had another excellent chance to take the lead in the 39th minute. Payne moved into the 6-yard box, was crowded out, the ball came back to Ben Haddaway who volleyed over. Two minutes before the break, Town had a chance, but Scott Wilding’s shot was off target.

Half Time: Brocton 1 Stafford Town 1

Brocton continued where they left, well and truly on the front foot. Three minutes into the half, Callum Wood did well to head the ball back to Jenkins under pressure. A minute later, Whieldon hit a left footed shot which forced an excellent save from Jenkins. Thomas tried his luck from 25 yards, his shot just over the bar. In the54th minute, a Connor Haddaway corner was headed goalwards by Smith but straight at Jenkins. Connor Haddaway was the next to bring out a save from Jenkins, his volley straight at the Town stopper. Jenkins again foiled Brocton in the 61st minute. An excellent right wing cross from Connor Haddaway was plucked off the feet of Smith who looked destined to score. Two minutes later, Smith beat Jenkins to the ball, the defence somehow keeping the ball out however the referee had blown for a foul by the Brocton striker. Brocton continued to create chance after chance. Ben Haddaway dragged a shot wide before he was set up by Whieldon only for Jenkins to thwart him again. In the 75th minute, Blanchette was played into the area and Jenkins made a fine save to stop him. Two minutes later, Josh Simcox hit a shot straight at Jenkins. Surely, the goal must come, and it did in the 80th minute. Blanchette played the ball inside to Connor Haddaway. He crossed to the far post and Smith was on hand to volley Brocton into the lead. Four minutes later, Jenkins pulled out a wonder one handed save to thwart Blanchette whose shot to the near post looked certain to go in. The ball came back to Bestall and his deep cross to the far post evaded Jenkins and landed in the net. With two minutes left, Jayden Hunter raced clear only to be stopped by a wonderful challenge from Tom Vaughan. Jenkins again thwarted Smith as Brocton looked for more. In the 91st minute, a cross from Smith was somehow scrambled off the line by Stafford with Blanchette ready to pounce. Stafford went down the other end and Dan Rotherham forced a sharp save from Tony Allsopp. The last effort of the game came from Draper whose shot was well wide. The final whistle went to confirm Brocton as league champions in front of a record Silkmore Lane crowd of 565.

Full Time: Brocton 3 Stafford Town 1 Attendance: 565

Brocton: Tony Allsopp, Adam Weldon (Matty Bestall 60), Josh Simcox (Lucas Green-Birch 81), Kenny Devoir, Tom Vaughan, Ben Haddaway (Charlie King 71), Will Whieldon (Cam Osborne 78), Jake Thomas, Reg Smith, Connor Haddaway, Morgan Payne (Christian Blanchette 65)

Stafford Town: Adam Jenkins, Charlie Young, Scott Wilding (Li Bayley 55), Callum Wood, Taylor Draper, Sean Kinsella, Craig Bannister (Dan Rotherham 83), Sam Scott, Jayden Hunter, Josh Wilson, Matt Hearsey. Subs (Not Used): Joe Perry, Dan Kelly, Corey Mallen


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