Saturday 26th March
North West Counties Football League First Division South
Rocester 1 Brocton 0
On a glorious sunny day at Hillsfield, Brocton were unchanged from the side that won at Alsager Town in Midweek. Rocester were in a straight battle with Alsager to avoid the second relegation spot in the division, subject to the normal close season shenanigans from the FA.
It was Brocton that started on the front foot with Rocester unable to make any headway whatsoever. In the sixth minute, a cross from Alex Curtis was headed back into the box by Brad Rolston and Julius Ndene almost put the ball into his own net as he conceded a corner. Curtis beat Jack Stevens, got to the byline abut his shot was cleared from the near post. Centre-back Tom Vaughan was seeing a lot of the ball, and a driving run from his own half finished with a shot that was off target. Reg Smith rolled a defender and played the ball inside instead of going for goal, and the chance was nullified. On 25 minutes, Vaughan had an excellent chance to open the scoring but his effort from the far post ended as a cross field pass to Curtis. It was all Brocton and a cross from Smith bounced too high for Curtis who was unable to keep his header down. Brocton created another excellent chance in the 33rd minute when Curtis’ cross picked out Rolston unmarked at the far post. With only keeper Mawgan Blight to beat, Rolston planted his header well wide. Rocester first foray forward came in the 35th minute when Ishaq Ibrar found space on the left, played the ball perfectly into the path of Jayden Hunter, with the forward squandering the chance, clearing the cross bar with his effort. Two minutes later and Hunter could have given Rocester the lead. A mistake at the back allowed Hunter to get to the ball first, and with Tony Allsopp off his line, his lob drifted wide of the empty net.
Half-Time: Rocester 0 Brocton 0
The second half started slowly with neither side making any impression. In the 55th minute, Hunter went down too easily under a challenge from Vaughan with the referee waving away Rocester claims for a penalty. Brocton broke quickly, Smith skipping past two defenders before crossing to Jake Thomas, but the ball ran away from the midfielder and momentum was lost. N excellent cross from Curtis, picked out Rolston in the penalty area but his effort came off his shoulder and cleared the bar. Rocester took the lead in the 63rd minute. Ben Haddaway conceded a needless free-kick on the Rocester right. The free-kick was perfectly delivered with Julius Ndene rising above the Brocton defence to plant his header into the net. It could have been even better for The Romans within a couple of minutes when Tyler Barnes screwed a shot wide when unmarked and in on goal. Brocton continued to have most of the play, but chances were at a premium with the Rocester defence well marshalled by the experienced Darren Bullock. With fifteen minutes remaining, a cross from Thomas was volleyed towards goal by Smith and Blight made a fine save. Substitute Cam Jackson came closest to equalising for Brocton when clever footwork created an opening, and his shot skimmed the bar. With two minutes remaining, Ben Haddaway crossed into the box and Connor Haddaway put his header wide when he should have hit the target. Deep in stoppage time, Ben Haddaway saw his shot cleared off the line and Rocester hung on for the win. With one game remaining Rocester and Alsager are separated by goal difference while this defeat ends Brocton’s hopes of a top ten finish.
Full-Time: Rocester 1 Brocton 0 Attendance:103
Rocester: Mawgan Blight, Jack Stevens, Max Williams (Ky-Mani Hunter 64), Jordan Godfrey, Darren Bullock, Julius Ndene, Cavan Holford, Brad Ede, Jayden Hunter, Tyler Barnes, Ishaq Ibrar. Subs (Not Used): David Ndene, Remmico Harper, Oliver Griffiths, Harry Bickerton
Brocton: Tony Allsopp, Luke Haddaway (Christian Blanchette 82), Jack Bostock (Cam Jackson 77), Kenny Devoir, Tom Vaughan, Ben Haddaway, Alex Curtis, Jake Thomas, Reg Smith, Connor Haddaway, Brad Rolston (Will Finlay 70). Subs (Not Used): Adam Weldon, Ethan Harris
Sin Bin: Ky-Mani Hunter (Rocester)