Tuesday 30th November 2021
JW Hunt Cup Round 3
OJM Black Country Rangers 3 Brocton 2
Played at Lye Town FC
The match had a sombre start with a minute silence for Leon Taylor, who had recently died following a short illness and who had played for both clubs in the past. Indeed, Alex Curtis, Brocton player/manager had played with him at Brocton and against him on many occasions.
Our hosts Lye Town were very welcoming and supportive, holding a number of fund raisers during the evening to go with Black Country Rangers’ generous gift of the night’s gate receipts and a further £500 from the players’ own funds towards Leon’s memorial fund.
The Badgers made a number of changes to their previous match. Ryan Douglas came in for Malaki Norford, Kenny Devoir for Tom Vaughan, Jake Thomas moved up from the bench to replace Jack Thomas, Cameron Osborne swapped his bench seat with Cameron Jackson and Alex Curtis replaced that match goal scorer Brad Rolston. No pressure there then. Youngster Ethan Scutt was named on the bench, as was the returning Harry Griffiths.
It was fully ten minutes into a cagey start that Connor Haddaway got off the first shot and that was from range and easily fielded by the home keeper, Lewis Handley, sporting a Brocton spare top because of a colour clash. It was that sort of evening. The second came from Osborne who took a cross field pass from Connor Haddaway, cut in from the left, but could only find Handley with his effort on goal.
Rangers were well marshalled at the back with their experienced centre back David Meese organising everyone round him and from early on they showed their intent to hit high balls into the channels for their speedy wing men to run on to. Dan Evans in particular for Brocton had to be alert at left back as Jared Daniels hugged his line and set off quickly whenever there was a turnover of possession in Rangers’ favour.
Whenever the high balls were too central Keiren Nelson and Devoir were in their element, heading clear despite being confronted with forwards TJ Davies and Joe Fitzpatrick both with a significant height advantage.
On 20 minutes, Rangers had a golden opportunity when a diagonal cross from left to right caught Brocton out of position, but the returning cross through the penalty area beat everyone and ran to safety. A reply from Brocton involved Curtis, passing right to Thomas, Thomas slipping it infield to Osborne and then a further pass to Connor Haddaway, who finally found Dean Williams in position to shoot, but his effort cleared the bar.
On 33 minutes a whole series of headed flick-ons worked the ball beyond Brocton’s rear-guard and Tony Allsopp was called on to take a high ball into the area under pressure. Just as it began to look as though neither keeper was going to be forced into a proper save, Curtis got away down the right flank only to be upended by Jack Fitzwater. Curtis’ free kick had to be cleared off the line, but the following quick break caught Brocton slightly out of position and the much tried deep cross for Daniels was, for once, beyond Evans’ reach. Daniels’ quick cross low into the box was meat and drink for Fitzpatrick, who grabbed the lead for Rangers almost as the half closed.
Half Time OJM Black Country Rangers 1 Brocton 0
Curtis must have heeded what was probably his own half time gee up as he raced forward and capitalised on a mistake at the heart of Rangers’ defence to win a penalty, which he calmly stroked home. He made the most of the superiority just 7 minutes after the break to jink in from the right flank and beat Handley at his near post and give Brocton the lead in the game.
Rangers did not alter their approach, but did increase their tempo, with Brocton’s area coming under more and more pressure. Allsopp showed some of his best attributes as time and again he took the ball high and cleanly in his gloves under that pressure. Something had to give though and 28 minutes into the second period, the ball could only be cleared as far as the edge of the box where Fitzpatrick lurked in anticipation. His volley, hit with venom, left Allsopp with no chance.
Jackson came on for Osborne and then Griffiths and Luke Haddaway came on to replace Curtis and Evans, but it took until the 3rd minute of added time before the deadlock was breached. A hotly contested decision decided matters and Fitzpatrick sealed his own hat trick and the win for the home side from the penalty spot.
Full Time: OJM Black Country Rangers 3 Brocton 2
OJM Black Country Rangers: Lewis Handley, Lucas Muckley, Jack Fitzwater, Liam Smith, Connor Fellows, David Meese, Jared Daniels, Jordan Crump, TJ Davies, Joe Fitzpatrick, Matt Hogg.
Used Substitutes: Nathan Derrick, Jack Martin, Kundai Munyama
Unused: Marc Lawrence
Brocton: Tony Allsopp, Ryan Douglas, Dan Evans, Keiren Nelson, Kenny Devoir, Ben Haddaway, Alex Curtis, Jake Thomas, Dean Williams, Connor Haddaway, Cameron Osborne.
Used Substitutes: Cameron Jackson, Harry Griffiths, Luke Haddaway.
Unused: Ethan Scutt, Jake Triggs.