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Opening Day draw for the Badgers

Saturday 29th July

North West Counties Football League First Division South

Brocton 2 Maine Road 2

Brocton gave debuts to Vitor Pinheiro, Lucas Green-Birch and Matty Bestall with Declan Arber also starting on his return to the club. Previous games between Brocton and Maine Road at Silkmore Lane have been full of goals so the opening day crowd was expectant.

Brocton started the game positively with sharp passing and movement off the ball. The first attempt of the game came courtesy of a free kick awarded to Brocton some 5 yards outside the penalty area. Will Whieldon’s effort hit the defensive wall and, when the rebound came back to him, his shot was wide of the left hand post. In the 10th minute, Yousuf Abdullahi was in a good position for Maine Road, but Tom Vaughan’s timely challenge was enough for the striker to miss the target. Brocton took the lead in the 15th minute. Connor Haddaway floated the ball forward. Reg Smith beat the keeper to the ball, lifted it over him and Morgan Payne was on hand to tap the ball home with Maine Road claiming offside. Maine Road had a chance to equalise five minutes later, but Abdi Addow’s header was wide of the target. An excellent challenge from the impressive Green-Birch teed up Smith but his shot was high over the bar. In the 26th minute, Pinheiro had to race off his line to thwart Abdullahi. Green-Burch was tripped on the edge of the area by James Perry. Smith stepped up, but his free kick was too high. Maine Road were back on level terms in the 33rd minute. A mix up at the back between Adam Weldon and Pinheiro saw the keeper fail to gather the ball and Daniel Lewis stepped in to steer the ball into the empty net. Brocton responded with Payne off target with a volley. Maine Road wasted a great chance to take the lead in the 39th minute. A free kick from Nathaniel Oseni was met by Perry with his header over the bar.

Half-Time: Brocton 1 Maine Road 1

Brocton started the second half on the front foot. A deep cross from Bestall was bundled out for a goal kick by Payne. In the 50th minute, a shot from Green-Birch was deflected for a corner. A minute later, a snapshot from Smith cleared the crossbar. Brocton were gifted an opportunity in the 53rd minute when Green-Birch was clipped in the penalty area. Skipper Connor Haddaway took the penalty with Ryan Livesey making a fine save, diving high to his left. In the 63rd minute, Green-Birch was pulled back in the penalty are and the referee again pointed to the spot. This time, Connor Haddaway made no mistake despite the best efforts of Livesey. Brocton were well in command. An excellent run and cross from Bestall was well caught by Livesey. Smith then won the ball in a challenge, drove forward, and dragged his shot wide of the far post. Brocton had a great chance to make it three in the 73rd minute. A great clearance from Pinheiro saw Arber and Smith get the wrong side of the Maine Road defence. Arber controlled the ball and his shot hit Livesey. The ball came back to Smith and his effort was too near the Maine Road keeper who made the save. Brocton were made to pay almost immediately, and Maine Road were level within a minute. A back pass was too short for Pinheiro and Maine Road sub, Yasir Salim reacted quickest and finished perfectly into the corner. Brocton came back strongly. Whieldon hit a fierce shot just off target. In the 85th minute, a cross from Bestall was met at the far post by Cam Osborne and his header bounced off the top of the cross bar and bounced down inches away from Arber. A minute later, Brocton went even closer. A free kick from Whieldon was met perfectly by Smith and his header rattled the crossbar. Ben Haddaway, on as a sub, made an immediate impression and from a run which took him past five defenders, the ball broke to Whieldon whose shot was cleared off the line, Deep into stoppage time, Connor Haddaway saw his shot blocked and both sides had to settle for a point in an entertaining opening game.

Full-Time: Brocton 2 Maine Road 2 Attendance:130

Brocton: Vitor Pinheiro, Adam Weldon, Matty Bestall, Henry Smith, Tom Vaughan, Will Whieldon, Morgan Payne (Cam Osborne 72), Lucas Green-Birch (Ben Haddaway 70), Reg Smith, Connor Haddaway, Declan Arber. Subs (Not Used): Kenny Devoir, Jamie Weldon, Alex Curtis

Maine Road: Ryan Livesey, Ismail Sulieman, Joshua Clegg, Louis Edwards, Ryan Eiselt, James Perry, Nathaniel Oseni (Declan Hacking 90+4), Abdi Addow, Daniel Lewis (Yousif Yousif 45), Alex Rimmer (Yasir Salim 60), Yousuf Abdullahi (Oliver Lomas 41). Sub (Not Used): Ryan Smith

Yellow Cards: Green-Birch, Arber (Brocton); Livesey, Eiselt, Perry, Yousif (Maine Road)


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