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St Helens win battle of the champions

Saturday 20th April


NWCFL First Division Champions Cup Final


Brocton 0 FC St Helens 1


Brocton made three changes from the side that beat Winsford United in their final league game. Josh Simcox, Will Whieldon and Reg Smith replacing Matty Bestall, Christian Blanchette and Cam Osborne, respectively. FC St Helens made their first visit to Silkmore Lane as champions of First Division North with an almost identical record to Brocton.


St Helens caught Brocton cold and took the lead after just 42 seconds. Thomas Scarborough raced away down the right and his low cross was tapped in at the far post by Ethan Van-Aston. It could have been two in the 6th minute. An excellent move saw Josh Hall pick out Scarborough and his shot was brilliantly saved by Tony Allsopp. Brocton’s first chance fell to leading scorer Morgan Payne. He was played through on goal but delayed his shot which was blocked for a corner. Brocton began to settle and a shot on the turn from Smith was well saved by Joe Mason. In the 21st minute, a vicious shot from Hall was brilliantly blocked by Ben Haddaway. A deep cross from Connor Haddaway drifted just past the post. In the 26th minute, Smith challenged Zak Riley on the near touchline. Smith pulled out of the challenge, but Riley hit the ground with a dramatic thud. Referee Kilgannon bought the drama and booked Smith for the non-challenge. In the 33rd minute, Smith wriggled into the area and managed to get a shot away. The ball hit the arm of a St Helens defender and was cleared. The dangerous Van-Aston was on target without really troubling Allsopp in the 38th minute. Brocton went close a minute later. Ben Haddaway threaded the ball to Whieldon and his far post cross was hit into the side netting by Payne. In the 42nd minute, a free kick from Kieran Curtis was well saved by Allsopp. Brocton were reduced to ten men on the stroke of half-time when Smith was shown a yellow card for not retreating 10 yards from a free kick. Added to his yellow for the non-challenge earlier, a red was shown.


Half time: Brocton 0 FC St Helens 1


The ten men of Brocton started the second half on the front foot and took the game to their Northern visitors. In the 55th minute, Whieldon combined with Charlie King and the youngster forced a fine save from Mason. St Helens broke quickly, and Connor Spiers attempted a spectacular overhead kick which went harmlessly wide. Brocton continued to offer far more and a volley from Whieldon was saved by Mason. In the 70th minute, Christopher Hill took a free kick from inside his own half, spotted Allsopp off his line and forced the Brocton keeper to fingertip the ball over his own bar. Two minutes later, Joseph Barker was clearly offside but allowed to run through on goal, but he was foiled by a fine save from Allsopp. St Helens were looking to close out the game and a powerful shot from Spiers was saved by Allsopp. St Helens should have clinched the game in the 82nd minute. A back pass from Ben Haddaway was far too short, Spiers got to the ball first but put his shot wide of the empty net. Scarborough then took aim for the visitors, his shot well blocked by Simcox. In the 85th minute, a long free kick from Allsopp was headed goalwards by Blanchette and hacked off the line. Osborne then saw his shot saved by Mason. A challenge by Hill on King saw the St Helens centre back stay down off the pitch. When he rolled back onto the pitch to stop the play, Allsopp decided to get involved and roll him back off. A melee ensued and Allsopp was booked for his involvement. In the 90th minute, a floated ball from Simcox flicked off the head of Blanchette and Mason was there to gather. Brocton should have levelled in the 5th minute of stoppage time. A pinpoint cross from Connor Haddaway was right on the foot of Lucas Green-Birch but his volley was straight at Mason. A minute later, a piece of sublime skill from Spiers as he spun past two defenders before hitting a dipping shot over the bar. FC St Helens rightly celebrated their success at the final whistle, but Brocton can be proud of their efforts particularly with ten men.


Full-time: Brocton 0 FC St Helens 1 Attendance:203


Brocton: Tony Allsopp, Charlie King, Josh Simcox, Kenny Devoir (Christian Blanchette 58), Tom Vaughan, Ben Haddaway (Charlie Marshall 90+4), Will Whieldon (Lucas Green-Birch 80), Jake Thomas, Reg Smith, Connor Haddaway, Morgan Payne (Cam Osborne 75). Sub (Not Used): Dan Evans


FC St Helens: Joe Mason, Elliott Bradshaw, Ethan Van-Aston, Zak Riley, Jack Ball, Christopher Hill, Thomas Scarborough, Connor Spiers, Joseph Barker (Brad Green 75), Josh Hall, Kieran Curtis (Jospeh Doyle 66). Subs (Not used): Matthew France, Nathan Salisbury, Ryan Woods


Yellow Cards: Allsopp, Smith, Payne, Osborne (Brocton); Hall (FC St Helens)


Red Card: Smith (Brocton)




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