Saturday April 2nd
North West Counties Football League First Division South
Brocton 1 Stafford Town 0
Brocton welcomed local rivals to Stafford Town for the final game of their debut season in the NWCFL. The Badgers made Three changes from the side that beat Alsager in the Macron Cup with Adam Weldon, Alex Curtis, and Reg Smith back in the starting line-up. Stafford Town included seven former Badgers in their matchday squad as they looked for their third derby win of the campaign.
The first opening of the afternoon was crafted by Brocton in the 4th minute. An incisive ball from Curtis picked out the run of Will Finlay, and his weak shot almost caught out Town’s debutant keeper Ryan Cheshire. Town first attack of note saw Josh Wilson’s shot blocked by Jake Thomas, following a cross from Declan Arber. In the 20th minute, a free-kick from Curtis was well headed clear by Town skipper, Charlie Swingwood. A minute later and Brocton went close to the lead. A header from Thomas was cleared off the line and when the rebound fell to Ben Haddaway, his goal bound effort was saved by the long legs of Cheshire. Brocton continued to pose more of a threat and when Connor Haddaway spotted Cheshire out of his goal, his attempt from distance drifted wide. A cross from Adam Weldon, found Thomas in the box but his header was off target. Brocton opened the scoring in the 38th minute. Reg Smith found space in the inside left position and his fierce shot was parried by Cheshire. Thomas was on hand to fire home the rebound from inside the penalty area. It wouldn’t be a Stafford derby without controversy and that came in the 41st minute. A long ball forward was handled outside his area by Tony Allsopp. With many Brocton fans fearing the worst, after consulting with his linesman, the referee awarded a free-kick to Brocton for offside. Allsopp created drama at the other end of the pitch when his deep free-kick was headed wide by Smith. In stoppage time, Karen Danilian cut inside from the left hand touchline, created a shooting chance for himself but the Brocton defence was on hand to block his attempt.
Half-Time: Brocton 1 Stafford Town 0
Brocton started the second half with increased tempo and immediately forced Town on the back foot. Curtis was enjoying his afternoon on the Brocton right, and some excellent footwork ended in a cross which was headed over by the diminutive Finlay. Town were still well in the game and Arber shot on target, but it failed to trouble Allsopp. In the 53rd minute, Town were unlucky not to equalise. Wilson spotted Allsopp off his line and his curled effort cannoned off the bar to safety. This was just the shake-up that Brocton needed, and they quickly regained the ascendancy. An excellent through ball from Connor Haddaway sent Finlay clear and his shot was inches over the bar. On the hour, Reg Smith dragged a shot wide from a good position. It should have been two for Brocton midway through the half. A long clearance from Adam Weldon, was brought down as though on a string by Curtis and his inch-perfect cross was headed over by Ben Haddaway when he really should have hot the target. A minute later, Brocton had another golden chance when Smith got to the by-line, and with everyone expecting a shot, he cut the ball back inside allowing harry Bowers to clear. Smith was having a frustrating afternoon and from a Curtis cross, the leading scorer couldn’t get a good connection and the chance went begging. Brocton did get the ball in the net in the 72nd minute. A free-kick from Connor Haddaway was headed back into the box by Tom Vaughan and Thomas was on-hand at the far post to tap it home. Celebrations were cut short with the linesman flagging for offside. As the clock approached the 90 minute mark, an effort from Wilson was hit straight at Kenny Devoir allowing Brocton to clear. In the final minute, a good run by Nathan Scott saw him pull the ball back to Ryan Taylor who hesitated, and the ball ran away from the midfielder and the danger passed. The referee’s final whistle was greeted with jubilation by all associated with Brocton as they clinched a top ten finish.
Full-Time: Brocton 1 Stafford Town 0 Attendance:128
Brocton: Tony Allsopp, Brad Rolston, Adam Weldon, Kenny Devoir, Tom Vaughan, Ben Haddaway, Alex Curtis, Jake Thomas, Reg Smith (Cam Jackson 85), Connor Haddaway, Will Finlay (Christian Blanchette 72). Subs (Not Used): Luke Haddaway, Jack Bostock, Cam Osborne
Stafford Town: Ryan Cheshire, Jamie Weldon, Harry Bowers (Ryan Bradshaw 75), Charlie Swingwood (Ben Wood 80), Henry Smith, Matthew Dudley, Nathan Scott, Josh Wilson, Declan Arber, Karen Danilian (Morgan Payne 85), Ryan Taylor. Subs (Not Used): Ryan Blagborough, Jack Stafford
Yellow Cards: Wood (Stafford Town)