Tuesday 1st August
North West Counties Football League First Division South
Winsford United 1 Brocton 4
Brocton welcomed back goalkeeper Tony Allsopp in the only change to the starting line-up. Jake Thomas and Charlie Marshall took their place on a strong Brocton substitutes bench. Winsford, who were playing at Step 5 last season, were eager to bounce back from an opening day 5 goal defeat at Alsager Town.
It was the home side that started the brighter. An excellent cross from Dan Evans on the right ended with an attempted bicycle kick which was more dramatic than effective. Winsford took the lead in the 5th minute. A well worked free-kick down the left, allowed Joe Duckworth to play the ball into the area where skipper Ashley Woods was on hand to tap home. Brocton responded with Declan Arber forcing a save from keeper Arran Lyons, the ball coming back to Reg Smith whose volley was blocked. In the 8th minute, a free kick from Smith was just over the bar. In the 10th minute, a training ground corner routine gave Smith a chance, but his shot drifted wide. Winsford went close to doubling their lead in the 17th minute when Evans headed against the cross bar from a well delivered free kick. Winsford were bossing possession forcing Alex Curtis to change formation. This change altered the complexion of the game and Brocton were level in the 29th minute. Lyons dropped the ball in the penalty area, and instead of kicking it clear, he chose to pick it up forcing the referee to award an indirect free kick just inside the Winsford penalty area. Connor Haddaway tapped the ball back to Reg Smith and his shot rocketed into the roof of the net. This was Reg’s 100th goal for the club, a remarkable scoring record. The goal raised the ire of the home supporters who were quick to turn on their side. In the 37th minute, Connor Haddaway played the ball into Smith, who turned his defender but lost his footing before being able to shoot. A good break for the home side, created a chance for Duckworth who shot wide under pressure. Brocton took the lead in the 41st minute with a goal of the highest quality. Arber won the ball on the left and played the ball inside to Connor Haddaway. The skipper curled the ball over the top of the Winsford back line into the path of the forward running Lucas Green-Birch. The former Port Vale youngster had a lot to do but controlled the ball, set himself and finished with aplomb.
Half-time: Winsford United 1 Brocton 2
Brocton started the second half as they had finished the first and increased their lead in the 50th minute. An excellent move cut through the Winsford defence, Green-Birch with the final pass to Smith whose finish was clinical. Two minutes later, Will Whieldon found himself in space, and he forced a decent save from Lyons. The ball came back to Whieldon and his attempted chip was easily held. Some of the Brocton approach play was a joy to behold and Smith and Arber combined well before Smith again forced another save from Lyons. It was all Brocton and they continued to play incisive football to create space in the attacking third. A cross from Connor Haddaway was bundled behind for a corner with Smith lurking. In the 63rd minute, Ben Haddaway hit a fierce shot which was well blocked by the Winsford defence. Smith almost grabbed his hat-trick in the 65th minute, with his shot deflected inches past the post. Whieldon hit a first time volley straight at Lyons. In the 83rd minute, Winsford had a rare opportunity with a free kick within striking range. Richard Peters took it, and it was high, wide, and not very handsome! Whieldon was again thwarted by the impressive Lyons as the game approached stoppage time. In the 2nd minute of time added on, Brocton scored their fourth. Whieldon played a crossfield ball to Cam Osborne. He cut inside and his well hit right footed shot was saved by Lyons. The ball rebounded to Smith, and he volleyed the ball into the net for his third of the evening. Winsford had one final chance when a volley was headed over the bar by Henry Smith.
Full-time: Winsford United 1 Brocton 4 Attendance:164
Winsford United: Arran Lyons, Damian Skolorzynski, Adam Clayton, Adam Barlow, Richard Peters, Thomas Murray, Dan Evans (Ben Chesters 80), Josh Paterson (Sam Madeley 59), Ashley Woods, Joe Duckworth, Thomas Stanton (Jamie Dawson 75). Subs (Not Used): Lateef Oseni, Ryan Hough
Brocton: Tony Allsopp, Adam Weldon (Jamie Weldon 78), Matty Bestall (Charlie Marshall 72), Henry Smith, Tom Vaughan, Will Whieldon, Morgan Payne (Ben Haddaway 45), Lucas Green-Birch (Jake Thomas 60), Reg Smith, Connor Haddaway, Declan Arber (Cam Osborne 60)
Yellow Cards: Peters, Duckworth (Winsford United); Bestall, Vaughan, Green-Birch (Brocton)