Brocton 2 Atherstone Town 1
MIDLAND Combination Premier Division leaders Brocton maintained their unbeaten league record with a 2-1 win over Atherstone Town, at Silkmore Lane on Saturday.
For two ball-playing sides it was a most unusual first half with both intent on going long and often aerially.
The tactic almost came off for Gary Fife within the first few minutes but the timing of his run through the Atherstone back line was marginally off and he was caught off side.
A Dave Berks free kick seemed to have broken the deadlock on 15 minutes as Andy Bourne flicked his head at the ball and beat Phil Smith in Atherstone’s goal, but once again Brocton were offside.
Adam Whitehouse tried not to have to go long too often and with one throw to Jamie Evans on the left the ball was quickly moved ahead to Fife, who cut it inside to find Craig Hulme. The ball was neatly switched to Berks and with a deft change of feet Berks struck at goal only to see it deflected wide.
Brocton then gave the ball away twice deep in their own half and Atherstone’s Ben Ashby reached the inside of Brocton’s box with the ball at his feet. Whitehouse was well positioned and took the effort comfortably enough.
Liam Bailey had another chance to put the Brocton defence under pressure with a free kick which he curled for the area just beyond the far post, but it ran for a goal kick.
Then, to finish off the half, Dan Creaney hit a volley down at the corner of Whitehouse’s goal and the young keeper pulled off a ‘Gordon Banks’ like save, low to his left, getting a firm hand to the shot and deflecting it up and over the bar.
Brocton were not long into the second period before reverting to a much more flowing style and it paid dividends immediately.
Andy Bourne got to the bye line, cut the ball back and Fife finished off to give the home side the lead.
Smith then kept Brocton from increasing their lead in a period of dominance, with a string of superb saves.
A punch for a corner from another Fife strike, a dive and save high to his left and a fend off his midriff with a firm punch clear.
But it was from the resulting corner, taken by Berks, that Rob Tomlinson struck to give Brocton a cushion for which they would soon be grateful.
A surge by the visitors put the home side under pressure again and when David Boal scored at the end of a fine move, in off a valiant attempt to clear by Dave Ablewhite, it was all to play for.
Atherstone piled on the pressure, but Smith made two more great saves at the other end before the whistle called a stop to a breathtaking second half.
Brocton: Adam Whitehouse, Richard Allen, Jamie Evans, Rob Tomlinson, Dave Ablewhite, Andy Bourne, Sam Bell, Craig Hulme, Gary Fife, Dave Berks, Dan Lomas. Used substitutes: Paul McMahon, Damien Charie.
Brocton, who lead the table by five points, are at home again this Saturday when mid-table outfit Littleton are the visitors to Silkmore Lane (kick-off 3p). Meanwhile, Brocton reserves have a week off after an impressive 2-0 away win at Bolehall Swifts.