Brocton 2 Pelsall Villa 1
BROCTON returned to league action with a narrow victory over Pelsall Villa to remain top of the Midland Combination Premier by a point.
The early stages of this match showed clearly the intentions of each side as Brocton, who have five matches in hand on their nearest rivals,attempted to get their close passing back to normal after a difficult midweek cup game.
Pelsall concentrated on two solid banks of four behind hard working front players, who closed Brocton down and made sure that there were no easy passes available.
It was fully 15 minutes before Brocton even got within sight of their visitors’ goal and it came from a deep cross by Dan Lomas from the left, headed back into the danger area by Sam Bell on the right and under pressure, headed over by Gary Fife.
It was a free kick which gave Pelsall their first chance as Callum Phillips eyed a sight at goal, but his effort went over the bar.
On 25 minutes Dave Ablewhite broke up a move and advanced from the back. He found Bell cutting in on the right and Bell found the side netting.
Three minutes later the home side broke through. Lomas made space on the left flank and slipped the ball infield to Fife, who in turn found Dave Berks. As Berks settled on the ball his pass was dictated for him by a superb diagonal run into and across the box by Bell. Berks delivered and Bell converted for a 1-0 lead.
The goal should have settled Brocton nerves, but a series of near misses saw Berks hitting the post after good work from Lomas and Fife, and Fife headed over again after approach work from Rob Tomlinson and Charlie Jones, the header coming eventually from a Lomas cross.
Pelsall’s good defensive work, coupled with their ability to strike quickly in numbers on the break, left Brocton’s lead looking a slender one.
A bounce over the head of Ashley Lawley at the heart of Pelsall’s defence let Lomas in, but keeper John Miller threw himself at Lomas’ feet and blocked his shot.
Then, Brocton had cause to blow their cheeks as a cross come shot from the bye line, where Richard Allen seemed to have kept danger away, fooled Adam Whitehouse and gently struck the far post before being cleared.
It didn’t save Brocton for long though as the lively and hard working Ben Lund squirmed free on that same bye line and struck a thunderous shot with his left into the net from an almost impossible angle.
Ablewhite then brought the ball from his own half and was only thwarted by another brave save with his legs by Miller in Pelsall’s box as Brocton tried to increase their tempo.
Callum Phillips did much the same for the visitors, seeing his effort clip the top of Brocton’s bar. It looked as though the home side were going to have to settle for a draw as Berks did everything but score with a dribble into the box and shot rebounding out from the inside of a post.
However, newcomer Seb Hamilton saved the day, coolly converting his first chance at goal after Berks had lifted the ball over the defence for him to run on to.
This Saturday, Brocton are at home again when they entertain Alvis Sporting (kick off 3pm)