Earlswood Town 0 Brocton 1
Brocton’s lastest Midland Combination Premier trip on Saturday saw them collect a further three points with a 1-0 win over Earlswood Town.
It was the Badgers’ 20th league win of the season and they now need to win five of their remaining nine games to guarantee themselves the league title.
On Bromsgrove’s pitch, Brocton elected to play up the slope in the first period and had to weather some good attacking play from the home side.
As early as the fifth minute Kieran Fitzgerald had found room for a shot on goal which Adam Whitehouse had to beat out.
At the other end Sam Bell won a corner for the visitors after Dave Berks had set him free down the right flank and it was Bell again moments later testing keeper Josh Benton’s hands after good work in midfield by Charlie Jones had once again set him free.
Brocton looked as though they had settled into the match when Seb Hamilton provided Paul McMahon with a sharp chance that went just wide, but there could be no complacency as Earlswood struck back through Bradley Hall, who put the ball in the net from the right only to discover that he was off side.
Dave Ablewhite then quickly found himself involved at both ends. He first provided good momentum from his left back spot, working the ball to Berks, who once more found McMahon, whose shot flew over the bar. Then immediately afterwards Ablewhite had to put in an important tackle to prevent Hall getting in on the counter attack.
Matt Skinner was having a fine battle with Fitzgerald, particularly in the air, but the Earlswood player did get past him on 20 minutes and this time Whitehouse’s legs were needed to keep out his shot.
Brocton nearly broke the deadlock just after the half hour when striking the bar after a wicked Berks corner and the Badgers finished the half with yet another McMahon shot which, this time Benton dropped on to save.
The second period was not very old though when McMahon did get his rewards.
Dean Crowley had advanced to the edge of the box only to find too many legs in the way of his low shot, but when the ball was recycled Richard Allen and Bell worked the ball into the box. Allen was felled but Bell got in a low cross for McMahon to slide in at the far post.
The best move of the match was once again started by Ablewhite, receiving the ball in his run on the left from Berks. He found Hamilton and Allen ran on to a slick little pass only to see his shot go narrowly wide.
The game was far from finished and while Brocton created more chances, so too did Earlswood, putting the visitors under severe pressure as the game drew to a close.
Inevitably as they pressed there were openings for Brocton but even a mix up between defender and keeper, when the ball was headed back and looked set to end up as an own goal, could not give Brocton the cushion they needed.
Whitehouse needed to be at his best more than once to keep the visitors in the lead in the closing stages.
It would have been hard on Brocton to lose their lead at the death, but fortune favoured them as the ball hit their post in a goal mouth scramble and the loose ball was hit high and wide.
This Saturday title rivals Nuneaton Griff are the visitors to Silkmore Lane while Brocton reserves, who gained a creditable 2-2 draw at Fairfield Villa, with Lukas Putka and Josh Wilson the men on the mark, travel to face in-form Knowle Reserves. Both games kick off at 3pm