STAFFORD TOWN 1 BROCTON 3
LOCAL bragging rights belonged to Brocton on Saturday as they inflicted a home defeat on neighbours Stafford Town in the first of successive games between the clubs.
Just five minutes had gone when Brocton got their noses in front at Evans Park. Sam Bell’s blocked shot fell to Gary Fife. He took it on a pace before providing a perfectly weighted cross for Dave Berks to head in at close range.
Town had to hang on a little for the next quarter of an hour as their visitors clearly had their tails up, but they kept Brocton at bay and began to create some pressure of their own around Brocton's goal area.
Stafford upped their game and nearly equalised on 27 minutes. Craig Hulme got into the Brocton area and saw his shot tipped over by visiting keeper Adam Whitehouse.
Former Town player Jordan Bloor responded, getting past his marker before crossing from the bye line. Berks met the cross but home keeper Matt Challinor was equal to it.
Hulme then went off on a great run for the home side and got all the way to the edge of the
box and only a fine save by Whitehouse kept out his strike at the corner of post and bar.
With their next attack Brocton increased their lead. This time Jamie Evans overlapped on the left and his first time cross was met by the outside of Bell’s right boot as he half-volleyed it into the net.
Stafford should have reduced the deficit on 41 minutes. Chris Morris got past three defenders on a run to the bye-line and set up Hulme who shot over from ten yards.
Town were never out of this match and once more they applied pressure around Brocton's box.
It did not pay immediate dividends, but the pressure kept their spirits high and, having survived a bout of pressure around their own goal mouth, a break split Brocton apart.
Spencer Gunnell was fed by Paul McMahon and Gunnellnetted to peg it back to 2-1, whilst the Badgers appealed in vain for offside.
With just a quarter of an hour to go the game became a little frenzied as the home side pressed for an equaliser.
Brocton boss John Berks then sent on the last of his three substitutes, Joe Pickering and his impact was immediate as he beat three men with a fine dribble down the left before setting up Bell to produce a clinical side-footed finish to wrap up the game and three points for the Silkmore Lane men.
As a result the Badgers leapfrogged Town in the Midland Combination premier table, movimg up to seventh, while the Reds slipped to tenth spot.
However, Stafford have an early chance for revenge as they make the short trip to Silkmore Lane for the return fixture on Saturday (3pm). Spectators are advised to arrive early.
- Brocton have announced that the speaker at their annual sports dinner next month will be Steve Hodge, the former Nottingham Forest and England midfielder. The event is at the White Eagle Club, Riverway on Friday, March 15 and tickets cost just £25, including a four course meal, available from Brian Townsend on 07766 781583.