BROCTON 1 STAFFORD TOWN 1
A WEEK after they went down 2-1 at home to their local rivals Stafford Town picked up a well earned point in the return at Silkmore Lane.
Town took the short distance determined to reverse the previous result and set about holding midfield and cutting off the supply to the Brocton flanks, from which the Badgers had been so effective seven days earlier.
The first half became a scrappy affair with Town players holding their position and shape extremely well, giving no quarter, unsettling Brocton’s game plan and launching their own attacks.
An early Town effort was ruled out for offside and as the half wore on, Town’s back four, led by Ben Henderson, were repelling everything that Brocton could muster.
In what was a typical derby clash, yellow cards were handed out and as the first half moved into the final ten minutes, Brocton took the lead - somethat against the run of play.
Gary Fife collected a loose ball just inside the Town area, moved to his left and fired a shot beyond a crowd of players, beating visiting keeper Matt Challinor on 36 minutes.
After a heated end to the first period things quietened down at the start of the second half and it was Town’s turn to defend resolutely.
This allowed the visitors to move out of defence and feed their forwards who, from one foray down the right, crossed the ball into the danger area and Town’s Joe Woodward found a narrow gap between Richard Jones and Sam Bell to grab an equaliser with a low header.
Both teams looked to take the game at this point and Town boss Adam Cunningham introduced more goal power, sending on Steve Bennett and Darryll Johns, while Brocton replaced the injured Dan Lomas with Sam Hollingsworth.
The game picked up a pace as Brocton probed down the wings through Sam Bell and Joe Pickering, while Chris Morris forced the issue for the Reds.
Whitehouse in the home goal produced the save of the match when turning a shot from Morris onto an upright, before visiting defender James Cresswell was dismssed for two bookable offences.
Brocton piled on the pressure against the 10 men and Fife went the closest to a winner when a shot from close quarters was blocked by Challinor. In the end Town held out to pick up a wellearned point.
The Badgers are at home again this Saturday, entertaining Racing Club Warwick in a league fixture at Silkmore Lane (3pm).
That game is followed on Thursday, February 21 by Brocton’s home Walsall Senior Cup tie against Heath Hayes (7.30pm). The winners of that tie visit Stafford Rangers or holders Rushall Olympic in the semi-finals.
Town, who visit Pershore Town in the league this Saturday (3pm), entertain Wolstanton United in the Staffs FA Vase semi-finals on March 9 (3pm).