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Brocton rooted at bottom of table

St Andrews 1 - 0 Brocton

Last Updated: Nov 3, 2016 07:48am
Penkside, Stafford
By Pete Russell
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Midland Football League Premier Division

St Andrews 1 Brocton  0   

Despite putting in a competitive performance Brocton remain firmly rooted to the foot of the table after succumbing to a late goal at St Andrews.

The last time Brocton visited this Leicestershire side was back in 2013 in the FA Vase and missed out then with a penalty in added time, and St Andrews went on to their best ever run in the competition and reached the semi- final.  St Andrews newly  promoted this year into the MFL Premier Division are looking comfortable in the top half of the league, where-as Brocton have yet to get their season rolling. This game however was evenly matched and a neutral supporter  would have taken the visitors as the team at the top half of the league, as they set about taking the game to St Andrews and had they taken their  chances, Brocton would have been worthy winners. 

The game started at a low tempo as each side were testing each other, but with David Ablewhite and Matt Dockerty in mid-field they looked solid when defending, and were ready to move forward as a unit putting pressure on the home side. Following early exchanges St Andrews were awarded a free kick which initially was defended but from the following cross Shay Brennan had a clear chance but a double save from Aidan Stone on 8 minutes saved the visitors from an early deficit. Jack Edwards ran into the penalty area and was bought down and as the home supporters held their breath the referee adjudged it to be a fair tackle. This was followed by a Shaun Kinsella free kick out- side the area from which Ablewhite received the ball but shot over. Paul McMahon installed at centre forward took up a good position but was just caught off – side on 21 minutes. Sam Hollis progressed on the right and fired in a cross ball shot but it was well wide to trouble Stone. There was little to choose between the sides at present and when McMahon received the ball via a deflection the hard working forward noticed keeper Shane Antcliffe off his line and attempted an audacious lob from 40 yards giving the home side a fright as the ball went just over the bar. 

St Andrews were quick on the counter attack but the Brocton defence held  well and a  forward ball gave Edwards an opportunity on 27 minutes to run at the home side. He needed to cross to McMahon but was tackled at last second. The referee felt justified to yellow card Harry Flowers on 29 minutes for holding Hollis as both player tussled for the ball. McMahon had the best chance for Brocton in this half on 32 minutes and was clear of the defenders but shot wide of the advancing keeper. Following this scare St Andrews had their best spell of the match and worked several openings where Rob Morgan, Toby Warner and Keaton Towers all went close. Just before the close of the half Edwards ran through again, but his shot was well wide. 

 The second half started at a higher tempo and both teams were driving forward at every opportunity. Joe Latham hand balled on 47minutes and put his team under pressure. Ablewhite for Brocton was working well on the right and crossed a ball for McMahon who brought out a save from Antcliffe in the home goal a minute later. With the higher tempo the game was end to end and both sets of forwards in the action but both defences were also working well and it was difficult to see who might grab the eventual winner. On 62 minutes Josh Sedgley pushed forward and had the clearest chance to put the visitors ahead, but the ball was ushered suspiciously around the post with the keeper beaten and appeals for hand ball denied by the referee. Brocton at this stage looked the more likely to score as they were restricting St Andrews to counter attacks with Dockerty, Kinsella and Ablewhite dictating play. St Andrews had their moments also with Morgan heading on goal from a free kick which Stone resorted to punching away. Callum Head came on for the injured Luke Wright and Sedgley moved to right back. Both teams were looking for the break through and you could sense the nerves jangling with players and supporters as the game got a bit scrappy and intense  towards the end, with the referee under verbal pressure from some of St Andrews players which he dealt with by flashing more yellow cards. Brocton launched an attack down the right and from an Edwards  cross, McMahon hit a tremendous volley which brought out the save of the match from keeper Antcliffe and saved the day for the home side.  As at the end of the first half St Andrews started to pile on the pressure and Eliot Putman had a ground shot saved by Stone but on 88 minutes a high cross ball was met by the same player with a volley to win the match for the home side. This was an excellent game where Brocton deserved more and Manager Berks is rebuilding the side which has the potential to climb  out of the relegation zone.


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