Brereton Lion opened the new campaign in style with a comprehensive victory over fallen Sunday league giants Belt Road.
Manager Corrigan with a host of new signings at his disposal was able to hand starts to new recruits Wood, Ainger, Allen, Andrews and Perry who have all impressed during a tough pre-season schedule following their well documented moves. The new signings mixed with an already very exciting Lion squad will hopefully take the side to a new level during the new season.
The game got under way on the well maintained Social surface with the Lion looking to impose their passing game on the visitors. It would be fair to say Belt Road are not the force of years gone by, but are still a well organised side with sprinkles of isolated quality in forward Deakin & defender Sunny. Brereton Lion dominated the opening 20 minutes and were unlucky not to take the lead when Perry was denied by the Belt Road goalkeeper when well positioned. Some slack play on the edge of the Lion box was taken advantage of by the visitors and the Lion were punished on 35' when a fine long range effort gave keeper Wood no chance. Opening the scoring Belt Road seemed to grow in confidence and the Lion had to show some character to keep to their game plan and togetherness.
H/T BRERETON LION FC 0 - 1 BELT ROAD FC
Steve Allen was replaced at the break after picking up a knock on his way back to fitness by powerhouse forward Gary Dunn. Dunn was to partner Perry upfront as the Lion would go searching for goals to get them back into the game. On 46' the game was levelled when some superb endeavour from Perry on the wing resulted in the latter whipping in a fine cross for Baker to nod home. The Lion could smell blood and kept up the high attacking tempo with a serious of attacks resulting in the Lion taking the lead on 53' when new signing Ainger was on hand to volley home from close range following a corner. More pressure was applied and the Lion grabbed a deserved third on 65' when wing wizard Simpson was able to deliver a trademark cross for Dunn to powerfully head home. Last seasons top scorer Baker was able to claim his second of the game on 80' from the penalty spot after the referee adjudged the Belt Road defender of a handball, Baker obliged sending the keeper the wrong way. Substitute Fulton came on and showed what potential he has, collecting the ball on the left wing before evading a series of challenges and expertly slotting the ball past the keeper on 85'.
F/T BRERETON LION 5 - 1 BELT ROAD FC
A superb display of character from the Lion coming back from a goal down and putting in a very strong second half showing in which the visitors could not match. It has been very pleasing to see how well the new signings have settled into the Lion fold, with new keeper Matt Wood putting in a fine display of distribution and all round awareness.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Bullet Baker - Very closely ran by fellow forward Ross Perry, but grabbing 2 goals just edged the vote.