Brereton Lion snatched a derby point with a spirited comeback against hated rivals Brereton Town in the Cannock Chase Premier League. The Lion are desperate for points, currently sitting bottom of the league but with games in hands due to their many cup runs. A disappointing start to the day with senior players Franklin and Wright not getting out of bed after a heavy night clubbing. Cowlishaw had been tricked into working and Crozier was absent through injury.
The Lion started with a 4-4-1-1 formation with ex-raven Gary Dunn as the target man. Stockhall was asked to support him in attack with Simpson and JR Dutton in centre midfield. Houston and Cunningham were on the wings. The defence was made up of Cockayne, Matyus, Ben Cushen and make shift right back Jake Daley. Top keeper Dan Cushen was in the sticks.
A nervy start for The Lion who never settled well on the ball in the first ten minutes. Brereton Town nearly opened the scoring when a long ball found its way through to Dan Cushen who slipped over. Veteran striker Robby Hogg could not get to the ball in time for a tap in. The Lion never learned their lesson though and were behind soon after. Daley gave away the ball with a rare sloppy pass and Rob Hogg was released behind the Lion defence. Despite a strong shout for offside the flag stayed down and Hogg finished well to make it 1-0 to Brereton Town.
This goal seemed to spur Lion on a bit more and a bit more football was being played.
The Lion never really got forward well enough in the first half with Stocky working hard on the defensive side of the game meaning Dunn spelt too many spells isolated. Cunningham was trying to find more ball time by playing through the middle losing The Lion an outlet on the left wing.
The referee was guilty of being far too lenient with his use of cards. Horrific tackles were made by Brown , Pepper and Coleman with only one yellow card produced. Ben Cushen came closest to scoring an equaliser for Lion with a header from a corner. It was all Lion at this point but the opening goal would not come. Too many set piece opportunities were wasted by not beating the first defender with the delivery.
Disaster before the half time whisstle though when Paul Brown scored a fluke free kick to make it 2-0 to Town. Star defender Jimmy Matyus was guilty of conceding a needless free kick against Coleman and Brown whipped the ball in with power from the left past the helpless Dan Cushen.
HT 2-0 down and too many players wasting valuable time arguing and moaning at each other. Manager Corrigan changed to a straight 4/4/2 with JR helping out Debo up top and Stocky moved back into centre midfield.
Credit to the Lion for a second half display that was a lot more encouraging than the first. More tackles were made and more quality crosses were coming into the opposition box. Dunn was winning all his flick ons and JR was competing well up front. Stocky and Simpson stamped some class in to the centre of the park.
Jr Dutton nearly beat his brother Ash with a quick left footed volley. Ashley Dutton was using all his time wasting techniques to try and see the game out for the ravens. Dunn came close with a dipping volley from 20 yards. Brereton Town posed no attacking threat in the second half with star player Changy having to work hard to try and stop the hard working Stocky who was everywhere across the pitch.
Time was running out and it was looking very much like The Lion were going to leave the ground beaten. Brereton Town continued the rough tackilng and intimidating of the referee that they are famous for. Jansic was working overtime at the back to try and keep out the constant Lion attacks. With 20 minutes to go manager Corrigan felt he had no choice but to go with a more attacking 3-4-3 formation and Jake Daley was sacrificed for Sammy Deeley who went straight up front to cause havoc.
The Lion finally got a goal when another foul by Sean Coleman resulted in a Lion free kick from the left wing. Cunningham skillfully floated in a cross that caused chaos in the box and Ben Cushen forced the ball home for his first of the season. This goal naturally breathed life into The Lion who went all out for an equaliser. The second goal came minutes later with a very simliar approach. Once again Cunningham arrowed in a very precise delivery from the left flank. Target man Dunn, who had missed a glorious headed chance minutes earlier, headed the ball back towards goal for JR Dutton to powerfully head home from 5 yards out. This goal sparked a near riot with Ashley Dutton chasing out of his goal to try and kick his big brother. Once again no cards were produced by the ref!!
The Lion pushed for a third goal but time was not on their side. Thug Chris Pepper was sent off late on for karate kicking Sam Deeley in the thigh.
The Lion had to settle for a draw, and a point was well deserved after a spirited fightback.
MOM= In a game that was not really full of quality Lion performances Stocky just edges it for his workrate and skill on the ball. He never gave in and took the game to the opposition always.