Brereton Lion comfortablly got through a potentially tricky tie in the prestigious Lichfield Charity Trophy away in Brownhills. Brereton Lion were drawn against Brownhills Community from the Lichfield Prem but overall The Lion had too much quality for the opposition.
The Lion were rocked with some absentees prior to the game that severly stretched the strength of the Lion squad. Missing for various reasons were Tom Wright, Matyus, Dunn, Crutchley, Crozier, Cowlishaw, Harry Wright, Stockhall and keepers Cushen and Bissell. Lion legend Gary Phillips was handed the gloves. The Lion went for a 4-4-2 formation with a back four featuring Chandler, Cushen, Dutton and skipper Franklin. Midfield consisted of Houston and Simpson on the flanks with Daley and Carter in the centre. Baker was up front with Cunnigham.
The Lion started strong and Alex Houston was making the most of a rare start and was looking to attack with his every touch. Early crosses from the right wing nearly led to goals for Baker and Cunningham. The Lion front two always looked threatening on the ball and were a handful for the home defence. Daley and Carter were bossing the midfield and Simpson was finding great pockets of the pitch to play football in.
The weather conditions were challenging though, with the sun looming low and in the eyes and the wind at gale force. Add a bumpy pitch into the equation and its fair to say that they all contributed to help even out the game. Whenever Brownhills did attack they found an organised Lion defence that was in no mood to let them past.
The Lion came close to scoring with Carter and Daley getting into some good positions. Baker and Cunningham both had half chances, with a superb cross from Houston finding Baker at the back post who was just stopped from scoring by a last ditch tackle. The Lion opened the scoring on the half hour mark through a well worked set piece. Simpson delivered a high and lofted corner to the back post which was met by Houston, who from near the touchline managed to power a header over the line. 1-0 Lion. A great goal from Alex Houston, who stormed away in a mardy after a heated row from The Lion lads last time he played but in this game he was the toast of the camp. He even had some superb #prayforlex t-shirts made for him before the game.
The Lion threatened to add another goal before half time, and were certainly on top of the game, however Brownhills defended well at times to keep the game at only 0-1 at HT.
Brownhills started the half strong without really worrying Gaz Phillips in The Lion nets. The Lion were now kicking into the sun and playing up the slope. Once again Cunningham and Baker were testing the home defence with skilful runs and you always felt that The Lion would get the next goal. It was fitting that the next Lion goalscorer was their top goalscorer Mr Bullit Baker. After spurning a good chance Bullit had his head down, however the cleared ball found Franklin who superbly got his head up and floated a long ball right into Bullits path. There was still a lot of work for Bullit to do but a superb touch and shimmy allowed Bullit the chance to curl the ball into the bottom corner. Great goal. 2-0 Lion.
The Lion were now ready to introduce the pacey Keegan Grant in the roll on roll off sub routine. Credit to Grant, who is pushing really hard for a start after some superb sub appearances this season. The game was starting to get physical and The Lion lads stood up for themselves well, with midfiled battler Carter making sure that Brownhills knew they were in a battle by dishing out some strong tackles.
Brownhills managed to pull a goal back on 70 minutes through a well worked free kick. A floated ball was met by a big Brownhills player who headed home from close range. 1-2. Despite The Lion letting in a goal the game never really looked in threat, with The Lion remaining calm and trying to play their football.
The only bad mark on the display was again Jake Daley ruining a superb individula display by gobbing off at the ref. Jake had to sit out the last ten minutes before he received a red card. Come on Jakey pal please keep that gob shut!
The Lion wrapped up the game on the 86th minute with Simpson and Houston again combining at a corner. Brownhills had obvioulsy not realised just what a great leap Houston has . Simpson took the corner and Houston met it powerfully with his head and nearly ripped open the goal net. 3-1 to Lion.
There was still time for Cunningam to test the keepr with a deep cross that nearly allowed Baker a tap in.
A strong display and a real case of getting the job done in a sensible fashion. Brownhills were not the strongest team but it was a tough test and The Lion will now look to see who we get in the next round. The Lion got to the semi finals last season and Corrigan has his eyes on winning this wonderful trophy for the first time.
MOM= Some strong candidates all over the park, but the award deserevedly heads to Houston for his workrate, skill, energy and goals. Welcome back Alex!
Next week another tough game, Dracys at home in The Staffs Cup. 11:05 KO