Brereton Lion can count themselves unlucky to come away with no points after a battling display by an under strength side. The Lion were without a dozen players through numerous reasons, and a stretched squad was hit hard with the very late withdrawals of midfielders Cowlishaw and Stockhall. The Lion were forced to draft in the little and little frontline of Scotty Kirkbride and Gary Phillips. Neither players are recognised forwards but both battled hard to try and keep the Lion in possesion when the ball went forward. The lion fileded a 4-4-2 formation with star wingers Wright and Cunningham urged to provide the goal threat. Once again new signing Cunningham had a good game out wide, always looking a threat when he was running with the ball and looking to create chances. Tommy Wright on the left wing was always looking to attack and create an opening.
The Lion defence of Matyus, JR Dutton, Ben Cushen and Southwell had their hands full with the tricky Red, White and Blue forward, who ran Rugeley United ragged last week, but the lads settled well and gave the danger man no space to turn. Midfielders Daley and Simpson were full of clever turns in the middle, their neat footwork creating time on the ball to find the wingers. RWB (Red, White and Blue) were very lucky not to have a player dismissed after a very clean tackle from Ben Cushen caused their forward to react stupidly, lashing out with his boot and fists. How the ref did not see this as an instant dismissal was beyond me.
The Lion game plan of defending well and counter attacking with pace on the flanks was working well. Cunningham was tearing the left back to shreds and Simpson was supplying some deadly through balls from centre mid. Brereton went into the lead when Jimmy Matyus found some space to superbly scoop a through ball into the path of the very quick Tommy Wright. This superb through ball was met with an equally superb finish by the Flying Pig, last season's top scorer getting his first of the 2012/13 campaign by calmly slottinhg the ball past the large home keeper.
1-0 , defending well, winning the midfield and with two lads up front working their socks off, the first half was a success for the Lion, however the second half..........
The Lion were urged to keep up the good work, keep breaking at pace and work hard to get a killer second goal during the half time break. Brereton started the second half strong, and an upset was on the cards, with a patched up side really battling to stay in the lead. Whenever Dan Cushen was tested his positioning was always spot on, resulting in calm saves and clean handling.
As the second half went on it started to become obvious that the Lion were running out of steam. With absolutely no fresh legs on the subs bench players were tiring fast. RWB scored their equaliser when a strong challenge from behind on Cunningham was not deemed a foul by the ref, a slick passing move found the RWB winger who's cross shot could only be parried by Cushen in nets to the RWB forward who smashed it home. This goal ceratinly knocked the Lion for six and worse was to follow when full back Jamie Southwell went down in agony clutching his hamstring. Southwell could play no further part of the game and despite a defensive reshuffle the Lion just could not plug the gaps. RWB hit another three goals in quick succesion. Credit to the Lion ten though who battled to the end, kept the attitude right and kept trying to pass the ball on the deck. An amzing piece of skill by Jimmy Matyus towards the ned, playing a 1-2 with an Oak Tree, a skill you do not see every week!
A bad week for Brereton Lion, with a scoreline that makes the match look a lot more one sided than it actually was. Its always easy to say what if, but if the Lion had been able to field a few more first team players than I am confident it would of been at LEAST a point for the young Lion side.
Individually some players really impressed. Good signs of things to come and I can see the Lion picking up points on their travels with JR Dutton organising the defence, Simpson skilfully knitting defence and attack and Cunningham and Wright always looking dangerous in attack.
NEXT MATCH: (H) BELT ROAD: The Lion welcome reigning CCFL Premier league champs Belt Road to Armitage Lane, a side that the Lion took six points off last season. Corrigan and Phillips will be delighted to welcome back some more players, whilst work is being done to try and replace the injured Alex Houston with a fresh face. Last but not least congratulations to Phil Crozier on his charity bike ride and Matty Hackett on his wedding. Looking forward to having these two back stripped up.