Brereton Lion continued their poor league form with defeat to local rivals Ridware Oak in a scrappy game low on quality. The game was reversed to be played on The Oak’s pitch, which is aptly nicknamed the cow field.
Ridware Oak spurned the opening chance of the game with star striker for the opposition Morgan Hurley beating the offside trap but denied by a strong Dan Cushen save. The Lion were trying to get some kind of passing game going on a very small, lumpy and uneven pitch. The Lion’s first chance of the half came when Matty Hackett wriggled to the left byline and produced a smart pullback. Dan Stockhall, returning to the lion side for the first time in 3 months made a strong late surge into the box from midfield but just smashed his shot over the bar.
The Oak felt hard done by on twenty minutes when Morgan Hurley smashed home a long range shot direct from an Oak throw in. Lion linesman Steve Phillips claimed he was offside and referee Nigel Kerr disallowed the goal.
The Lion never really created many chances in the first half. Sam Deeley was working hard on the right flank to try and create crossing opportunities. Every now and again the sharp passing of Daley, Stockhall and Cowlishaw created a bit of space but a compact Ridware midfield were always working hard to close down. Manager Corrigan had warned that it would be a battle yet not enough Lion players really rolled up their sleeves in the first half. Striker Wright was left isolated up front and was man marked well. Hackett came close from a short corner routine but overall Adam Hill in The Ridware goal had hardly anything to do all half.
The Oak took the lead just before half time with Jam Russell finding space in the box to finish off a knockdown.
Manager Corrigan changed the formation to 4-4-2 and urged his players forward a bit more. Disaster just before the hour mark though when Ridware got a second goal with Lycett scrambling home a right wing cross. This knocked the stuffing out of The Lion a bit and it was not until Mark Hackett, Debo and the injury free Alex Houston stepped onto the pitch on 60 minutes that The Lion looked dangerous. The Lion now had a real physical presence to aim the ball towards and Dunn played superbly as a target man. Praise must also go to Houston who brought an energy to the right wing and supplied a lot of dangerous crosses. With Dunn, Houston, Crozier, Matyus and hopefully very soon Simpson back from injury and Stockhall back from his loan spell The Lion squad is looking strong again and ready to challenge for trophies in 2013.
It must be said that if The Lion had got a goal at any point in the second half then this would have been a different match. Good chances were either missed or Hill saved shots from Debo, Wright and Hackett. The Lion just did not produce enough quality in the final third to get an opener.
Disappointing result and performance from The Lion boys. Manager Corrigan has admitted that playing a short passing game was the wrong idea for the surface. The Lion may look to go more direct this weekend and perhaps freshen up the side when they welcome Team Albion to the Social in The Staffs Cup.
MOM= Not a lot of candidates. Dunn and Houston nearly snatched it for their cameo’s. But the award heads to Stockhall who never gave up, kept on running and brought lots of energy to the side. Great to have him back.