In an eagerly anticipated local derby between two sides who would both be expected to challenge for the Premier league title there was physical game which resulted in 6 goals, yellow cards and drama.
Brereton Lion travelled to their local rivals Ridware Oak and were hoping to build on last weeks demolition of Premier Suite. Manager Corrigan stuck with last weeks hatrick hero Crozier to lead the Lion attack with the in form Baker being deployed down the left but with the licence to roam and create havoc amongst the Ridware backline. Matyus was given the mission to keep Ridwares talismanic forward Hurley quiet and seemed more than up for the battle.
The game got underway in a typically bullish battling derby manner, with the Ridware pitch proving to be as testing as usual with its fluctuating and bumpy surface that seemingly switches even the most efficient passing sides look for route one style football. Brereton Lion showed high tempo levels and never let the home side rest or get comfortable in possession with Carter and Daley chasing and combating the opposition midfield with steal and determination to win their personal battles! Crozier with his willingness to run was working well with the bison like power of Dunn and the superb trickery of Baker were giving the home side no end of problems. The visitors were rewarded for their hardwork on 30 mins when a freekick from Baker was whipped in and evaded everyone to fly into the net to give the forward his 3d goal of whats already been a fine start to the season. Chances came for both sides as a series of corners were repelled from both defences, but Brereton Lion really should have doubled their lead before the half time whistle, however it wasn’t to be.
HALF TIME: RIDWARE OAK 0 – 1 BRERETON LION
Manager Corrigan and Captain Franklin really drove home the point that the Lion had to keep the intensity and work rate at a high level in the second half if they were to take home the 3 points.
As the second half got under way it was clear that Ridware Oak were not going to be bullied on their pitch and brought the fight to Brereton Lion, but they met the battling qualities of a confident, powerful side in the Lion. Sam Chandlers power and pace was a real plus point for the Lion and his ability to pick up the ball and carry it forward alleviating pressure was a huge asset at times. A second goal came for Lion as a corner was not dealt with by Ridware and the ball fell to Cushen who slammed home at the back post with his left foot, a real collector’s item. At 2 goals up the Lion could sense more goals were for the taking. Ridware needed to get back into the game and pushed more players forward putting pressure on the Lion defence, but Cushen and Dutton were yet again in fine form and their partnership this season has been a very solid foundation for all the fine forward play that has been on show.
Ridware grabbed a life line back into the game when the Ridware forward wriggled free down the byline and was able to square for a simple tap in. A poor goal to concede and a lesson into the importance of playing to the referees whistle. With the hosts now having a foot back in the game the Lion quickly increased their lead when a Ridware attack was thwarted Chandler picked up the ball in his own half and drove at great pace towards the Ridware defence. His cross shot was expertly controlled by substitute Cunningham who then hammered the ball into the roof of the net from the edge of the box. A superb finish from the skilful winger.
Bakers second half display matched his first and was playing brilliantly, with some skills and trickery that had the crowd in awe and the Ridware defence in absolute knots. Matyus really had to be on fine form to deal with Hurley and yet again gave the striker very little chance all afternoon, a very powerful display from Matyus indeed. For all that was good about the Lion, they then conceded another sloppy goal as the Ridware centre back was able to climb highest and head home from a freekick. It really was game on at this point and the pressure was on for the Lion to see this game out. However it wasn’t to be and the hosts equalised on 80 minutes, when a freekick was swung in by the Ridware midfielder and then inexplicably left to sail in by Cushen in the Lion goal who claimed the freekick was indirect. Regardless whether it was or wasn’t the keeper should have caught the ball rather than let it into the net. 3-3.
Both sides had chances, especially for substitute Grant whose lightening feet and pace appeared to get him into a scoring opportunity but unfortunately over ran it and the chance was gone.
FULL TIME: RIDWARE OAK 3 – 3 BRERETON LION
Overall a very dominant display from the Lion, showing great battling characteristics and a real threat every time they drove forward, but 3 poor goals conceded cost them and it was 2 points lost.
MOM = R. BAKER – A scintillating display from the forward, who offered everything. A none stop running approach, matched with outrageous ability and skills made him the stand out player on the pitch.