A big welcome back to players, staff and followers to Brereton Lion, with some high profile signings and some departures the Lion have a new look squad for the new season. Fingers crossed the Lion can build on their great form towards the back end of last season and make a real charge towards silverware this season and extinguish the pain of the Cannock Chase cup final!
The new season begins and the Lion welcomed last seasons runners-up, double winners and local rivals Rugeley United to the Social ground. Both sides were fielding strong sides despite holidays and V festival and the Social crowd were in for a mouth watering clash between two good footballing sides.
Brereton Lion opted for the 4-2-3-1 formation, deploying the man mountain Gary Dunn as the lone striker to battle with the wiley Rugeley United defence. With the visitors opting for the Mike Bassett favourite 4-4-2. The game got under way in a typical Rugeley derby fashion, with a high tempo in the middle of the park and the busy Carter letting the visitors know they were in for a game with a few physical tackles. The middle 3 for the Lion, Cowlishaw, Crutchley and Carter were working hard to not allow the Rugeley midfield time to get into their usual passing game. Around the 20 minute mark a clash between Carter and an oppostion player resulted in Carter receiving a yellow card and ultimately meant he had to calm his usual busy and physical approach to the game. Towards the end of the first half Rugeley began to get a foothold of the game and a few chances were spurned by the Rugeley forwards, with Dan Cushen producing some fine shot stopping. In defence, Cushen, Dutton and Chandler were working very well as a unit, with Cushen battling superbly with the strong forward. Sam Chandler, a big money signing from local neighbours Brereton Town was gaining in confidence and showed his class with a brilliant perfromance when up against a strong, tricky player in Ash Andrews. Lion looked a threat from set pieces and should have punished the visitors in the first half with Simpson and Cowlishaw turning the opposition inside and out, the visiting defence finding it very difficult to pick up Cowlishaw who was working well in the hole and gambling well from Dunns aerial presence.
HALF TIME- BRERETON LION 0-0 RUGELEY UNITED
A very positive Lion half time team talk showed how willing and how much the Lion players really fancied the battle and challenge. The second half began with the Lion taking full charge of the game and grabbed a well deserved lead on 47 minutes when some fine midfield battling from Crutchley before finding Cowlishaw who drove at the visiting defence, dropping the shoulder and bursting into the box before powering a cross shot across the face with the very sharp Simpson nipping in between the Rugeley defenders and tapping home to give the Lion the lead. With the opposition now shook the Lion looked hungry and wanted to build on their lead, a series of attacks from Daley and Chandler down the Lion right really tested the away side. A mention regarding Daley, who by his own admission wasn't fit to play on the back of his Paul Gascoigne drinking session, put in a brilliant committed performance, showing real Lion courage. Tired legs became evident and Captain Franklin was replaced with new signing Harry Wright, Wright showed his neat passing game and he wasn't fazed by the visitors rough house tactics. Rugeley United couldn't get to grips with the tempo, drive, will to win and passion that the tenacious Lion offered in this local clash. Manager Corrigan opted for a complete change of approach when he switched Dunn whose strong battling shift had battered the Rugeley defence with young whippet and heir to the throne Keegan Grant, whose pace and fast feet were going to have the ageing defence in knots. Dan Cushen produced some fine saves to cap a solid performance. Jake Daley was replaced by "Most Ripped 2013" winner Jimmy Matyus who came on and supplied a through ball of the highest order to Grant, who skipped past a defender, took it wide and with the narrowest of gaps smashed home an unstoppable strike in off the post, cue an eruption from the Lion faithful, a fine individual goal for the young man. During the final 10 mins, Lion showed real grit and battle to see out this game and gain a clean sheet along the way! Chandler was in fine form and when given the task of tackling the powerhouse Wynter he showed he was more than capable of the task and gave him nothing! As the refs whistle blew for full time a rapturous applause broke out and Lion players were enjoying the victory that was very much well deserved.
FULL TIME- BRERETON LION 2-0 RUGELEY UNITED
MOM = ASH CARTER. Ash was handed man of the match due his sometimes mind boggling engine and non stop running, battling and solid midfield work, but also to keep his head having being booked so early. Although Ash got MOM he was very closely pushed by Changy who was in fine form throughout. Every player deserved a pat on the back, not one player backed down, or shyed out of any situation. Something that maybe the Lion are not known for at times. A massive well done to all!!!!
Well done to the management team on the well timed tactics and sub changes!
Next week..... Littleton..... I dont need to say anything about them. You should all have the fire in the belly to go and get some revenge and build on this win!
LION, LIOOONN, LIIOOOOOOOOON!!!