Away league match played on 02 September 2012.
Kicked off at 10:30 AM

Brereton Social Lion can feel unlucky to only come away with a point in their opening Cannock Chase Premier Division fixture. The Lion played Burntwood side St. Matthews, captained by Rugeley local Pete Robinson, who were looking to bounce back after losing to Magic Lantern in their first league match. Manager Craig Corrigan's plans to field an unchanged side were altered by the loss of goalkeeper Dan Cushen (Work) and midfielder Dan Stockhall (Family Function). Into the starting eleven came debutant keeper Sam Winter, signed in the summer from Rugeley Rangers and returning from injury captain Sam Colwishaw was back in the middle. 

Once again Lion fielded an attack minded 4-3-3 formation, with the wingers urged to stay high and deliver plenty of crosses to target man Crozier. The skilful midfield three of Daley, Simpson and Cowlishaw had the task of controlling the play in the midfield and supporting the attack when possible. It was fair to say this is one of the worst pitches in the league, very narrow and uneven, the pitch was not ideal for the short, sharp passing game that the Lion are trying to play this season.

St. Matthews started the stronger, with some composed passing at the back allowing them the time to pick out their strong centre forward with direct passes. It was clear to see that last weeks man of the match Gary Dunn, playing at the back aftrer only an hours sleep due to working nights, was going to have his hands full with the direct ginger forward. Lion tried to get a strangle hold of the game with Simpson and Cowlishaw showing their neat ball control in a congested midfield. Teenage playmaker Jake Daley was struggling to find the space to pull the strings in his more advanced role. Too many balls were simply being lumped forward by the Lion, and the St.Matts defence were well organised and dealing with the high ball well. The lion were looking to get it wide to wingers Houston and Cunningham, two players full of pace and crossing ability. Full backs Southwell and Matyus were always trying to make themselves available for the ball. Unfortuanetly it was clear to see that fitness fanatic Matyus had enjoyed a rare night on the alcoholic beverages, and he let slip his high standards that he had set himself during pre season. Crozier seen a good shout for a penalty turned down. The referee decided Crozier had lost control of the ball and was not fouled. The decision irated the normally mild mannered Corrigan, resulting in the referee coming over to explain his decision.

It was a Lion passing move that resulted in the first goal, however it was not in the Lion net! The otherwise faultless Southwell took one touch too many at left back and the ball was nicked from his toes. The ball was then moved forward to the St Matts forward in the box, who calmly sold Dunn a dummy then smashed the ball home. 1-0 down on a small bumpy pitch and not playing well at all, this was a test of character for the young Lion side.

Luckily the Lion responded in a positive manner with an equaliser coming in quick fashion. Daley slipped Houston in down the right wing with a superb pass, Houston accelerated past the full back to whip in a hard, low cross that Crozier happily planted in the back of the net. Joy for the Lion faithful and Crozier was ectastic with his poachers goal, on a day he felt he might of been warming the bench after his shocker the week before in the cup. The Lion were now on the up, with the passing being more acurate and quicker. Cowlishaw and Simpson started to burst through more from the middle with the ball. It was now time for the Cunny show. The new signing glided past two or three tough challenges before he was finally up ended in the box with a crude challenge earning the St. Matts full back a deserved yellow card. Cunnigham felt well enough to get up and take the spot kick, however a last minute change of mind saw Cunningham hit a poor penalty that was easily saved. To make matters worse the rebound was then blasted over the bar. A life line for St. Matts and a cruel blow on the lion.


HT 1-1


The second half seen a big improvement from the Lion, with St.Matts pegged back deeper and deeper. The front three were all working hard to create an opening. St. Matts had a couple of half chances, but with JR Dutton in such commanding form at the back all their attacks were thwarted early by the sweeper who has christened himself "The New Franz Beckenbauer"! . The introduction of the Flying Pig Tommy Wright just after the hour mark brought a change of formation for the Lion , 4-4-1-1 now being the shape introduced. Wright used his pace well to get into dangerous areas against a tiring home defence.One lightning counter attack started from a superb catch by Winter, releasing Cunningham early who then slipped Wright into space. The pig was unlucky to see his cross/shot come back off the post. The Lion brought on full back Matt Cockayne to shore up the defence with twenty to go, the out of sorts Matyus being the man replaced. The subs bench for the Lion was very strong, and this strength in depth will hopefully hold out for the whole season, and will be a MASSIVE part of being a successful side. Ben Cushen and Mark Hackett were the unlucky two players who never got onto the field yesterday after being absent through work for most of pre season, but chances will come for all players to play, and if they play well they will keep their place in the starting eleven. 

You cant but wonder what the scoreline MIGHT of been if the penalty had hit the back of the net. St Matts would of had to step out more and leave more space for the Lion attack to play in behind. However no blame must be placed on Cunnigham's shoulders as he never let his head drop and supplied numerous dangerous crosses into the box.

The first point on the board for the Lion, in what is going to be a very tough league this season. Not many teams will get a lot of joy out of a well organised and committed St. Matthews side on this compact pitch. A point earned through had work and character.


No game next week due to a team jolly to Blackpool but some very tough September league fixtures coming up.


MOM= JR Dutton= Superb defensive show from the team veteran, who will be a big influence on the players around him if he keeps playing like this and encouraging the younger players.

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