Brereton Lion proved they have the fight for a relegation battle with their second win in four days against a strong St. Matthews side. With the weather against them and some stiffness in the legs from Thursday’s derby game this was a real testing six pointer and it’s pleasing to write about another Lion victory.
Manager Corrigan was dealt a selection headache with a very strong 16 players at his disposal. In the end he decided that the players who played so well in Thursday’s derby more than deserved to start again but he was scuppered from naming an unchanged side with the late withdrawal of Simpson from the match day squad. The now free from suspension Cowlishaw took his place in centre midfield. The Lion had their strongest bench of the season yet with Franklin, B Cushen, Matyus, Wright and Dunn all gagging to get on the pitch and perform.
St. Matts started the strongest, with the gale force winds making it hard for The Lion to clear their lines properly. Credit to forwards Cunny and Matty Hackett who both really worked hard in the first half to try and close down the away defence and keep the ball in the attacking third. Goalkeeper Dan Cushen was not exactly overworked but he had to pull off a few smart saves to keep the score goal less. Crozier was showing good work on the left flank and he nearly opened the scoring when he rose like a salmon from a Matty Hackett corner, only to just head over the bar from six yards out.
The strong winds was not really helping St. Matts either with most through balls from the defence being over hit and running away for goal kicks. Deeley and Houston were linking up well on the right flank and trying to provide crosses. The Lion were guilty of not gambling and closing down the away keeper’s kicks which were very inconsistent and mostly scuffed. The only real player of danger for St. Matts was the powerful red haired midfielder who is strong in the air and quick on the deck.
It was clear to see that The Lion were well up for keeping a clean sheet and were throwing themselves at corners and set pieces to clear the ball. Mark Hackett in particular had a strong game getting his head in the way of set pieces. Once again full back partner Sam Deeley carried on his good form and was strong in the tackle.
HT 0-0 What Lion lacked as an attacking force was more than made up for by how solid the defending was. The Lion went into the half time break confident that with the wind behind them they would find the winning goals. One forced change at half time with Crutchley departing early to head to London to watch his beloved Chelsea lose to Manchester City. In his place in an attacking gamble stepped Tom Wright who was charged with attacking from deep.
The Lion started the half strongly and opened the scoring through top scorer Tom Wright on fifty minutes. An Alex Houston cross found the Pig in the centre who slammed the ball home from close range. A perfect start to the half and justification to Corrigan for sticking the Pig into an unfamiliar midfield role.
Strong attacking work followed from Matty Hackett and Cowlishaw in particular showing amazing close control and ball skills that brought grasps from The Lion crowd. The Lion were well on top at this point and should have wrapped the game up quicker. However The Lion just could not get that second goal and as the game went on the whole side seemed to drop a bit deeper and deeper. Naturally sitting on a 1-0 lead the home side were not going to crazy chasing the game and credit to Crozier and Houston for doubling up on the flanks and tracking back in abundance.
Dunn stepped onto the pitch on sixty minutes for a frustrated Matty Hackett. Hackett was making strong runs that he felt were not being rewarded with the correct balls, however he needs to calm his Italian blood and just keep on making them runs to make space for others.
The Lion finally got their second goal after strong attacking play from the front four. Houston released Cunningham on the left wing who aimed a precise cross towards Wright in the box. Wright fooled everyone by dummying the ball, allowing Dunn a steady tap in at the back post. Two in two now for Dunn who is proving a real handful to who-ever he plays against. The dummy by Wright was sublime and took the goalkeeper completely out of the equation.
Everyone now got the feeling that two goals were enough to win it for The Lion. Even St. Matts slowed down a bit at this point. Lezniak and JR Dutton were determined to keep a clean sheet though and kept defending well to the end. Corrigan was spoilt for choice with his third and final sub, eventually opting for Ben Cushen to close the game out by replacing Crozier in midfield to add some defensive steel.
Just when everyone had thought the game was finished up popped the greedy Pig with another goal. Once again the superb Alex Houston raced to the by line and pulled the ball back. The Pig still had a lot to do but he skilfully smashed a powerful shot home past the despairing keeper.
Another great display from The Lion boys who are finally delivering the points required to stay where they belong- in THE PREMIER LEAGUE.
Next up is Red, White and Blue in the league up the Social this Thursday, 6;15 ko. Just hope that RWB can get a side out as rumours are rife that they are struggling to field a side at the moment. IF The Lion can make it 3 wins out of 3 it should secure Premier League survival by leapfrogging both St.Matts and Brereton Town off the bottom of the league with games for The Lion still to spare. Still, you can never count your chickens and The Lion need to collect the points by winning games to make sure.
MOM= Strong displays again by a lot of players, which is why The Lion are winning again, but I think that the assists and energy of Alex Houston deserve the award today.