Away league match played on 18 March 2012.
Kicked off at 10:30 AM


Brereton Lion travelled to relegation rivals Yates Sports in a must win game at the bottom of the Cannock Chase Premier division, with the winner having the chance to pull clear in their bid for survival! A heated battle ensued with a well deserved outcome for the visiting side.


Having developed a good run of form heading into this fixture, Brereton Lion were confident going into the game despite some absentees from recent weeks. Danny Hackett, Tom Dutton, Paul Dutton and Dan Cushen were all unable to make the trip, however the 12 players that made the journey were more than capable of beating Yates Sports, although not to be underestimated having picked up good results against some of the bigger sides in the division.

Under perfect football conditions, sunshine and a slick surface, the Lion got out the traps earlier than the hosts and immediately put pressure on the Yates defence with surging runs down the flanks from Crozier and Hackett. Early in the first half leading goal scorer Wright should have opened the scoring when a defensive howler allowed the pacey forward to run through on goal however his touch let him down and the keeper was able to collect at his feet. Not to be deterred the Lion could sense goals and continued moving the ball forward with JR Dutton making the Yates keeper produce a fine save with a shot from the right. Shortly after, the keeper was called into action again when he spilled a shot and the onrushing Crozier seemed well poised to tap home however the finish was not applied. On 25 minutes a corner from winger Phil Crozier was gleefully nodded home by Wright to give the visitors a deserved lead. Uncharacteristic of recent weeks the Lion then eased off and the midfield appeared disjointed with the Yates midfielders able to bomb on and pose the Lion defence some problems. However in their way was a man in form in Ben Cushen, defending superbly against a tricky little and large forward line. Few attempts were made by the hosts but the applied pressure and not picking up of runners was appearing to be an issue. Before half time midfield maestro Jon Salt was found by Franklin lurking at the backpost with a simple header to make it two, but it wasn’t to be, the magician seemingly misjudging the flight of the ball and heading wide.


The half time talk was one involving the importance of work rate, getting up and down the field, moving on and off the ball and grabbing more goals to the put the fixture to bed. When the second half got under way Brereton Lion started as they did in the first, moving it well and trying to use the flanks. Yates were not laying down without a fight though as they were hungry in pursuit of the ball not allowing the Lion players much time on the ball. This quick fire approach then led the game into quite a scrappy affair with little quality shown. In the second half chances came in abundance for the Lion, with marksman Tommy Wright going close on numerous occasions. Usually highly energetic Hackett and Crozier appeared under the weather and this showed with neither unable to produce much service to Wright or much cover to full backs Cockayne and Franklin. On 60 minutes Jon Salt carrying an injury was replaced by the talented Sam Cowlishaw who dropped into midfield and battled well, giving the game a fresh spark. As the game wore on tired legs were evident and Yates pressed on but were being matched by the imperious Cushen and the brilliant Lion defence. Then on 80 minutes some neat control and a superb through ball from Cowlishaw was latched onto by Wright aka ‘The Motoring Pig’ as he’s known by Lion fans and the striker made no mistake in prodding the ball home to give the visitors a 2-0 advantage going into the final 10 minutes. With the hosts deflated Brereton Lion really should have scored more, with Wright getting into some fine positions but seemingly after the match ball rather than squaring to Hackett or Crozier. The referees’ final whistle was greeted with scenes of delight from the Lion camp as they grabbed the points they needed in their quest for survival!


Overall Brereton Lion were deserved winners in the game, despite not playing particularly well. The points have lifted the Lion out of the drop zone and leaves Yates staring down the barrel at a swift return to Division 1.

Special mentions to Ben Cushen who was superb in defence, winning the majority of tackles, headers and being well positioned throughout. The whole defence deserves a shout considering only 1 goal has been conceded in the last 3 games. In midfield JR’s return to the 1st team was met with a battling display and upfront Tommy Wright was a real handful for the Yates defence, grabbing 2 goals to make it 18 for the season.

No fixture for the Lion this weekend however there will be a training session.


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