Brereton Lion seen off a plucky Bridgtown Social team in this Cannock Chase Cup 3rd Round tie played at Brereton Social.
Brereton Lion manager Craig Corrigan was able to name the same side that produced a stirring second half comeback to beat Dynamo Lamb last week. The Lion started with an attack minded 4-3-3 formation with Fulton & Perry starting on the flanks high alongside the imposing figure of Gary Dunn. Andrews & Allen were pulling the strings in midfield alongside the Mad Dog Ashley Carter. Chandler, Cushen, Ainger and Franklin were in defence in front of the exceptional Casper. The Lion had a very strong bench, despite a couple of no shows, with Everall, Houston, Cowlishaw and the returning Jake Daley all desperate to get on.
Bridgtown Social are romping division two and arrived at the Social full of confidence. Despite both teams initially struggling a little to play on a Social surface that has fallen foul of the weather, it was the visitors who deservedly took the lead. A jinky right winger fed a lively forward who turned in the box way too easily to finish from close range. A poor goal to concede and once again damming evidence that The Lion seem to need to go a goal behind to start kicking into life. 0-1
Bridgtown sniffed blood and began to keep on attacking well. Casper was cool and calm and showed some tremendous composure and handling skills. The Lion started to settle and Andrews and Allen were starting to run the midfield. The always hard working Carter was also dominating aerially and winning every second ball. The only thing the Lion were guilty off was trying to hit the ball a little too long too quickly. Top scorer and exciting youngster Beckham Fulton started to see more and more ball on the left wing and was gaining in confidence. Becks skinned the full back well on several occasions and nearly scored with a close range hit. Once again this talented young player can add another defender to his “skinned” list with the experienced full back complaining that his boots were making him “fall over”!!! Ha ha nothing to do with the twisting and turning that Becks was putting him through. Fulton scored the equaliser for The Lion with a very brave and well placed front post header from a superb Ashley Andrews’s corner. 1-1
The Lion were deservedly back in the game and Dunn was now starting to enforce himself on the away defence. Perry was running his socks off up front and his clever movement running in from the right wing resulted in the second goal. Franklin lofted a ball down the channel and Perry beat the offside trap to very calmly avoid the defender and slot past the keeper. Great goal. 2-1.
Social were still well up for the game and pushed hard for an equaliser. Half time came around with The Lion unlucky not to have scored another goal with Ben Cushen having a header from a corner ruled out for pushing by star referee Nigel Kerr.
The Lion were reminded to get the ball wider quicker.
Fulton, Perry and Dunn continued to impress up front and Dunn was unfortunate to have a very good looping header ruled out by the linesman for a harsh offside call before he was replaced by the eager Sam Cowlishaw. Andrews now stepped into the free roaming centre forward role and it’s fair to say he now the main attacking point for The Lion with Bridgtown Social finally starting to get to grips with young Becks.
The Lion attacked well but could not seem to find a killer third goal to put the game to bed. Fulton nearly set up Perry with a whipped cross but the ball was just not going in.
Finally on 65 minutes Andrews finished from close range after Ainger, rolling back the years to when he was an attacking winger, stroked the ball across the box. 3-1
However just when Corrigan was thinking the game was as good as over Bridgtown Social snatched a goal. Stevey Allen, who had been amazing all game with his positioning, passing and footwork got caught overdoing it in his own half and Bridgtown pounced to finish past the despairing Casper. The Lion had to show character now not to chuck this away. Houston was on at this point and determined to impress on the right wing. Everall has also stepped onto replace skipper Franklin after impressing at left back the week before. This meant the returning Jake Daley was the unlucky man to miss out, however, if he keeps appearing and stops losing his temper at officials he will soon be back contributing in a Lion strip with his superb skills.
The Lion finally made the game safe when Ainger headed home from close range on the 80th minute. Cowlishaw was unlucky not to score and Andrews could have added another goal after skinning the defence.
A pleasing win for The Lion against a team that admittedly are two divisions below but were full of self-belief after a strong start. This now makes The Lion unbeaten for 9 weeks, a great run that is a credit to the squad. Sunday see’s local rivals Brereton Town, who have been struggling for a side, arrive at The Social for a league game. I wonder if The Ravens will only have ten players for this game?
MOM: A few candidates with Chandler once again displaying that he is the best full back in the league both defensively and offensively. Fulton once again produced some magical runs and found a goal from nowhere just when the Lion needed it most. Allen was like the glue that held the team apart all game but the award heads to Andrews who was a real menace in attack and scored and made the killer goals. Well done Flash!