It was derby night delight for Stafford Town in the mid-week ‘El Staffico’ as they defeated arch rivals Brocton 4-1 at Evans Park to make it a clean sweep of all Staffordshire sides in the league. The scoreline was perhaps slightly flattering for Stafford however, who initially went behind in the first half before a soft penalty allowed them a way back into the game; a dominant second half sealing the points. The opening minutes were somewhat frantic, neither side wanting to concede a sloppy goal resulting in a series of direct balls into forward areas. Brocton were looking compact and playing mainly on the counter but just lacked the final ball to create a clear chance. In the 10th minute a driving run down the left by Josh Oultram saw him cut inside and fire a powerful shot from a tight angle that was saved. Brocton then had two half chances, the first was a shot that was tipped wide by Joe Morris, leading to a corner that was subsequently headed over. Brocton took the lead in the 23rd minute when a Stafford attack broke down and the ball was worked forward to the edge of the box, a couple of poor half-tackles seeing the ball break to an unmarked Brocton forward who finished well across the goal into the far corner. The goal gave Brocton more confidence and they began to get on top of the game, passing the ball neatly as Stafford appeared to labour. After a dangerous shot across the face of the Brocton goal by Nathan Scott, a 34th minute diagonal ball into the Stafford box dropped to an unmarked Brocton player at the back post, however he failed to capitalise and the ball was cleared. Stafford were then offered a lifeline with two minutes to go in the half; a second successive corner resulting in the referee pointing to the penalty spot for what turned out to be a high foot, although it was not clear to anyone except the referee at the time, with others in the ground speculating it had been given for a push or handball. Former Brocton man Ben Douglas stepped up to dispatch the ball into the bottom corner and give Stafford a much needed lift going into the break. HT 1-1. Following a calming team talk, Stafford emerged for the second half a much different animal, pressing with far more urgency and passing shorter balls forward with greater intent. After only two minutes a ball down the right channel to Josh Wilson led to the ball being worked across the pitch to Ryan Taylor, his curling delivery into the box glanced home by Douglas for his second of the game. In the 53rd minute a corner to the backpost by Wilson was headed wide by Charlie Swingwood, who would have been disappointed not to score. Stafford doubled the lead in the 60th minute, a Brocton goal kick headed forward to Oultram who held off his man and drilled a low shot into the corner. Brocton almost pulled a goal back immediately, a shot from the right across the goal whistling past the far post. Stafford were now winning the midfield battle through Swingwood, Sean Kinsella and Ben Wood as things got even tougher for Brocton with a man sent to the sin bin in the 67th minute for verbal abuse of the assistant referee. After some last ditch defending by Brocton saw shots by Wilson, Taylor and young substitute Morgan Payne blocked in quick succession, Stafford put some gloss on the scoreline in the 75th minute; Payne firing through a crowd of players in the box after Brocton were unable to properly clear a corner. To their credit Brocton continued to compete and the final ten minutes saw them have couple of chances to pull a goal back, both efforts going over the bar, the first from close range after a free kick into the box and the second a cross from the left. There was just enough time for Taylor to fire over from distance before the referee brought an end to an excellent derby match played in the truest spirit of the game. FT 4-1 Stafford Town. Stafford now enter the toughest part of their fixture schedule which sees them play four of the current top six in the league, beginning with an away trip to third place Wythenshawe Amateurs on Saturday 2nd October followed by the visit of fifth place Sandbach United a week later on Saturday 9th October.
Match highlights can be found here at 'Stafford Town TV' https://youtu.be/AveF3wZbn-0