Brocton 3 Continental Star 3

Tuesday 30th September 2008
Brocton 3 Continental Star 3
Midland Combination Premier Division
At: Old Police Sports Ground, Silkmore Lane, Stafford
Kick-off: 7-45 pm
Admission: £4; Programme: £1 (28 pages)
Attendance: 52
Weather: showers
Duration: first half: 47:40; second half: 48:48

On what was my first visit to the Old Police Sports Ground on Silkmore Lane in Stafford, Brocton twice took the lead in the first half but ended up needing a last-minute equaliser from Andy Harrison to gain a point.

Some time in my dim and distant past, 1975 I think, I saw a game at the Police Sports Ground between Staffs Police and Bilston but I don't think I watched it that keenly. I recollect a railed off pitch with a blue-painted stand near to the entrance. The Police side were in the West Midlands League at the time and ended up being members of the Staffordshire Senior League from 1984 until the 1995/96 season. Some 30+ years after my visit, Brocton took over the lease of the ground and have developed a first-class facility.

The ground was accessed via a drive off Silkmore Lane to the south of Stafford town centre. At the end of the drive was a pay box where the programme (£1) was available. There was plenty of car parking inside the ground with a stand containing about 100 dark green seats on the nearside touchline. Behind the left-hand goal are various buildings containing changing rooms, hospitality room and a tea bar. On the far side of the ground was a second pitch. The flat playing surface was a superb condition and must drain well as Brocton's home game at the beginning of the month survived a huge amount of rain.

The village of Brocton is a few miles south of Stafford on the A34 towards Cannock and is where the club has its roots. Back in 1937, Arthur Mayer owner of the Chetwynd Arms at the time gave a football to the boys of Brocton and neighbouring Bednall and asked them to form a team. The club played home games on a pitch next to the 'Chet' before moving first team games first Rowley Park in Stafford, Cannock Stadium and Heath Hayes FC. The club moved into their new home at the start of the current season.

The programme (28 pages) tells the history of the club in more details. There was also a history of opponents Continental Star, match reports, a league table, player profile and a look back to Brocton's fortunes in 1956/57.

Teams were displayed on window of the hospitality room and there were quite a few names familiar to me in the Brocton starting line-up who had had a previous connection with Stafford Rangers – Matt Skinner, David Berks and Gary Fife.

With rain falling at the start, Continental Star got the game underway defending the changing room end in the first half.

In terms of scoring opportunities, Brocton dominated and went close on several occasions with Andy Harrison heading against the top of the bar. “This is a good start, keep it up”, shouted one encouraged Brocton player.

So, it was no surprise when the Badgers took the lead in the 18th minute amid confusion. Andre Campbell crossed into the area from the right and something happened which prompted the referee to award a penalty despite his assistant flagging for offside. The referee stood by his decision and Gary Fife converted the penalty.

The referee was busy again two minutes later when he awarded Continental Star a penalty for a foul during a goalmouth scramble after Andre Robinson’s header hit the bar. Robinson took responsibility and despatched the spot kick into the bottom-right corner.

Amazingly, Brocton regained the lead within 80 seconds of the equaliser. Fife hit a low left-foot shot from a narrow angle into the far right corner of the net to score his second goal of the game.

Three goals in just over three minutes took the score from 0-0 to 2-1 and this remained the score at the interval.

Like me, several other travellers had headed to Silkmore Lane including ‘AndyD’ and ‘ModelHobbies’.

Continental Star were forced to make a change at half-time with captain Franklin Hazel replaced by Darren Green and Sean Burrell took over the armband. And Star were back on level terms nine minutes after the restart. Kirk Marrow crossed from the right and Warren Brookes beat Mike Shelper with a close-range header.

The visitors continued their good start to the second half and Robinson saw a shot blocked by Dan McLeod.

With time running out, Brocton put the Star defence under pressure and eventually grabbed a late equaliser in the 89th minute. David Berks delivered a corner from the right into the area and Harrison headed home at close range.

Star weren’t finished and in stoppage time Shelper turned round a rising shot from Robinson at the expense of a corner.

One spectator, following Brocton, commented art full time that “we got a point and I didn’t think we would get that”.

Brocton (green and white halves / white green): 1. Mike Shelper, 2. Ben Harrison, 3. Matt Skinner (capt), 4. Dan McLeod, 5. Dean Crowley, 6. Jon Wylde, 7. Andre Campbell, 8. Adam McMahon, 9. Andy Harrison, 10. David Berks, 11. Gary Fife. Subs: 12. Jermaine Bowen (for Campbell, 73), 14. Karl McLeod (for Wylde, 67), 15, Andy Chandler (not used).

Continental Star (red/black/black): 1. Chris O’Connor, 2. Krisnan Ramsey, 3. Shaun Watson, 4. Tony Green, 5. Josh O’Garro, 6. Sean Burrell, 7. Warren Brooks, 8. Jhazian Campbell, 9. Andre Robinson, 10. Kirk Marrow, 11. Franklin Hazell (capt). Subs: 12. Kalder Bhogal (not used), 14. Hardip Kainth (for Marrow, 88), 15. Darren Green (for Hazell, ht), 16. Daniel Moses (not used), 17. Paul Hewitt (not used).

Referee: ???
Assistants: ???

1-0 Gary Fife (18 pen)
1-1 Andre Robinson (20 pen)
2-1 Gary Fife (21)
2-2 Warren Brooks (64)
2-3 Kirk Marrow (72)
3-3 Andy Harrison (89)

Brocton: Dan McLeod (YC, 20)
Continental Star: Andre Robinson (YC, 76)