Bradeley Town 5 MMU 5

Saturday 14th April 2012
Bradeley Town 5 MMU 5
Staffordshire County Senior League Division 1
At: Bradeley Football Development Centre, Chell Heath Road, Stoke-on-Trent
Kick-off: 2-30 pm
Admission: none; Programme: none
Weather: sunshine and showers, cold wind
Attendance: 10 (headcount)
Duration: first-half: 45:28; second-half: 46:51

I’d previously seen plenty of 0-0, 1-1 and 2-2 draws, over twenty 3-3 draws and the occasional 4-4 draws like the one at the end of February at Rugeley Rangers. Now I can add a 5-5 draw to the list of scorelines I’ve seen! Three goals in the opening six minutes started this goalfest, including the opener after just 17 seconds, and title-chasing MMU eventually built up a seeming match-winning 5-3 lead with 15 minutes remaining. However, Bradeley scored two quick goals to earn a point from this amazing contest. All this happened after I almost drove away and headed for Alsager following initial difficulties in obtaining the line-ups.

A lot of groundhoppers don't consider obtaining the line-ups important – I do, so before continuing I must thank the Bradeley manager and one of the MMU players for their help in providing me with all important 25 names.

After heading south yesterday to attend the funeral of my wife's step sister Anne, I wanted a game close to home. Ideally, I also wanted an early kick-off so I could listen to the Grand National on the radio at full-time. Whatever the time of year, Staffs County Senior League games kick-off on a Saturday at either 2pm or 2-30pm so this game between Bradeley and MMU leapt off page 12 of The Football Traveller.

I hadn’t previously visited the Bradeley Football Development Centre on Chell Heath Road (near to Port Vale and Norton United) though I did have to check that is wasn’t the same place I’d seen Fegg Hayes play at several years ago. The ground boasts two parallel pitches running lengthways from the road and car park with the pitch used this afternoon being the one nearest to the modern changing rooms block. The pitch was roped off on three sides with no access behind the far goal.

From what I can gather, the home side were previously known as Unity United and later Talbot Athletic before adopting the current name of Bradeley Town before the start of this season. They gained promotion to Division 1 in 2009 while visitors MMU finished as Division 2 champions last season. I wonder if the previous name ‘Talbot Athletic’ has any connection with the nearby pub called ‘The Talbot’.

MMU (4th with 53 points from 23 points) trailed leader Hanley Town Reserves by nine points with two games in hand. Down the table in 11th position were hosts Bradeley Town (32 points from 26 games) in this 16-team division. Bottom side Longton Harriers had picked up just one point all season and have a goal difference of –166.

No programmes were issued and I missed the usual handshakes photo which took place while I obtained the home line-up. MMU held a pre-match huddle and loud chanting session before breaking way for kick-off.

Bradeley (in all red) got the game underway defending the road end and took the lead after just 17 seconds. Darren Kerr got down the right and crossed low for Dave Powell to shot over MMU goalkeeper Jack Newman and into the net.

MMU soon levelled things up in the 4th minute. Jack Kenny’s long throw from the left into the six yard box appeared to brush the head of defender Matthew Churchill (photo right) before Festus Olybu headed home.

Goals continued and Bradeley regained the lead within two minutes of the equaliser. Powell cut into the area from the left and played the ball to the near post where Adam Robson flicked it home.

MMU equalised again in the 42nd minute. Again coming from a long throw by Kenny into the area, the ball wasn’t cleared and Jack Williams fired home from 15 yards out.

As they had done earlier, Bradeley quickly regained the lead. Darren Kerr propelled a long throw into the MMU area when was cleared back to the right. Kerr had a second opportunity to cross low into the area where Robson slotted home at close range.

Bradeley almost scored a fourth goal just before the break but Newman did well to stop a shot from Alex Lowells and catch at the second attempt.

Dark clouds started to gather to the north and soon rain began to steadily fall. The overhang of the changing rooms block provided some shelter.

MMU equalised in the 55th minute. Kenny’s deep left wing corner was headed towards goal by Darryn Jones for Olybu to head home from in front of goal.

Just before the hour mark, Mark Hibbs produced a one-handed save to keep out Stan Asomanic’s shot and soon after the Bradeley keeper turned another shot by Robson round his left-hand post at the expense of a corner.

Needing to win to keep the pressure on leaders Hanley, MMU took the lead for the first time in the 65th minute. Olybu got on the end of a diagonal crossfield ball out to the left and finished with a close-range shot to complete his hat-trick.

Newman needed to be alert and pulled off a decent block to keep out Martin Kerr’s header from Powell’s corner.

MMU extended their lead with what seemed to be a match-clinching fifth goal scored in the 76th minute. Kenny on the left fed Asomanic who in turn set up Williams who made no mistake from 10 yards out.

In this game which appeared to have swung decisively in favour of MMU, goalkeeper Newman needlessly tugged back Powell to give Bradeley an opportunity to halve their deficit. Martin Kerr sent Newman the wrong way with the resulting penalty.

Hibbs produced a vital save to keep out a bullet header from Williams. The save became more valuable when Bradeley equalised to make it 5-5 in the 81st minute. Darren Kerr played a diagonal ball forward from the right. With no offside flag, Powell latched on to the pass and fired low past Newman to complete his hat-trick.

MMU almost won it in the 86th minute but the diving Hibbs turned round a deflected shot from Mark Hutchinson (photo right). Ash Smallwood headed over from the resulting corner.

Before setting off home, I listened to the Grand National won by Neptune Collonges in a photo finish from Sunnyhillboy.

Bradeley Town (red/red/red): 1. Mark Hibbs, 2. John Marshall, 3. Craig Turner, 4. Lucas Dunne, 5. Martin Kerr (capt), 6. Matthew Churchill, 7. Darren Kerr, 8. Dave Turner, 9. Adam Robson, 10. Dave Powell, 11. Alex Lowells. Subs: 12. Rich Royle (not used), 14. Andrew Jones (not used).

MMU (green/black/green): 1. Jack Newman, 2. Zack Steinburg, 3. Jack Williams (capt), 4. Sam Treagus, 5. Andy Coyles, 6. Mark Hutchinson, 7. Festus Olybu, 8. Ash Smallwood, 9. Darryn Jones, 10. Stan Asomanic, 11. Jack Kenny. Subs: 12. Marlo Barrett 9for Olybu, 77).

Referee: ???

1-0 Dave Powell (1)
1-1 Festus Olybu (4)
2-1 Adam Robson (6)
2-2 Jack Williams (42)
3-2 Adam Robson (44)
3-3 Festus Olybu (54)
3-4 Festus Olybu (65)
3-5 Jack Williams (76)
4-5 Martin Kerr (78 pen)
5-5 Adam Robson (81)

Bradeley: Dave Powell (YC, 70), Craig Turner (YC, 89)
MMU: Jack Kenny (YC, 90)