Brocton 5 Castle Vale JKS 3

Saturday 10th November 2012
Brocton 5 Castle Vale JKS 3
Athium Midland Combination Premier Division
At: Silkmore Lane Sports Ground, Silkmore Lane, Stafford
Kick-off: 2-00 pm
Admission: £4; Programme: £1 (36 pages)
Weather: sunny
Attendance: 25 (headcount)
Duration: first-half: 46:16; second-half: 50:06

The need to stay local this afternoon provided the perfect reason for making a first and overdue visit of the season to the ground of Brocton FC. I know I often use the phrase ‘it proved to be a good choice’ but certainly was apt for this game as it produced eight goals with four of them netted by Brocton captain David Berks.

Back in the ‘old days’ before the Internet, Twitter, club websites, etc., I may well have missed kick-off and part of the first half. Assuming nothing else than a 3 pm kick-off, I was alerted yesterday via The Football Traveller’s Friday fixture update that the kick-off time had been changed to 2 pm and this was confirmed by both Brocton’s website and Twitter feed:

Due to an issue with one of our floodlights, we have had to bring forward our home game with Castle Vale JKS to 2pm on Saturday. Please inform friends and family so we can avoid anyone missing the first half and arriving for a 3pm KO.

The Silkmore Lane Sports Ground, to the south of Stafford town centre, used to be the sports ground of Staffordshire Police – in the past I’ve referred to it as the ‘Old Police Sports Ground’. It reopened in 2008 as the new home of Brocton FC following a complete makeover which included a main floodlight pitch, fully railed off with hardstanding around the entire perimeter and a 118-seater stand. There is also a second unlit pitch mainly used by the Youth Section as well as an area for warm-up routines.

To find a form guide for this afternoon’s game, I needed to look no further back than seven days ago when the sides met at Vale Stadium. Brocton came back from 2-1 down to win 5-2 with a brace from Dan Lomas and other goals from Dave Berks, Richard Jones and Joe Pickering. Jack Jayes and Roy Dunkley scored for JKS.

So, looking at the league table, Brocton (21 points from 14 games) occupied 12th position with JKS (10 points from 18 games) 18th in the 19-team Premier Division. Table toppers were Walsall Wood (36 points from 15 games), a point clear and three games in hand of second-placed Littleton.

A one-minute silence was observed to mark Remembrance Sunday before Brocton (in green and white) got the game underway defending the changing rooms end. The low sun shining directly behind the far goal had the potential to make things uncomfortable for Brocton goalkeeper Adam Whitehouse and his defence.

The start couldn’t have been better for the Badgers as they took a 4th-minute lead. Jordan Bloor, who posed plenty of problems for the JKS defence, ran down the left to the bye-line and pulled the ball back for David Berks to fire home.

Perhaps already fearing the worst, one JKS defender quickly told his teammates to “get your heads up”.

Brocton continued to dominate, so much so that the visitors were given the instruction that “everything has got to be 100%”.

Berks forced a save out of Roy Dunkley, whose usual role is as a goalscorer not stand-in goalkeeper. I don’t know why he was between the sticks this afternoon.

The words of advice given to the JKS players paid dividends as they started to cause Brocton a few problems, playing some passing nice football on Brocton’s award-winning immaculate playing surface. They certainly didn’t look like a side near the bottom on a poor run of form.

Bloor, who played for Stafford Town last season, picked up a booking for the words he directed towards the referee in disagreement for the decision to penalise him for a foul.

However, it was Brocton who scored the next goal in the 22nd minute to double their lead. Charlie Jones found Sam Bell, a constant threat on the right, who crossed low to the far post where unmarked Berks powered the ball past Dunkley.

I was right about JKS posing a threat as they pulled a goal back two minutes later. Hesitancy in the Brocton defence allowed Tyrone Smith to nip in a slot the ball low past Adam Whitehouse.

Dunkley produced a couple of decent saves which kept JKS in contention. So much so, that the visitors equalised just after half-hour mark. Smith was fouled on the edge of the area but Scott Goodby’s free-kick hit the wall. The ball ended up at the feet of Jack Jayes who played it into the area for Smith to head home.

Berks, once of Aston Villa and Stafford Rangers, hit the outside of the left-hand post with a 30-yard free-kick before restoring his side’s lead in the 39th minute and completing a hat-trick at the same time. Fed by Bell, Berks hit another 30-yard shot which took a deflection of Joe Pickering on the way into the net.

“The most embarrassing decision ever” [not my opinion] resulted in a Brocton corner from which Bloor saw a shot blocked at the near post (photo right). Just before the interval, Dunkley tipped over a rising right-foot shot from David Harvey.

So, 3-2 to the Badgers at half-time and I was enjoying the entertainment in the autumnal sunshine.

I obtained the names of the match officials at half-time as it was clear that one of the assistants had been changed since the programme was printed. Thanks Terry. In fact, all the match officials had changed. I also chatted to Adam Checkley who told me that leading scorer Gary Fife was nearing a return following his broken metatarsal suffered earlier in the season.

Brocton were against stunned just before the hour mark when Castle Vale equalised. Ralph Richardson, on the left inside the area, caught out Whitehouse with a clever lob which dropped in the far side of the net.

Upset on the cards?

Well it was soon after when Richardson stayed onside down the right and forced Whitehouse to save at the near post with his legs.

“Get the tempo up,” said one concerned Brocton defender.

It was, therefore, a relief when the Badgers regained the lead in the 68th minute. Dunkley and his defence assumed someone else would clear a bouncing ball down the right to the edge of the area. Nobody did and Pickering nipped in to slot into an unguarded net [photo right: Pickering celebrates, Dunkley asks 'what happened?'.

JKS were reduced to ten men two minutes after Brocton’s fourth goal. The assistant running the home defence attracted the attention of the referee who, after a brief conversation, shouted “seven” and showed a straight red card to Jayes.

Moments later on the Brocton right, Faulkner brought down substitute Mick Fox. Berks took the free-kick with his left foot and expertly curled it over the leaping Dunkley into the far side of the net (photo right). Four goals to Berks, Brocton 5-3 up and no way back for JKS.

It looked that way until the 90th minute. Richardson crossed into the Brocton area from the right where Brett Yarlington managed to fire over the bar from just a few yards out. He could have made things interesting.

The win lifted Brocton up one place in the table to 11th on the same number of points and games as neighbours Stafford Town.

Having faced Brocton seven days ago and today, JKS face Stafford opposition again next week for the third consecutive Saturday when Town visit their Vale Stadium for a league game. Brocton are also on the road and heading for Bolehall Swifts.

Brocton (green with white sleeves / white / green): 1. Adam Whitehouse, 2. David Harvey, 3. Richard Jones, 4. Andy Chandler, 5. Rob Tomlinson, 6. Charlie Jones, 7. Sam Bell, 8. Jordan Bloor, 9. Joe Pickering, 10. David Berks, 11. Dan Lomas. Subs: 12. Dave Abelwhite (for Chandler, ht), 14. Mick Fox (for Lomas, 74), 15. Michael Stark (not used), 16. Sam Hollinsworth (for Bell, 67).

Castle Vale JKS (yellow with blue right sleeve / blue blue): 1. Roy Dunkley, 2. Robbie Desmond, 3. Ryan Faulkner, 4. Joe Obi (capt), 5. Scott Goodby, 6. Kieran Fitzgerald, Jack Jayes, 8. Dan Bostock, 9. Tyrone Smith, 10. Ralph Richardson, 11. Richard Lernihan. Subs: 12. Brett Yarlington (for Faulkner, 76), 14. Lewis George (not used), 15. Craig Williams (not used).

Referee: Paul Hands.
Assistants: Brian Rowley and Mike Wrigley.

1-0 David Berks (5)
2-0 David Berks (22)
2-1 Tyrone Smith (24)
2-2 Tyrone Smith (32)
3-2 David Berks (39)
3-3 Ralph Richardson (58)
4-3 Joe Pickering (68)
5-3 David Berks (76)

Brocton: Jordan Bloor (YC, 21)
Castle Vale JKS: Jack Jayes (RC, 72)