Brocton 3 Heath Hayes 1

Thursday 21st February 2013
Brocton 3 Heath Hayes 1 (after extra time)
Walsall Senior Cup Quarter Final
At: Silkmore Lane Sports Ground, Stafford
Kick-off: 7-30 pm
Admission: £6; Programme: £1 (36 pages)
Weather: very cold, windy, dry
Attendance: 35
Duration (45): first-half: 46:43; second-half: 48:30
Extra Time (15): first-half: 15:05; second-half: 14:37

On a bitterly cold night, Brocton came from behind to defeat higher-ranked Heath Hayes 3-1 after extra time and earned a lucrative Walsall Senior Cup semi-final away at either neighbours Stafford Rangers or Rushall Olympic. The visitors held a slender one-goal advantage through Craig Hancox at the interval which was cancelled out in the second half by a super goal from the lively Jordan Bloor. Neither side could find a winner in normal time before extra-time goals from Gary Fife and Sam Bell sent the Badgers to within one game of emulating last season’s memorable run to the final when they lost to Rushall.

Three games in three nights – not sure how I’ve got away with it! I couldn’t ignore an important cup quarter final on my own ‘doorstep’, could I?. Both sides were given a first round bye and won their respective second round ties with a clean sheet: Brocton won their ‘away’ tie 8-0 against Warstones Wanderers at Silkmore Lane while Heath Hayes also made good use of home advantage to defeat Chasetown 2-0 at the Coppice Colliery Ground.

Walsall Senior Cup 2012/13…
First Round
Boldmere St Michaels 4 Continental Star 1
Pelsall Villa 0 Bolehall Swifts 1
Wolverhampton Casuals 1 Stafford Rangers 3
Second Round
Bilston Town 5 Bloxwich United 1
Boldmere St Michaels 2 Sutton Coldfield Town 3
Bolehall Swifts 2 Walsall Wood 4
Heath Hayes 2 Chasetown 0
Romulus 0 Rushall Olympic 3
Sporting Khalsa 0 Walsall 4
Stafford Town 1 Stafford Rangers 2
Warstones Wanderers 0 Brocton 8 (at Brocton)
Quarter Final
Bilston Town 1 Sutton Coldfield Town 1 (pens 4-5)
Brocton v Heath Hayes (tonight)
Stafford Rangers v Rushall Olympic (7th March)
Walsall Wood 0 Walsall 2
Semi Final
Stafford or Rushall v Brocton or Heath Hayes
Walsall 1 Sutton Coldfield Town 0

In terms of league positions, this tie pitted step 5 Heath Hayes (21st in the Midland Alliance with 19 points from 22 games) and step 6 Brocton (7th in the Midland Combination Premier Division with 37 points from 22 games). Heath Hayes played two days ago and lost 2-0 at home to Coventry Sphinx while Brocton hadn’t played since Saturday when they defeated Racing Club Warwick 5-0.

As always and much appreciated, teams were displayed on the whiteboard positioned in the hospitality room window. Both sides named a strong starting line-up in a bid to reach the semi finals. I watched the game in the company of some familair faces in Coxey, Cannock Rob and Mugsy.

Heath Hayes (in blue and white) got the game underway defending the changing rooms end in the first half. The Badgers, however, made a bright start and, early on, Jordan Bloor twice went close to opening the scoring. First he drove over the bar then in the next attack forced Heath Hayes goalkeeper to tip over a rising shot at the expense of a corner.

Brocton continued to impress when a nice move ended with a shot from Sam Bell that narrowly missed the target.

Having survived the early pressure, Heath Hayes started to cause problems for the Brocton defence. Dave Waple hammered a first-time shot wide of the near right-hand post. Then, in the 27th minute, a poor clearance by Adam Whitehouse flew straight to Waple who hit a rising shot which the Brocton goalkeeper stopped with a raised hand.

The visitors from the higher Midland Alliance continued to threaten and create chances. Just after the half-hour, two corners in quick succession, both delivered by Craig Hancox, almost lead to the opening goal. Brad Grice had a shot cleared off the line by Jamie Evans from the first and Adam Wood headed wide from the second which was initially cleared.

Both sides were forced to make a change with the popular Mick Fox replacing Dave Ablewhite for the Badgers.

The deadlock was broken in the 42nd minute when Hancox hit an unstoppable rising left foot shot past Whitehouse.

Brocton got back on level terms five minutes after the restart. Gary Fife played in the ball into the path of Bloor on the left who confidently fired past Bowen to score his sixth goal of the season.

Bowen produced a decent save from Dan Loams as Brocton looked to quickly take the lead. Chances continued to be created by both sides and Whitehouse did well to stop a close-range shot hit by Waple.

Bloor could have won the game from Brocton in the 82nd minute. Bell beat several defenders on a run into the area from the right and squared a pass to Bloor who fired over from a few yards out.

With the cold wind biting more than ever, we wanted a winner in normal time to save having to go through an extra 30 minutes. With time running out, Bell tested Bowen who did well to hold on a low shot at the second attempt.

Brocton, who got extra time underway attacking the changing rooms end, moved ahead in the tie for the first time in the 98th minute. Bloor went down inside the area and Fife beat Bowen with the resulting penalty. Could the Badgers hang on?

Brocton manager John Berks made his final substitution and replaced first-half substitute Mick Fox with Joe Pickering for the last 20 minutes.

Pickering made an immediate impact by exchanging passes with Bell who put the outcome beyond doubt in the 112th minute. The tall attacking midfielder got into the area on the right and sent a low shot into the far side of the net off the hands of Bowen. Brocton 3-1 up and game over.

Heath Hayes looked to reduce the deficit but the closest they got was a header over the bar.

Brocton (green/white/green): 1. Adam Whitehouse, 2. Richard Jones, 3. Jamie Evans, 4. Andy Chandler, 5. Rob Tomlinson, 6. Dave Ablewhite, 7. Sam Bell, 8. Jordan Bloor, 9. Gary Fife, 10. David Berks (capt), 11. Dan Lomas. Subs: 12. Mick Fox (for Ablewhite, 33), 14. Joe Pickering (for Fox, 100), 15. Charlie Jones (for Lomas, 75), 16. Sam Beech (not used), 17. Matt Skinner (not used). Manager: John Berks.

Heath Hayes (blue and white stripes / blue / white): 1. Mark Bowen, 2. Ben Maddox, 3, John Littler, 4. Andy Davies, 5. Tom Baggott, 6. Adam Wood, 7. Brad Grice, 8. Lee Smith, 9. Chris Deakin, 10. Dave Waple (capt), 11. Craig Hancox. Subs: 12. Harry Phillips (not used), 14. Stuart Simpson (for Maddox, 38), 15. Karl Wallis (not used), 16. Andy McMath (for Littler, 107), 17. Tom Green (for Deakin, 90). Manager: Simon Davies.

Referee: Alan Sarginson.
Assistants: Sam Barnard and James Clements

0-1 Craig Hancox (42)
1-1 Jordan Bloor (50)
2-1 Gary Fife (98 pen)
3-1 Sam Bell (102)

Brocton: Jordan Bloor (YC, 90+3), Gary Fife (YC, ft)
Heath Hayes: none