The Badgers edged this tight contest against Maidenbower Whites at Big Field.
A beautiful crisp morning saw the grass turned white with frozen dew but happily the ground beneath was not hard and the ref declared the pitch playable.
Honours were pretty much even throughout the first quarter with both defences proving resilient and neither side really able to test the opposing goalkeeper. Olly Everett had caused Maidenbower real problems down the left in the teams’ previous meeting but the Whites had learned from the experience and coped much better with Everett’s bursts down the left flank this time.
Maidenbower’s front three caused Brockham sufficient concern to necessitate a change of formation with Alfie Barlow pulled back to left back in an orthodox back four and Nathan Myers pulled back to bolster the midfield in a 4-5-1 formation.
Brockham introduced their substitutes 20 minutes into the match with Ben Mackenzie, Tom Ambrose and Joe Read replacing James Cliffe, Matt Everett and Ewan Banks. The newcomers made the manager look clever – a pretty difficult thing to achieve – within a minute of introduction Mackenzie used his first touch to beat the opposing left back and put a low cross from the right across goal. This was met by the arriving Ambrose who used his own first touch to slam home from close range and give Brockham a 1-0 lead which they held until half time.
Another round of substitutions followed at the break with Banks returning to partner Leo Freeman at the heart of defence, Sam Horner replacing William Goodfellow in goal and Sam Banfield making way for Goodfellow to take a turn up front.
The second half was as evenly contested as the first. Maidenbower were finding space between Brockham’s midfield and defence so Matt Everett was deputed to patrol this area and his efforts provided Brockham with some extra security. Maidenbower did get through on a couple of occasions but the Badgers’ defence coped well enough with these attacks and on the one occasion that Maidenbower did get a one on one with Horner in goal he responded with a fine left handed save to push the ball away for a corner.
Ben Austin returned to the heart of defence allowing Freeman to move back into midfield. This proved decisive as, with only five minutes remaining, Freeman was able to carry the ball out from a Maidenbower attack and exchange passes with Banfield to get through on goal. Banfield’s pass into the inside-right channel was collected by the advancing Freeman who sent the keeper the wrong way with a neat finish at the near post to put the game to bed at 2-0.
Brockham Badgers: William Goodfellow, Ben Austin, Sam Horner (c), Ewan Banks, Alfie Barlow, James Cliffe, Matt Everett, Leo Freeman, Nathan Myers, Sam Banfield; Subs – Tom Ambrose, Ben Mackenzie, Joe Read
Brockham scorers: Tom Ambrose, Leo Freeman