Snorkels were very nearly required as Brockham took on Copthorne in the u15 Plate. Both sides observed a respectful minute’s silence on this Remembrance Day weekend before kicking off in continuing heavy rain.
The teams finished one place apart in the middle of last season’s division C with Copthorne benefiting from an age group restructure (from 4 divisions to 3) to get an unexpected promotion to Division B. They are proving worthy of the upgrade though and currently boast a 100% league record. Brockham arrived on a good run of their own but missing several regulars. Adapting their line up and tactics to the circumstances the Badgers were rewarded with a 15 minute lead; Sam Banfield holding the ball up before playing in the advancing Nathan Myers whose controlled lob from 20 yards sailed over the Copthorne keeper and into the net.
Within 10 minutes Copthorne were level, James Pringle muscling his way past Ewan Banks to fashion a close range shooting opportunity which he put past William Goodfellow in the Brockham goal. Copthorne continued to try and get Pringle through on goal and Brockham dealt increasingly well with this tactic, James Cliffe and Matt Everett in particular putting pressure on the Copthorne supply line and Banks now marshalling the Copthorne front man into the corner when the ball did get through.
Brockham’s own attack had far more variety. Ben Mackenzie put a couple of shots from the right across goal before Myers dropped off his marker to spin and play a ball inside Copthorne’s right back for Olly Everett to latch onto and drive a low ball across the goalmouth for the arriving Banfield to slot home from close range. 2-1 Brockham at half-time.
Copthorne had an early opportunity to level the scores in the second half when Goodfellow brought down their striker with a mis-timed challenge. He more than made amends however by using his feet to save the penalty, kicking the centrally struck shot up and over the bar as he dived to his right. Copthorne were made to rue the miss when Myers put Brockham further ahead moments later, slotting under the goalkeeper having been again played in by Banfield.
Banfield grabbed a fourth for Brockham, this time the Copthorne keeper saving a fiercely struck Myers shot only for the rebound to loop into Banfield’s path for him to volley home from close range. Banfield was almost on the score sheet again, hitting the foot of the post from 20 yards before Copthorne pulled a goal back. Sam Horner was shepherding the ball back towards Goodfellow when the referee missed a two handed push in the back which propelled Horner into contact with the ball sending it beyond Goodfellow and into the net.
Stung by this injustice Brockham roared straight back with the goal of the game, Leo Freeman weaving from right to left across the field and playing a one-two with Tom Ambrose before crashing home a 25 yard effort off the underside of the bar to make it 5-2.
There was still time for further incident, Joe Read intervening to break up a Copthorne attack and sending the ball for a corner which was only half-cleared. Copthorne played the ball back into the box where it struck Freeman’s hand from close range for the referee to award another penalty.
Fortune favoured the Badgers this time as Pringle’s effort struck the outside of the upright. Minutes later he did score as a lofted ball cleared the Brockham backline to be jabbed home from close range making it 5-3.
A nervy five minutes remained but in the end Brockham saw the game out comfortably with Myers having time to complete his hat-trick, rounding the Copthorne left-back and closing in on goal before beating the keeper at the near post.
Brockham Badgers: William Goodfellow, Joe Read, Sam Horner (c), Ewan Banks, Ben Mackenzie, Leo Freeman, James Cliffe, Tom Ambrose, Olly Everett, Sam Banfield, Nathan Myers sub: Matt Everett
Brockham scorers: Nathan Myers 3, Sam Banfield 2, Leo Freeman