10 Men Sports Take All Three Points

by Peter Scherer

Character and heroism came to the fore at Stourbridge last night, when having faced the whole second half a man down, a stunning Reeves winner clinched the points for Mickleover.

Starting line-up: 1-Jonathan Hedge 2-Jake Bennett 3-Ryan Wilson 5-James Butler 6-Phil Watt 7-Andy Dales 8-Mason Warren 9-Marcus Marshall 10-Elliott Reeves 11-Will Trueman. Subs: Oliver Bosworth, Rhys Dolan, Mitch Rose, Stuart Beavon, Pablo Mills.

It was a fairly scrappy start to the game with passes from both sides going awry. Dales had an early shot blocked and Stourbridge failed to make anything from the first corner of the game.

Prosser then a wild shot for the hosts after 10 minutes, before Wilson got on the end of a Mickleover attack, duelling with two players on the edge of the box.

White and Lyttle worked well for our hosts down the right wing, but there was no one on the end of Lyttle’s cross. Watt cleared for Mickleover but Lyttle sent another cross in, once more to no avail.

Wilson was then chasing down a Stourbridge break and caught the heal of his quarry. The referee obviously saw more malice in the incident than anyone else and reached for his yellow card.

The following free kick was way off target, but led to a Trueman run at the home defence. The breakdown prompted a break down the Stourbridge left with Anaebonam outpacing his pursuers to slot the past Hedge into the far corner, 0-1 after 16 minutes.

Sports started to break out a little more with Marshall, Dales and Warren setting up a positive move three minutes later, with Warren earning a corner.

21 minutes in and Anaebonam had another chance, but completely missed connecting with Lyttle’s dangerous cross into the box.

The ball then ran loose and Kettle decided to have a crack at goal, seeing his effort sent out for another corner, headed clear by Butler.

Dales then launched on his first real run after 24 minutes, but was hacked down by Jack Wilson. He went in the book too, as Ryan Wilson lined up the free kick.

The game had opened up more with Mickleover in the ascendanacy. After some Trueman trickery on the edge of the box after 26 minutes, he set up Reeves for a run into the box.

A clumsy challenge from centre back Knight, saw Reeves hit the ground and the referee pointed straight to the spot. Warren stepped up and fired straight down the middle, with keeper Price well beaten 1-1.

Mickleover were on the attack again a couple of minutes later, with Wilson just connecting to get a half effort blocked, but Lyttle again proved to be dangerous on the break for our hosts. He beat the defence, but there was no one to receive the final ball.

Dales had a chase after 34 minutes but the keeper beat him to it and a couple of minutes later Trueman made good progress to find Wilson, but his curling cross from the left had no one to receive at the far post.

White then failed to maximise a chance for our hosts, when he put a clear opportunity well wide of Hedge’s right-hand post.

The referee then made his presence known again, when Wilson was alleged to have put in a high tackle on White. Having already given the Sports player a totally unnecessary yellow card earlier, he was almost pressed into a second yellow and subsequent red, by the aggression shown by a couple of the Stourbridge players.

Mickleover were down to 10 men but made a quick change with Dolan coming on to replace Marshall for the final five minutes of the half.

There was an expected barrage from Stourbridge at the start of the second half, with Watt, Butler, Bennett, Dolan and Mann defending heroicly, but struggling to break out of their own half.

There was a lot of short passing from Stourbridge, without any positivity, until Prosser fired a long range shot in for Hedge to tip over.

Home skipper King seemed to be getting more vociferous in the refs’s ear, and when Kettle forcibly held back Reeves in a 52nd minute break, he was one of a number of players who made sure the assistant ignored the confrontation.

Prosser then received a yellow which he had probably deserved earlier, but the frustration was beginning to show for Stourbridge, both on the pitch and in the crowd.

Dales and Dolan worked together to get away after 65 minutes, they earned a corner, but that led to White making a break for Stourbridge, earning a corner from Hedge’s save.

Mickleover had grown in confidence again mainly due to our hosts lack of success, and Dales cut in from the left but was off balance as he shot over the bar.

There were appeals for a penalty after 74 minutes after White fell over in the box. At least on this occasion the ref ignored the Stourbridge pleas.

But a moment of magic soon followed when a positive break in the 76th minute saw Mickleover charging goalwards. Reeves was head down and taking route one, firing past Price into the waiting net, 2-1.

A few minutes later Reeves came off after a slight knock to be replaced by Beavon, but there was surprisingly no real urgency from the home side. They made a couple of changes, but failed to trouble the Mickleover defence in the final minutes and with Mills subbing for Trueman the whistle blew and all three points were safe for Mickleover.

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