Author: Dave Bird

Belper Get Nailed, But Only Just

by Peter Scherer

Mickleover made a number of changes to their starting line-up for the Cawarden Derbyshire Senior Cup game against Belper Town, running out 2-1 winners after two first half goals. 

Starting line-up: 1-Oliver Bosworth 2-Matty Bowman 3-Brandon Ferron 4-Ethan Mann 5-Dan Bradley 6-Zak Sandhu 7-Sam Tomlinson 8-Will Trueman 9-Leon Clarke 10-Fin Ryder 11-Marcus Barnes. Subs: Stuart Beavon, Andy Dales, Ben Sault, Toby Smith, Harry Atwal.

Mickleover started with pace and determination, which almost gave them an early break just two minutes in. Trueman’s through ball, was just inches from connecting with the waiting Barnes and Clarke, but the danger was cleared.

Only three minutes later Tomlinson fired his first attempt just over the bar, cutting in from the left after Trueman had picked up a loose ball, following a Belper attack.

The visiting defence was being bombarded by the Mickleover strikers and a poor goalkeeping clearance went straight to Ryder, but his shot was just off target.

It only took seven minutes for the first goal, with Trueman’s initial effort saved off the line by ex Sports Captain Mason Warren, before Barnes hit the rebound, 1-0.

The attacks became relentless, with Barnes putting Clarke through and Trueman having another shot cleared off the line. Clarke then put Ryder through, but his run was blocked by keeper Alexander, before Barnes had another shot blocked after 16 minutes.

Belper managed to make a random break 20 minutes in, but the back four of Bowman, Bradley, Sandhu and Ferron was looking strong, with Mann in the defensive midfield role, any threat was easily repelled.

Clarke had a run through the centre, beat the defence but shot just wide and Trueman’s 25th minute shot from a Bowman run and cross was just wide too.

Bosworth had to make a rare save on the half hour, but a minute later there was a second Mickleover goal. Ferron had outpaced the defence on the left, put in a perfectly weighted cross to find Tomlinson. His half turn was followed by a powerful shot into the roof of the net, 2-0.

Tomlinson was close to a second goal only a minute later, finding himself in space, his shot was only just over.

Mickleover could have had a hat full of goals, with Belper rarely mounting an attack. As half time approached, Barnes led another attack, earned a corner, but it came to nought and it remained 2-0 as the whistle blew.

Belper came out for the second half with all guns blazing, more possession, more pace and a threat from the off. Their first effort after 48 minutes was tame one, failing to challenge Bosworth in the Mickleover goal.

But three minutes later the home defence were caught out, with Sandhu beaten on the left, in came the cross and Johnson had plenty of time to place the ball home, 2-1.

Sports the made their first change with Beavon on for Clarke, but it was Belper making all the running. A cross from the right on the hour, was met with a fine effort heading for the left-hand corner, until Bosworth made a great save. Ferron blocked the next attack, before a 67th minute header was just wide after another cross from the right.

Sault then came on for Sandhu and Mann dropped back into the centre back position alongside Bradley, as the home defence had begun to look very vulnerable.

Belper were still seeking the equaliser and after another telling run down the left, Bosworth made a point blank save from the following shot.

Apart from an occasional Mickleover break, they were under constant attack, with Bosworth pulling off a string of saves to keep the one goal lead.

Dales came on for Tomlinson for the final eight minutes and Sports began to break out of defence and had a few chances themselves before the final whistle. With one minute of normal time left Dales found Beavon, it was layed off for Barnes but the striker miskicked.

It was definitely a game of two halves, but Mickleover ran out 2-1 winners and march on into the next round.