by Peter Scherer
New signing Marcus Barnes made it six goals from three games, as he hit four against Belper Utd at the Don Amott Arena last night.
Starting line-up: 1-Oliver Bosworth 2-Jake Bennett 3-Rhys Dolan 4-Ryan Wilson 5-Ethan Mann 6-Dan Bradley 7-Andy Dales 8-Will Atkinson 9-Will Trueman 10-Stuart Beavon 11-Ben Sault. Subs: George Atwal, Zac Sandhu, Oli Greaves, Fin Ryder, Marcus Barnes, Andrew Wright.
Apart from a ninth minute attack when Dales found Beavon, whose final ball was too long for Sault to chase, it was a very scrappy first 15 minutes, with little creativity from either side.
From there Sports went up a gear, with Beavon on another run, after Sault had gone end to end. But the final shot from the left earned a corner.
18 minutes in and Atkinson almost sent Dales clear, before the lose ball fell to Beavon, whose shot was just over. But there was an early change for Mickleover when Barnes came on for Bradley. “It was a slight pull on my thigh, so it was precautionary,” said Bradley.
For the next 15 minutes it was all on attack from the home side. Dales had a good run down the left after 20 minutes, his cross failed to connect, but Bennett kept it in play until the Belper defence cleared the danger.
Only a minute later Dales found Dolan in space on the left, but his cross or shot found the side netting. There was no respite for Belper though as Beavon then fought hard to retain possession, layed it back to Barnes, who cut inside to have his shot saved.
Wilson then put a cross in following a corner, missing Barnes’ head by a whisker.
Belper had been struggling to break out of their own half, but they made it after 29 minutes, but a dangerous cross from the right failed to connect.
Dales continued to torment and was fouled in mid flight on the half hour. The kick was dead centre a yard or two outside the box, but Wilson’s kick failed to trouble the keeper on this occasion.
Dolan was becoming more and more effective on the left, but his 33rd minute cross was a fraction too high for Barnes and Beavon.
But a goal was almost inevitable and after a good all team build up with numerous exchanges, Dolan was caught out with an awkward bounce and Belper were able to draw breath.
The goal finally came after 39 minutes, when Sault found Barnes in space, as he cut in and headed goalwards, there was just the keeper to beat, which he did with consummate ease, 1-0.
Four minutes later it was 2-0 after another good build up down the right saw Barnes slide in for his second, ending the first half on a high.
There were two changes for the second half as Atkinson and Sault made way for Sandhu and Wright.
Bosworth tasted his first real action after 47 minutes, but from his save there was a Mickleover break and Barnes was on the receiving end again, 3-0.
Belper were still sticking to their game and making Mickleover work for it, but after 55 minutes it was goal number four. Dales broke free to score off the post, as Wright was available in support, 4-0.
Dolan tried his luck a minute later following a corner, but he was just wide of the top corner. Skipper Wilson then made way for Atwal on the hour, after a commanding role at the back with Mann.
It was close to another goal when Wright had the ball after a free kick, he managed to set up Beavon but his final shot was blocked by a defenders leg.
The fifth goal came from another break, with the visiting defence flat footed. As the ball ran clear Barnes latched on again and smashed home his fourth of the game, 5-0 after 62 minutes.
Barnes tried a random long shot well wide of the target, before Beavon and Dales went off, making way for Ryder and Greaves.
Belper had a half chance when the ball breached the home defence initially, before Bennett cleared for a corner, but any danger had soon gone.
Greaves was soon showing his skills with a series of long runs, linking up with Dolan after 70 minutes, they set up Wright whose shot was deflected away.
Bosworth made another save, but the effort was flagged offside and then 75 minutes in Mann was encouraged to try his luck. His shot started a new page in the record book, as he managed to clear the club house, the safety net and half of the car park, before the ball landed somewhere near Tesco’s.
Belper had an 80th minute corner headed away by Bennett and Greaves had another classy solo run, before his shot was straight at the keeper.
Wright was so close to scoring when he fired into the side netting after 83 minutes, following up with a save from the keeper in a crowded box.
Trueman the put a cross in, which was just deflected away from Wright, then he put a header in the back of the net, but was flagged offside.
Our four goal striker Marcus Barnes gave his view after the match. “ I just needed to get into the game when I got the first, as I hadn’t been on long, then it just became automatic. The second goal was my favourite though, I love my tap ins.”
It ‘s off to Buxton now for the next pre-season friendly, Saturday afternoon 3pm kick off.