Barnes & Mann At The Double As Sports Hit Five!

by Peter Scherer

It may not have started well for Mickleover, going a goal down to bottom of the table Long Eaton Utd. But a second half goal surge secured a 5-1 win and takes them back to the top of of the Southern Premier League Central Division.

Starting line-up: 1-Lewis Ridd 2-Ben Sault 3-Rhys Dolan 4-Will Atkinson 5-Finn Delap 6-Ethan Mann 7-Andy Dales 8-Will Trueman 9-Leon Clarke 10-Marcus Barnes 11-Oli Greaves. Subs: Stuart Beavon, Matty Bowman, Dan Bradley, Jake Bennett, Fin Ryder.

Dales and Delap were back in the starting line-up and there was a debut for Derby County Under 21 goalkeeper Lewis Ridd, with his loan deal only completed a couple of hours before kick-off.

It was a lively start for Mickleover, when a Barnes cross after two minutes, found Dales who jinked clear, setting up Greaves whose shot was just over the bar.

Dales had another shot a minute later, straight at keeper Ross Durrant, before Ridd was called into action for the first time. It was good positive run by Jack Rogers down the left, but Ridd had it covered and conceded the first corner.

There was a foul on Dales after six minutes, but the free kick came to nought and then Greaves had an attempt just wide of the post after a telling run down the right from Sault.

Durrant saved a low shot from Barnes after nine minutes, but the keeper’s kicks were tending to go awry and put his own defence under pressure.

Although Mickleover were dominating possession, the final pass was sometimes missing and Durrant wasn’t being really tested in the Long Eaton goal.

12 minutes in and there was a long build up, before Trueman fired over. Delap then put a positive ball into the box, with both Dales and Clarke challenging, but Durrant’s hands kept the threat away.

Trueman then had a run from the left, Greaves got on the end of it, but the shot was over again. Then totally against the run of play, the defence was split down the middle, leaving Rogers clear, who beat Ridd from distance to make it 0-1 after 16 minutes.

Dolan began to attack more down the Mickleover left, but his 22nd minute shot was straight at the keeper, before his cross two minutes later found Dales. But he wasn’t able to turn enough to get any accuracy on his shot.

Greaves set up the overlapping Sault who cut in and shot just over the bar after a deflection, before Barnes put another shot over, from the following corner.

Long Eaton still looked dangerous on the occasional break, but after 31 minutes Mickleover finally got the equaliser, with Mann heading home after some nice interplay on the wing between Barnes and Dales.

For the rest of the first half it was all Mickleover, with a nice combination on the right setting up Trueman, who shot just wide of the right hand post after 34 minutes. Three minutes later Dales cut in to shoot over the bar again and then Barnes slid in and almost connected with a low cross from the left.

Durrant had to save a 42nd minutes power shot from Barnes after a Sault cross from the right and with the half time whistle poised, Mann headed just wide from a corner, so it remained 1-1.

It took a while for Mickleover to get up to pace again as the second half got underway. Barnes almost latched on to a long ball from Delap, but Durrant beat him to it and then Nyahema had a promising run down the right for the visitors, but his cross was straight out for a goal kick.

56 minutes in and a Greaves corner was the start of a resurgence from Sports. Both Delap and Mann began to push forward more along with the overlapping Sault and Dolan, while Atkinson seemed to be marshalling midfield with consummate ease.

Mickleover had taken control and after 59 minutes Barnes received on the left and fired home to make it 2-1. Barnes pace was causing problems for the flagging Long Eaton defence and his attack down the right, forced another good save from Durrant and a corner.

Former Mickleover player Lewis Belgrave then fouled Barnes in the box and Greaves stepped up to take the penalty. Durrant saved it initially, but Greaves was quick off the mark and tapped in the rebound, 3-1 after 62 minutes.

Beavon was the first sub to come on, as Clarke made way, before Durrant’s legs stopped Greaves from adding a fourth goal.

Sault then hit the post after 68 minutes after another long build up and final pass from Greaves.

Two minutes later though it was 4-1, when Barnes hit his second after a lay-off from Beavon, creating his own space with the keeper well beaten.

Bradley, Bowman and Ryder all came on as subs too, but 76 minutes and it was goal number five with Mann heading home again, 5-1.

Bradley had a long shot just wide, but it continued to be all Mickleover until the final whistle, with the 5-1 taking us back to the top of the league.

Going a goal down wasn’t part of our plan, but we knew we would be on top and create the chances, which we did. There were some strong performances from our players

said Mickleover manager John McGrath.


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