Category: Academy

Academy Lads Take National Title… Again

by Peter Scherer

Not for the first time Mickleover Academy have ended the season with both the Regional and National titles under their belt.

Back in 20-21 Mickleover had won the Midlands ESPFA title, before seeing off both the Northern and Southern Champions, and only two years later it’s a repeat in the National Academy.

Having secured the Northern title, the play-off for the National title was on the Oxford City ground at 7pm last Wednesday evening, racing the might of Southern Champions West Ham Utd.

Sports youngsters had dominated the game and only a string of critical saves from the Hammers keeper kept the game goalless.

But the deadlock was finally broken in the 75th minute, when George Atwal fired in a telling cross, for Ethan Mann to send a powerful header into the back of the net.

It sealed a strong and successful season for the whole squad, but even more so for Mann. After earning his place in the first team this year, he not only scored the winning goal in Wednesday’s final, but was also named as Man of the Match.

“The boys have dedicated their victory to the memory of former team mate Finn Bowen, on an amazing night for the club, which cements the hard work I have been able to do with Pablo Mills and Andy Dales,” concluded Sports gaffer John McGrath.

Sports’ Youth Go Down To Late Winner

by Peter Scherer

Having already come through two qualifying rounds of the FA Youth Cup, Mickleover Youth Team faced Lutterworth at the Don Amott Arena last Friday.

It was end to end attacking from the start, with Jack Leighton firing in a telling cross from the right, but there was no one to collect.

Ronnie Bonser then sent Brandon Ferron down the left, with his cross earning a corner. 

Lutterworth’s first chance came from a header just over from another corner, but it was Ferron that opened the scoring, beating two defenders before sliding his shot under the keeper 1-0.

Harry Atwal then fired in a free kick to the back post, but again no one there to receive, before a Lutterworth break was intercepted by Charlie Rock. 

Mickleover kept pushing forward and Declan Brown was just beaten to a Ben Horleston pass by the visitors keeper.

Owen Parr then had a shot saved too and continuing pressure on the Lutterworth goal came from a series of Leighton crosses.

The home defence easily dealt with another free kick, before Leighton found Atwal, whose final pass reached Brown, but the shot was too high and it stayed at 1-0 as the half time whistle went.

Lutterworth pulled it back to 1-1 with an early second half header from a free kick and it wasn’t long before it was 1-2, from a Lutterworth break, which saw a rebound shot fired into the back of the net.

Brown then had a shot well saved by the visitors keeper, to earn a corner and Mickleover had to make a change with Dean Ironmonger on for Fin Ryder.

Ironmomger was straight into the action, holding the ball for Brown whose shot was deflected away.

As Leighton continued to cause problems for the visiting defence, Bonser and Ironmonger were close to connecting and Ferron had another Leighton cross deflected away.

Having seen negative sportsmanship and time wasting from Tamworth’s visit earlier last week, sadly Lutterworth played the same game, with an excessive amount of cramp seemingly afflicting their players.

It stayed at 1-2 and to the FA Youth Cup run is over for another season.

(Information supplied by Mickleover Reserves Twitter.)

Mickleover FC Announcement

We can officially announce that we are finishing our agreement with the NPLFA for the Mickleover Football Academy at the end of this season. It has been a pleasure to work with the team from the NPLFA and we wish them well in their endeavours for the future.

The club is currently hosting the MCG Academy at the Don Amott arena who are working alongside the DCCT (Derby County Community Trust) as we continue to develop the facility as a base for future footballers and a future educational base at Mickleover.

Mickleover have a proud history of bringing new and exciting talent from the junior section through to the academy and onwards in their football journey. We are sure that tradition will continue with our new partnerships and the guidance of John McGrath and the coaching staff.  

Thanks to all at the NPLFA and good luck to the new ventures.

Neil Hadfield

Sports Youngsters March On

by Peter Scherer

Mickleover Youth Team now progress into the Second Qualifying round of the FA Youth Cup, after beating St Andrews last Friday.

It got off to a great start when Zac Sandhu was fouled and the referee played on allowing Declan Brown to open the scoring.

But after the strong start St Andrews began to find their feet and started to pose more threat to the Sports defence.

Mickleover had to make an early change when Dean Ironmonger came on for the injured Owen Parr.

But another attack soon followed with Charlie Rock clearing from a St Andrews corner. Fin Ryder then sent a long ball for Brown to chase, but it was intercepted by the visitors keeper.

Rock then fed the ball to Jack Leighton down the right, his cross found Brown again, but a great save from the keeper prompted another St Andrews break.

Bill was deemed to have fouled a striker and although he got a hand to the kick, it was 1-1.

As the home defence continued to look fairly strong, Harry Atwal sent Brandon Ferron running down the left. His cross was met by Sandhu and it was 2-1 as we came to the end of the first half.

Sandhu hit the bar again from a Ferron cross as the second half got under way. The St Andrews keeper then saved from a corner and set up another break for the visitors, but the shot was straight at Bill

But another free kick had Bill beaten as it struck the bar, before the rebound was in the back of the net. 2-2.

Both sides were pushing to take the lead and both keepers were having to pull off some great saves as the clock ran down and penalties loomed again.

In the closing seconds though Brown then picked the ball up, beat two defenders and passed the advancing keeper 3-2.

So its next stop Lutterworth Athletic, to be plated w/c September 26th.

(information courtesy of Mickleover Reserves twitter)

Sports’ Youth Hit Birstall For Six!

By Peter Scherer

Mickleover youngsters marched into the next round of the FA Youth Cup in fine style at Birstall Utd, with Zak Sandhu hitting a hattrick in a 6-1 victory.

Starting line-up: 1-Tom Bill 2-Jack Leighton 3-Brandon Ferron 4-Harry Atwal 5-Ronnie Bonser 6-Charlie Rock 7-Owen Parr 8-Ben Horleston 9-Declan Brown 10-Jack Tucker 11-Zak Sandhu.

It was barely into the second minute of the game when Sandhu made it 1-0 from a Horleston cross, as Mickleover bombarded the hosts from first whistle.

Birstall managed a rare shot after seven minutes which was easily taken by Bill. Tucker then created space for himself in the box and fired in a good shot, well taken by the host keeper.

Mickleover were able to take their time in being creative, as the home side seemed reluctant to push forward. They wasted a 13th minute free kick which was well wide, before Sports went close again four minutes later.

Atwal had found Leighton on the right wing, and his telling ball created a scramble in the Birstall box beforethe danger was eventually cleared.

It was Leighton causing havoc again down the right, finding Sandhu after 23 minutes. He held the ball, turned, and fired in to earn a corner, from which Rock followed up with a shot over the bar.

Four minutes later Ferron shot over too after collecting from a corner, as the emphasis switched to the left side.

Ferron put in another cross just after the half hour, just failing to connect with Brown. But the home defence was taking a pounding, as Parr found Brown again, he turned and fired a cracking shot onto the woodwork, after 34 minutes.

Ferron then crossed into the box for Brown to head over, as the young striker was managing to do everything but score.

39 minutes and Sandhu cut in from the left, but his pass came across the face of the goal, before Ferrons shot went over the bar.

Sandhu then had another shot straight at the keeper before Parrs cross found Horleston with a great chance in front of goal. But the young skipper failed to get his shot in as the half time whistle arrived.

Just like the first half they had barely kicked off and Sandhu was in space, heading for goal and it was 2-0,with Brown soon trying his luck again, winning the ball midway into the half and shooting just wide.

Ferron set up Brown again for a shot just over, but some good and precise build ups came to nought, with too many passes and no shot.

Mickleover went close again after a 68th minute free kick, when a blast from Rock was well saved.

Suddenly things changed following a Birstall corner when they fired in a cracking shot from the edge of the box to make it 2-1 after 70 minutes.

There were soon signs that the Birstall team were beginning to tire, some going down with cramp.

Tucker found Brown who wanted too much time and found his way blocked, just before Atwal struck from long range after 74 minutes, just over the bar.

It was Atwal on the attack again two minutes later after a nice Sandhu flick, but he just failed to connect. But then a cross from the right found Sandhu and he completed his hattrick at 3-1.

Birstall gave Bill a test after 77 minutes, but the young keeper was untroubled, as Bonser and Rock continuedto look a much stronger partnership in the middle of defence, than they had against Harborough in the last round.

Sub Dean Ironmonger had only been on a few minutes after coming on for Brown but made it 4-1 after 78 minutes from a Horleston set up.

The closing minutes became almost target practice forMickleover, with Leighton having a shot saved, before Horleston and sub Louis Barradell both found the net in the final four minutes for a convincing 6-1 victory.

We now await the draw for the First Round Qualifying, with games due to be played w/c September 12th.

Penalty Shoot Out Win After Last Minute Equaliser

by Peter Scherer

It was a trip down the M1 last night for Mickleover’s youngsters, as they faced Harborough Town in the FA Youth Cup.

Starting line-up: 1-Tom Bill 2-Jack Leighton 3-Brandon Ferron 4-Harry Atwal 5-Ronnie Bonser 6-Charlie Rock 7-Owen Parr 8-Ben Horleston 9-Dean Ironmonger 10-Declan Brown 11-Fin Ryder. Subs: Josh Maher, Oliver Potts, Ryan McKeever-Atkins, Danny Owalibi, Ezekiel Appoah, Louis Barradell.

It could barely have started worse for Mickleover as some poor defending led to the opening goal just over a minute into the game. Leighton had lost out on the right and with no one backing him up, it was a free shot for the Harborough striker 0-1.

Mickleover were soon retaliating and only three minutes later Ferron had his first of many telling runs down the left, sent his cross into a crowded box and Brown made it 1-1.

Ferron tried another run and had also broken through the Harborough ranks before his run was intercepted.

After eight minutes it was Ferron causing havoc yet again, when his own shot hit the bar. Brown was quick to head in a rebound, but the keeper had it covered.

Both Leighton and Ferron continued to cause problems on the wings, with Bonser and Rock holding back as Mickleover’s last line of defence.

Bonser had a push forward after 11 minutes, finding Ryder who shot wide and then a long ball found Leighton on the right, who was tripped on the edge of the box.

Atwal’s free kick was blocked and Harborough made a break, prompting Bill to charge off his line to clear the danger.

20 minutes in and Harborough caught the Mickleover defence napping again, after their own initial attack. With Bill beaten it was the underside of the bar that saved us.

Only a minute later Bonser pushed one of the host strikers to the floor in the box and the referee pointed straight to the spot. But Bill made a diving save to his right to keep it at 1-1.

Brown then went close for Mickleover, he took the ball around the advancing keeper, but was unlucky when his shot hit a defender.

It was end to end though as when Horleston lost possession in the middle, another Harborough break brought Bill off his line to save.

Leighton was then fouled again on the halfway line, before Rock came upfield and was just wide with a header from an Atwal corner.

But after 39 minutes the Mickleover defence was split down the middle and the home striker headed straight for goal, leaving Bill no chance, 1-2.

There was another shambolic mix up after a poor clearance, but Bill was able to make the save again with his legs.

In the final minutes of the first half, Parr tried a long shot which went out for corner, but then Ironmonger went down injured and had to be replaced by Sandu.

Mickleover started the second half strongly and continued to use both wings positively, but the home defence continued to look fairly solid.

Rock was then beaten for pace and the ball was sent goalwards, before another poor clearance fell kindly for Harborough to make it 1-3 after 52 minutes.

Mickleover replied again two minutes later when Horleston got on the end of an Atwal free kick 2-3.

As Sports started to push for the equaliser Ryder had a shot wide, while Ferron continued to cause grief for the Harborough right back.

But the hosts continued to be quick on the break and had another long range shot over the bar after 65 minutes.

 McKeever-Atkins then came on for Brown, before Ferron had another shot just wide.

With 11 minutes on the clock Ferron had made it to the left hand line to put a cross into the middle, right at McKeever-Atkins feet, but the young sub failed to get a shot in.

With Potts on for Ryder Mickleover earned a corner, but as the ball was crossed everyone missed it.

It was virtually the final minute of the game when Ferron again got a fine across into the box. For a moment the keeper looked as if he was about to collect it, but after a fumble he allowed McKeever-Atkins to connect and it was 3-3.

With the final whistle soon following, it was straight into a penalty shoot out with Harborough to go first. 

The last time we had penalties in a Youth Cup tie was at Basford two years ago and we missed every one!

Although Bill was sent the wrong way for the first kick, it was wide of the post and with the young keeper making a great save from the second kick, it was going Mickleover’s way with Atwal and Bonser both netting.

But Horleston’s kick was then saved and although Harborough scored with their remaining kicks, Sandhu had scored for Mickleover before Leighton sealed the victory.

We now play Birstall Utd away in week commencing August 29th.

Dates For The Diary: Youth Team On The Road

by Peter Scherer

Mickleover FC’s juniors have been drawn away to Northern Premier League Division One Midlands side Harborough Town in the extra preliminary round of this years FA Youth Cup, with games to be played week commencing August 18th.

Mickleover beat Quorn and Lincoln Utd in last years competition before going out.

The winners of the tie will play United Counties League Division One side Birstall away week commencing August 29th.

Our Academy Go On Trial

by Peter Scherer

Following Bobby Battisson’s recent move to Gibraltar, two more of the Mickleover FC students have caught the eye of Football League Clubs.

Reserves keeper Fin Bowen has spent a week with Derby County, while team mate and fellow keeper Tom Bill is heading for Port Vale.

Tom is only a first year student, but it’s another amazing job by all at our football club and more good news for our academy.

said manager John McGrath.

Sports Lose Out In Youth Cup Tie

by Peter Scherer

Mickleover travelled to Boston Utd on Wednesday night for their latest tie in the FA Youth Cup.

After going behind to a sixth minute goal from Zane Millar, Sports were back level after 35 minutes when Fin Barker equalised.

Owen Sheriff made sure the hosts went in at half time however, with their lead restored, after made it 2-1 to Boston in the 42nd minute.

As the Sports Juniors gave their all for an equaliser, Sheriff scored his second after 81 minutes, as Boston secured the win 3-1.

10 Goal Rout As Sports Youth Team March On

by Peter Scherer

Mickleover’s budding stars march on into the second qualifying of the FA Youth Cup, with a massive 10-1 win over Quorn.

Starting line-up: 1-Fin Bowen 2-Zach Robertson 3-Jake Edge-Lucas 4-George Atwal 5-Ethan Mann 6-Ben Horleston 7-Bobby Battisson 8-Freddie Murphy 9-Kai Moore 10-Fin Barker 11-Declan Brown. Subs: Jack Tucker, Tom Bell.

In the opening seconds Mickleover had two half chances, ending with Battisson’s attempt being blocked by the Quorn keeper.

Two minutes later a cross from the left was turned into the middle by Moore, almost putting Brown in the clear.

Robertson then had the first of many overlapping runs down the right. His cross went across the face of the goal, just out of Moore’s reach.

Quorn were having difficulty breaking out of their own half and an interception by Battisson sent him on a long run. His shot was saved, before Brown’s rebound was blocked.

The pressure on Quorn’s defence was becoming relentless and after eight minutes Battisson had another shot saved by the keeper’s feet.

Only a minute later another through ball from Battisson found Moore in space, placing safely into the bottom corner 1-0 after nine minutes.

Almost from the kick off Barker tried his luck from a wide angle and only just missed. Moore had another header just wide from a Robertson cross and after 14 minutes Barker made an in swinging cross which bounced off the bar, with the visitor’s keeper well beaten.

Robertson was continuing to cause havoc on the right and his 15th minute cross led to goal number two and a second for Moore 2-0.

The roles were reversed a minute later when Moore found Robertson, but this time his cross was blocked.

Quorn were awarded a penalty after 17 minutes when Bowen had to come racing off his line and fouled the advancing striker.

The initial penalty was well saved by Bowen but the rebound was successful for the visitors 2-1.

Murphy was next on the attack, sending Edge-Lucas on a run, but the keeper came to Quorn’s rescue.

It was the breakdown of a rare Quorn attack that gave Barker a break in his own half. His full flight charge with a clear run on goal was thwarted by a crude tackle, it earned a yellow card after the initial advantage came to nought, but could easily have merited straight red.

Moore and Barker had some good interplay, which ended with Barker shooting well over, but after 32 minutes Mickleover were forced to make a change as Brown limped off to be replaced by Tucker.

Having only been on the field a couple of minutes Tucker made it 3-1, sliding in to collect deep cross.

Three minutes later and it was 4-1 with a Robertson solo effort from the right, beating the keeper on his near post.

There was a half chance for the visitors after 39 minutes but Mann and Horleston continued to be relatively untroubled in the heart of the home defence.

It could have been a fifth goal as half time approached, as a long kick from Bowen cleared the defence that froze assuming offside. Barker collected but was thwarted again by the keepers feet.

The second half began as the first had ended with Battisson firing a shot at the keeper in the first five minutes, before the ball went loose and Murphy had a shot blocked.

52 minutes and Barker’s pace sent him through again, but he fired his shot just wide.

We didn’t have to wait long for another goal though, when Battisson broke, waltzed passed the visitors keeper and slotted home 5-1 after 54 minutes.

Battisson whipped passed another defender only a minute later, but his shot was taken by the keeper, before Moore fired in a cross which just missed connecting with Tucker.

59 minutes and it was 6-1, this time Edge-Lucas got clear on a run, and took it around the hapless keeper with ease. Battisson then had another shot a minute later, as the Quorn defence floundered in their own half.

Murphy and Atwal were playing some long balls out of midfield, and after 65 minutes Murphy found Barker, but on this occasion he was intercepted.

A brief break out from Quorn resulted in a good cross which was blocked and left Robertson unchallenged on the right, making another successful solo run to make it 7-1 after 68 minutes.

Only two more minutes and it was 8-1 when Moore fired in to complete his hattrick, after Battisson’s initial shot was blocked.

But Quorn kept their heads up and continued to try and play their own game, which forced Bowen out of the Mickleover goal to save at the striker’s feet.

Barker had been limping for a while, but the dilemma was that the only other sub was reserve keeper Tom Bell, who then came on as a striker.

Battisson then made it 9-1 after 78 minutes, but Bowen was then forced into another from a Quorn break.

Mann headed just wide from a short corner in the last five minutes, but there was still time for another goal, with Battisson making 10-1 and completing his hattrick too.

Mickleover are due to play the next round w/c September 27th, but have to wait for the outcome of two matches to know their opponents. West Bridgford have to play Boston Utd, after their original tie was abandoned after the tragic death of one of West Bridgford’s players. The winner of that tie play Dunkirk, who had a walkover in the preliminary round, and then Sports visit the eventual winners.