Category: First Team

Heading South… Sports Take On Hitchin

By Peter Scherer

It’s back down the M1 again on Saturday as Mickleover take on Hitchin Town in the Southern Premier League Central Division.

Our last visit to Hitchin ended with an FA Trophy defeat a couple of years ago, but despite being in 11th place in the table, Mark Burke’s side have only been beaten once at home, by title contenders Leiston.

A five gamel unbeaten run came to an end last Saturday though when they went down 2-4 at local rivals Royston, before taking all three points at home to Rushden & Diamonds on Monday night.

Mickleover will be hoping Stuart Beavon will be fit to rejoin the squad on Saturday, along with Joe Bateman, as we seek to hold onto our current play-off place.

Goalkeeper Charlie Horlock has been at Top Field for three years, since signing from Hastings Utd. He started his junior football at Wycombe Wanderers and Stevenage and was loaned to Hendon and Harrow, before coming to Hitchin on loan too in November 2014. He then made a permanent move to our hosts a year later, before moving to Eastbourne.

Full back Stan Georgiou is a home- grown talent who has been a regular starter since the second half of last season. He captained the clubs Youth Cup team and also had a loan spell at Letchworth Garden City Eagles.

Kye Tearle is a defender of midfielder who came from the Pro Direct Academy in Baldock. He is in his third season with the first team squad.

Irish midfielder Stephen Gleeson was spotted by Wolves when he was playing junior football for Chery Orchard FC. He spent a few years on loan at Stockport County before a permanent move to Mk Dons. He then moved on to Birmingham City, Ipswich and Aberdeen, before coming back to England with Solihull Moors. He came to Hitchin in November last year after four months at Hemel.

He was capped by the Republic of Ireland at full, Under 17, 18, 19 and 21 levels and has played over 40 league games in the Championship, League One & Two and Scottish Premiership, scoring 27 goals.

Defender or midfielder Malaki Black arrived from MK Dons in July last year, while fellow midfielder Bradley Bell arrived for his second spell during the summer, from Barton Rovers. He had initially left to join Biggleswade in 2020 and has also played for Royston and Cambridge City, having started at MK Dons.

Striker Diogo Freitas-Gouveia originally came to Hitchin on loan from Colchester Utd in 2019/20. He was also loaned to Brightlingsea and Maldon & Tiptree, but made his move to our hosts became permanent following his release during the summer. He has scored four goals in his last four games.

Rio Da Silva is a midfielder who has been at Hitchin for three years, since arriving from Dunstable. He previously played in Luton Town’s Academy, followed by four years in Chelsea’s youth team.

Striker Ashley Hay is a former Luton Junior too. He moved from Baldock Town to Biggleswade at the start of this season and came to Hitchin in September.

Steve Cawley is a striker in his third spell at Top Field, having started out at Chesham. Spells at Bishop Stortford, Concord Rangers and Hemel followed, before he came to Hitchin on loan for eight months in September 2019. He then returned permanently in July 2020, before a two-month spell at Stotfold at the beginning of last season, preceded his current stay.

Jack Snelus is a more recent arrival, having come from Rushden & Diamonds in September. The striker scored both goals in the win against his former club last Monday.  He was another ex Luton Junior and has also played for Hemel and St.Ives Town.

Toby Syme is s full back in his second spell with the club. He came from one Canaries team to another, after leaving Norwich City in 2017. He moved on to Kings Langley a year later, before spells at Leverstock, Tring Athletic and Harpenden, were followed by his return to Top Field in August.

Josh Coldicott-Stevens is a another player who’s been at the club for three years. He is a midfielder, who started at Boreham Wood, before arriving at Hitchin from Kings Langley in  December 2019.

Midfielder Leon Chambers-Parillon spent most of career so far with Oxford Utd. He had loans at Biggleswade, Havant & Waterloovile, Gloucester City and Slough, joining Hitchin on his release in August.

Defender Alfie Warman was a new signing from Baldock Town in August. He has also played for Welwyn, Codicote and Potton Utd.

Callum Kane is another summer arrival from Baldock. A full back, he is a product of the Pro-Direct Academy.

Delsin Ackom is another young defender, signed in 2021 after his release from MK Dons two years earlier. In between he played for Potton Utd, MK Gallacticos, Buckingham Athletic and Desborough, as well as having a spell in Spain with Almunecar.

Midfielder Finley Wilkinson was a summer signing from Histon, after coming through their Youth Scheme.

Striker Johnny Allotey signed pro-forms for our hosts towards the end of last season.

Midfielder George Joyce was only signed earlier this from Aylesbury Utd. He was previously at Boreham Wood and Kempton and is yet to make his first start.

Lewis Barker arrived at the start of the 2019/20 season, after five years at Baldock Town and Dempsey Thomas is a young defender having recently broken into the first team squad.

Kick off at Top Field is 3pm and we will hoping for dry spell between now and then, as the pitch is grass.

Early Promise Ends In Heavy Defeat

by Peter Scherer

We always knew it would be a tough night at promotion seeking Coalville Town, but for almost an hour a point was certainly a possibility.

Stating line-up: 1-Jonathan Hedge 2-Lucas Yeomans 3-Rhys Dolan 4-Ryan Wilson 5-James Butler 6-Phil Watt 7-Andy Dales 8-Mitchell Rose 9-Elliott Reeves 10-Lekan Osideko 11-Oli Greaves. Subs: Ben Horleston, Pablo Mills, Ethan Mann, Mason Warren.

Mickleover made a late change to the starting 11 with Lekan Osideko making his first start in place of Stuart Beavon.

In the opening minutes it was fairly even, but Osideko looked quick, sharp and keen to impress.

Coalville’s Paul White was the first of the keepers to be tested, when Greaves fired a shot in from just outside the box. Sports seemed more fired up than the hosts and after a precise build up on the left between Dolan and Dales eight minutes in, Wilson fired in a curling shot. Initially White was going the wrong way, but managed to turn in the air to save, Osideko then put the rebound into the side netting.

Two minutes later Coalville had their first chance when Luke Shaw’s cross found Billy Kee. Hedge saved the shot and from the following corner, before the rebound shot was well wide.

There was another attempt from our hosts four minutes later, again high and wide, but overall it was still fairly even.

But 18 minutes in and Mickleover were so close to the opening goal, when Jake Eggleton completely missed his clearance, it fell to Osideko and his shot came back off the post.

As Coalville cleared their lines and Shaw made a break, outpaced the defence and found Chambers, who fired home against the run of play, 0-1.

Eliot Putnam then tried his luck for the hosts, but that was well over too.

There were appeals for a Mickleover penalty after 26 minutes. Dolan, Osideko and Dales had linked up well on the left and earned a corner. As Dales cut inside he was tripped just inside the penalty area, but the referee saw otherwise.

Wilson’s free kick was easily cleared, but three minutes later Osideko broke clear on the right, but he was on his own and his cross into the middle went to waste.

Rose but a great ball down the right for Yeomans to chase, but the defence just got their first and shortly after the half hour Reeves managed to meet a Wilson cross, but was unable to direct his header.

There was a bit of s scramble after a 36th Coalville free kick, but after that was cleared, Mickleover had one more chance before half time. After a long build up no one was having a crack at goal, then Dales tried to follow a Yeomans cross and was fouled.

Mickleover could count themselves as very unlucky to be a goal down as on the balance of play they had the upperhand over the 45 minutes.

Chitiza opened the second half with a header just wide for the hosts, before a strong run from Greaves sent Yeomans on a run, earning another corner.

Mickleover then finally got their break with Dales finding himself clear on the left. His curling shot had White beaten on his far post and it was in the top corner, 1-1.

For a while it was Sports in the ascendancy, with Yeomans on another run down the right, his cross beat the defence, but his team mates too.

But after 53 minutes the tide began to turn and the Mickleover defence starting to come under repeated attack from the hosts strike force. 

There had been one goal mouth scramble cleared, but then Chambers fired in his second, after a one two with Chitiza. Hedge got to the shot, but couldn’t keep it out as it squeezed in by the near post, 1-2.

Kee put in a dangerous cross just missing Chambers and then Chitiza forced a double save from Hedge after 62 minutes.

Four minutes later and it was 1-3, when George Wilson went straight through the defence and slotted it past the advancing Hedge.

Apart from on occasional break giving Sports defence a brief respite, they were virtually torn apart by the hosts for the rest of the match.

Warren came on for Rose after 70 minutes, but Coalville were managing to get around the back of the defence with relative ease, before taking some random shots on goal.

Shaw had a couple of shots wide, but after 76 minutes Chambers was on for a hattrick, jinking his way through the defence, with no one making a tackle, only to put his final shot wide. Two minutes later though Kee made it 1-4, after Shaw set him up.

Mills came on for Reeves and with eight minutes left Osideko had a shot saved and earned a corner. It was a late flurry by Mickleover and when Dales found Osideko in the box, the striker had his back to goal and failed to make the turn for a shot.

Mann came on for Yeomans for the final minutes, but it was more bombardment from Coalville to the final whistle, with one almost clear goal attempt missed by the hosts.

So Mickleover remain fourth in the table still, but were well beaten on the night and now look forward to our visit to Hitchin Town on Saturday.

Sports Visit FA Cup Heroes: Coalville Town (A)

by Peter Scherer

Back into fourth in the table after Saturday’s win over Stratford, Mickleover will be seeking revenge over Coalville Town, following their 2-4 win at the Don Amott Arena.

Manager Adam Stevens has managed to keep a fairly stable sign over the last couple of months, which has seen their league position suffer, but brought FA Cup success.

Formerly top of the table, they are now five points behind Mickleover, with three games in hand, currently eighth in the table.

Their win against Notts County will go down in club history, after it earned them the first round proper tie at Charlton Athletic.

Without a game last Saturday, their last league outing was a 2-2 draw at Hitchin, after drawing 1-1 in their last home game against Stratford. October 24th saw their last league victory  3-1 at home to Kings Langley.

Keeper Paul White came from Peterborough Sports in July, having started out with Cork City in his native Ireland.

His first English club was Forest Green, who also loaned him to Gloucester, before joining Boreham Wood following his release. He has also played for Accrington, Kettering, Hereford and St Ives.

Former Grimsby junior midfielder Andi Thanoj was also a July signing, from Boston Utd. He has also played for Alfreton, Harrogate and Redditch.

Midfielder Tendai Chitiza is a newcomer too, he started at Leicester Nirvana, before moving onto Gresley Rovers, before a year in Serbia with CSK Celarevo and FK TSC. He returned to the UK with Stamford in July 2019, from where Coalville picked him up.

Striker Ash Chambers was a Leicester City youth player, with over 200 league appearances under his belt, with the likes of Wycombe, Grimsby, York, Cambridge Utd, Dagenham & Redbridge, before non-league spells at Nuneaton, Kidderminster and Brackley. He came to Coalville after a year at Buxton and was on the scoresheet against scored their goal against Charlton Athletic in the recent FA 1sr round defeat.

Midfielder George Wilson arrived in July too. A former Blackburn junior, he played for Loughborough University after his release and had a spell in Sweden with Ljungskile SK before arriving at Coalville. 

Second choice keeper Jake Laban was a pre-season signing, having arrived from Burton Albion.

Skipper Joe Doyle-Charles has been Coalville for four years. The midfielder started out as a Burton Albion Youth player and joined Ilkeston on his release in 2015. He has also played for Alfreton and came to Coalville from Matlock Town.

Midfield partner Tom McGlinchey can go one better, as he arrived from Leicester Road five years ago. 

Striker Tim Berridge is another longer serving player, since arriving from Dunkirk in 2018 and has scored 66 goals since his arrival, 22 of them last season.

Defender Elliott Putman came in from Barwell in September 2021.  He started out at Leicester City and has also played for Stamford and Oadby.

Alex Dean is the longest serving of al the squad, having rejoined our visitors for the second time in 2014. He back from Solihull Moors, but has also played at Nuneaton Town alongside his twin brother and Bedworth Utd.

Right back Jake Eggleton was a West Ham youth player, who joined Hendon on his release in 2018. After a short spell at Hampton & Richmond he went to Loughborough University, arriving at Coalville in August 2020.

Veteran centre back Chris Robertson has had a long and varied career, which kicked off as a Sheffield Utd Junior. After loans at Chester and Torquay he had 18 months at Preston North End, moving on via Port Vale, Ross County, AFC Wimbledon, Swindon, Havant & Waterlooville and Ilkeston. 

He came to Coalville in July 2020 after six months at Grantham and has played over 300 league games in his career with 16 goals.

Midfielder Connor Smith came from Loughborough University in 2020, after being a Nottingham Forest Youth team player.

Luke Shaw is another midfielder who favours the wing. He was signed from Grantham in 2018 and scored 12 goals last season.

The oldest player in the squad at 37 is midfielder Steve Towers, now starting his sixth year with the club since signing from Brackley. He started at Corby and has played for Rothwell, Stamford and Grantham too.

Striker Billy Kee came from Accrington in September 2020, but started his career at Leicester City. After a loan at Accrington he joined Torquay, before moving to Burton, Scunthorpe and Mansfield. He then spent five years at Accrington before his Coalville move.

Having started out at Coalville, defender Kian Taylor was picked up by Leicester City, before spending three years with Shrewsbury Town. During this period he came on loan back to Coalville, with the move becoming permanent in August 2020.

Striker Ronnie Morley is a product of Coalville’s own youth programme and has also had a loan spell at Anstey Nomad’s. He made his league debut with two appearances last season.

Prince Ogunmekan is another midfielder signed from Loughborough University and is yet to make his first team debut.

Former St Etienne Junior centre back Herve pepe-Ngomi has just returned to the club, having left in September last year to join Barwell. He played junior football at Leicester City too and also played for Nuneaton, Boston Utd and Kettering.

Kick off as usual 7.45pm and it’s only about 20 miles down the road, so ALL the Red Army support will be more than welcome.

Three More Points… But It Was Tough

by Peter Scherer

Mickleover returned to fourth in the Southern Premier League Central table after a 4-3 win against Stratford Town at the Don Amott Arena.

Starting line-up: 1-Jonathan Hedge 2-Lucas Yeomans 3-Ryan Wilson 4-Ethan Mann 5-James Butler 6-Phil Watt 7-Andy dales 8-Mitchell Rose 9-Elliott Reeves 10-Stuart Beavon 11-Oli Greaves. Subs: Brandon Ferron, Lekan Osideko, Pablo Mills, Jake Scott, Mason Warren.

A strong opening attack from Mickleover saw Beavon charge through the visiting defence, with keeper O’Brien just reaching the ball ahead of the chasing Dales.

Only three minutes in Dales was through again and the keeper saved his shot with one leg as he was heading the wrong way.

The early pressure continued and only one minute later Reeves outpaced Martin Riley and beat the keeper on his near post, 1-0.

Reeves was nearly in on goal again two minutes later, once again outpacing the defence, before firing his shot into the side netting.

Stratford hadn’t really been in the game until they got a free kick on the Mickleover right. The ball was sent into the edge of the box, where Riley’s header found the back of the net for the equaliser, 1-1 after 15 minutes.

For about 10 minutes the Mickleover defence seemed to have gone to sleep and were lucky not to concede again.

William Grocott was clean through, but his shot was fired over the bar after 17 minutes and there was a succession of corners, from which the visitors failed to capitalise.

Reeves was then booked for a foul on Sam Wilding, who carried on with a bandaged head after a lengthy stoppage, but the following free kick was wasted.

In midfield Rose was having a mixed game, solid and dependable at times and giving the ball away at times too. In the 31st minute he lost possession and Andre Wright was clear. His initial shot was blocked, before Hedge made the save.

Dales then started a Mickleover attack, found Beavon, but the shot was blocked. Then Wilson combined with Dales down the left after 35 minutes, the ball was sent into the box, where Beavon’s effort was just wide again.

Sports were back in charge and looking strong, getting their reward in the 39th minute. It was Wilson and Dales combining on the left again, but this time Beavon pivoted and fired the ball in to restore the Mickleover lead, 2-1.

The attacks continued to flow with Yeomans and Greaves becoming more effective on the right too. But in the 45th minute Beavon was fouled on the edge of the box. A four-man wall was infiltrated by a grinning Greaves, but Wilson stepped up and fired his kick straight over the wall into the roof of the net, to send us into half time 3-1 up.

With Stratford having failed to win way this season and a two-goal lead, there was quite rightly an air of confidence, but that soon changed.

Hedge was called into action after 50 minutes, when Watt lost out in a chase. Hedge came out and half saved, but the rebound fell to Grocott and it was 3-2.

Reeves had taken a knock on his ankle in the first half and was replaced by Osideko, but Sports pushed forward but continued to look susceptible to the breaks.

As the hour mark approached, Hedge had to tip a Wilding effort over the bar, but Stratford continued to push for the equaliser again, which again left their defence vulnerable.

Dales sent a long ball over the defence, but it was too long for Osideko to catch and then Butler had a charge from defence and had his effort saved by O’Brien.

Stratford were still looking dangerous though and Jamie Molyneux crossed for a fellow striker, who fired over with the goal at his mercy.

Molyneaux then got through himself after pushing Wilson out of the way, he was clear on goal and put it wide though, as Mickleover had gone from comfortable looking winners, to holding.

73 minutes and Osideko was clear, after calls for offside were waved away, he chipped the advancing keeper, but his shot hit the far post and went out.

Hedge was then busy keeping the visitors out, with a 75th minute save, followed by another string of corners.

Both sides were looking for points from the game and Beavon almost found Dales, but the ball was too long, before Warren was brought on for Greaves.

Beavon continued his tremendous work rate and with 10 minutes left sent Dales down the left, but his pinpoint pass missed Rose’s right foot by just inches.

86 minutes and Mikey Taylor broke through the defence and it was level again 3-3, so Mickleover swapped Scott for Rose for the battle to the final whistle.

There was time to be added on but in the final minute of normal time Osideko was clear again, but this time on the left. He was on side and had the keeper beaten from a tight angle, his first goal and Mickleover were back in front 4-3.

The three points were secure but it hard been a tough second half, with some woeful defending at times, as the absence of Dolan and the combination Butler, Watt and Mann at the back just didn’t seem to flow.

It’s now onto Coalville on Tuesday night.

To Be Or Not To Be… As Mickleover Face The Bards Of Stratford Town FC

By Peter Scherer

Following the disappointment of last Saturday’s late defeat at Redditch and Tuesday’s postponement at Alvechurch for the second time, Mickleover will be looking to get back to winning ways this Saturday.

Stratford Town are the visitors, who are currently 17th, drew 1-1 at Coalville in their last league match, but haven’t had a win in their last eight. They are still seeking their first league win on the road, having drawn three times. Their last win was on October 22nd 4-2 against Needham Market.

Ex Forest Junior midfielder and Bromsgrove manager Gavin Hurren has been in sole charge since September, when co-manager and former Rams player and assistant manager Dean Holdsworth left the club.

Having already used well over 30 players this season, there has been little stability in the starting line-up. Liam O’Brien, Luke Bell, Leon Phillips and Louis Beresford have all started in goal.

O’Brien is a former England Under 19 International, who made 62 League Two appearances. QPR signed him as junior from Ruislip, before he moved on to Portsmouth. After a loan at Eastbourne, he joined Barnet on his release, and after another loan at Eastbourne signed for Brentford.

He moved on to Dagenham & Redbridge, before going back to Portsmouth. Stays at Coventry City and Yeovil followed, before coming to Stratford in November 2020.

Luke Bell is on loan from Coventry City and was previously part of the Wolves Academy. Phillips arrived from Alvechurch in September. He started at Nottingham Forest, moving on to Mansfield, Cheltenham and Kidderminster.

Beresford has come through the Bards own youth scheme, but they also have also signed Nial Maher from Banbury. He was a Tividale Junior before joining Morecambe. After a loan at Halesowen, he returned to Tividale, moving on to Stourbridge, West Super Mare, Gloucester City, then another spell at Tividale, before joining Banbury.

Signed in August 2021, midfielder Dan Lafferty is a former Northern Ireland Under 17 International, who came through the ranks at Coventry City.

Sam Wilding is a defensive midfielder who was a junior at both West Bromwich Albion and Sunderland. After a loan at Leamington, he joined Hednesford on his release, joining Stratford last month.

Will Grocott is another midfielder and he started his career at Aston Villa. After spells at Tamworth and Loughborough he went to Canada, playing for Kitchener-Waterloo Utd and Toronto Lynx. He returned to the UK with Rugby and Tamworth before his first spell at Stratford. After a year at Stourbridge, he came back to our visitors in 2020 and is club captain.

Ashley Sammons is another midfielder too, who started out at Birmingham City. He has had a long and varied career that has taken him via Hereford, Worcester, Redditch, Corby, Hednesford, Solihull, Rushall and Halesowen, before joining the Bards in August last year.

Centre back Paul McCone was a pre-season arrival from Halesowen. He started at Wolves and has also played for Stourbridge, Leamington, Hednesford, Telford and back to Stourbridge.

Fellow centre back James O’Neill started off at Telford before joining Welsh League Newtown. He returned to Newtown a second time after a spell at Chasetown and came to the Bards pre-season after a year at Stafford Rangers.

Striker Andre Wright arrived only last month from Kettering. As a West Bromwich Albion Junior, he was loaned out to Kidderminster, Torquay and Coventry, before a permanent move to Kidderminster. He moved on to Nuneaton, back to Torquay, Gloucester and Halesowen, before going to the Republic of Ireland with Bohemians. 

After spells at Ayr Utd and Sligo Rovers, he joined Telford in January, followed by a spell at Hereford before joining Kettering at the start of the season.

Former West Bromwich Albion Junior left back Taylor Morrison arrived from Littleton in August. He first joined Stratford in 2018, having gone to Alvechurch following his West Brom release. He returned to Alvechurch after a couple of months, before moving on via Evesham, Redditch, Worcester City and another Alvechurch return, then a five-month spell at Littleton followed a short stop at Tamworth.

Josh Hawker is a central midfielder and former Birmingham City Junior. He was signed from Halesowen in July and played for Redditch too.

Former Brentford Junior midfielder Jesse Akubuine spent much of his career in Scotland too. From Brentford he joined Queen of the South, who loaned him to Dalbeattie Star and Broomhill Glasgow, before moving to Cumbernauld. On his return to England, he joined Rushden & Diamonds, from where Stratford signed him a couple of weeks ago.

Teenaged midfielder Felix Miles only arrived last month too. A former Cheltenham Junior, he was loaned to Tuffley Rovers and Evesham before joining the Bards on his release and is yet to make a start.

Right back Patrick Zito arrived in August on his release from Aston Villa, he is yet to make a start too.

Centre back Martin Riley came from Hednesford at the beginning of this month. He was a Wolves Junior, before moving to Kidderminster, Cheltenham, Mansfield, Wrexham, Halifax, Alfreton, Hereford, Stourbridge and Tamworth.

Dan Vann is a centre back to, having been at the club for three years since arriving from Walsall. He was also loaned to Stafford, Matlock and Chasetown during his time with the Saddlers.

Former West Brom and Walsall Junior Striker Jamie Molyneux arrived from Bromsgrove in May, having previously played for Halesowen, Redditch, Hereford, Highgate and Westfields.

Centre back Jack Turner was Bristol City Junior, signed from Kettering part way through last season. 

Striker Mikey Taylor made his debut in the last game after signing from Bromsgrove. It’s his fourth spell with the Bards, having joined originally from Worcester in 2017. He has also played for Leamington, Stourbridge, Tamworth and Halesowen, and found the net on his recent visit to the Don Amott Arena with Bromsgrove.

Defender Carl Dickinson is the most recent signing, yet to make his league debut. A former Derby Youth player with 500 League games under his belt, he came through Stoke City’s Academy too, being loaned out to Vikingur in Iceland, Blackpool, Leeds, Barnsley and Portsmouth, before joining Watford permanently.

He was loaned to Portsmouth again and Coventry, before joining Port Vale. Further moves took him to Notts County and Yeovil, and he has been at Hanley Town for the past year.

Right back Aksum White is a recent arrival from Coleshill. Another former West Brom Junior, he has played for Tamworth, Khalsa and Worcester Raiders too.

Former Darlaston striker Cameron Philp is a squad player, and prolific scorer for our visitor’s reserve side, while Sacha Everard, Christian Isechei, Paddy McGrory and Callum Monaghan have also come through the ranks too.

Kick off at the Don Amott Arena is 3pm as usual and the bar will be open.

Time To Visit The Giantkillers

by Peter Scherer

Having already suffered an FA Cup defeat at Alvechurch’s hands earlier this season, it’s time for revenge as we face them in the League for the first time this year.

After their FA Cup first round victory at Cheltenham last week, it’s time for them to focus on the League again. Last Saturday they were at Hitchin and  went down 1-2, which them down in 2oth place.

They still have four games in hand and Tuesday’s game will be their first home league match since a 3-3 draw with Leiston on September 24th, hence their false league position towards the bottom of the table.

Out of their five home games they have won three, drawn one and lost 1-3 to Tamworth.

Manager Ian Long came back to the club in February 2020, having previously been there for four years, before joining Stourbridge.

So far they have used two goalkeepers, Dan Jezeph and Leon Phillips. Jezeph is currently first choice, a Walsall Junior, who was at Tamworth and Worcester City before joining Alvechurch in July last year.

Phillips was a Nottingham Forest youth player, after turning down Birmingham City and West Bromwich Albion. After his release he had a year at Kidderminster, before joining our hosts in August 2021.

James Behan is currently second choice keeper, a former Birmingham City Junior, he’s played for Cheltenham, Maldon & Tiptree, Stratford, Racing Club Warwick and Darlaston. 

Ash Carter is a centre back that came from Halesowen in May 2021. He was a Wolves Academy player and was loaned to Chesterfield and Tamworth before joining Kidderminster on his release. 

He then came to Alvechurch in July 2017, joining Nuneaton a year later. November 2018 he was back at Alvechurch, before moves to Stourbridge and Halesowen preceded his third and current spell with our hosts.

Left back Ethan Sephton was was picked up by Derby County from Solihull and had eight months with the Rams Under 23’s before coming to Alvechurch in October 2020.

Peter Taylor is a defensive midfielder, who started out at West Bromwich Albion. He was loaned to Stourbridge before coming on loan to Alvechurch in March 2020. But after four months back with the Baggies, he returned on a permanent basis.

Ex Aston Villa Junior right back Brad Burton has now become a regular first choice, after joining our hosts in October 2021.

Defender Jamie Willetts is a long serving player who made his name initially with Stourport Swifts. After a spell at Hereford he then tasted success with Alvechurch for three years, before moving to Stourbridge. He then returned to our visitors in March 2020 and currently captains the side too.

Jed Abbey can play midfield or right back and started his career with Wolves. He went to Telford after his release and came to Alvechurch pre-season. 

Midfielder Tom Edge was a pre-season signing too. He played junior football at Telford and Walsall before heading for the US, where he had four years at Campbellsville University in Kentucky.

Jack Concannon was another one of the pre-season signings. An ex Birmingham City Junior, he was loaned to Sutton Coldfield and Tamworth, before going to Tamworth on his release. 

Striker Leo Brown arrived in July too. He was picked up by Birmingham City from Crusaders FC, before returning to Northern Ireland with Ballymena and Ards after three years. He came back to England with Sutton Coldfield in September 2021.

Winger Stanley Asomugha is a winger who arrived from West Bromwich Albion’s Academy in February, but he is yet to make a start this season.

Tyrell Skeen-Hamilton is a young striker in his third spell at the club. After a spell at Birmingham City, he had two years with Bournemouth, which included loans at Salisbury and Gosport.

He came to Alvechurch in July 2020 after his Bournemouth release, moving to Telford after a year. He was then loaned back to Alvechurch, before making his stay permanent earlier this year.

Former West Bromwich Albion defender Ben Cassidy holds the record of being the youngest Alvechurch debutant, when he first appeared for the first team in 2018 aged 16.

Midfielder Aurio Neto-Texeira is a recent arrival from West Bromwich Albion

Striker Danny Waldron arrived from Leamington in July last year and he’s also played for Rushall Olympic. He was the two goal hero in the FA Cup victory over League One Cheltenham.

Ellis Jones is yet to make a start this season, but is a central midfielder.

Former Coventry Academy defender of midfielder Jamie Spiers is their newest signing. He moved to Stratford Town at 14 and was at Shrewsbury until the end of last season.

Defender Maxwell Ngbeken and midfielder Rory Regan are yet to start this season too, but defender Harry Williams and Jack Hallahan both hit the headlines after being hospitalised following a clash of heads in the opening game of the season. Fortunately both have made a full recovery.

Hallahan is a former Irish Under 19 midfielder, who was at West Bromwich Albion, Hednesford and Bromsgrove, also having had a spell in Cyprus too.

Finally defender Max Anglelides and midfielder Keegan Woolley have also been part of the squad.

Kick off is 7.45  and it’s only 56 miles away!

Two Goals In Last 12 Minutes End Sports Run

By Peter Scherer

Unbeaten in the last six league games, but having led for over 70 minutes, Mickleover finally went down 1-2 at Redditch in their Southern Premier League Central visit to the Trico Stadium.

Starting line-up: 1-Jonathan Hedge 2-Lucas Yeomans 3-Rhys Dolan 4-Ryan Wilson 5-Ethan Mann 6-Phil Watt 7-Andy Dals 8-Mason Warren 9-Elliottt Reeves 10-Styart Beavon 11-Oli Greaves. Subs: James Butler, Lekan Osideko, Pablo Mills, Jake Scott.

Mickleover had two players on yellow cards in the first 10 minutes with Dolan and Watt both in the book for fouls on Mensah, who went off injured seven minutes later.

Redditch went close after 24 minutes when debutant Sambu’s crossed for Hudson, whose final shot was deflected wide. Then after a series of corners Sheaf headed over for the hosts.

With Redditch’s early attacks failing to penetrate the Mickleover defence, a ball had cleared the home defence, fallen to Greaves, who then spotted keeper Boucher off his line and lobbed into the empty net, 1-0.

Hedge had to make a save from a Redditch effort  after 34 minutes, before Sports went close too with a header just passed the post following a corner.

But Hedge was in action thee minutes later, with a save from King, before Boothe’s final effort of the half was blocked and it remained 1-0.

Boothe and King combined again early into the second half, but Hedge came to the rescue after the defence was flat footed.

But Redditch were continuing to threaten, and after 51 minutes Flanagan put a ball over the defence for King to chase. Hedge came out but failed to collect and the defence then cleared the danger.

Yeomans was next in the referee’s book, before Redditch had another chance.  Boothe went one on one with Hedge, but the Mickleover keeper came out on top, before Boucher then saved at the other end from a Reeves shot.

Butler came on for Wilson after 71 minutes, but despite the continuing attacks from the hosts, the Mickleover defence continued to repel the danger.

Greaves then became Mickleover’s fourth yellow card, but the defence was finally breached after 79 minutes when Sheaf scored from the edge of the box. 1-1.

Scott then came on Dales after 80 minutes, just before Redditch sent a free kick just over the bar.

Disaster then struck for Mickleover, with a minute of normal time on the clock, Flanagan met the ball on the bounce and sent a 30 yard half volley to Hedge’s right 1-2.

Osideko came on for Beavon in injury time, but all three points went to Redditch, as they now move to fourth in the table and Mickleover drop to fifth. 

Sports Are Back On The Road: Redditch Utd (A)

by Peter Scherer

After five successive home games, Mickleover are back on the road again this weekend, when they visit Redditch Utd.

Our hosts are one place behind Mickleover in fifth, two points apart, and drew 0-0 at league leaders Tamworth last Saturday.

Redditch have lost four games so far this season and all have been at home. In their last home match, they hosted Basford, taking a 2-1 victory, with both goals coming from penalties.

Sports made three changes for Tuesday’s draw at home to Stourbridge, but struggled in midfield, particularly in the second half.

Matt Clarke has been in charge at the Trico Stadium since September 2020 and is a former player for the club. He also played for Wolves, West Bromwich Albion and Kidderminster during his playing career.

Captain Jack Byrne is a midfielder and has been with the club since November last year, when he came from Telford. 

It’s his second spell with the club having previously arrived in January 2009 from Stratford. He also played for Kidderminster, Solihull, Brackley and Nuneaton.

Goalkeeper Kieren Boucher is an ex-Aston Villa Junior. After a spell at Kidderminster, he came to Redditch in October 2019, moved on to Stratford in July 2020, but returned after only two months.

Centre back Ryan Wollacott started out at Stourport, before spending just over three years in the Welsh Premier League with Aberystwyth. He then moved to Alvechurch, before returning to Stourport, from where Redditch signed him in July last year.

Left back Calum Flanagan is another ex-Villa Junior. After a loan at Kettering he joined Hinckley on his release, before making his first stop at Redditch in 2015, when he came from Worcester.

Further moves to Hednesford, Solihull, Rushall and Halesowen, with a couple of career breaks in between, preceded his return to Redditch in January.

He isn’t the only Flanagan in the squad though, as brother Reece is a midfielder and former Walsall Junior.

He joined Leamington after his release and had spells at Rushall and Stratford, before Redditch signed him from Hednesford pre-season.

Ukrainian born Yan Osadychi is a right back, who had 11 years experience in his homeland before coming to our hosts in July. He played for Metalurg, ETM Kharkiv, Solli Plyus, Agrobiznes TSK and Alyans.

Midfielder Max Sheaf has spent most of his career with Hull City, making 19 League Two appearances. He had loans at Cheltenham and Torquay, before going to Gloucester following his release. After a loan at Hungerford, he made his move to Redditch in August.

Winger Bernard Mensah was a pre-season signing. He started off at Watford, being loaned out to Braintree and Barnet, before a permanent move to Aldershot. 

He has also played for Bristol Rovers, Lincoln City and Maidenhead, before joining Gloucester in January 2020. He was initially loaned to Redditch in February, before making it permanent in the summer.

Midfielder Robbie Bunn came through Redditch’s own youth scheme to make his first team debut, but joined Bromsgrove in 2016, moving on to Halesowen and then Studley last October. He then returned to Redditch in November on a dual registration.

Full back Lewis Hudson came from Coventry Utd in July 2021 and played for Rugby Town, Coventry Sphinx and Racing Club Warwick too.

Midfielder Danny King is currently on a months loan from Gloucester City.

Striker Ryan Boothe signed in January from Halesowen. He has played for Racing Club Warwick, Rushall, Sutton Coldfield, Solihull, Barwell, Bilston, Lye Town, Anstey Nomads, Walsall Wood and Highgate Utd too.

Striker Jerell Sellars is the newest signing. Aston Villa signed him from Lincoln City and loaned him to Wycombe., before a permanent move to Cheltenham. 

 He played 39 games in League Two scoring two goals, but moved to Sweden after his release, spending nearly three-years at Ostersund, before returning to the UK.

Midfielder Murphy Culkin was a new singing for this season, from Barton Rovers. He was previously at Eynesbury Rovers, Potton Utd and Biggleswade.

Sam Rowbottom is the second-choice goalkeeper and has come through our hosts own Academy, into the first team squad, along with Henry Smith, Adam Hanson and Josh Clews.

Kick 3pm as usual and it’s only 58 miles away.

Solid Home Point On A Night Of Reflection

By Peter Scherer

Mickleover went into last nights home game against Stourbridge off the back of five straight wins in the Southern Premier League Central, but thoughts weren’t entirely on the game in hand as the whole of the Mickleover FC family paid tribute to the passing of goalkeeper Finn Bowen.

Captain for the night Ethan Mann led the teams out, before a minutes silence preceded kick off.

Starting line-up: 1-Jonathan Hedge 2-Lucas Yeomans 3-Rhys Dolan 4-Ryan Wilson 5-Ethan Mann 6-Phil Watt 7-Mason Warren 8-Joe Bateman 9-Elliott Reeves 10-Stuart Beavon 11-Oli Greaves. Subs: James Butler, Lekan Osideko, Pablo Mills, Mitch Rose, Andy Dales.

It was five minutes into the game when Mickleover had their first shot on goal, with Beavon finding Warren, whose shot was deflected for a corner, from which Greaves shot was saved by keeper Charlie Price.

Greaves was in again three minutes later, after a good build up down the left. His shot was saved and earned another corner, with Watt heading over.

Yeomans and Greaves were linking up well down the right wing, but the amount of possession was fairly even. Mickleover were creating the chances, as Stourbridge relied on the break.

12 minutes in and the visitors had their first real attempt on goal, but when the final cross came in, Mann headed clear.

Reeves and Wilson earned another corner five minutes later, but despite some effective passing, the final ball was just lacking.

Dolan then found himself with a chance to shoot inside the box, but his proximity to the keeper saw it blocked, and another corner.

Stourbridge finally cleared the danger after a couple of minutes of intense attack and had a couple of breaks themselves on goal.

The ball fell nicely for Jason Cowley, but Watt was quick to respond and whipped the ball away again after 24 minutes. Shortly afterwards the deadlock was broken, as Warren had the ball around the half-way line, saw the keeper off his line, and lobbed a perfect shot over the keeper into the welcoming net, 1-0.

All the Sports players then headed to the bench in celebration, waving Bowen’s shirt proudly in another fitting tribute.

Hedge had to make a Lyttle on the half hour, before Cowley headed over again a few minutes later.

But it was still mainly Mickleover on the attack, with Beavon letting fly from long range, but his effort was blocked, before Reece Styche had a shot wide for the visitors.

It was close again after 35 minutes, when Beavon cut in from the right and Warren just missed connecting after he found space. Dolan then raced in from the left only for Joel Kettle to block and then Mann followed suit with a long and positive run, placing his shot just wide of the right-hand post with the keeper rooted.

As the half time whistle approached, a good build up down the right again, saw Warren shoot wide, before Reeves finished the half with a fine shot tipped away by keeper Price.

In the opening minutes of the second half Reeves broke and went close again, but Price was able to save. The game then changed direction with Alex Moore hitting the equaliser directly from a free kick on the Mickleover left. 1-1.

From having the upperhand Mickleover were now on the back foot. Mann cleared a dangerous ball in from the left, before Stourbridge had a succession of corners before the pressure relented.

Warren, Bateman, Wilson and Greaves in midfield found themselves with little space, as the visitors went close again after 56 minutes.

Lyttle hit a free kick straight into the Mickleover wall just after the hour mark and after 69 minutes Yeomans got a shot in well saved by the diving keeper.

It was certainly a game of two halves as Mickleover struggled to make progress. Dales and Osideko came on for Warren and Reeves, but they made little impact.

Beavon almost got Reeves through after 75 minutes, but the ball out paced him and ran to the keeper and in the 90th minute Dales put a ball in from the left, but it was cleared for a corner, which was then headed wide.

So it remained 1-1 and we are still fourth in the table, but now face two away in the next week at Redditch and Alvechurch.