Category: First Team

Dales Double Sinks Bromsgrove

by Peter Scherer

Mickleover returned to winning ways last Saturday, with a comfortable win over Bromsgrove Sporting.

But manager John McGrath was forced to make a late reshuffle of his starting line-up, when Rhys Dolan picked up a groin strain during the pre-match warm-up.

Line-up: 1-Oliver Bosworth 2-Jake Bennett 5-James Butler 6-Phil Watt 7-Andy Dales 8-Rhys Wilson 9-Elliott Reeves 10-Stuart Beavon 11-Mason Warren 14-Oli Greaves 15-Ethan Mann. Subs: Pablo Mills, Marcus Marshall, Jonathan Hedge, Rhys Dolan, Will Trueman.

After a little early pressure from the hosts, Mickleover soon began to take charge and after just three minutes, Warren tested Ollie Taylor in the Bromsgrove goal, following a Dales cross from the left.

A minute later Prince Henry got a break for Bromsgrove, but Bosworth was quickly off his line to intercept. Sports keeper was soon in action again when Butler lost out in a touchline duel.

Greaves and Bennett had already started to look dangerous on the right wing and a quick one-two preceded a cross into the box from Bennett, which was met precisely by Dales and is was 1-0 after 16 minutes with a rare headed goal from the Mickleover ace.

Reeves then got a break a minute later on the right again, but his cross or shot was well off the mark and out for a throw.

Greaves and Bennett combined again after 20 minutes and found Reeves in the middle, this time his effort was just wide of the right-hand post. 

The hosts had been pegged back in their own half with the midfield of Greaves, Mann and Warren in charge, allowing both Bennett and Wilson to work well on the overlaps.

There were a few minutes of sustained attack from Bromsgrove, but they came to nought and ended with a Mickleover break after 23 minutes. Beavon received the ball in the box, but couldn’t get his shot in, but it fell to Bennett who’s blocked effort earned a corner.

Mann set up the next attack sending Beavon one on one against the advancing keeper. The luck was on Bromsgrove’s side as his shot hit the keeper.

It was all Sports as the half hour approached, with Beavon sending Dales on another positive run. His cross from the left was met with a powerful shot from Greaves, well saved by the keeper for another corner.

Both Butler and Watt came up for the corner, but the final header was just over the bar.

Reeves was next to have a chance, although he had plenty of time to prepare for his shot, his effort was blocked on the line, before Dales earned another corner and his continuing torment of the home defence.

For some  reason unbeknown to the rest of us Mann was booked after 42 minutes after a shoulder to shoulder lean with Adam Smalley, but two minutes on and there was a rare mishandle from Bosworth, which he soon recovered with inches to spare.

Beavon had a quick one-two with Dales again before the latter’s shot was fired over, but into time added on Reeves was through again after a jinking run, then lost his footing at the critical moment.

But with the half time whistle poised Watt was outpaced by Henry, who the found Smalley in space. What could easily have been a 3-0 lead into the half time break had suddenly become a 1-1 draw, after the visitors only shot of the half!

Only minutes into second half Dales needed treatment after being flattened by Dawkins. But he soon recovered and out sprinted Kabeya to earn another corner.

Although hosts restarted more positively, Mickleover continued to outplay them. There was another shot fired in from Beavon, although the shot was blocked initially it broke loose, where  Dales then swung his leg at the bouncing ball and it was 2-1 as it hit the roof of the net after 51 minutes.

Kabeya then got a dangerous break on the Bromsgrove right, his cross was on target, before Mo Sebbah-Njie sent his shot sky high.

Njie almost made amends a couple of minutes later, with a powerful shot from his right punched away by Bosworth after 57 minutes.

After Bennett had found Beavon on the hour, there was another Mickleover corner, with Reeves follow up header just wide.

Keeper Taylor then made a poor clearance straight at Beavon, but it was both a surprise and a little too close for the striker to control.

Sports made their first change when Trueman came on for Mann after 64 minutes, but a third goal was still looking imminent, despite Bromsgrove gaining more possession.

Bosworth comfortably held another another Bromsgrove effort and then Kabeya ran almost half of the pitch, before firing his shot over the bar.

The hosts managed to put another effort into the side netting, but when Dales crossed from the right after a 73rd minute free kick, Beavon again found his shot blocked.

At 2-1 and almost dominance, the game still didn’t look 100% safe and after 78 minutes, Henry’s shot was just wide of Bosworth’’s left hand post.

But Dales the intercepted another poor clearance by the keeper, shot down the left to find Beavon in the middle, but the danger was cleared.

Greaves then tried his luck with an 80th minute pile driver just over the bar, which was followed by the second change as Marshall came on for Beavon.

Smalley had two attempts on goal in the final 10 minutes, the first was wide of the left-hand post following a free kick and the second on 85 minutes was just over.

Watt then appeared to be shown the yellow card after returning to the pitch after treatment, but a third goal followed for Mickleover. The Bromsgrove defence seemed to freeze, as if waiting for a stoppage. But it was play on after a slight hesitation Reeves went for goal and slotted it past the advancing keeper to finally make it 3-1. 

Bromsgrove Sporting (A): Match Preview

by Peter Scherer

Our hosts this Saturday at Bromsgrove Sporting have had a very mixed season with a fairly large turnover of players. Back in October we beat them 4-1, but had George Nunn sent off for retaliating against an unpunished foul from player manager Michael McGrath.

They are currently 13th in the table, following their 1-1 draw at home to Rushden & Diamonds on Tuesday night. They have had two wins in the last 10 games, having lost out to promotion hopefuls Leiston and Coalville away from home recently.

Mickleover will hopefully have Joe Bateman and Will Trueman fit to rejoin the squad, following the disappointment of last Saturday’s home defeat.

With Michael McGrath becoming the Bromsgrove Sporting player/manager he handed over his captaincy to Tom Taylor. Centre back McGrath arrived in March 2022, having been without a club since leave Kettering in June 2021.

He has along list of former clubs from a long career, including Redditch, Kidderminster, Worcester, Sligo Rovers and Galway Utd, plus lengthier stays in the Midlands with Rushall, Stratford and Hereford. His first spell at Bromsgrove was 2018, for three months, before moving on again to Redditch, Stourbridge and Evesham.

Taylor is a former striker who became a defender. An ex Shrewsbury junior, he has played much of his football in Wales, with Porthmadog, Caernarfon Town, Pentraeth, Glantraeth, Holyhead Hotspur and Llangefni Town.

He left Bromsgrove in April 2021 to join Stourbridge, but returned in the December.

First choice goalkeeper Ollie Taylor was signed from Alvechurch in December 2021 and has also played for Redditch. He is the son of former Birmingham City keeper Maik.

Goalkeeping coach Adam Marusiak is his deputy. He started out at Worcester City, before joining Bromsgrove initially. He also played for Tividale before spending a couple of seasons with Wolves Academy, then went coaching in the US for four years.

He returned to the UK with Alvechurch and Redditch and had brief spell with Bromsgrove last season, before returning this year to a similar role.

Gambian born midfielder Mo Sebbeh-Njie started out at Kettering, before spending a year with Stafford Rangers. He joined Alfreton in July 2021, before arriving at Bromsgrove last October.

Midfielder Tristan Dunkley started in the Birmingham City Youth team, before joining Loughborough in 2014. He joined Hednesford two years later and then Worcester City, before being loaned to Halesowen, and a permanent move to Solihull Moors.

Stops at Rushall, Tamworth, Alvechurch, Barwell and Corby followed, before Bromsgrove signed him from Bedworth Utd earlier this month.

Midfielder Conor Tee was signed from Rushden last month. He is an ex Leicester City Junior, who joined Brackley Town following his release. He then spent a year at South Shields before moving to Rushden at the beginning of this season.

Defender Ammar Dyer is an ex Port Vale Junior who was released in July 2021 and is a regular in the Bromsgrove starting line-up, after arriving from Leek Town.

Brandon Smalley is a striker who began his career in the US with Florida Tech and Ocean City. On his return to the UK in 2021 he signed for Yorkshire Amateurs, before moving to Evesham Town. He joined our hosts last November from Yate Town.

Dewain Sewell is a striker too, he came to Bromsgrove in January, after six months without a club, following his release from Aston Villa.

Midfielder Jack Tolley is an ex Shrewsbury Town Junior on an extended loan from Kidderminster. He initially arrived for a month back in November.

Miro Pais is a young winger and has been at Bromsgrove for two years, having come through their own youth scheme.

Defender Lewis Wright also lists Redditch as a former club, along with Alvechurch, Tamworth and Halesowen.

Kartell Dawkins is a young midfielder who came to our hosts in January on his release from Leicester City. He also had loan spell at Rushden & Diamonds before Christmas.

Demi Akinwe is another new arrival only two weeks ago. A midfielder and ex West Bromwich Albion Junior, he left Shrewsbury Town last summer and has more recently been at Hednesford and Gresley Rovers.

Blake Kindred is another striker in the squad and has been out on a dual registration and has made one appearance this season.

Another new signing this month is Mikel Brown, a 6ft plus centre back.

Ayo Lekuti is a Northampton Town loanee. He came to our hosts in January and can play defence or midfield.

Nathan Kabeya is also on loan from Lincoln City, having started as a Wolves Junior.

Centre back Darryl Powell has recently arrived on loan from Lincoln City. He is the son of the former Rams and Jamaica star of the same name and made his debut against Leiston last Saturday. He also made one appearance for Mickleover Reserves last month.

Finally another new arrival is due to make his debut on Saturday. Striker Prince Henry is on loan from Bristol City, having already had spells at Taunton Town, Yate Town, Alvechurch and Tiverton this season, having been at Weston Super Mare and Hungerford last season.

Kick off is at 3pm and travelling time via the A38 and M42 is just over an hour.

Five Wins Run Ends In Narrow Defeat

by Peter Scherer

Something had to give with both Mickleover and Barwell Town on winning streaks, but unfortunately it was Sports who ended the game pointless.

Starting line-up: 1-Oliver Bosworth 2-Ethan Mann 3-Rhys Dolan 5 James Butler 6-Phil Watt 7-Andy Dales 8-Mason Warren 9-Elliott Reeves 10-Stuart Beavon 11-Oliver Greaves; 15- Ryan Wilson. Subs: Pablo Mills, Marcus Marshall Jonathan Hedge; Jake Bennett, George Atwal.

Right from the kick off Mickleover were on the attack, with a Wilson cross into the box almost connecting with Dales in the opening minute, before Sports earned their first corner two minutes later.

The visiting defence continued to face an early barrage and a crossfield ball from Mann on the right, split them, but although it connected with Reeves, he lost his footing.

It was all Mickleover until Barwell got a break in the seventh minute. Skipper Brad Hickey put the ball through into the box after outpacing Watt and Beck-Ray Enoru lashed it past Bosworth into the left hand corner of the net, 0-1.

Dales was almost through again but his path was blocked, as was Beavon’s rebound shot, before Greaves strike was straight at keeper Andy Wycherley.

Barwell had an attempt wide following a corner, but despite being a goal down, Mickleover continued to have more of the possession, albeit restricted to the left wing.

Much of the reliance in Sports attacks came from Dolan and Dales and after 15 minutes Dales earned another corner after cutting in from the left.

Two minutes later Wilson lined up to take a free kick just outside the box, following a handball. His curling shot struck the bar before going clear, just inches from an equaliser.

Barwell continued to rely on tight defence and looking for a break. Reeves was a couple of inches shy of connecting with a Warren cross after a long series of passes and possession 22 minutes in, but a lack of pace in the home defence once again brought success for Barwell.

Despite the run of play Enoru tore through on the Mickleover right, found Josh Flanagan in the clear by the far post and it was 0-2 after 26 minutes.

Watt was yellow carded on the half hour, but with the right wing almost redundant, Dolan again attacked down the left wing, but his cross missed both Beavon and Reeves after a deflection.

Flanagan had a header straight into Bosworth’s hands after 37 minutes and Hickey had a random shot for the visitors a few minutes later, but was well off target.

As half time approached, Dales and Beavon led a further bombardment of the Barwell defence, but each attempt was blocked.

Jahvan Davidson-Miller then picked up a loose ball and fed it straight through the middle, with Enoru on the end of it he outpaced the defence again for his second of the match and Barwell’s third, 0-3.

Davidson-Miller had another half chance but fired over, while on possession Mickleover had the advantage, but still went in 0-3 down.

With Bennett on for Watt as the teams re-appeared, Mann moved into the middle of the defence alongside Butler, and the balance across the back line brought almost immediate results.

48 minutes down and Dales got a cross in, Beavon’s shot was blocked , but ran loose to his right, where Reeves slid in to pull one goal back, 1-3.

Kyle Rowley headed  over from corner, but there were Barwell appeals for a penalty when Enoru hit the deck, but they were waved away.

Mickleover began to look stronger on both wings and the whole team began to show more drive and confidence, pegging the visitors back in their own half.

Warren floated in a corner after 57 minutes which was headed away and on the hour Dolan was felled in the box, but neither the referee nor his assistant saw it and no penalty was awarded.

Marshall came on for Beavon after 63 minutes, but some telling crosses were starting to come in from Bennett on the right, as Reeves slid in again to see his deflected shot pushed inches the wrong side of the post for a corner.

Butler hit the bar with the following header, but Barwell still looked dangerous when they were able to make a break, though less often in the second half.

Dolan battled through to have a 73rd shot straight at the keeper and a minute later Reeves was through on goal before being a tripped in the box again, resulting in a second clear penalty appeal being ignored.

Dolan had another shot tipped away by the keeper, before Enoru broke clear. His pace put him clear but fortunately on this occasion his aim let him down.

Time was beginning to run out but hope of salvaging a point came closer when Dales cut in from the left again, sending a lovely curling shot out of Wycherley’s reach into the far corner 2-3 with 12 minutes left.

Mann had an attempt into the side netting and  after some good work between Bennett and Dales on the right, Reeves was through but his final shot was just painfully inches wide of the left hand post.

Warren tried to chip the keeper after 87 minutes, but he was able to catch the effort at full stretch. A couple of late corners followed, but the elusive equaliser failed to materialise and Barwell went home with all three points.

Can We Make It Six This Time?

by Peter Scherer

This Saturday’s visitors Barwell Town are currently ninth in the league table, but one of the form teams.

It remains to be seen if Jonathan Hedge, Mitch Rose and Joe Bateman are fit to rejoin the squad.

While Mickleover are looking for their sixth successive win, Barwell are looking for their fifth too.

Barwell’s last away defeat was at 2-3 at Coalville on December 27th and the only defeats at home in 2023 have been 0-2 against Tamworth and 2-3 to Leiston. In their last two games they have scored five goals without reply too, against Redditch and Basford.

Back in October when we visited Kirkby Road, we came home 5-2 winners.

Ian King has been in charge since May 2022 having previously been assistant at Bromsgrove.

First choice goalkeeper Andy Wycherley started his career with New Saints and Guilsfield in Wales, before moving on to Telford Utd. He has also played for Solihull Moors, Hednesford, Nantwich and Halesowen and was at Rushall for one month before arriving at Barwell in July 2022.

Derby born Micah Edwards started off as a Rams Junior, before the young midfielder had spells at Ilkeston and Gresley Rovers. He has been at Barwell since July 2019.

Centre back Kyle Rowley arrived from Stourbridge pre-season. He was a Walsall Junior and after a loan at Sutton Coldfield, he joined Rugby following his release. Moves to Alvechurch, Walsall Wood and Hednesford followed, before his seven months stay at Stourbridge.

Brady Hickey is the club captain and central midfielder, who came from Nuneaton in January 2018, having moved in the opposite direction only seven months earlier.

Beck-Ray Onoru is a young winger or striker signed pre-season, has pace and a flair for goal having scored 10 this season.

Striker Tiago Nassunculo was a pre-season signing from Redditch, having previously played for Peterborough Sports.

Defender George Ward is on a dual registration with Weymouth during his time at Loughborough University. He had played for the University side too, as well as Bromsgrove, before joining Barwell last September.

Albanian born Melis Bushaj is a young left back who started out with Solihull Moors. He was loaned to Leamington, before being released to join Barwell pre-season.

Dominic Brown-Hill is a midfielder who first came to Barwell in 2018 after his release from Notts County. After 18 months he moved to Alvechurch, but returned in July 2021.

A former Aston Villa and Walsall Junior, striker Connor Taylor joined Nuneaton on his release, before a long spell at Tamworth. He is currently on loan from Leamington.

Right back Josh Flanagan is a former Northampton Town Junior, who has arrived from Brackley after a recent loan. He was previously on loan at Kettering Town and has played for Corby, St Ives at Wellingborough too.

Yet to make his debut is former Leicester City City midfielder Layton Ndukwu. He spent time on loan at Southend Utd and has more recently been in Albania with  Albanian Kategoria Superiore side FK Kukësi. He is capped at Under 16 and 17 by England too.

Lincoln City youngster Julian Donnery is currently on loan. He is an aatacking midfielder.

Striker Michael Harding hails from Washington DC, but started his career at Northampton Town. After a loan at Kettering he joined St Ives Town, before moving to Beaconsfield November 2021. He was another pre-season signing for Barwell.

Sid Kerr is a defensive midfielder and was an early season arrival from Loughborough Students. He has also been on the books at Everton, Chelsea and Brighton.

Deen Master is another midfielder too. He attends Nottingham Trent University and has also played for Leicester Nirvana.

Midfielder Shaquille Master has previously been at Nuneaton, Rushall and Hednesford

Centre back Elliot Percival came to Barwell from Sheffield Wednesday in August 2017, having joined them a year earlier from Leicester City.

Jake Pemberton was summer 2022 signing from Wantage. He started at Reading and was at Loughborough University for two years, before moving to Wantage.

Midfielder William Warren is in his second season at the club, while defender Callum Stewart and striker James Pye have been on the bench, but yet to make a start.

Finally Jahvan Davidson-Miller needs no introduction having started the season at Mickleover. A former Rams Junior, he was at Barwell before coming to the Don Amott Arena.

Kick off as usual is 3pm.

Stourbridge (A): Match Postponed

By Peter Scherer


Back in November Stourbridge paid us a visit, we were then fourth in the table, and on a run of five successive wins, but drew 1-1.

Coincidently we now visit Stourbridge on Monday evening and once again are on a run of five wins, as we continue to keep out outside chance of a play-off place alive.

Stourbridge are currently 9th in Southern Premier League Central table, and our game on Monday will be their fifth consecutive home game, having won two. Saturday theyhosted St Ives  and snatched a late point with a 2-2 draw, thanks to an injury time goal from Joe Hull.

Joe Bateman was a casualty from our game at Rushden and remains a doubt, while Mitchell Rose and Jonathan Hedge are still on the road to recovery, but otherwise the whole squad should be available for selection.

Our hosts Joint managers Leon Broadhurst and Stuart Pierpoint have been in charge since October 2021 and are both still registered to play.

Centre back Broadhurst is the clubs record appearance holder on 780, spending 10 years at the club before moving to Bromsgrove.

Pierpoint is also a centre back who has also played for Oldbury Utd, Sutton Coldfield, Halesowen, Stafford, Nuneaton, Solihull, Leamington and Brackley before a four-year stay at Stourbridge from July 2015. He was at Coalville before returning to our hosts.

Goalkeeper Charlie Price is in his second spell at the club, having left to join Alvechurch in June 2016, before returningthree years later.

Defender Joel Kettle is in his second spell at the club too. He started out with Sutton Coldfield before joining Stourbridge in August 2014. His career then took him to Halesowen, Sutton Coldfield, Rushall, Solihull, Tamworth and Nuneaton, beforejoining our hosts pre-season from Bromsgrove.

Striker Darryl Knights is a former Ipswich Junior, who was capped by England at Under 16 and 17 and was loaned to Yeovil, before joining Kidderminster on his release.

Solihull was his next stop, then Newport and Solihull before returning to Kidderminster. After a spell at Tamworth, he had two years at Telford, before coming to Stourbridge in July 2020.

Full back Jack Wilson was another signing from Bromsgrove back in September 2021. He had made 200 appearances before his move and had a brief loan spell at Lichfield City too.

Jason Cowley is a striker who came from Bromsgrove too in July 2021. He started out at Redditch, before a first spell at Bromsgrove preceded a move to Stevenage. He was loaned to Solihull and on release he had a month at Macclesfield, before rejoining Bromsgrove.

Midfielder Reece King arrived from Buxton in July 2021. He started his career at Malvern Town, before moving on to Gloucester City and Hednesford. After a spell at Leamington, he rejoined Hednesford, before going to Buxton in February 2020.

Joe Hull is another returnee having arrived for his second spell from Alvechurch in December 2021. He started out at Kidderminster, before moving to Redditch in 2010. Further moves took him to Hinckley Utd and Stourport Swifts, before returning to Redditch.

He first came to Stourbridge in February 2016 after just over three years at Halesowen. But after eight months and a loan at Tividale, he moved to Rushall Olympic, Bromsgrove and finally Alvechurch.

Lee Vaughan is a right back and a former academy player at Birmingham City and Portsmouth, before joining Chelmsley, from where he was spotted by Walsall.

He played over 45 first team games and was loaned to Willenhall, before joining Telford on his release. Moving onto Cheltenham, Tranmere and back to Kidderminster, he came to Stourbridge in July 2021 from Barnet, after a spell at Solihull and a return trip to Telford.

Midfielder Callum Gittings came from Leamington in pre-season. After starting at Alvechurch, he also played for Kidderminster, Solihull and Telford.

Former Walsall Academy midfielder Alex Moore joined Wolverhampton Casuals and Shifnal Town after his release, before stepping back up the ladder to Bromsgrove and Rushall Olympic. He had three years at Rushall before joining Stourbridge pre-season.

Midfielder Harry Lewis made his first team debut last season, after coming through the clubs academy. He has also had a few games for Team Dudley.

Centre Back Chris Knight is in his third spell at Stourbridge. He first joined them in July 2012 from Dudley, moved onto Lye Town but returned in July 2017. After going back to Lye and latterly Wulfrunians, before re-signing for our hosts again in pre-season.

Reece Stryche is both an England C and current Gibralatarian International, having scored three goals in 27 games for the latter.

He came from Hednesford in September 2021, having played for a huge raft of clubs in his 14 year career, including Buxton, Alfreton, Darlington, Macclesfield and Wycombe, having started out at Hednesford.

Defender Alex Worley is an ex Walsall Junior, who was at Haverfordwest last season. He was another pre-season signingfor out hosts.

Tyler Lyttle was an autumn 2022 signing, and is a former Wolves and Bristol Rovers Junior is the son of ex Forest defender Des. He made three first team starts at Bristol and was loaned to Nuneaton and Truro, before joining Hednesford on his release. He was at Sutton Coldfield prior to joining Rushall, where he spent the last four years.

Defender Callum Rowe came from Hereford a couple of weeks ago. He is an ex Aston Villa Junior, and had a loan spell at Hereford, before signing for Exeter City on his release. He was then loaned to Chippenham and Bath City, before moving on permanently to Yeovil where he stayed for three months before going to Hereford.

Welsh under 15 and 16 International right back Ethan Vaughan is currently on loan from Solihull Moors, but he started out as Cardiff City Junior.

Left back Demico Burton is on loan too, in his second spell from Derby County. He started out Stourbridge, before joining the Rams last year.

Norewegian born winger Stanley Anaebonam started out with IK Start Youth, before moving to the UK to join Wolverhampton Casuals in 2016. He then spent two years with Solihull Moors, before moving to Redditch, then returned to Solihull before a spell in Ireland with Shelbourne.

He returned to England last year with Truro City and had two months at Hednesford, before coming to Stourbridge in December.

Winger Jaiden White is a fairly recent arrival from Stafford Rangers, where he had initially been loaned, after spending most of his career at Kidderminster.

Alex Prosser is another ex Aston Villa Junior. A midfielder, he was loaned to Brackley before a permanent move to Kidderminster. He started this season at Leamington.

Midfielder Dexter Walters is a fairly recent arrival too. Having started at Romulus, he moved on to Tamworth, to where he returned after a shot spell at Coventry City.

During his time at Tamworth he loaned to Mickleover, but had three months at Stratford last year before arriving at Stourbridge in November.

Striker Fin Holmes had also been on the bench recently, having come through the clubs own youth scheme.

Lewis Solly is both reserve goalkeeper and coach. An ex Wolves and Bury player, he played for Welshpool and Aberystwyth, before moving back to the midlands with Stafford Rangers. He was then at Telford and Redditch and first came to Stourbridge in 2005 from Hednesford, and stayed eight years before moving to Rushall. He moved onto Worcester but had time out with an injury and has been back at Stourbridge since the end of last season, having made over 350 appearances.

7.45pm kick off as usual, your support would be welcomed.

It’s Five In A Row As Sports Hit Four At Lowly Rushden

by Peter Scherer

On form Mickleover put bottom of the table Rushden & Diamonds through a punishing second half, hitting three goals after going into half time all square.

Starting line-up: 1-Oliver Bosworth 2-Rhys Dolan 3-Ryan Wilson 4-James Butler 15-Joe Bateman 6 Ethan Mann 7-Andy Dales 8-Mason Warren 9-Stuart Beavon 10-George Nunn 11-Will Trueman. Subs: Pablo Mills, Marcus Marshall, Elliott Reeves, George Atwal, Oli Greaves.

It was only a great save from home keeper Dean Snedker that stopped Mickleover from opening the scoring in the first minute, tipping over Dales’ effort.

But we didn’t have to wait long as Dales picked up a rebound from Beavon’s blocked shot, firing from 12 yards through a crowded box to make it 1-0 after only five minutes.

Rushden came back with a positive response though, but Corden had a half chance which he put just wide.

As the hosts began to gain in confidence, they started to make more progress towards the Mickleover goal. Marian put a cross in after 15 minutes, but it was whipped off Burnside’s toe before he could shoot.

Two minutes later a good run from White was intercepted by the Mickleover defence, giving our hosts corner.

The defence of Dolan, Butler, Mann and Wilson was holding firm however, but there was a blow for Sports after 20 minutes , when Bateman went off injured and was replaced by Mills.

But Snedker’s goal was under pressure again as the half hour mark approached, saving again low to his near post.

Rushden had their chances too, with Joyces’s 33rd minute free kick placed into the box. Marian took a swing at it, but his left foot shot was well wide of the target.

Joyce was in action at the other end some six minutes later, after cutting out a first time ball from defence  to send Dales on a run.

Almost on half time Snedker kept the hosts in the game again, pushing another effort away low to his near side post, as Mickleover pounded the defence at every opportunity.

Into injury time Anker found Burnside, but his shot was cleared, only to fall to Marian who hit the rebound beyond Bosworth’s reach. 1-1.

It was good to see Mickleover come out fighting for the second half, and only two minutes into the second period Beavon jinked through the home defence, only to be intercepted by the advancing Snedker.

But there was soon another goal for Mickleover, when a penalty was awarded, Warren duly stepped up and it was 2-1 after 52 minutes.

Six minutes later Dales punished a defensive error to make it 3-1, before Joyce finished off a good Rushden build up, firing his final shot just over the bar.

Our hosts were punished further, when after 64 minutes Mills made it 4-1. The ball had bounced around the area, before finding Mills, who smashed home from short range, in a still crowded box.

Once the hour mark was passed, gaffer John McGrath made two changes, as Greaves came on for Dales and Reeves for Nunn.

Mickleover were pressing hard still for a fifth goal, but with 10 minutes on the clock, Snedker made another reaction save from a close header.

Reeves then sent in a curling effort just wide after a long run into the box, before Snedker denied Sports yet again, with his umpteenth great save.

There’s a well-deserved break now until we face Stourbridge away on March 13th.

Injury Time Winner Seals Another Three Points for Sports

by Peter Scherer

Having been knocked out of the FA Cup by Alvechurch earlier this season, Saturday’s injury time winner from Oli Greaves proved to be adequate revenge.

Starting line-up: 1-Oliver Bosworth 2-Rhys Dolan 3-Ryan Wilson 4-Joe Bateman 5-James Butler 6-Ethan Mann 7-Andy Dales 8-Mason Warren 9-Stuart Beavon 10-George Nunn 11-Will Trueman. Subs: Marcus Marshall, Phil Watt, Elliott Reeves, George Atwal, Oli Greaves.

After a delay due to an issue with one of the goals, Mickleover were soon attacking the Alvechurch goal, when Dales shot from the edge of the box kept the keeper on his toes as he pushed it away.

Danny Waldron earned the visitors their first corner a minute later, but it came to nought, before a last ditch tackle from Harry Williams thwarted another Mickleover attack to give a corner.

It was Dales again trying his luck after 14 minutes, cutting in behind the defence before sending his looping shot over the bar from a tight angle, with Jezeph racing out of his goal.

Only a minute later Dales was on another run when he was fouled, but Wilson’s free kick into the box was headed away by the visitors defence.

Beavon had his first crack at goal 19 minutes in, seeing his effort just wide of the post, before a rare header from Dales was only just wide after 23 minutes.

Another Waldron effort from outside the box proved an easy catch for Bosworth, but Nunn’s presence came to the fore just after the half hour mark, when he brought the ball down, finding Trueman with a low cross into the box. His effort was blocked but earned a corner.

As the corner came in, Jezeph, in the visitor’s goal, pulled off a great save from the following header, keeping the scores level.

Wilson had another free kick into the wall, but with five minutes left of the first half, an Alvechurch free kick from Tyrell Hamilton was only just over the bar.

Mickleover kept pushing for the opening goal as half time approached, with a Nunn shot blocked by Alabi after 42 minutes and Dales earning another corner after he slipped having rounded the rear of the Alvechurch defence.

Sports had the best of the first half, with the visitors pinned back into their own half for much of the game.

Dales continued to be the thorn in the side of the Alvechurch defence as the second half got underway, getting around the back of the defence yet again after 47 minutes, before Jezeph saved well again too.

Barely a minute later the keeper saved again from a Beavon shot and then Wilson put a free kick into the side netting. The attacks were gaining in intensity with Beavon looping a 51st minute effort over the bar, before appeals for a penalty after Bateman was fouled, were waved away.

Alvechurch had another chance with a 55th minute free kick. Teixeira played it to Carter who crossed, but Bosworth got a hand to it and pushed it away.

Waldron then had another chance a minute later, but his shot proved to be easy for Bosworth once more.

Trueman then made way for Greaves after 58 minutes, but after a nice one two between Warren and Beavon on the edge of the box , Warren final shot was well saved again after 65 minutes.

Dales had a shot headed over for a corner shortly afterwards and then Reeves came on for Beavon.

Time was beginning to run out, but with seven minutes left Bosworth had to pull off a magnificent save after a one on one with Alvechurch sub Prince Henry.

Marshall then replaced Nunn for the final minutes, but it was into time added on that the deadlock finally broke. Reeves initial shot was saved, but the rebound allowed Greaves to tap home into an empty net to make it four successive wins and five from six games.

It was a strong performance from the Mickleover team and without the heroics of visiting keeper Dan Jezeph it would have been sewn up earlier. Not surprisingly he was named Alvechurch man of the match.

Finally It’s Alvechurch

by Peter Scherer

Although the season is coming to a close, three postponements have meant we are yet to play Alvechurch in a league match.

Having lost out 2-3 in the FA Cup, we have been due to visit ‘church three times in the league, all have been postponed, the last of which was only minutes before kick off!!

With a lot of other postponements our visitors are still playing catch up, and are currently 16th with about five games in hand.

They lost 1-2 at home to Rushall Olympic on Tuesday night, but were 4-1 victors at St Ives last Saturday, with a Danny Waldron hattrick, their first win in six games.

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

First choice goalkeeper Dan Jezeph was a Walsall Junior, who was at Tamworth and Worcester City before joining Alvechurch in July 2021.

Reserve keeper Harvey Randle came from Derby County last July and has been out on loan at Coventry Utd too.

Ashley 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 visitors. He is the current club captain.

Peter Taylor is a defensive midfielder, who started out at West Bromwich Albion. He was loaned to Stourbridge before coming on loan to our visitors 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 established himself in the starting line-up in the six months, after joining our visitors in October 2021.

Josh Dugmore is a young right back who was with the Walsall and Everton football Academies before joining Birmingham City on a scholarship. Following his release from the Blues he joined Bromsgrove for the start of last season and was a virtual ever present for them throughout the season, making a total of 47 appearances.

He then joined AFC Telford United last July, but moved to Banbury in September and signed for Alvechurch in January on a dual contract.

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 last year 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.

Tyrell Skeen-Hamilton is a young striker in his third spell at the club. After being 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 a year later. He was then loaned back to Alvechurch, before making his stay permanent earlier last 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.

Striker Danny Waldron arrived from Leamington in July last 2021 and he’s also played for Rushall Olympic. He got a hattrick in their 4-1 win over St Ives last Saturday.

Former Coventry Academy defender or midfielder Jamie Spiers was signed at the end of last summer. He moved to Stratford Town at 14 and was at Shrewsbury Town until the end of last season.

Defender Harry Williams and midfielder Jack Hallahan both hit the headlines after being hospitalised following a clash of heads in the opening game of the season.

Both are former West Bromwich Albion Juniors. Williams then moved to Burnley for a year, before coming to Alvechurch last July.

Hallahan is a former Irish Under 19 midfielder, who who moved on to Hednesford and Bromsgrove, also having had a spell in Cyprus too.

Joining the plethora of ex West Brom Juniors is Angolan born midfielder Aurio Neto Teixeira. He joined our visitors last September, after a summer release from the Baggies.

Striker Manny Olakoko arrived last July from Leamington, but was almost immediately sent out on a three month loan to Heather St John.

Jeremy Abbey had made one appearance since his arrival. He has spent most of his career at Telford, with loans at Markey Drayton, Barwell and Rushall.

Left back Jamie Melbourne was a new year signing, after being released from Stoke City. He spent time at West Bromwich Albion too.

Midfielder Maxwell Ngbeken was a pre-season signing from Darlaston.

Midfielder Remi Walker is currently on loan until the end of March from Birmingham City. Similarly centre back Abel Alabi has been loaned by Coventry City, who signed him from Waterford in January 2022. He had a spell at Tamworth too at the end of last year.

Ben Beresford is another loanee, a striker from Birmingham City.

Finally Jamie Soule was signed only a couple of weeks ago from Dover Athletic. Yet another West Brom junior striker, he had loans at Barrow, Cheltenham and Lincoln before his release. He made his debut in the recent defeat at St Ives and is capped by England at Under 16 and 17 levels.

Kick off at the Don Amott as usual is 3pm.