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.