Category: Reserves

Reserves: Chairman’s Cup Final Report

by D.Mac, Reserves Manager, Mickleover F.C.

Having come through the group stages, a quarter-final against Dinnington and a tough semi-final against Rowsley, the reserves should have seen us in good shape to face the challenge of Retford Utd in the final of the Chairman’s Cup. 

Unfortunately, the cumulative fixtures of the Academy, Reserves and First team took its toll and we went to Sheffield with several players carrying injuries or knocks and also Jacob Ferdinand had a previously booked engagement.

The team that started the final was Tom Smith, Larrel King, Matt Fuertado, Tom Eccleshall, Ash Elliot, Jacob Lucas, Lopes Massampo, Surafel Tefera with Will Monteiro and Jude Ayetine up top. On the bench were Fin Barker, Devon Smith, Josh Satchwell, Bobby Battisson and George Williamson.

The team started off strongly and only brilliant agility and fortuity from the Retford goalkeeper maintained the stalemate. Good chances were being created almost every time Mickleover went into the Retford half. Will, Jude and Surf all thought they had scored but for the aforementioned quality of the goalkeeper. Tom Eccleshall then put in a great cross met by the head of Jude Ayetine, only for the ball to connect with the underside of the bar and clear.

It seemed that a goal would come soon and it did, sadly at the wrong end for us. It was a similar goal to the one we lost at Rowsley, with a player dribbling across our box and striking a shot low into the corner at the left-hand post. A good goal to score but defensively one that could have been prevented.

Worse followed! You ask for consistency from referees and we certainly got it on Saturday. Retford took advantage of leniency on the referee’s part by stealing several yards at throw-ins. The ball went out of play right beside the right-hand side corner flag but the throw-in was actually taken almost in line with the 18 yard line. From that point Retford worked the ball well up the park and an excellent cross was put in from the right-wing. The cross was met with a great header back across the goal high into the side of the net. A goal of great quality.

Into the second half and Mickleover continued to press without creating the same level of chances. Then Ash Elliot drove into the box beating a couple of players and was brought down by a desperate challenge – penalty awarded. Surf unceremoniously struck the ball low to the keepers right 2-1 game on. 

Five minutes later Ash again was in the box and in the action of shooting was caught from behind – a stonewall penalty in the eyes of everyone bar two- the ones that mattered. Ash said afterwards that the second challenge was worse than the first. 

Mickleover made another couple of chances which we snatched at which was understandable given the pressure.

Missing fouls was to prove the final nail when Tom Eccleshall was fouled some 30 yards out. The game carried on and what followed was a goal good enough to win any cup. The Retford sub found himself to the right side of our penalty box and hit a sweet ferocious drive into the roof of the net.

The game finished with a well struck shot that missed the target – the story of our match.

If football mirrored life there would have only been one winner but it’s a cruel game and whilst Retford scored three excellent goals and in the main defended well Mickleover should have won the game in the first 20/25 minutes. Congratulations to Retford Utd and also thanks to Sheffield FC for their organisation and hospitality.

 

Sports Reserves Into Chairman’s Cup Final

by D.Mac, Mickleover F.C., Reserves Manager
with additional words from Jon Battisson and Peter Scherer

Rowsley 86 v Mickleover F.C. Reserves – Chairman’s Cup – Semi Final

The Mickleover Reserves team headed back up the A6, unless you went up the A38 and across the A615, to the scenic setting of Rowsley, situated in a little Swale at the edge of the Peak District. 

This semi-final was the third time we have made acquaintance with them in the last month, having been paired with them in the group stages and playing our home game there as well.

 I also went up and watched their quarter-final win over Bentley and now my Sat Nav thinks my home address is Peaktor Lane, Rowsley! The results of the first two games were one win each, however being the tactical geniuses that Aaron and I are, we inveigled a 2-1 defeat in the last game, so as we would get an away tie in the quarter-final and not have to pay the officials!

But one thing guaranteed at Rowsley is a friendly welcome and post-match.

The team, showing a couple of changes from the quarter-final win at Dinnington Town, was Tom Smith, Lopes Massampo, Jacob Ferdinand, Matt Fuertado, Tom Eccleshall, George Milner, Clinton Morrison, Bobby Battisson, Surafel Tefera, Jude Ayetine and Will Monteiro. On the planks of wood were Ash Elliot, Jacob Edge-Lucas and Devon Smith.

Mickleover started really well with some crisp passing and good movement supporting players on the ball. The central defensive pairing of Ferdinand and Fuertado were solid and well balanced, making good decisions on when to play out or give it the wellie. 

With the stability of Morrison in front, it allowed the industrious pairing of Battisson and Milner to pressurise Rowsley into errors, so we got the ball back. 

After 15 or so minutes Mickleover had fashioned chances for Monteiro, Ayetine and Tefera, with the home keeper being called into action.

Prior to the game, we talked about the importance of set pieces – corners and free-kicks and how having a plan would work in our favour. It was therefore pleasing that from a free-kick from our right side, just to the right of the penalty box, about 21.5 yards powerfully struck by Eccleshall between the posts that we took the lead. 

Monteiro had gone close in the opening minutes, after a fine ball from Ayetine on the left. Then Tefera found Ayetine, but his effort was saved by the Rowsley keeper, before Milner put another telling ball into the box, from a Massampo feed.

15 minutes in and Battisson lofted a corner in, finding Milner in space, but the final header was over. Both Battisson and Milner went close again as the pressure built on the home defence and it was no surprise when Tefera opened the scoring.

It was a free kick from Edge-Lucas after Monteiro was fouled, but the keeper did well to parry the shot and his next action was to fetch the ball out of the net, after Tefera had controlled the high spinning ball and guided the ball carefully into the corner.1-0 Mickleover.

Only five minutes later Monteiro was on another run, beating players to pile more pressure on the Rowsley defence.

The tails were up and in the next period we played some sumptuous impressive football and not much later followed a goal of quintessential beauty.

The ball got played out to Monteiro just in our half, he set the ball back to Tefera, who spun with one touch and slotted an exquisite through pass in front of the onrushing Monteiro. There was still work to be done as their centre backs had come across to close down the danger, but Monteiro took them both out, sidestepping inside before bending the ball to nestle in the corner of the net. 2-0.

Monteiro continued to run rampant through the defence, ably supported by Ayetine, Morrison, Battisson, Tefera and Milner, but after 35 minutes Rowsley had their best chance of the game, when Smith had to charge off his line to try and retrieve a short back pass. The striker was their first but his shot was wide of an almost open goal.

There were penalty appeals after Monteiro was fouled again, but it was still virtual one-way traffic.

Just before half time however Rowsley pulled one back, with a shot from 10 yards out, which Smith misjudged 2-1.

To Rowsley’s credit, they continued to fight and it was a good goal from their point, but one which we should have stopped. 

Collecting the ball about 30 yards out on our left he ( the scorer) drove into the centre area and got away a shot that went through Morrison’s legs and trundled with a wee bit of pace into the net near the left-hand post. If there was a good time to lose a goal when 2-0 up, the minutes before halftime as the momentum they could have gained was stopped by the interval.

There was still a chance for one more shot from Mickleover before the half time whistle, as yet another foul on Monteiro, saw Battisson shoot over.

We started the second half well but the game developed into a tousy affair with a spate of bookings. I suspected that the referee had left his cards in the changing room first half, as he allowed a few robust challenges to go unheeded.

Tefera was booked for pushing a defender after being kicked from behind and then Monteiro flew into a tackle that merited the yellow that he received. 

Worse was to follow for the Rowsley centre half when he got a yellow to match the one he had just got previously so he had to go.

On the positive side, Eccleshall had a free kick saved and just after the hour, Rowsley had a shot hit the underside of the Mickleover bar, before Battisson tested the keeper, after nice build up between Morrison and Tefera

In the last period of the game the Rowsley keeper made three very good saves from Tefera twice and Monteiro.

 However, there were other opportunities squandered which would have made the game safe, when we either were slow in getting a shot away or took the wrong option.

One thing we knew was that Rowsley would keep playing and were very unlucky on three occasions. 

In the 73rd minute Morrison used his experience to be in the right place and cleared off the line and luckily for us a Rowsley player snatched at a shot from six yards and squirted the ball past the post.

In the final minutes Ayetine had a shot well saved, but in time added on, Rowsley were handed the chance of an equaliser, but put the shot wide with a open goal, before Monteiro lost out in a final one on one with the Rowsley keeper.

A good first half followed by a dip in the second with excellent performances coming from Ferdinand and Fuertado, with Battisson and Milner in midfield and Monteiro and Tefera taking their goals well. 

There was also a display of ball retention and simplicity that would be hard to match from Morrison, added to his goal-line clearance, making make him motm. (I won’t mention the ‘swinger’ of an attempted shot in the first half though)

We now look forward to a final with Retford at Sheffield on Saturday, at the end of a strange season and thank Rowsley for their hospitality and wish them well for the future.

 

Basford Take The Non-Elite Cup

by Peter Scherer
Images courtesy of Basford United

Mickleover FC sent a mixture of first team, reserves and academy players to Basford, for the inaugural Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Non Elite Cup.

In the opening minutes Mickleover could have taken the lead, when a through ball was cut off by Brad Gascoigne, as it was about to land at Paddy Webb’s feet.

Although Basford got the lead through Ryan Wilson in the eighth minute, there were few chances created by either side for much of the first half.

Basford sprung back to life for the final third though, when after a long run by Callum Chettle, left Kane Richards shooting wide, before Richards made amends a minute later to make it 0-2.

Webb and Will Monteiro up front for Mickleover had few chances, but wing backs Jake Edge-Lucas and Ben Lewin, supported by Ethan Mann in the middle of the defence, restricted Basford’s efforts somewhat too.

Hawkins had little to do again in the Mickleover goal, but after taking a relatively easy save from Niall Towle, the striker was on the receiving end when Hawkins punched away a James Clifton effort, making it 0-3 to the hosts.

First teamer Aman Verma, Josh Waldram and reserve pairing Lopes Massampo and Surafel Tefera combined well with the Academy’s Sam Pipes, and second half subs Tom Eccleshall, Devon Smith and Ash Elliott, but on the day the experience of the virtual Basford first team lifted the trophy, even though a three goal success may have flattered to deceive.

Reserves March On To Semi Finals

by Peter Scherer

Mickleover Reserves visited Dinnington Town last night, for their Central Midlands League Chairmans Cup Quarter Final tie.

The starting line-up was 1-Tom Smith 2-Ben Lewin 3-Tom Eccleshall 4-Lopes Massampo 5-Jacob Ferdinand 6-Aaron Hayer 7-Devon Smith 8-Ash Elliott 9-Jude Ayetine 10-Surafel Tefera 11-Matt Fuertado. Subs: Jacob Edge-Lucas, Bobby Battisson, George Wiliamson, Josh Satchwell.

Dinnington were straight on the attack and won their first corner in the second minute. Mickleover retaliated when a good cross from Ayetine, saw Fuertado’s attempt just wide, before Elliott  missed out on connecting with a half chance.

A couple of minutes later Elliott put the ball across the face of the Dinnington goal, just missing connection with Smith.

After Dinnington put a free kick well over Smith’s bar, it became end to end for most for the first half.

Elliott just missed out on another Fuertado cross after 14 minutes, but at the back Ferdinand was marshalling the defence well, with the aid of Hayer, while both Lewin and Eccleshall were effective on the overlaps.

Dinnington had a shot just over after Hayer had lost possession on the edge of the box, before Smith was brought down in the area in the 16th minute, but penalty shouts were waved away.

Devon Smith got a shot in again after a feed from Massampo, followed by another corner for Sports as they pushed to open the scoring.

But Dinnington were equally on the attack too and after a scramble in the Mickleover box 26minutes in, a free kick was given and relieved the pressure.

Lewin placed a nice curling ball into the Dinnington box on the half hour, but there was no one on the receiving end, he was then back in defence clearing the lines too.

But Dinnington kept coming back for more and there was another goal mouth scramble after Smith charged out only to beaten to the ball, before the defence rallied once more.

Smith was in action again pulling off a good save in the 34th minute, but then namesake Devon had a shot whistle just wide of the post, the nearest yet to an opening goal.

But as half time approached Dinnington had a couple more telling attacks and Hayer had a cross, too long, but just over the bar.

Elliott had the final chance of the half, in space initially but waiting too long to try and get a shot in, so the teams went in still 0-0.

Mickleover made two half time changes, with Tefera, injured after a couple of knocks, and Lewin, making way for Edge-Lucas and Battisson.

From the start of the second half Mickleover seemed more positive and Devon Smith was soon attacking giving Fuertado a half chance.

But after Dinnington had another attack, Fuertado had a shot saved in the 54th minute. Ayetine had become more effective as the target man, but was hacked down from behind in the 46th minute, earning the Dinnington defender a yellow card.

Eccleshall then put a good cross in before Elliott’s shot was blocked on the hour. But Mickleover had a lucky escape, when Edge-Lucas was surprisingly outpaced on the wing, before the Dinnington striker fired a shot in which Smith tipped onto the bar. But the hosts had the ball in the net from the rebound, only to be deemed offside.

 Fuertado went close again for Mickleover three minutes later, his shot was blocked by the advancing Dinnington keeper.

Two more substitutions followed with Satchwell and for Fuertado and Wiliamson for Devon Smith.

Dinnington had another weak penalty appeal rejected, but finally after 70 minutes the deadlock was broken, when Satchwell was fouled on a run, and Wiliamson’s following free-kick had the keeper well beaten 1-0.

Six minutes later and from Eccleshall on the left, Wiliamson’s through ball to Battisson was met up by the charging Edge-Lucas, who placed the ball nicely out of reach of the advancing keeper, 2-0.

Dinnington had a free kick, but in punching clear Smith took a slight knock. But Mickleover came charging back and Satchwell made it 3-0 with a back heeler, catching the defence flat footed.

The hosts were close to pulling one back though when Smith was unable to collect. Hayer cleared off the line before Eccleshall brought it clear.

Battisson and Wiliamson both had more of the ball in midfield and after a long kick by Smith in the closing minutes, Battisson almost latched onto it at the other end. 

A minute later and another Battisson run saw him brought down in the area, only for his resulting penalty to be saved.

So it remained a hard earned 3-0 win, which takes them into the semi finals, against the winners of the AFC Bentley v Rowsley tie.

Reserves Lose Out In Poor Chairman’s Cup Tie

by Peter Scherer

It wasn’t a particularly skilful encounter and combined with some poor officialdom, the Mickleover Reserves visit to Rowsley was instantly forgettable.

Having already qualified for the knock out stages of the Central Midlands League Chairman’s Cup, Mickleover weren’t fielding their strongest line-up.

The hosts had a free kick just wide in the opening minute, followed by another shot just over the bar.

Gradually Sports started to push forward and in the ninth minute had a chance to take the lead. Matt Fuertado chested the ball down in the box and was about  shoot, when the referee blew for handball, which was clearly incorrect.

Rowsley’s attacks were coming mainly from long balls, but Marcus Calderone marshalled the defence to fend off any early threat.

Aaron Hayer took a free kick for Mickleover, from which Ben Lewin had his shot blocked, but it was in the 16th minute when the defence failed to collect a through ball, a brief scramble in the area and it fell to a Rowsley striker, 0-1.

It was a bad spell for Mickleover as only three minutes later it was 0-2, Rowsley broke after a Sports corner was cleared. The defence struggled to retreat and left the keeper isolated.

Another shot in the 24th minute hit the side netting after Calderone narrowed the angle and some telling crosses from Rowsley’s left wing back began to cause a few problems.

It was on the half hour before there was another promising Mickleover attack, aided by the hesitancy of the Rowsley keeper to leave his line, ending in a corner.

Captain Surf Tefera had been doing his best to marshal the midfield, with the determination of Ash Elliott. They combined for a promising run in the 33rd minute, before a shocking back pass from Rowsley allowed Mickleover to strike, but straight at the advancing keeper.

Tefera had his own shot blocked a few minutes later, with the rebound blocked too. Rowsley had another header just wide, as half time approached. But then Hayer’s ball into the box found Feurtado, who couldn’t quite find the space to turn.

Elliott then managed to ride a foul tackle with a minute left. He was clear on goal, but the referee ignored the advantage, gave a free kick which came to nought.

After a scrappy first half the second was worse, with the Rowsley players becoming more vociferous as they picked up on some poor officialdom.

Tefera’s 50th minute free kick went well over the bar, before a couple more efforts were just off target, from various players.

The Rowsley keeper made a couple of fumbles but got away with them, one attempt cleared off the line. But the hosts had another chance in 68th minute, splitting the defence before putting the shot wide again. 

The referee then went into the first of a number huddles, seemingly reluctant to stand by his own observations.

Elliott had a free kick ricochet off the wall after 75 minutes and a minute later Hayer took another, which was saved by the keeper.

After Rowsley hit the post their keeper dropped the ball from a cross, but following a goal mouth scramble it was out for a goal kick.

The home keeper was inaction again when he had to make a diving save from a headed back pass, from one of his own defenders!

But with two minutes of real time left, Mickleover pulled one back, the keeper well beaten by a header to his far corner, 1-2.

Into injury time and the referee rejected a blatant penalty shout as the Mickleover striker was hacked down in the area, and gave a corner. Fortunately the final whistle went shortly afterwards.

Mills On Target As Reserves Beat Pinxton

by Peter Scherer

Mickleover Reserves visited Pinxton for a friendly match and came away as 1-0 victors, after a second half goal from Pablo Mills.

There was an early chance for Mickleover when a good build up with Mills and Ben Lewin, led to Elijah Fatubarin shooting just wide.

Overall the first 10 minutes were fairly even, before Mils put a great ball through to Matt Feurtado, who couldn’t collect, before Ricky Ravenhill picked it up and Lewin shot wide.

As the attacks started to grow, Mills was through again before Fatubarin earned a corner, then Feurtado crossed before Fatubarin’s shot was saved.

Pinxton started to fight back and got a 14th minute break, which Pat Pugh dealt with comfortably.

15 mins in and Mickleover had a shot cleared off the line, when Feurtado’s shot had beaten the keeper.

With wing backs Lewin and Tom Eccleshall both working hard on the overlaps and John McGrath, Ravenhill and Lopes Massampo running midfield, Lewin’s 17th minute cross was met by Ravenhill, who attempted a half overhead kick.

Three minutes later Eccleshall’s cross found Feurtado, but his twist to turn and shoot didn’t work out.

Pinxton had another chance after 23 minutes, but the shot failed to trouble Mickleover keeper Ollie Staines.

Mickleover had done all but score in the first half hour, but Pinxton continued with random shots when the opportunity occurred.

McGrath was sent airborne after a heavy tackle, but Pinxton started  to threaten a little more, creating more chances with a shot just over the bar.

Feurtado had a good chance with half time approaching, but wanted too much time on the ball and failed to get his shot in.

Pinxton had another shot high and wide and a nice ball through the middle from Pugh, just failed to find Mills.

Another weak effort from a Pinxton striker brought the half to an end, 0-0.

Mickleover had to replace Fatubarin with Keenan Barrett as the second half kicked off, but it was Pinxton with the first shot of the half, saved by Staines.

But sustained attacking from Mickleover soon followed, as Feurtado was through and Mills shot was blocked, then on 56 minutes Massampo and Keenan combined and were nearly through on goal.

McGrath put a tight cross right into the Pinxton area, which the keeper had to tip over and then on the hour Feurtado came off and Ash Elliott took over.

Keenan’s pace had started to cause problems and when he was fouled on the edge of the box, McGrath took the free kick, before a quick one two with Mills saw the shot well over.

Four minutes later Pinxton went close with a shot across the Mickleover goal, out for a corner, then Keenan was on the move again but his long ball was just too long for Massampo.

Staines had to earn his stripes with a point blank save after 68 minutes, as it was still a fairly even game, with Pugh and Jacob Ferdinand looking solid in the Mickleover defence.

But the dead lock was finally broken after 74 minutes. A big scramble in the Pinxton box resulted in the keeper chasing Elliott out of the area, almost wrestling for the ball. But it was still turned in with the keeper stranded. Mills fired it goal wards but it hit the underside of the bar, just crossing the line 1-0.

Mills then earned a break and was replaced by Kyran Ward, who was straight into the action, after a cross from Eccleshall was well met, earning a corner.

Pinxton continued to fight and when Ravenhill lost the ball, they broke for another shot, saved by Staines.

In the final 10 minutes McGrath had another good run down the right before being fouled, while goal scorer Mills returned to replace Ravenhill.

It could have been a second for Mickleover when a McGrath free kick, was met with an excellent header from Elliott, saved point blank by the Pinxton keeper.

Pinxton were down to 10 men however after one of their players received a second yellow card for renaming the referee!

In the closing minutes Ward went close with two attempts and Keenan tried his luck in the final minute. 

A good all round challenging game, with an interesting mix of youth and experience in the Mickleover side.

Sports Penalty Sinks Vics Challenge: Match Report

by Peter Scherer

A first half penalty was the difference between Mickleover  FC and Borrowash Victoria, after Sports came away as 1-0 victors  in the first round of matches  in the Don Amott Spring Cup.

Mickleover’s line-up was a combination of youth and experience, with Academy Keeper Fin Bowen starting, before handing over to Tom Smith.

In defence the experience of Phil Watt and Josh Satchwell, was combined with reserve player Larrell King and Academy wing back Will Robinson.

First teamers/Academy players Bobby Battisson and Louis  Pennington were in midfield, with former Irish international and football pundit Clinton Morrison , while first team squad strikers Dec Bacon and Will Monteiro were up front.

After a fairly robust start from both teams, Mickleover’s pace started to cause problems, although no real  early chances were created were created from either side.

After 23 minutes  Mickleover went close , after a curling cross into the box was put out for a corner. But on the half hour the dominance increased, but Vics defence still held out.

After a Mickleover free kick was easily saved by the Vics keeper, Pennington was then brought down in the area and a penalty awarded after 38 minutes, making it 1-0 to Mickleover after Bacon sent the keeper the wrong way.

Vics had a chance to equalise right on half time, but the shot went wide.

Apart from taking a couple free kicks very easily, Smith had little to do in the second half in the Mickleover goal and with Academy strikers George Atwal and Emilio De Abreu both given a run out too. It remained at 1-0, with a penalty appeal from Vics turned down in the 90th minute which could easily have changed things.

Mickleover’s next game is as hosts at Borrowash, when they face FC Ingles.

WHERE WAS DAVE MAC?

Maybe he was having “tee” but reserves team manager David Mackenzie gives us some clues on why he missed most of the first half of their friendly match last Friday.

Our game against FC Sez was played at Eastwood, which is a “fairway” from either club, but the facilities were not “rough”.

It was great to see the players again though and that their families are well too.

I missed the first 37 minutes as I was playing at Chevin. What I did see was that we were in total control and only some quality saves prevented a goal before half time.

In the second half we added goals to the already quality passing and creation of space. Will Monteiro netted three and Bobby Battisson scored too, while an excellent save from Final Bowen kept a clean sheer for us.

Some of the play was “ace” and most pleasing was the fitness levels and the speed the ball was passed. Plus we had the chance to bring in Emilio De Abreu and George Atwalto the squad, with a “stint” in the second half.

It was so one-sided that it may have been fair to have given us a “handicap”.

For those that still haven’t guessed what I was doing, I won “4 and 3” while in the football we won 4-0.

D.Mac
Mickleover FC Reserve Team Manager

Introducing Larell King

by Peter Scherer

For those of you who haven’t got along to any of the Central Midlands League South matches with Mickleover Reserves, the name Larrel King might not be familiar?

The Derby born defender is one of the success stories of manager John McGrath’s summer trials and is now a regular member of the successful reserve team.

After five years at Burton Albion’s Academy, he had spent the last two years as part of Mansfield Town’s under 18 side.

Mansfield then disbanded the team following the first Lockdown,

I can’t say that was the main decision why I left them, but it didn’t help.

said Larell.

So at 19 years of age he was left with his football aspirations on hold.

I had spoken to someone I knew from Mansfield, who was now at Long Eaton Utd, but apart from that I hadn’t made any moves to stay in football until I saw the Mickleover trials advert.

Larell didn’t know that John and his colleagues Stuart Beavon and Pablo Mills weren’t aware of his background.

I was nervous before I arrived, but convinced myself that I was going there to prove my ability. I stayed positively minded and it worked me as I was selected.

he added.

His strong overlapping runs from right back has been one of the highlights of the reserves season so far.

I think I have been playing well, but my aim is the first team, as I wanted to try and go higher and set myself targets.

Seeing himself in the same style of play as England’s Kyle Walker, his main aim at present is keeping fit during the further Lockdown.

I am going for runs, doing solo skills training and have some gym equipment at home too.

So let’s hope we can all watch Larell’s career progress in the red and black of Mickleover, in the not too distant future.

Reserves Take Victory After Early Red Card + Mack’s Mutterings

by Peter Scherer

Mickleover Reserves fought back from an early red card, to take a hard earned three points away from their Central Midlands League South Division visit to Hilton Harriers.

Starting line-up: 1-Tom Smith 2-Larrel King 3-Tom Eccleshall 4-Marcus Calderone 5-Gus Williamson 6-Lopes Massampo 7-Louis Pennington 8-Surf Tefera 9-Jude Ayetine 10-Will Monteiro 11-Bobby Battisson.

It was a soft by playable pitch at the Mease and it was the home side that started the stronger, with Mickleover keeper Smith forced to save from a powerful early shot inside the opening minute.

Battisson then earned a free kick just outside the box, which was easily cleared by the Hilton defence, but the attacking prowess of Monteiro, Ayetine, Tefera and Battisson came to the fore.

Hilton however continued to look dangerous on the breaks, but Monteiro was almost on the end of a good move between Ayetine, Battisson and Tefera, just losing out in a one on one with Hilton keeper Wood.

But an attack from Hilton after nine minutes was to cost Mickleover dearly, when Calderone fouled a home striker just outside the box and was straight red carded.

Mickleover continued to push forward, despite being down to 10 men with a through ball from Battisson reaching Monteiro, who was inches offside.

It was to be Monteiro’s last active part in the game, as he was forced to make way for Matt Fuertado who slotted into the centre of the defence alongside skipper Williamson.

While Mickleover started to get used to their new shape, Hilton piled on the pressure, with a 16th minute shot following up from a corner, just wide for another corner, before a foul on Williamson broke up their attack.

Two minutes later a Hilton header was just wide, but the Mickleover defence was looking strong and wing backs King and Eccleshall were both able to start threatening runs.

The deadlock was broken however in the 24th minute when a good build up saw the ball switched from right to wide left, before Battisson was picked up in the centre for a decisive and clear shot into the Hilton net 1-0.

It was still end to end however and only a minute later Smith was beaten at full stretch from a cross, but there was no one on the receiving end and the danger was soon cleared.

Tefera managed to find Battisson again after 28 minutes, but the tricky teenager couldn’t find the space for a shot, as the Mickleover pressure continued.

As the half time whistle edged closer, it was Ayetine’s chance to go close, after he was clear facing the Hilton keeper, who easily collected the shot straight at him.

So despite being down to 10 men, Mickleover reached half time with both optimism and a one nil lead.

There were no changes for the second half but it started badly, with a poor clearance from Williamson putting Eccleshall under pressure, losing out to Hilton who shot just wide.

But 49 minutes in and a strong shot by the hosts hit the post before the rebound had Smith beaten 1-1.

The equaliser seemed to wake the Mickleover side up as almost from the kick off, Battisson was charging forward again, only to be tripped just outside the box.

Mickleover had earned another corner in the 50th minute, and the kick was well centred into the goal mouth, where Williamson climbed dominantly to head home for 2-1.

The attacks seemed to have more purpose as Sports began to look to secure the three points, and only a minute after the second goal Massampo had held the ball well only to be fouled on the edge of the box, but no free kick this time.

Both Massampo and Battisson had shots from outside the box saved, but keeping Hilton keeper Wood on his toes.

But it was so nearly a third when King’s run helped him get a cracking shot in from outside the box again, but with the keeper beaten it hit his left hand post.

Fin Barker replaced Ayetine after 76 minutes, but both sides continued to press, with Hilton missing out in a one on one when the shot was pulled wide.

But the third goal did come with three minutes of normal time remaining. Eccleshall came from the half way line and just kept running and running down the left flank, before cutting in solo to fire a perfect shot into the roof of the Hilton net, 3-1.

A good all round performance with three well taken goals, which now moves Mickleover to up fourth in the table, with games in hand against all of the teams above.

 

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MACK’S MUTTERINGS!!

by Dave Mackenzie, Reserves Manager

On a cold winter’s afternoon we took the short trip along the A416 to Hilton, unless you were coming from the Alvaston area and then it would have been the A50. Due to the Covid the dressing room areas were out of bounds and the players had to get changed in their cars. Large Gus obviously isn’t used to these primitive surroundings and forgot he had been wearing his best friends tights last night and was still wearing them when he went out to warm up. 

This was the return fixture from 2 weeks ago when we ran out 2- 0 victors in a close fought encounter.

There were a couple of changes in the line-up with Louis Pennington and Stanley Matthews lookalike Bobby Battisson coming into to the starting 11. But the starting 11 would soon become the starting 10.

The game started well with the team putting together some crisp passing moves with Bobby B looking sharp and lively. 

The game changer happened on the 10 minute mark when Marcus Calderone was turned by the experienced James Rushby (ex Sports 1st team). Marcus did put an arm on James but he went down rather easily.

The following should be taken into consideration by the referee when making a decision as to the severity of the crime.

The following must be considered:

  • distance between the offence and the goal
  • general direction of the play
  • likelihood of keeping or gaining control of the ball
  • location and number of defenders

When I asked the referee at half time why Marcus was sent off he said and I quote “It was an easy decision because it matched the four criteria (above) The last two are the questionable ones – the ball was at least two yards away from the player so unlikely that he would gain control and Gus was behind and to the side so could have intervened.

Anyway he was sent off and we needed to make a change. Unfortunately for Will Monteiro who had started the game well, I decided that we should take him off as it would keep the team as a group more compact. Will’s pace is great at stretching teams and getting behind but given the length of time that we would have a man less I felt Jude would be the better option.

Despite the reduction in playing staff we took the lead with a well-constructed goal, finished with aplomb by Bobster Battisson( I call him Bobster as he is just like my daughters wee dug – never stops running and always wanting the ball) after shifting the ball to the side of a defender his crisply struck shot dipped like a Ronaldo free kick into the pokey!

At half time the message was to keep our shape and not leave gaps between the defence and midfield and allow them to play the ball out from their back four.

It worked really well for about six minutes when they got a foothold back in the game. A couple of sloppy passes let them get in what was a bit of a tame cross and after a stramash in the goalmouth it was all square.

Like any team with the man disadvantage, we were put under a lot of pressure but the back 8 dealt well with the pressure. At one point Gus Williamson even had the time to have a long distance chat with me!

We were still seemingly getting on the wrong end of refereeing decisions – apparently it’s okay to stamp on a players foot twice without getting a warning and then in the second half the same happened with the same player with the same result – he haw!

Sorry to use the F.A. Laws but the ref started it. There is misconception that if you get the ball it’s okay. 

“Any player who lunges at an opponent in challenging for the ball from the front, from the side or from behind using one or both legs, with excessive force or endangers the safety of an opponent is guilty of serious foul play.”

No mention of getting the ball!

At the edge of the box we had a player who just had one player to beat and he was for want of a better description, ‘wiped out’ by a tackle from the side. It is beyond my understanding how the referee allowed the play to carry on. 

However the best was still to come.

One of the things we try and install in the players is that at set pieces, if we have a plan and the opposition don’t know it, it is a great advantage. Of course it depends on great delivery and the ball put in by Louis, at pace between the penalty spot and six yard box was sublime. What made it, was the leap and the perfect connection by Gus Williamson to rocket a header into the net. If it wasn’t for the net the ball would have walloped one off Don Amott’s caravans!

Then in another attack Larell King beat a couple of players and whacked a great shot off the keepers right hand upright, the ball rebounded back to Jude who was central and with speed of thought – rather than put the ball in the net where they can get it back quickly I’ll blooter it as far as possible over the bar and far away!

Not since Long Eaton away last year have I seen a more sweetly stuck shot that came off the left boot of one Tom Eccleshall – having marauded down the left assisted by Loopy and Surf he strode into the box and from 16.34 yards unleashed “the beast” There is not a goalkeeper on this planet that would have saved it.

After that we had a couple of scares as Hilton continued to press but we held on t the 3-1 scoreline.

And now here’s the rub – I thought Gus equalised and Tom scored the winner!

Good to see Don Amott the head of Mickleover in attendance and to be fair there was a decent crowd, which included Archie Gemmill who would have loved the sticky surface although a bit like the Baseball Ground on the first day of the season.

Also good to see quite a few players with Hilton who I enjoyed working with previously. I would like to thank Hilton for their hospitality and playing the games in a sporting way – they don’t make the decisions :-).