Category: Reserves

Barker Gets Sky Blues Trial

by Peter Scherer

Mickleover FC Academy graduate Fin Barker is heading to Coventry City on a week’s trial.

The 18 year old striker made his first debut in the NPL at Matlock last season, but was a prolific scorer for the reserve side, scoring five in one game and four in another for a seasons tally of 30!

Everyone at Mickleover wishes Fin all the best in both this trial and for the future.

Mickleover FC Reserves – Runners Up!

by Peter Scherer

It was their first full season in the Central Midlands Premier Division South, but Mickleover Reserves only missed out to Blidworth in the title race by four points.

Unlike previous years, the team was formed around the previous years title Academy title winning team, with the addition of a little experience at times.

After an opening win at South Normanton, the pace and scoring ability of the team soon became evident. 

Three successive wins followed over the next 10 days, scoring 19 goals and conceding two, nine of which were scored by Devon Smith.

They suffered a rare defeat at home to Long Eaton and were dumped out of the cup 0-5 at home to Staveley MW.

Defeats away to Linby and Pinxton triggered new resolve and determination from the youngsters, with six consecutive victories putting them right back into the title hunt.

They hit seven goals against Teversal, eight against Arnold and another seven each against Mansfield Hosiery and South Normanton, including a hattrick for Pablo Mills.

Mills, gaffer John McGrath, Andrew Wright and George Milner all came in for occasional appearances and there was even an appearance from the legendary Clinton Morrison.

After his early season goal blitz Smith had a long spell out injured and it was Fin Barker hitting the headlines, with four at home to Rowsley and five at home to Ashland to reach a seasons total of 29.

Dead ball specialist George Atwal was a regular scorer too with 20 over the season, while Smith’s return finally accrued him 14.

Atwal, Will Robinson, Ben Lewin, Josh Satchwell, Ethan Mann, Bobby Battisson and Jacob Edge-Lucas had all been part of the early season success, but with casualties in the first team they all became part of the NPL squad.

Fin Bowen wasn’t the busiest man in the team, before performed his goalkeeping duties with confidence, while Cam Anthony looked a strong pairing at the back with Mann or Robinson.

Jude Ayetine and Lopes Massampo were just a couple of the old guard who played their part too, Ayetine netting six times too.

Ben Horleston progressed match by match and also scored five goals, while Louis Benjamin shows glimpses of promise too.

They were captained early season by Larrel King, who moved to Long Eaton, Edge-Lucas also departed for Belper Town in the New Year, and Battisson signed his first pro contract with FC Europa in Gibraltar.

For a while Dave Mackenzie and Aaron Hayer had to work with a tiny squad, but the whole team pulled together and looked like title contenders until consecutive at Mickleover RBL and Hilton Harriers ended their challenge in mid April.

20 different players were on the scoresheet as they shared a massive 116 goal tally, so watch out Central Midlands League Premier South, they’re coming to get you!!

One notable face will be absent from the bench next year, as Aaron Hayer has decided to move on after three years.

A familiar voice at both reserve and first team games, his all round enthusiasm will be missed. He even scored a goal for the reserve side this season!!

Reserves: Last Game Of The Season

by Dave Mackenzie, Reserves Manager

The long and winding road unfortunately containing a couple too many potholes started back at South Normanton on one of the better playing surfaces which would prove to suit our technical players. 

There were 32 games resulting in 23 wins 4 draws and 5 reversals. During which, 116 goals were scored and 34 let in. Strangely enough, it would be not scoring in two games that would prove to be the difference. Zero Zoro’s against Linby at home and Blidworth away would have redressed the 4 point lead that Blidworth ended with. Apart from not scoring the common denominator in both games was everyone’s favourite official. Against Blidworth he allowed persistent fouling of Kia Moore and started giving fouls against Kai when was getting hit from behind. Against Linby he was kind enough to give us a yellow card after 7 seconds and just to be consistent the second followed minutes later. Whilst he didn’t miss the chances we created he did come away with the refereeing comment of this and every other season that I have been involved with.

It’s a corner, I can tell by your body language!

Having mentioned the effect referee’s can have on a game probably the worst ever decision occurred in my last full game for the club – 22/2/2018. Will Norcross having rounded the keeper was rolling the ball into an empty net when he was clattered into by a defender. The ball had just crossed the goal one and would have put us 2 up. The ref pulled it back and gave a penalty and didn’t even send off the offender. Jermaine Palmer hit the post and we then went on to lose the game. We lost the league that year by 2 points!

Back to this year and we should really take the positives with 7 players making it into the first team at various times during the season. This was down in no small part to John McGrath and the rest of his team but also the players in the first team that made the step up less arduous.

5 weeks ago the game v Pinxton looked like it would be a title decider but they had 3 points deducted and like us lost players through injury at vital times in the run-up.

The game itself was a toughie with the teams going in level at halftime without a great deal of chances created at either end. We still had to secure 2nd place so the team went out in the second half with more determination and started at a higher tempo. This was to prove beneficial early in the half when George Atwall finished with a lovely left-foot strike after Pinxton had blocked a couple of earlier efforts The introduction of Ben Horleston at the break gave us more tempo and he scored an excellent goal with a bending strike from just outside the box. Even at 2 -0, we couldn’t relax and Pinxton got their rewards with a goal that would have surely been chopped off for a foul on Tom Smith, returning from his sabbatical with Vics.

The scoring was finished off by a typical Fin Barker goal adding to his 26 in the season.

At that point the game was pretty much done and dusted but you wouldn’t have known as the Gaffer worked tirelessly closing people down and winning us more ball thus ensuring the 3 points and a deserved second place in the league.

Team: Tom Smith, Lopes Massampo, Ethan Mann,Will Robinson, Ben Lewin, John McGrath, George Atwal, Tom Braer, Jude Ayetine, Kia Moore and Fin Barker. Subs used Devon Smith and Ben Horleston. Unused – Cam Anthony.

Thanks have to be given to all the players throughout the season. To Fran for cooking the books and cooking the chips plus a massive thanks to Aaron Hayer for his organising, his enthusiasm and for topping up the coffers of the Derbyshire FA.

Reserves Win Final Away Game Of The Season

by Peter Scherer

Mickleover Reserves headed for Wirksworth Ivanhoe last night for the final trip of their Central Midlands League Premier Division South season.

With hopes of the title having gone, Sports were looking to do the double over their hosts, having won 8-1 at the Don Amott Arena earlier in the season.

Starting line-up: 1-Tom Smith 2-Lopes Massampo 3-Sam Groves 4-George Atwal 5-Pablo Mills 6-Ethan Mann 7-Tom Brear 8-Jude Ayetine 9-Kai Moore 10-Will Robinson 17-Fin Barker. Subs: Devon Smith Ben Lewin.

It was five minutes into the game when Wirksworth were first to get a shot in, but the effort was straight at keeper Smith.

It continued to be a fairly even but scrappy game, with Mickleover struggling to take their familiar runs on the bumpy pitch.

Moore got a shot in after 12 minutes which was blocked and a minute later the hosts had a free kick which failed to penetrate the defensive wall.

Barker finally managed to get a longer run after 19 minutes, fired in a shot from distance but was well wide of the mark.

Robinson then burst out of defence to try his luck, floating in a curler from the left which was taken by the keeper.

There was another free kick for Mickleover after 26 minutes, with Atwal playing it short to Barker, whose pass found Moore with his effort blocked again.

But Wirksworth then went close when their number nine tested Smith, who palmed away the effort to his left for a corner.

Mills had the ball in the net on the half hour but it was offside, before Brear lost the ball in midfield and the Wirksworth number four had a first time shot just wide of the post.

The hosts seemed to have gained confidence and had started to take charge, with the number nine having two shots in a two-minute spell, both covered by Smith as they went wide of the goal on both occasions.

The deadlock was finally broken when Moore was fouled in the box and Atwal made it 1-0 from the spot after 38 minutes.

Wirksworth had one more effort wide of the post before half time, but there was drama in the Mickleover camp. Mills had been fouled and injured his shoulder, being replaced by Smith.

Atwal’s free kick was handled just outside the box, prompting a second kick, which was curled fractionally over the bar with the keeper beaten.

As the second half got underway Mickleover seemed to have more possession from the off. Atwal shot over after 49 minutes, but the hosts replied with another effort straight at Smith.

56 minutes and Lewin came on for Groves, which was soon followed by Ayetine’s first real attempt on goal.

Mann and Robinson were looking steady at the back, allowing both Massampo and Lewin to push forward.

Brear was working hard with Atwal in midfield but it was Robinson whose long ball found Barker after 63 minutes, cutting in from the right to earn another corner.

Lewin put in a nice cross which Moore headed wide and Brear had a long run 75 minutes in, before his effort was blocked and Barker’s follow up went wide.

A second goal was looking a strong possibility in the failing light, with Moore making a nice turn and shot just off target.

But with 10 minutes left and just the one goal there was a bit of chaos in the Sports defence following a Wirksworth break. Smith was out of his goal and his attempted clearance was sliced wide to the Wirksworth chasers, who failed to capitalise on their chance.

Brear had another shot blocked after a precise and slow build up and then with seven minutes left Robinson charged through again and fired just over.

84 minutes and the second goal finally arrived with Moore heading the ball around the keeper, before firing into the back of the net 2-0.

It was almost dark when the final whistle went but it was three points and the runner-up spot in the league table secured.

Reserves Held At Home

by Peter Scherer

Having scored over 100 goals in the Central Midlands League this season, a 0-0 draw has been a rare occurrence this season for Mickleover Reserves.

But with last night’s goalless game at the Don Amott Arena against Linby, it’s now two out of the last three games.

Starting line-up: 1-Fin Bowen 2-Ben Lewin 3-Will Robinson 4-George Atwal 5-Ethan Mann 6-Cam Anthony 7-Lopes Massampo 8-Ben Horleston 9-Kai Moore 10-Andrew Wright 17-Fin Barker.

For the opening 20 minutes of the game it was the visitors making the pace and trying their luck on goal at every opportunity.

After only two minutes Linby shot just wide and had a good chance when the bounce of the ball beat Anthony, only for the Linby striker to shoot wide of Bowen’s right hand post.

Sports had been trying long balls from Wright and Atwal for Moore and Barker to run on to, but the plans were mainly intercepted before coming to fruition.

It was 23 minutes before Mickleover had their first real shot, when Horleston put Moore through for his shot to be saved.

But five minutes later Wright managed to create his own space  and put a shot just passed the left hand post.

After a fairly non-productive first 30 minutes, Mickleover suddenly started to flow, with more direction and positive attacks.

They went close on 36 minutes when Moore fired in a shot from the right and Wright hit the rebound over the bar.

Only a minute later Wright put a telling ball through the defence from the right wing, with only Linby keeper Leverton’s feet stopping Barker from opening the scoring.

But Linby came fighting back again and threatened with two counter attacks before the whistle went for half-time at 0-0.

It was a lively start to the second half with the visitors taking an early long shot which was just wide.

But Moore was suddenly in the clear and poised to shoot after 48 minutes, when he was pushed down by the pursuing defender from behind, apparently unseen by the referee.

But Mickleover were looking sharp and Wright found Moore again, whose strong shot was well taken by Leverton.

Barker was playing more on the wings and cutting in but after 51 minutes his cross found Horleston, whose first-time shot was just the wrong side of the post.

Linby were under more pressure than at any other point in the game, with both Lewin and Robinson pushing further forward too.

It was a Robinson run and cross that was inches from connecting with Moore’s head, but the Linby keeper again came to the rescue.

But having broken out of their own half the visitors continued to cause a threat too and after Bowen saved a long shot in the 54th minute, he was forced to dive at full stretch two minutes later to keep it all square.

Moore was finding himself manhandled more and more by the visitors defence, with a number of fouls going unpunished, but Mickleover continued to threaten as they played the ball out from the back.

Atwal had a shot just wide on the hour from a Robinson cross, but Linby then charged back with a long shot over the bar.

Mann had started to bring the ball forward too as Mickleover tried everything to open the scoring, but after some sloppy defending Bowen had to make a another save after a low shot to his far corner.

Barker was working hard to make progress after a tough duel on the right, he beat two defenders to put a ball across the face of the goal after 68 minutes. Moore was in position but somehow the two didn’t connect and it went out for a throw.

Mickleover then made their first change with Jude Ayetine on for Massampo.

Frustration began to show in places, but Barker and Moore continued plugging away at the front, with Wright, Atwal and Horleston trying to create the openings.

Barker had another positive run after 75 minutes, but Moore’s path was blocked, only for another Linby break with a shot straight at Bowen.

Moore was finally given a free kick after numerous fouls on him and Atwal’s following free-kick was on target for the opening goal, until Leverton managed to tip it over.

Wright then had another attempt saved by the keeper’s feet, before Bowen was called into action, tipping a cracking effort around the post for a corner.

In the closing minutes Mann got his head to a corner, but it was not to be and Barker had his final attempt forced over, before he was replaced by Devon Smith.

The men of the match from both sides were probably keepers Bowen and Leverton, who kept the score at 0-0, but praise too for the Linby side who pushed table toppers Mickleover all the way for 90 minutes.

The Reserves next game is away to local rivals Mickleover RBL on April 16th.

Reserves Report: Holbrook St Michaels (A)

by Dave Mackenzie

This game was brought forward from Easter Monday so it gave us the chance to keep on playing, rather than another free Saturday. 

Over the years Holbrook St Michael’s have provided stiff opposition and in the last encounter we exited the cup with a 2-1 defeat. 

There was the desire to gain revenge from that setback but more important was the three points that would allow us to step over Pinxton and Blidworth who were both idle.

The starting line-up showed a couple of changes with a welcome back to Emilio De Abreu, Lopes Massampo and George Atwal, who has been performing well with the first team.

Line-up: Fin Bowen, Ben Lewin, Will Robinson and Sam Groves were the back line of defence. In midfield Lopes Massampo, George Atwal and Ben Horleston with Emilio  De Abreu, Jude Ayetine and Fin Barker, whilst Tom Brear, Freddie Murphy and Devon Smith were on the sidelines itching to get involved.

It became evident from the first whistle that lessons had been learnt, with a high tempo press and calculated playing out from the back maintaining possession in good areas. 

After a period of good pressure a corner was won on the right. A good quality delivery was partially cleared towards the back of the box where Emilio was lurking for such eventuality. He came on to the ball and struck a sweet right-footed volley into the corner of the net. The keeper never sniffed it!

It wasn’t long until a second was scored this time Fin Barker’s shot wasn’t the fiercest, but it still nestled in the corner of the net. 2-0 and Mickleover continued to press and create good chances. 

The next goal came from a disputed corner that was cleared to the edge of the box where it was controlled and the Holbrook player got away a decent shot,  which Fin Bowen had covered. But the ball bounced wickedly in front of him and ended up in the net. 2-1 at half time was good but on the balance of play it could have been better.

Holbrook came out in the second half raising their game and started to put the defence under pressure. But they were well marshalled by Will Robinson who was imperious in aerial duels along with Cam Anthony, whose tackling was spot on.

After overcoming the offensive Mickleover scored the important next goal. Jude Ayetine won a tackle in the Holbrook box and then finished with aplomb. 

The fourth goal was an individual effort from Ben Horleston. He broke through the Holbrook high line just inside the Holbrook half and sprinted clear two touches and he was at the edge of the box with the keeper to beat. The third touch was a calculated pass into the corner giving the young keeper no chance. A goal greatly deserved by a young man whose hard work is paying off.

At 4-1 and with five minutes left Mickleover should have been on easy street, however they found themselves in error alley!

A corner was given away needlessly resulting in a free header 4-2. But that wasn’t all, a goal reminiscent of our late goal at Arnold in that a free-kick from about 33 yards evaded everyone and finished in the net! 4-3! 

The watching Pinxton people would have been ecstatic, but good game management saw out the remaining couple of minutes. A good win but we could and should have done without the squeaky bum time!


Mickleover F.C.

Reserves Manager


Mac’s Chat: Reserves v Ashland Rovers

by Dave Mackenzie, Reserves Manager

On an evening that was calm and warm, Mickleover F C Reserves faced up to Ashland Rovers from the far county called Nottingham.

After a tough game at Arnold we were prepared with another tough match. Ashland didn’t disappoint as they took the game to Mickleover.

Having sustained some pressure, the tide turned with some quality passing and movement. Mickleover not only took the lead but extended it giving a 4-0 lead at the turn.

Ayetine turned in a great left side move then Ben Horleston nipped in at the front post for another added to a Fin Barker strike, plus a 30 yarder from young Aaron Hayer, which nearly took the keeper and net into the lane behind.

With a 4-0 lead you would think it easy street – nope! A missed header and a bad pass allowed a chance for Ashland which hit the post and bounced kindly into the welcoming arms of Fin Bowen.

That was really their last chance as Mickleover upped their game and Fin Barker ran rampant. He added another four while Devon Smith (such a hard worker), got in on the act and with a thunderous strike, and Ethan Mann rounded things off. 11 was good but Ashland were a very good opponent and never stopped working.

These players should be given great credit for hitting the 100 goals but also being the best team defensively in the league.

Reserves Fire Eleven Past Ashland

by Tom Horner

Teenage star Fin Barker scored five goals as Mickleover Reserves thrashed Ashland Rovers 11-0 at the Don Amott Arena.

Starting line-up: Fin Bowen, Ben Lewin (c), Ethan Mann, Cam Anthony, Will Robinson, Aaron Hayer, Ben Horleston, Sam Groves, Fin Barker, Jude Ayetine (Emilio De Abreu ’61), Devon Smith.

The first chance of the game fell to the home side in the seventh minute, as Ayetine found Smith in the box. The Mickleover forward turned his man well but fired his shot just over the bar.

The away side then had their first chance of the game as they caught Mickleover on the counter-attack with a good ball out to Alex Paterson on the right wing, who cut inside and curled the ball wide of the far post.

Just a few minutes later, in the 17th minute, Mickleover broke the deadlock. Robinson beat his man on the left wing before cutting the ball back to Ayetine, who calmly placed his shot beyond the keeper to open the scoring.

Mickleover almost made it a quickfire double as Robinson troubled the defence once again, whipping a dangerous cross to Barker whose near-post flick found the side netting.

It didn’t take long for the home side to double their advantage, as in the 25th minute, Mann rose highest from a corner kick to head the ball down to Horleston, who volleyed the ball in from close range.

Smith should have made it three just moments later, as he capitalised on Barker dispossessing the goalkeeper, only to roll the ball wide from 20 yards.

Mickleover were becoming more and more dominant as the first half progressed, and Hayer further extended their lead in the 31st minute with a fantastic 30-yard strike that dipped and swerved over the goalkeeper’s head.

Barker made it 4-0 just before halftime with a delicate chip over the goalkeeper following a fantastic pass from Mann who bagged his second assist of the game.

It took just five minutes of the second half for Barker to complete his hat-trick, as he set off on a mazy run from the halfway line before finding the far bottom corner with a composed finish.

Just moments later, Barker grabbed Mickleover’s sixth goal of the game and 100th goal of the season, as he played a one-two with Ayetine before beating his man and slotting the ball in the far bottom corner once again.

The Ashland defence were struggling to handle the young Barker as he then grabbed his fourth and fifth goals in quick succession with two more fantastic solo goals.

In the 64th minute, Robinson grabbed his third assist of the game as he ran to the byline , before cutting the ball back to Smith who calmly placed the ball past the goalkeeper to make it 9-0.

Josh Fawcett kept the scoreline down for twenty minutes with some fantastic saves for Ashland, before Mickleover made it double figures in the 83rd minute as Lewin’s cross was met with a bullet header by Robinson.

Mickleover’s final goal of the game came from Mann as his 30-yard effort found the bottom corner brilliantly in the final few seconds to make the full-time score 11-0 to Mickleover.

The reserves are in action again on Saturday away to Blidworth.

Reserves Report: Teversal Reserves (A)

by Dave Mackenzie, Reserves Manager

A 1030 pitch inspection got a positive review allowing the game to go ahead despite the inclement weather over the previous couple of days. The pitch was okay but along the bottom touchline, it was rather heavy going.

The starting 11 was Fin Bowen, Ben Lewin, Cam Anthony, Ethan Mann, Sam Groves, Lopes Massampo, Ben Horleston, George Atwal, Jude Ayetine, Devon Smith and Fin Barker with Lew Benjamin and Arron Hayer on the bench.

There was a stiff breeze blowing down the pitch from the Tesco Shelters end which both sides found difficult, added to the pitch being a bit rutted it didn’t help produce a great deal of passing football.

Having said that Mickleover did create a few chances without troubling the goalkeeper, whilst Fin Bowen at the other end had one fairly easy shot to deal with.

The first goal when it came was one of real quality. The ball was played out from the back and then under pressure from Teversal the ball was played back to Fin Bowen whose pass found Groves. The ball was played inside and as Groves continued his run Atwal played him through. The keeper advanced so  Groves calmly slid the ball across the goal to the back post where Smith had the simple task of completing the move from about 33 inches.

After some more pressure the referee awarded Mickleover a penalty which was despatched to the top right-hand corner with aplomb by Atwal. 2-0.

 A third goal would have been deserved before halftime but not to be.

After the break, Teversal mounted steady pressure but with  Mann and Anthony standing firm it came to nothing until the centre forward finished off a decent move to make the scoreline a precarious 2-1. 

With 30 minutes still to play there were still chances to be had for both sides which were squandered and the game unfortunately finished on a sour note with the Teversal goalscorer incurring the wrath of the referee for excess verbalisation.

A hard-fought win showing the lads growing in stature by dealing with difficult conditions and an energetic Teversal side.

After another enforced sabbatical we are travelling to Arnold on the 19th March before hosting Ashland at the Don Amott Arena on the 22nd.

Reserves Lose Out In Cup Tie

by Peter Scherer

Having received a walkover in the opening round of the Central Midlands League Buckingham Insurance League Challenge Cup, Mickleover Reserves visited Holbrook St Michaels in a second round tie.

Holbrook, currently seventh in the Black Dragon Badges Premier South Division table, proved to be tough opposition and led at half time 0-1 with a Cartwright goal.

Ethan Mann managed to level things during the second half, but Gianluca Gandola sealed it for the hosts after a lack lustre show from the Mickleover side.

It’s back to the league and the title chase on Saturday though, when the reserves are at home to top of the table Pinxton at the Don Amott Arena, kick off 3pm.