by Peter Scherer
It was a short trip down the road to visit Long Eaton Utd last night for Mickleover, as they contested the third round of the Derbyshire Senior Cup.
Starting line-up: 1-Oliver Bosworth 2-Lucas Yeomans 3-Rhys Dolan 4-Ethan Mann 5-James Butler 6-Phil Watt 7-Fin Barker 8-Mitchell Rose 9-Kai Moore 10-Lekan Osideko 11-Oli Greaves. Subs: Ben Horleston, Andy Dales, Brandon Ferron, Stuart Beavon.
It was a fairly bright start from Mickleover on a bitterly cold evening at Grange Park. Only four minutes in and keeper Sam Wilson failed to hold Greaves’ shot, before Moore’s rebound effort was blocked to earn the first corner.
Four minutes later Jamie Walker put in a telling cross for Long Eaton, but there was no one on the receiving end.
But it was Mickleover looking the more dangerous, with Osideko jinking his way through the defence after 10 minutes, following a good build up down the left, but Brad Wilson blocked the final shot.
Long Eaton then went on the attack with down the Mickleover right, before the following cross was cut out. Debutant Riley Phillips then broke clear and fired in a long range shot, intercepted by Dolan just inside the box.
The hosts confidence began to grow as they started to restrict Mickleover’s attack. Tom Cursons was then on the end of a good build up, but his shot was high and wide of Bosworth’s left-hand post.
Only a minute later Bosworth cut out a Long Eaton cross into the box, before Sports earned another corner, following a quick break and Greaves had his shot blocked again.
Cursons went close after 19 minutes, shooting just wide of the left-hand post, and managed to free himself from the shackles of the Sports defence again, shortly afterwards.
But after 21 minutes Ben Hutchinson picked up the ball outside the box, weighed up his options and fired in a rocket shot into Bosworth’s top left-hand corner, 0-1.
Osideko led a Sports attack a couple of minutes later, he got space and found Barker, but the final shot was wide of the left-hand upright.
Mickleover’s best chance of the whole game came after 28 minutes, when Barker had done the hard work, had his head down and heading for goal after being set up by Moore. A goal looked almost a certainty, but the shot was over the bar again.
Three minutes later Long Eaton went close again from a Rogers free kick, as the hosts were moving the ball quicker and more accurately than Mickleover.
Barker was close in on goal again just after the half hour, but the advancing keeper Wilson just got there first and then Parker, Hutchinson and Walker combined with Walker’s effort well over the bar following a cross from the right.
Moore tried to send Osideko on a run, but Greaves was then scythed down by Tyreece Robinson just outside the box, but directly in front of goal. The defender was yellow carded, while Greaves took the free kick himself, putting it wide of the left-hand post.
The first half finished with the hosts on the attack again, Wilson found Cursons, but Hutchinson’s effort failed to trouble Bosworth again.
Mickleover made two half time changes, as Beavon and Dales came on for Yeomans and Moore.
Dales had a couple of early runs, but had his route cut off by some uncompromising defending, but after a couple of less direct attacks by the hosts, Barker almost broke through after 51 minutes, but took it a yard too far and lost out.
As Beavon attempted to shield the ball, Cox started kicking lumps out of the strikers ankles, despite being directly in front of the assistant referee, he never saw it!
The officials did however see a shoulder to shoulder charge by Butler on the burly Cussons and awarded a free kick. Marshall’s kick was on target and brought out an excellent diving save to his right from Bosworth.
There was little being created from midfield by Mickleover, despite Greaves being busy all over the field, while Rose sometimes seemed to be deeper than the defence.
The strikers were having to try and make long runs, and after 55 minutes Barker almost got Osideko through, while at the other end Bosworth was looking safe and reliable after coping with the hosts free kicks and corners relatively easily.
Almost on the hour Greaves sent in a short pass from the right, which was whipped off Beavon’s toes at the last minute and then Greaves found Mann on the right again. Beavon was on the receiving end but he just missed out on his first touch shot.
Phillips led another Long Eaton break, but Bosworth took the cross cleanly to his right. But Sports had started to push forward more with time running out. Dales found Barker on the right, his cross found Osideko, whose header was off target.
Butler had a header just over from a Greaves free kick and with 15 minutes left, Horleston came on for Barker.
Dales had a shot blocked after 80 minutes and then Bertram tried his luck from long distance for Long Eaton, but was high and wide again.
Horleston, Beavon and Dales created a chance on the edge of the box, but the final shot was too close to keeper Wilson. There was then a succession of corners, with the final one headed over by Watt.
In the final minutes Dales tried to lead an attack, passed inside to Rose whose shot was blocked, and then tried himself with the same result.
Apart from the one goal which was out of the blue, Long Eaton’s threat was fairly comfortably dealt with by Yeomans, Dolan, Butler, Mann and skipper Watt. It was midfield though that looked out of balance and failed to provide for the strikers.
It was good to see both Barker and Moore get again, as well as debutant keeper Bosworth.