by Peter Scherer
It was top of the table Mickleover against bottom of the table Long Eaton at Grange Park, with four second half goals sealing it for Mickleover 5-0.
Starting line-up: 1-Oliver Bosworth 2-Ben Sault 3-Ryan Wilson 4-Will Atkinson 5-Fin Delap 6-Ethan Mann 7-Andy Dales 8-Dan Bradley 9-Andre Wright 10-George Nunn 11-Oli Greaves. Subs: Stuart Beavon, Jim Pollard, Brandon Ferron, Jake Bennett, Marcus Barnes.
After a fairly even start, Mickleover had their first shot on goal after eight minutes, when Nunn got on the end of a slow but precise build up, but his shot failed to trouble keeper Durrant.
Two minutes later another patient build up ended when Bradley lofted a ball into the box, but it was too close to the keeper.
Dales was the first to give Durrant a real test 12 minutes in, cutting in from the left wing, his curling ball was palmed away for a corner. He was in full flow again two minutes but was hacked down by Bertran.
Sault then started to come forward more on the right wing, and was given freedom to cross the ball in, but it proved to be slightly too long for everyone in the box.
The screw was beginning to turn on the Long Eaton defence, with Sault and Greaves on the right, and Wilson and Dales on the left, with increasing determination.
Greaves got the ball into the box after 16 minutes, but no one made contact. But on the 20 minute mark Greaves found Nunn, who was tripped on the edge of the box. The free kick was on target, but bounced off the wall and out of danger.
It was Greaves on the attack again only a minute later that opened the scoring. As he crossed right to let just outside the box, he suddenly turned to his right and fired into the roof of the net, with the keeper well beaten, 2-0.
Soon after the restart Dales floated a lovely ball into the middle, but Nunn’s shot was blocked. There was almost a third after 28 minutes though, when some clever holding play on the right from Wright, found Dales, who tried a back heel just inches wide of the left and post.
Bradley then picked up a loose ball to fire his shot over the bar, but on the half hour Dales was pushed and pulled by full back Cocks, who then received a yellow card after Dales finally hit the deck. The following free kick was headed away for a corner and danger cleared for the moment.
Durrant had to save another Dales attempt after 34 minutes, before Greaves was clean through only to be obstructed at the critical moment.
Sports were being given so much time to play out of defence, but were unable to turn it into more goals. Nunn had a 40th minute shot blocked and a minute later a Wright and Dales one two, saw Dales just lose control at the final moment.
It was even close when Wright set up Dales with a minute of normal time left in the first half, as he cut inside he fired past Durrant, but agonisingly watched his shot bounce off the post.
Wilson almost got through, but was just offside, while right on the 45 Dales beat four defenders for pace. He couldn’t get space to shoot, but Greaves picked it up and had his shot tipped over.
Delap then headed just over from the corner, after a cross from Nunn, then Bradley found himself in space on the left. His cross was perfection and landed for Wright, whose effort had the keeper beaten again, only to trickle wide of the right hand post, but to his own disgust.
Long Eaton had an early and random shot early into the second half, but it was well over the bar. But Mickleover were soon calling the shots and after Dales had tormented the defence again, he cut in to find Greaves who fired home his second to make if 2-0.
Barely a minute later Sports made it 3-0. Although Greaves was on hand, it was Durrant’s attempted clearance that found it’s way into the net, after scything across the ball with his right foot.
Nyahwema put in a good shot for the hosts after 54 minutes, ably saved by Bosworth, but Mickleover continued to charge forward.
Sault then went on a long run down the right, cut inside and layed it off to Greaves who shot just wide. There was a free kick for Sports just after the hour mark and right in front of goal, but Dales effort was just over.
There were more goals to come though, when Greaves cut in from the left after 63 minutes. His pass landed nicely for Wright, who was right in front of goal and willingly side footed home for 4-0 and his first goal in Mickleover colours.
After a wild and random effort from Long Eaton, Sports first sub was Ferron on for Atkinson. But goal number five soon arrived after 66 minutes. There were appeals for offside but Wright played to the whistle, and with head down ran in to fire home his second and make it 5-0.
Bennett then came on for Dales, but a loose back pass almost handed Mickleover a sixth, when it almost found Greaves.
Nunn then fired another shot just past the post and Hakeem’s attempt for Long Eaton was kept out by a combination of Delap and Bosworth.
Beavon was the third sub, on for the last 15minutes as Greaves departed. But Wright headed just wide after 83 minutes from a Nunn cross and then Delap tried his luck but fired over.
Ferron’s pace was testing the hosts right back and following a free kick, his cross gave Beavon a half chance. With three minutes left another excellent Ferron cross just missed Nunn’s head, so it remained 5-0 and consolidated our lead at the table to five points, after Stourbridge drew.