by Peter Scherer
Mickleover headed to the North East with high hopes of progression in the FA Trophy against National Legue North Spennymoor Town. Their aspirations proved successful with an Oli Greaves double securing Sports place in the third round draw.
Starting line-up: 1 Oli Bosworth 2-Jake Bennett 3-Ryan Wilson 4-Will Atkinson 5-Fin Delap 6-Ethan Mann 7-Andy Dales 9-Marcus Barnes 10-Ben Sault 11-Oli Greaves 15-Fin Ryder. Subs: Will Trueman, Stuart Beavon, Brandon Ferron, Sam Tomlinson.
It wasn’t the best of starts for Mickleover, when having lost Dan Bradley to a warm-up injury, they went a goal after just three minutes. Sports were beaten down the left and as the ball came to Ramshaw, he fired in from a narrowing angle, beating Bosworth on his far post, 0-1.
It acted as a wake-up call for Mickleover and they were soon pushing forward, with Sault on a good run after five minutes, before any threat fizzled out. But then Dales earned a corner, setting up Ryder, whose effort was just wide.
Two minutes later Dales put a tight cross in from the left, which went desperately close to getting between Roxburgh in the home goal and his cross bar, as the pressure continued.
Bennett then had a run through and forced Roxburgh into another save, tipping his right foot shot just around the post for another corner.
Although Mickleover were ahead possession wise, they had been unable to grab the equaliser, but things soon changed.
23 minutes in and Barnes was making a turn to leave him clear on goal, but Spennymoor skipper James Curtis was shown a straight red card for hauling him back.
Greaves free kick came to nought, but Sports were making every effort to maximise their player advantage, with Barnes forcing his way through after 32 minutes, before Dales tried a shot, which rebounded to Ryder, finding Sault who shot over.
Our hosts made a double substitution, but Sault managed to out run the defence again down the right, before the ball ran away from him.
With Delap player more of a sweeper role, Mann was able to move forward and found Greaves on the edge of the box. There were shouts for a handball, but the referee waved it away and the danger past.
Barnes then had a golden chance of an equaliser after 37 minutes. The keeper was committed but at full stretch his effort was just wide again.
But the equaliser finally came two minutes later, when Dales led another attack and after a one two with Wilson, they found Greaves in the middle, he made no mistake and it was 1-1.
Spennymoor had one more chance before half time when Anderson shot well over the bar from a Fielding cross, but it remained 1-1 as the half time whistle blew.
The first 10 minutes of the second half had been fairly even, with both sides looking to move forward, sticking to their passing style of play, bringing the ball out of defence.
After 55 minutes though Sault went close with another effort, before Atkinson came forward on the hour, setting up another Dales and Wilson move on the left. As Wilson put the ball in, Greaves was on the spot with a well placed header out of Roxburgh’s reach. 2-1.
Greaves had another shot eight minutes later, but it was straight at the keeper, before Sports made their first change with Ferron on for Wilson.
It was almost a hattrick for Greaves after 79 minutes, Dales set him up after beating the defence down the left, but at his second attempt his shot was blocked by Roxburgh.
As the clock ran down Mickleover were totally in control, with Spennymoor hoping for a lucky break.
Trueman came on for Ryder after 86 minutes and was immediately into the action, with a lovely back heeler to Bennett, who shot just wide.
Into the final minute and there was another goal. Greaves effort was blocked again, but Dales was following up and made it 3-1, before he went one on one with the keeper in time added on, with Roxburgh just there first.
Tomlinson made a late appearance as sub for Sault, but it was a good solid performance from Mickleover, against a top four National League North side and we now wait for the third round draw.