by Peter Scherer
Two goals from Oliver Greaves secured another three points for Mickleover, as they kept their 100 per cent record, with a 2-1 win at Barwell last night.
Starting line-up: 1-Oliver Bosworth 2-Joe Bateman 3-Ryan Wilson 4-Will Atkinson 5-Fin Delap 6-Ethan Mann 7-Ben Sault 8-Dan Bradley 9-Stuart Beavon 10-Marcus Barnes 11-Oli Greaves. Subs: Callum Chettle, Jim Pollard, Sam Tomlinson, Andre Wright, Brandon Ferron.
Barwell were first on the attack with Mann heading away the opening corner of the game. But after six minutes Barnes made a break down the right, finding Greaves in the centre, but his shot was blocked.
Only a couple of minutes later Barnes burst through again and almost made it into the box, before his path was blocked too.
Mickleover settled quickly and began to push forward, with Sault earning a corner after 10 minutes.
As the home defence started to be pegged back, Barnes again outpaced his chaser on the right to fire in another cross, which was met by the advancing Greaves, who scored from a tightening angle, 1-0.
Despite Barwell earning a couple of corners in the following minutes, they came to nought with Bosworth in the Mickleover untroubled.
Sports were oozing with confidence and were able to slow the game down to walking pace at times. Greaves was almost clear on another run after 18 minutes, but Bateman’s long ball proved a little too long.
Barwell continued to work hard to push forward, but found the presence of Bradley and Atkinson in front of Bateman, Delap, Mann and Wilson a solid unit to try and pierce
Rowe had the first real shot for Barwell after 21 minutes, just wide of the left-hand post and then Delap tripped Holman, but the following free kick was well off target.
Greaves pace continued to trouble the home defence on the left, ably supported by the overlapping Wilson, which also allowed Atkinson a break, firing over the bar after 26 minutes.
Sault was working hard to progress too, creating space for his own shot after 29 minutes, held firmly by keeper Griffiths.
Despite Mickleover’s dominance, they were no nearer to a second goal, but another Bateman run on the right found Beavon in the middle. His lay-off found Sault but the final shot was too high.
Greaves then managed to beat three defenders before running into trouble, but Barwell were still pushing for the equaliser, and although dangerous on the break, they seemed to lack a finish.
Both Delap and Mann made a number of interceptions with their heads and their feet, but a nice cross field ball from Delap after 41 minutes, found Beavon. His shot was just wide, but the ball went free across the box and needed a follow up.
Bradley was booked for a foul on Enoru, but Kerr’s free kick was wide of the mark and Bosworth had it covered, as it remained 1-0 at half time.
It was a far more even start to the second half, but after 52 minutes Barnes got clear on the right again, but his cross went out.
For a few minutes it looked liked Mickleover were turning the screw again, but Bosworth was in action after a half-hearted Barwell attack.
As the hour mark approached, the hosts had grown in stature and most of the play was in the Mickleover half, with Barwell now controlling midfield.
Bateman was yellow carded when he appeared to fall over a defender, but the following Barwell shot was blocked. Enoru then went solo, but ran into a crowded box, where his shot was blocked.
Sports had gone off the boil and Barwell seemed to be looking ever closer to an equaliser. But again they lacked someone who could finish some promising moves.
Cursons put a header wide for Barwell after 72 minutes, and Mickleover then made their first change with Chettle on for Barnes.
Rowe then tugged Greaves back as he attempted a rare second half charge, but the ref let it go, but shortly afterwards Wilson was booked.
Wright then came on for Beavon as Mickleover started to push forward again with 20 minutes left.
A long ball out of Sports defence sent Sault on a chase, but Griffiths was off his line and got there first. Then Barwell had a golden chance when after 86 minutes the fell threateningly into the box, with no one to receive it.
A minute later Mann charged down the field but lost control before he could pass, but five minutes were being added on.
There had been few chances for Mickleover in the second half, but after 91 minutes Chettle started a move on the right and as the ball came over Greaves was there again to make it 2-0.
Barwell responded with a shot high and wide, but after 93 minutes they pulled one back with Kamara heading home a Kerr free kick. 2-1.
The final few minutes were full on attack from Barwell with appeals for a penalty waved away. The whistle finally went and it was another three points, in a definite game of two halves.
There is no league action now until October 14th when we face Royston at home, as next week it’s FA Cup at Stourbridge followed by return to Barwell in the FA Trophy a week later.