by Peter Scherer
Mickleover finished off their home league campaign last Saturday with a 2-1 win over Redditch Utd, leaving them with an outside chance of a play-off position.
Starting line-up: 1-Oliver Bosworth 2-Jake Bennett 3-Ryan Wilson 5-James Butler 6-Phil Watt 7-Andy Dales 8-Mitch Rose 9-Marcus Marshall 10-Mason Warren 11-Will Trueman 15-Ethan Mann. Subs: Fin Ryder, Jonathan Hedge, Pablo Mills, Elliott Reeves, Rhys Dolan.
Both sides kicked off with attack in mind. Only four minutes gone and Warren put a telling cross into the Redditch box, with Wilson sending a flying header just wide.
But three minutes later our visitors had a penalty appeal waved away, after a Hudson pass found Flanagan but the tackle was seen as fair.
They went close again when Sheaf fired a shot in, which was deflected over the bar for a corner.
It was Redditch that opened the scoring however, when after 15 minutes Flanagan broke through the defence, finding Mensah whose cross was hit home by Barry King, 0-1.
Only a minute after the opening goal it was level again, when Dales went on a run, cut inside and fired it into the top corner, 1-1.
Redditch continued to push forward and managed to keep the home defence busy, with Bosworth having to save low down from another King shot after 24 minutes, following a good build up from Mensah and Sheaf to earn another corner.
King broke through again after 37 minutes, but Bosworth made the save with his feet, before a Hudson follow up was blocked. But Sports were quick on a break that followed, with Dales charging down the left, before Warren’s shot was blocked.
Mann earned a corner when his shot was blocked, but Redditch went close again after another Flanagan pass split the defence, before Mensah pulled his shot wide as half time approached.
There was late drama though for Mickleover, when Warren was injured and replaced by Dolan, but as the whistle went it was still 1-1.
It continued to be fairly even, but Mensah had the first chance of the second half, heading wide after 53 minutes, following a positive build up.
Redditch keeper Harrison then made a good save from Wilson’s free kick, following a foul on Rose, but the following corner came to nought.
The hour mark had gone and then Marshall held the ball well and was able to feed the ball through the following Dolan, sending a rocket shot into the top corner from the edge of the box, 2-1 after 65 minutes.
Hudson tried to set up another Redditch attack, but his lay off on the edge of the box found no one waiting.
Reeves came on for Rose after 75 minutes and was soon in action, being brought down in the box to earn a penalty. The striker stepped up to take the kick himself and Harrison dived to his right and made a well-timed save.
With time running out Riley headed a Flanagan free kick across the box, before Redditch skipper Byrne fired over and then eight minutes from time, Harrison had to save again from a powerful Sports strike.
Final score at 2-1 brings Mickleover within just four points of a play-off place with two games to play,