by Peter Scherer
Mickleover continued their pre-season build-up with a visit to Ilkeston Town last night.
Starting line-up: 1-Jim Pollard 2-Jake Bennett 3-Rhys Dolan 4-Will Atkinson 5-Ethan Mann 6-Ryan Wilson 7-Andy Dales 8-Will Trueman 9-Andre Wright 10-Oil Greaves 11-Marcus Barnes. Subs: George Atwal, Fin Ryder, Zac Sandhu, Dan Bradley.
Mickleover were quick out of the blocks and were soon into a passing flow, with Barnes fouled after two minutes following a run by Wilson. Dales was soon into the action too, before Ilkeston responded with a telling cross, headed away by Wilson.
Bennett managed to find an excess of space down the right after seven minutes, cutting inside to have his half shot blocked. Despite being on the ground, he was up and picked up his own rebound before the danger was cleared.
Ilkeston then had a free kick which went straight out of play, before Eratt-Thompson fired in a shot straight at Pollard.
Sports were flowing well, with Mann and Wilson at the back, choosing between Atkinson in central midfield and the free running Greaves, Trueman and Dales.
Dales put a cross in from the left after 11 minutes, it tested keeper Yates, but was too close to the far post. Barnes fired a shot over the bar after collected a Dales pass and another charge straight down the middle of the pitch.
It was Wright and Barnes combining that almost broke the deadlock at 16 minutes. Wright went through first before Yates blocked him, then Barnes shot just over again.
Ilkeston started to break out a little more constructively, forcing Pollard into a save on the edge of his area and only a minute later the Mickleover keeper safely collected a shot from outside the box.
Sports struggled to clear a 20th minute corner as the hosts tried a couple of random shots in a crowded box, but Dales, Dolan and Greaves then combined to send Barnes on his way, but it came to nought.
Eratt-Thompson had another attempt on the Mickleover goal, but was high and wide, before Dales upped the pace again. Atkinson and Greaves had an interchange, but the final shot was blocked again.
Greaves had a shot saved by Yates on the half hour, after creating his own space, but Ilkeston came straight back with Pollard saving a header, after a cross from the left.
Wright then spotted Bennett in space on the right, but as he ran in, the oncoming defender intercepted. Greaves then missed out by just inches, as his angled shot was just the wrong side of the far post after 36 minutes.
Dales managed to disposess the Ilkeston number five Young with two minutes left of the first half, but as he ran head on for goal, keeper Yates guessed the right side and it remained 0-0 as the whistle went.
Bradley came on for Dales as the second half got underway, allowing Wilson to move forward. He had a shot just over in the 49th minute, but the first goal finally came two minutes later.
Barnes had powered through on the right, got his cross in to perfection and with Yates committed, Wright slid in to score his first goal for the club. 1-0.
Sports continued to control most of the play up to the hour mark, but then Lita broke through, had his shot blocked, but earned a corner.
Atwal came on for Atkinson after 62 minutes, but Ilkeston had started to break out again, looking much stronger in attack as Sports sat back and let then hosts run at them.
Ryder was the next sub on and quickly found Atwal in space, who was then fouled. Ryder then sent Dolan on a run which was blocked, before Sandhu was the final sub to come on for Wright.
Ilkeston sub Zottas had looked fast and dangerous from the moment he came on, and after an 80th minute effort after a cross from the right, he fired in a terrific lofted shot from the left and had Pollard beaten, 1-1.
Ilkeston had the scent for victory and two minutes later Tolley charged through the Mickleover defence, before Pollard made a diving save.
A fairly strong all round performance from Mickleover in game which they probably just had the edge overall, now it’s onto Alfreton Town on Saturday.