by Peter Scherer
Mickleover Reserves were at home again for their second league match in four days, as they faced Arnold Town.
Starting line-up: Josh Maher, Toby Smith, Brandon Ferron, Harry Atwal, Jared Cholerton, Zak Sandhu, Dean Ironmonger, George Atwal, Fin Ryder, Bobby Battisson, Josh Powell. Subs: Mason Hoult, Mason Tudgay, Silas Donker, Will Coffen, Luis Mas-Hall, Jayden Cozens.
It started badly for Sports youngsters, when the defence seemed to freeze as the visitors striker found a gap in the middle and made it 0-1.
Following a corner four minutes later, there was little resistance again in the box, and it was 0-2 to Arnold.
Mickleover looked somewhat shell shocked and it took a while for them to get into the game, with Smith losing possession on the right, Cholerton managed to intercept an Arnold break.
Sports first real attempt came after 13 minutes when Ferron made a run down the left, finding Harry Atwal, whose shot was blocked.
As confidence began to be restored a 15th minute corner fell to Ironmonger, but he couldn’t get control and it then fell to Cholerton. He couldn’t get a shot in either, but third time lucky Ryder had his attempt blocked.
Powell had a shot saved two minutes later after a jinking Battisson run and with Mickleover pressing hard, Powell cut inside again from the left, his shot was saved as was his rebound, earning another corner.
The Arnold defence was being kept in retreat and after 19 minutes Mickleover got their reward, when Ferron cut inside and ran through the middle to outpace the defence, making it 1-2.
The momentum was all Mickleover at this point, as Battisson again tore through the middle, cut inside to set up Powell, but the 21st minute shot was wide of the right-hand post.
Three minutes later a George Atwal free kick was just outside the right-hand post too, before another Ferron run saw him lose possession in the box, as he was about to shoot. The following corner then fell to Ryder and his shot was just over the bar too.
Some nice interplay between Ferron and Powell ended with a lob into the visiting keeper’s hands, but Powell should have tucked away a 29th minute chance, after a lovely ball from Smith on the right, but it was wide again.
Arnold managed a random shot wide of the target just after the half hour, but the game took another twist after 34 minutes as the ball arrived in the middle of the box. The home defence failed to react to the danger and it was 1-3.
Despite being two goals down, Mickleover continued to have the run of play. Battisson found Powell, but he couldn’t get a shot in, leaving Harry Atwal to follow up but just wide. Battisson then had his own effort saved after 38 minutes, before Ryder fired over.
George Atwal had another free kick but this one went straight to the keeper, before a fine solo run from Ryder saw his shot slightly deflected before the keeper made his save.
With half time approaching Harry Atwal just missed connecting with a cross from the right, before Battisson tested the keeper again. Finally a crossfield ball from Smith found Ferron in space, he had the defence beaten, but once again the keeper saved the day.
So it was 1-3 half time in a game that maybe should have been 4-3, but there was more drama to come.
Three minutes into the second half and it was 2-3, when the ball fell nicely for Harry Atwal in the box, beating the keeper close in.
But Arnold were still trying to push forward and tried an ambitious lob four minutes later, to no avail.
Powell then battled through to find Harry Atwal again, who picked out brother George in space, but the deflected shot was just wide.
Battisson’s 51st minute attempt was just wide too, but earned a corner and then Powell had a good try saved by the impressive keeper.
The Arnold defence were taking a battering as fitness levels began to show, Mickleover were doing everything but score, but in 66th minute Ryder met Ferron’s cross and it was 3-3.
Five minutes later there was a hold up as the referee went off injured, as Mickleover sub Cozens took over on the line.
Maher had to come to the home defence rescue after 73 minutes, diving at a strikers feet, but Mickleover were now going for the win.
Battisson was brutally fouled, but George Atwal’s free kick was too high and then Ferron pulled back a nice cross from the byline, but no one was on the receiving end.
79 minutes and Tudgay came on for Powell, but there were shouts for a penalty after 86 minutes, when Ryder appeared to be held on the ground by a defender. There was no penalty, but he was down long enough to secure a pin fall.
With two minutes of normal time left Harry Atwal’s effort bounced off the top of the bar from another Ferron cross, before an Atwal Tudgay one-two saw the keeper smother a good effort from Tudgay.
It was into injury time with the whistle almost poised, Battisson fed Ryder. Heading straight at the keeper, his shot bounced off the advancing stopper.
But in a final scramble in the box Battisson and the Arnold keeper were in close proximity. So close the shot bounced off the keeper and hit Battisson again, rebounding into the net 4-3 in a dramatic finale.