by Peter Scherer
Mickleover Reserves faced Newark based RHP Sports in the Abacus Lighting Floodlit Cup and came away 7-2 victors after a Sam Tomlinson hattrick.
Starting line-up: 1-Josh Bull 2-Silas Donker 3-Brandon Ferron 4-Toby Smith 5-Jared Cholerton 6-Zak Sandhu 7-Mason Tudgay 8-Louis Pennington 9-Fin Ryder 11-Josh Powell 12-Sam Tomlinson, Subs: Will Trueman, Sam Johnson, Hamza Konane, Joe Sellors, Josh Maher.
It was unusual start to the game to say the least, being 1-1 after just three minutes. Firstly the visiting keeper was caught well off his line and left Tomlinson with a chip into the empty net, 1-0. But barely had we kicked off again and Donker lost out down the right and as the ball came in the defence froze and it was 1-1 with Bull rooted for the close range shot.
Mickleover continued to play the short pass and push forward game, which won a fifth minute corner, before Tomlinson had another shot just wide after nine minutes.
A minute later Sports had a free kick, which was put just wide by Pennington, but a nice long ball from Sandhu set Tomlinson on another run 16 minutes in, but it was just a little too long.
But there was another shock in store for the Mickleover youngsters, when another play down the right saw Donker outpaced, and with Cholerton wrong footed too, it was an easy strike to make it 1-2.
Possession wise Mickleover had the edge and as Sandhu continued to play some telling long balls out of defence, Powell and Tudgay worked hard crossfield, with Pennington and Smith supporting.
Ryder was almost through again after 23 minutes but was blocked before he could shoot, but two minutes later we were back on even terms as Powell latched onto a break and chipped the keeper once again, 2-2.
Another four minutes, another goal. Tudgay had worked hard to keep possession on the right and got his cross in to find Ferron totally unmarked, and with time and precision it was 3-2.
Both Ryder and Tomlinson were causing havoc for the visitors defence, who began to argue among themselves, aiding by a voiciferous manager from the touchline.
On the half hour Ryder had jinked his way to within a couple of feet of the goal line before he was blocked and then Tomlinson cut in from the left but shot just over.
Another Ryder run found Pennington in the middle, but his curling shot after 35 minutes had the keeper beaten, before it bounced off the left-hand post.
Smith then tried his luck with a strong run until the ball got away from him, but it was all Mickleover for the final 10 minutes of the first half.
Ryder found Tomlinson in the middle, but a miskick saw the ball run out, but Tomlinson then had more shots, with one straight at the keeper and a second over the bar.
Two minutes left on the clock but there was time for two more goals, A lovely ball from Ryder on the right set up Tomlinson for number four and then Smith charged through the defence to set up a Tomlinson hattrick.
Having already scored three, Tomlinson almost got his fourth, but a late rally from the visiting defence kept it at 5-2 as the half time whistle blew.
As the teams came out for the second half, Trueman was on for Donker, his first game back after his pre-season foot injury.
It wasn’t long before there was another goal though, as Ferron outpaced the defence on the left. His shot was saved, but both Powell and Tudgay were poised to collect the rebound, with Powell hitting his second, 6-2 after 49 minutes.
There were a couple of breaks from RHP but fairly easily coped with by Cholerton and Sandhu, but after 53 minutes Powell was crudely challenged and was replaced by Konane.
Pennington’s following free kick was saved, but Tomlinson went close again two minutes later, running onto a long ball, it was intercepted again at the last minute.
RHP had another chance after 57 minutes, it almost had Bull beaten, but he took control at the second attempt. A minute later they had another shot but well wide of the target.
Ferron’s pace on the left and Tudgay through the middle took advantage of the visitors flagging defence, and Tudgay had another shot on the hour, saved by the keeper.
64 minutes and sub Konane had the ball, saw the keeper off his line yet again and it was 7-2. He was nearly in for his second too only three minutes later, but the outrushing keeper just beat him to the ball.
Just after Bull had made another save from a random shot, the RHP keeper was lucky to stay on the pitch. He raced out of goal to the right wing and flattened the Mickleover striker, he then turned on the same player and became abusive to both player and referee, receiving a yellow card.
There was almost an eighth goal after 80 minutes, but the keeper managed to save it, before Sports made a double substitution, with Sellors and Johnson on for Tomlinson and Tudgay.
Ferron went close again after 83 minutes and Smith was unlucky when his 85th minute effort was touched onto the bar by the keeper.
There were so many late chances for another late goal, but it remained 7-2 and we now look forward to the next round.