Mickleover Sports 3 0 Coventry Sphinx
by Laurie Newman
A hat-trick from James Cadman was enough to put Mickleover Sports through to the next round of the FA Cup after defeating Coventry Sphinx.
The game was a slow burner, but Sports found their hero in Cadman who stepped up and supplied his team with all three goals to help them advance into the next round.
Sports also made FA Cup history as manager John McGrath and his son Jay became the first father and son duo to play together in the competition.
It was a slow start for both teams in the game but it was evident that Mickleover were the more experienced and better drilled team as they kept control of the ball.
Sports continued to control the game as they moved the ball well, but they just couldn’t find a way to penetrate Coventry apart from the odd long shot.
Eventually Sports’ class shone through when Jack Storer played a delightful ball over Coventry’s back four with the outside of his foot, allowing James Cadman the time and space to pick his spot and hand his team the lead.
Mickleover who were on the hunt for a second would have to wait a good 20 minutes to add to their lead. Half of that time was due to a floodlight failure which stunned unfortunately Sports’ momentum.
The second was definitely worth the wait though, as it put Sports in a comfortable position for the rest of the game. Cadman fired the ball from just outside the box into the bottom right hand corner after controlling the ball following a poor clearance.
Sports nearly added a third just before half time when Storer’s effort from just outside the box went narrowly wide.
Sports who had a comfortable lead at the break, showed why they were leagues above without really having to apply too much pressure on Coventry.
The start of the second half saw both teams make a change. Sports brought on Chib Chilaka for Nathan Modest, and the visitors replaced Max Howard with Ryan Palmer.
Just like the first half, nothing of note really happened in the opening minutes. The first moment of any note was the substitution of Jack Storer who made way for Tomas Junek.
Soon enough though, the game would light up once more. Mason Warren’s incredible solo run in Coventry’s box was nearly matched by his shot which smashed the part of the woodwork where the post and bar meet.
About five minutes later, Cadman completed his hat-trick when he tapped in Ben Turner’s cross from only a few yards out.
Although, Cadman was the star man, Chilaka was certainly making his presence felt. He was involved in a number of chances for Sports, the best being when he nearly scored a sublime solo goal from inside the box.
Chilaka dribbled the ball past four or five Coventry players before smashing the ball across goal which was almost certain to hit the back of the net.
Unfortunately for Chilaka Jake Scott threw himself at the ball, connecting with his head and subsequently heading the ball over the bar from only a few yards out.
Chilaka continued to push for his first goal in red and black, but clearly luck was not on his side.
In the last five minutes he hit the post after taking the ball round the keeper as well as having a goal ruled out for off-side.
It clearly wasn’t meant to be for Chilaka, but we’re sure he won’t mind as Sports progressed to the next round comfortably.
A win tonight was vital too, as it would have definitely raised the team’s morale, especially after losing to Witton Albion in their last game.
In addition to that, it will have boosted the team’s confidence ahead of their clash with Stafford Rangers on Monday.
Mickleover Sports FA Cup dreams were left in tatters after bowing out of the competition two goals to one to National League North side Alfreton Town. After Lewis King made a terrific double save from one penalty kick, he could not prevent the second after an extremely ludicrous decision led to Jordan Sinnott giving the visitors the lead. Sports were clearly aggrieved and conceded a second before half time through Richard Peniket scrambling the ball home. Sports battled well in the second half and got a goal back through an Isai Marselia penalty after Pablo Mills was bundled down in the box. But despite wave after wave of pressure from Sports it just wasn’t to be as a mixture of bad decision making and bad luck saw the hosts FA Cup dreams shelved for another season.
As always Lewis King started in goal between the sticks. A back four or Jake Scott, Pablo Mills, Tom Burgin and Ben Turner started behind John McGrath and Jimmy Phillips in midfield. On the wings were Curtis Burrows and Ted Cribley with Evan Garnett and Nathan Jarman upfront. A youthful bench for Sports included Jack Walsh, Harley Kozluk, Mason Warren, Oliver Roberts and Isai Marselia.
Sports had the first effort of the game as Evan Garnett went close after being played in behind the Alfreton defense but his low shot was dragged wide of the right hand post. Alfreton came forward a few minutes later and despite some heavy pressure Sports held firm and it resulted in Bobby Johnson sending a strike wide of Kings left hand post. Two further efforts from Reds winger Jordan Sinnott then followed with both being well handled by King in the Sports goal. Next chance for the visitors came when a long ball forward was headed back into danger by Mills which fell kindly to James Clifton but his snap shot was hit well over the bar for a goal kick.
Next up came the first Alfreton penalty as Ben Turner clipped for Alfreton Town strike inside the box. However Lewis King saved well down to his right hand side before getting up and tipping the follow up with both hands over the bar for a corner. However the drama did not end there as the referee on the 34th minute gave another penalty which nobody in the ground claimed for. The referee adjudged John McGrath to have stamped on the Alfreton players foot but you can tell a lot about a decision when neither the player or the visiting fans don’t appeal for it whether it’s the correct call or not. This time Jordan Sinnott stepped up and sent King the wrong way to put the visitor’s one goal up. Sports players were evidently aggrieved with the referee’s decision and unfortunately after two missed chances from Garnett and McGrath, the players switched off for the second goal from the Reds right before half time. An Alfreton corner was floated in and after a scramble to clear in the box the ball fell kindly to Richard Peniket who stuck the ball in from close range to put the visitor’s two goals to the good at the half time break.
Sports started the second half well as Pablo Mills headed a McGrath corner wide. Alfreton then had the ball in the back of the net once more but this time the decision was in Sports favor as the linesman on the far side raised his flag for offside. Another Sports chance then came and went as a McGrath free kick was headed back into the danger area by Mills across the goal but the on rushing Tom Burgin couldn’t quite get to the ball as it went out for a goal kick. A bizarre moment occurred moments later as Evan Garnett burst through into the box with pace, cut inside and looked to have been brought down but the referee took the view he had dived and booked Garnett to his anger. Isai Marselia then came on for Curtis Burrows. With eight minutes of normal time left Sports got themselves back into the game through a penalty kick of their own. Pablo Mills was rugby tackled in the area and up stepped Isai Marselia with nerves of steel to score into the bottom right corner.
However as much as Sports piled the pressure on the visitors saw the game out well and had the only remaining concrete chance of the match as goal scorer Sinnott put an effort over the bar. All in all Sports will feel that their FA Cup adventure was brought to an end by a bad decision but they can still take a lot of pride away from a battling performance as they competed well against a side a league above them. It’s back to the league on Tuesday night as Sports travel to Witton Albion on Tuesday 9th October 2018, 7:45pm Kick Off.
Written by Sam Goldsworthy.