Magnificent Seven For Sports Youth

by Peter Scherer

It was back into FA Youth Cup action last night for Mickleover, following their 8-0 win at home to Leicester Nirvana. Visitors Alfreton Town were expected to be considerably sterner opposition, but it was another dominant win, 7-0 to Sports.

Starting line-up: 1-Josh Maher 2-Mason Hoult 3-Brandon Ferron 4-Toby Smith 5-Jared Cholerton 6-Zac Sandhu 7-Josh Powell 8-Harry Atwal 9-Sam Tomlinson 10-Fin Ryder 11-Mason Tudgay. 

It was a good start from Mickleover on a chilly evening, but Alfreton showed early pace, looking for breaks out of defence.

Ferron had an early run into the box and then after five minutes another forceful run down the left found Powell, but his shot was just wide of the right-hand post.

Hoult began to use the overlap well too and his run four minutes later almost set Tomlinson free in the middle. But Alfreton broke swiftly but were intercepted on the edge of the box by a timely challenge from skipper Atwal.

Maher had to make his first save after 11 minutes, before a long ball out of defence almost found Tomlinson again, but the advancing keeper came to the rescue for the visitors.

Another Ferron run and following cross then found Powell again, but his shot was pulled wide again, just beyond the right- hand post.

Alfreton were being pegged back more and more by Mickleover and Tudgay was very unlucky not to open the scoring after 16 minutes. He jinked inside from the left, hit a great shot which hit the far post, and with the goalkeeper well beaten, the ball rolled along the goal line and out of danger.

The Alfreton defence had become casual and were failing to clear the ball, which invited a further barrage from Tomlinson and Ryder, which mixed with the pace of Powell and Tudgay and the overlapping Hoult and Ferron, continued to cause problems.

Tudgay set up Tomlinson after 19 minutes, but his shot was deflected out for a corner. But as the corner came in from the right, it was Sandhu that got a foot to it and it was 1-0.

Sports youngsters were looking more organised and eager than the visitors and further goals were looking inevitable. Hoult broke out following an Alfreton corner, then Ryder slipped the ball inside for Smith to have a long shot just over the bar.

But just after the half hour mark, Tudgay lost possession on the half-way line, and Alfreton made another break. Maher was forced to charge off his line, and there were appeals for handball out of the area, before the ball went for a corner.

Alfreton’s keeper was forced into a diving save from Tomlinson after 37 minutes, but only three minutes later, the young striker picked up the ball in the middle again, powering home a distance shot into the roof of the net. 2-0.

Tudgay went close again after 43 minutes, when after good work from Hoult on the right, a crossfield ball to Ferron preceded a tidy lay-off to Tudgay, whose effort was tipped away by the keeper.

In time added on Tomlinson got his second and Mickleover’s third, crashing a solo effort into the roof of the net again, to end the half 3-0 up.

The first half had been dominant for Mickleover, but they almost re-defined the word in the second 45, with Alfreton rarely breaking out of their own half.

Ferron almost scored only two minutes into the second period, cutting in from his own run down the left before shooting, while Smith picked up the rebound trying a long distance effort.

A 53rd minute run from Ferron caused panic in the defence again, with Tudgay hitting the post a minute later. But as the ball bounced free, at least three Sports players got shots in, but each attempt hit bodies and legs of the defenders before being cleared.

But Mickleover then won a free kick after 55 minutes, Atwal stepped up and fired it clear of the wall and the keeper to make it 4-0.

Next it was Ryder’s turn to hit the post after a jinking run through the middle to create his own chance, at this point Alfreton went for a change of keeper.

On the hour Mickleover made their first change, when Dean Ironmonger came on for Powell. Alfreton managed a rare attack though, headed away by Ferron, before Maher saved an even rarer Alfreton shot after 66 minutes.

Tudgay continued to torment the defence too, cutting in from another charge down the left, but his 67th minute shot was just wide.

We only had to wait another two minutes though for goal number five, when Ferron left the defence standing on the left, found Ironmonger in the centre, who wasted no time in burying the ball into the back of the net, 5-0.

Tudgay was then replaced by Liam Carter, but Tomlinson was seeking another hattrick, to add to his previous Youth Cup one. He forced the keeper into another save after a nice ball from Ryder after 74 minutes, but then Ferron put Carter through but the ball was a little too long.

Ryder made way for Luis Mas-Hall with 20 minutes left, but earlier sub Carter was on the attack again. He shot just wide after 81 minutes, but he was then on the end of a longball out from Cholerton, but fired his shot over the bar.

The Alfreton side were struggling in the final minutes and Mickleover were able to take advantage still further. Sandu had a shot just wide after 86 minutes and a minute later a Tomlinson shot was saved by the keepers leg.

Ironmonger made it 6-0 after 88 minutes with a fine solo effort and on the 90 Ferron hit the post. But Carter got the seventh in time added on with a cheeky chip over the keeper 7-0.

Tomlinson had the final shot of the game straight at the keeper, with the whistle soon following, as Mickleover youngsters look forward to the draw for the next round.

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