(Written by James Capps)
Mickleover Sports recovered from a nightmare start to brush aside Skelmersdale United, and move up to 5th place in the Northern Premier League in the process.
The visitors drew blood first in a frenetic opening five minutes, as Benito Lowe expertly tucked home after excellent work on the right flank from Kenny Strickland.
That poor start sprung Mickleover into life, and they went agonisingly close to restoring parity just ten minutes later. Adam Baskerville was sent through on goal by a lovely pass from Pablo Mills, leaving him with just the keeper to beat, but he somehow managed to spin his effort past the far post.
But Sports weren’t to be denied, and after 18 minutes, they were level. There were one or two groans in the Don Amott Arena crowd when Brodie Litchfield nicked the ball off team mate Andy Dales’ feet following a weaving run in the box. But Litchfield knew better, as he slotted home from 12 yards.
Mickleover had their tails up and were building up a head of steam as we headed towards the half-hour stage, but Skelmersdale fired some warning shots, with goalscorer Lowe going close from 30 yards.
On the stroke of half-time, Mickleover took the lead. An Adam Baskerville free-kick looked like it was sailing harmlessly into the arms of visiting ‘keeper Martin Fearon, but the ball somehow managed to squeeze under his grasp and nestle in the back of the net to give Sports a 2-1 half time lead.
Mickleover continued their dominance at the start of the second half, as John McGrath struck the crossbar from all of 40 yards with a spectacular volley that got bums off seats. The crowd was on its feet again just a few moments later…
On 55 minutes the home side put themselves firmly in the driving seat, Baskerville broke the Skelmersdale offside trap for an umpteenth time, and selflessly squared the ball for to strike partner Litchfield for an easy tap in.
It was Litchfield’s turn to again be through on goal after 70 minutes, but he didn’t reciprocate Baskerville’s earlier kindness, as his shot was saved.
Skelmersdale rarely threatened in the second half, but should have given themselves a lifeline with just three minutes left of normal time, as Chris Almond failed to score, with just the ‘keeper to beat.
The full-time whistle was greeted with a chorus of cheers from the Don Amott faithful, as they secured their first home win of the new season. Sports will be looking to continue their promising start as they travel to Barwell on Tuesday night.
0-1: Benito Lowe, 2nd minute
1-1: Brodie Litchfield, 18th minute
2-1: Adam Baskerville, 45 minute
3-1: Brodie Litchfield
Tony Rendle (Skelmersdale), 45th minute
Kevin Grocott (Mickleover), 58th minute
Adam Baskerville (Mickleover), 82nd minute
Robert McIntosh (Skelmersdale), 86th minute
Referee: M Law
Photo’s: Courtesy Of Sarah Middleton