Match Report: Barwell (H)

Mickleover 3 – 3 Barwell

Sports:- King, Hickman, Eccleshall, McGrath, Williams, Morris, Dales(Briscoe 77), Morrison, Scott, Garnett (Barnes-Homer 45), Norcross.
Subs:- Belgrave, Grocott, Turner.

Barwell:- Castle, Whitmore, Nisevic, Stanley, Kay, Julian (Nesbitt 82), Heath, Percival, Piggon (Warmington 89), Hickey, Storey (Baldwin 77).
Subs:- Hadland, Turner.

Attn:- 166

In a season that has been frequently disrupted by bad weather it seemed appropriate that Sports kicked off their final game on a very wet afternoon.

Despite the stop start nature of their campaign the hosts were set for their highest ever finish, and points total at this level with anything better than a defeat.

With the forthcoming League restructuring meaning only one club going down Mickleover have been safe from relegation for some time now, a fact which has allowed player manager John McGrath to blood a number of youngsters in the last few games, with an eye to the future.

One of those prospects, Tom Eccleshall, made his debut at left back in this game, and at the age of 16 become the youngest ever player to debut for the first team – he acquitted himself well.

Sports made the best of possible starts as Will Norcross got onto the end of a deflected pass not intended for him before scoring with a maturity that belied his years, with 5 minutes on the clock.

The game then swung the way of the visitors with a disastrous 5 minute spell for the home team. Firstly keeper Lewis King was unable to deal with a regulation shot from distance by Brady Hickey on 7 minutes that he fumbled into the net.

King was then unlucky in the 12th minute to push a shot away from goal only for Mitchell Piggon to react faster than the home defenders and fire home to give his side the lead.

Piggon then proceeded to increase the Barwell lead on 32 minutes out muscling Morgan Williams for the ball and netting off the far post.

Norcross gave Mickleover a chance of a comeback when he cut in from the right wing only two minutes into the second half and doubled his lead with a cross shot that was too good for visiting keeper Liam Castle to deal with.

Player manager John McGrath completed the scoring for the season with one of his trademark free kicks from the edge of the box that rippled the back of the net on 57 minutes.

The ensuing draw meant that Sports had finished the season, as hoped, with a record points tally and a highest position, and with so many youngsters knocking on the door for selection to the first team the future is certainly looking bright.

Phil Matthews

Freelance Sports Broadcaster and Writer

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