by Peter Scherer
Mickleover extended their unbeaten run to six games with a hard fought win against a robust defending Hyde United.
The starting line-up was the same as last Saturday’s win over Grantham, but it was a welcome back for Mason Warren and Aman Verma on the bench.
The full line-up was 1-Callum Hawkins 2-Jake Benett 3-Alex Morris 4-Kemy Agustien 5-James Butler 6-Phil Watt 7-George Milner 8-Andrew Wright 9-Paddy Webb 10-Stuart Beavon 11-Declan Bacon, Subs: Josh Satchwell, Mason Warren, Pablo Mills, Anam Verma, and Joe Slinn.
Mickleover were on the attack from the opening minutes, with Milner the integral part of a build-up including most of the team.
An early Agustien free-kick was cleared and after six minutes a Beavon cross was headed out for the first corner of the game. It came to nothing and after the clearance there was a free-kick to Hyde.
Four minutes later and Agustien was busy with another free kick after Wright was fouled, but the initial clearance ran loose, was picked up by Milner, whose shot was just over.
Beavon was the next to be fouled, so it was another Agustien free kick, before the Curacao midfielder played a nice ball through the middle, for Milner to flick on a header which wasn’t picked up.
Hyde then started to come out more and after a Tom Pratt effort was easily blocked by Watt, Liam Tongue shot straight at Hawkins, with his shot comfortably held.
Sports then broke out again with a strong running overlap from Morris, but his cross was too near to keeper Joe Green.
Tongue had a good effort again for Hyde on 15 minutes, but Hawkins dived to his left and had it covered.
Then Watt was first in the book for Sports and yet another free kick and Hyde’s effort was straight into the wall, before Morris went in the book for a late challenge too.
The next free kick was Hyde’s again and nearly got through the Mickleover defence, before being put out for a corner.
The book was out again for Paddy Lane’s late challenge on Morris, only two minutes later Tom Pratt was in there too after a challenge on Butler and Bradley Roscoe followed after taking down Beavon, as the referee’s whistle began to dominate the game.
In between the stoppages Hyde managed a weak shot easily taken by Hawkins, and another effort from Tongue was blocked.
With 10 minutes to go in the first half Beavon almost found space in the box, before a Bacon cross was cleared by the visitors defence.
There was another Mickleover free kick after Milner was taken down just outside the box, Agustien’s shot was then just tipped over by Green.
Hyde then got a break through Chinedu Uche, and although it got very busy in the box, Hawkins ran out and cleared the threat before the referee finally brought a very scrappy first half to a conclusion.
There was an early corner for Hyde as the second half kicked off, but no one connected with Tongue’s effort
But it was soon evident that Sports were beginning to flow, aided by the fact the referee wasn’t stopping play every five minutes.
Butler put a testing ball over the centre of the Hyde goal, almost connecting with a charging Bennett before it was intercepted.
Webb almost put Wright in the clear but a combination of keeper and defender saved the visitors again. Beavon was next, chasing a long ball that just ran out on him.
Lane had a great chance to give the visitors the lead, but put it wide and was soon to regret his miss.
Morris to Bacon, a cross to Bennett who had made a long and forceful run towards goal. He could have shot but played it to Milner, who placed it cleanly in the bottom corner. 1-0 after 55 minutes.
“That goal was so important,” said a delighted Milner. “I played my part in that goal, as we just don’t score enough,” Bennett added.
Only a couple of minutes later Webb was almost through again, then Bacon had his cross put out for a corner.
The pressure continued with Bacon fouled on the edge of the box. The initial Beavon free kick was put out for a corner, from where Butler’s header was put out for another corner too.
Beavon was busy again with a 68th minute cross, Webb was tripped in the area, but Wright sent a cracking shot inches over the bar.
With less stoppages the game had flowed much better in the second half, which suited Sports tactics and another promising run from Webb earned another corner.
72 minutes in and Warren came on for Bacon and Hawkins had a bit of work to do, which was all dealt with routinely.
Sports were still pushing and had most of the play when Webb had a chance of number two from a Morris cross, but he just failed to make proper contact and the chance had gone.
Back from injury Verma was on for Wright, but after 80 minutes Hyde had a great chance for an equaliser, when a telling cross across the goal face, was just missed at the far post.
Hyde pushed everything forward, including keeper Green, who had been putting up with some friendly banter from Sports fans about his shiny boots.
Hawkins had a couple of late saves to make and Warren created his own space and shot just wide. Mills subbed for Webb in the final minutes, but the whistle blew after five minutes added time, and it was another well-deserved win for Mickleover.