Barker stars as Mickleover Reserves earn late win in local derby against Mickleover Royal British Legion
by Tom Horner
A brace from young star Fin Barker saw Mickleover Reserves earn a hard-fought 2-1 victory at the Don Amott Arena.
The early stages of the game saw very little goalmouth action, with neither side creating any clear-cut opportunities until the 14th minute, when Devon Smith’s acrobatic effort was cleared off the line at the back post.
The home side gained momentum as the half went on, with Jude Ayetine rattling the cross bar with a sweet right-footed strike following Jacob Edge-Lucas’s fantastic low cross.
Fin Barker then capitalised on a defensive miskick before showing great skill to beat two Royal British Legion defenders and looked certain to finish but for a spectacular save by the away goalkeeper.
Mickleover continued to dominate and trouble Royal British Legion as the game approached half-time. Ben Horleston played a pinpoint through ball to Barker, who dribbled past the away defence once again before laying off Ayetine who curled his shot just wide of the post from 12 yards.
The home side started the second half strongest as Ayetine’s backheel effort was deflected behind for a corner kick. George Atwal’s resulting corner struck the near post and lead to a goalmouth scramble. The ball was eventually cleared but only as far as Atwal, who whipped the ball back in, this time seeing his effort curl narrowly wide of the far top corner.
Despite the pressure Mickleover were putting their opponents under, in the 63rd minute, Royal British Legion took the lead against the run of play. The Royal British Legion left-winger cut the ball onto his right foot and smashed the ball into the near top corner to make it 1-0 to the away side.
However, it did not take long for the home side to bring the game level. Just a few minutes after going behind, some intricate passing play by Mickleover resulted in Barker being set free, before the young forward placed the ball expertly into the far bottom corner to make the scoreline 1-1.
Mickleover then came close to making it a quickfire double as Fin Barker and Lopes Massampo combined with a lovely one-two, but Barker’s low effort was well saved by the goalkeeper.
As the game edged closer to full time, it looked like Mickleover were going to have to settle for a point. However, just like the first-team did against Witton Albion on Saturday, the home side found an 88th minute winner. Josh Satchwell’s flicked header released Barker who stayed cool to slot the ball beyond the outrushing goalkeeper and find the bottom corner via the base of the post.
Mickleover survived a late goalmouth Scramble to secure all three points and move onto 50 points for the season.
90’ Lewis Benjamin replaces Fin Barker
90’ Emilio De Abreu replaces Jude Ayetine
Fin Bowen, Jacob Edge-Lucas, Cameron Anthony, Ethan Mann, Will Robinson, Lopes Massampo, Ben Horleston, George Atwal ©, Fin Barker (Lewis Benjamin 90), Devon Smith (Satchwell 58), Jude Ayetine (Emilio De Abreu 90).