by Peter Scherer
Mickleover’s pre-season run of success continued with a dominant 4-0 victory over Derby County’s Under 21 side.
Starting line-up: 1-Jonathan Hedge 2-Elliott Walker 3-Rhys Dolan 4-Ryan Wilson 5-James Butler 6-Phil Watt 7-Joe Bateman 8-Mason Warren 9-Elliott Reeves 10-Stuart Beavon 11-Andy Dales. Subs: Fin Bowen, Ethan Mann, George Atwal, Jahvan Davidson-Miller, Ben Horleston, Louis Pennington, Kai Moore, Marcus Marshall.
Mickleover’s midfield took control of the game in the opening minutes, with Dales mounting the first attack after two minutes to earn a throw. Six minutes later Beavon and Dales combined again to put a dangerous ball into the Derby box, but on this occasion the danger was cleared.
Both Walker and Dolan began to push forward, with Butler and Watt at the back under little pressure from the young Rams attack.
Wilson, Bateman and Warren looked strong and had the control of midfield, leaving Dales with his familiar roaming role to feed Beavon and Reeves.
Some good build up’s were just failing to pierce the Derby defence, with the final ball just failing to hit the spot.
After 18 minutes a Beavon cross found Reeves in the middle, he chested the ball but couldn’t quite get his shot in. Only one minute later the young striker made amends and fired the ball home 1-0.
Barely had the game kicked off again when Wilson was fouled on the right. With the Rams keeper failing to hold the ball, Reeves pounced on the rebound to fire home 2-0.
It was all Mickleover at this stage, with Derby struggling to get out of their own half.
25 minutes in and another good move from Dales was followed by an attempted one-two with Reeves, but just failed, before a Walker cross found Beavon, whose shot was blocked.
The one-way traffic continued as Dales tried his luck after 35 minutes, with a long run down the middle, before his shot was saved.
Four minutes left in the first half and Reeves collected the ball on the right, before cutting in. At first his shot looked to be heading wide of the far post, but it was timed to perfection for 3-0 and the striker’s hattrick.
There were no immediate changes for the second half, but Reeves went close again after Derby lost possession in the middle.
Beavon had a 52nd minute shot saved and two minutes later Bateman had a blast over the bar, following a Mickleover corner.
Reeves had his final attempt intercepted after being forced wide, before a mass substitution took place on the hour. On came Davidson-Miller, Atwal, Moore, Horleston and Mann and off came Beavon, Warren, Bateman, Watt and Reeves.
Davidson-Miller had the ball in the net again after 69 minutes, but was deemed offside and with Derby deciding to make changes too, Mickleover replaced Dales and Dolan with Marshall and Pennington.
Butler decided to join in with a couple of attacks and found Wilson in the box after 84 minutes, but the midfielder just failed to gain control and the chance was lost.
But goal number four finally arrived with a minute left, when the battling Moore kept the defence busy and Davidson-Miller found Marshall on the far post, who made no mistake from close range 4-0.
Another impressive performance from the Mickleover squad, but more was expected from a lack lustre Rams side, who failed to have one single shot on goal.
Next stop for Mickleover first team is a trip down the road to Borrowash Victoria on Saturday with a 3pm kick off.