by Tom Horner
Teenage star Fin Barker scored five goals as Mickleover Reserves thrashed Ashland Rovers 11-0 at the Don Amott Arena.
Starting line-up: Fin Bowen, Ben Lewin (c), Ethan Mann, Cam Anthony, Will Robinson, Aaron Hayer, Ben Horleston, Sam Groves, Fin Barker, Jude Ayetine (Emilio De Abreu ’61), Devon Smith.
The first chance of the game fell to the home side in the seventh minute, as Ayetine found Smith in the box. The Mickleover forward turned his man well but fired his shot just over the bar.
The away side then had their first chance of the game as they caught Mickleover on the counter-attack with a good ball out to Alex Paterson on the right wing, who cut inside and curled the ball wide of the far post.
Just a few minutes later, in the 17th minute, Mickleover broke the deadlock. Robinson beat his man on the left wing before cutting the ball back to Ayetine, who calmly placed his shot beyond the keeper to open the scoring.
Mickleover almost made it a quickfire double as Robinson troubled the defence once again, whipping a dangerous cross to Barker whose near-post flick found the side netting.
It didn’t take long for the home side to double their advantage, as in the 25th minute, Mann rose highest from a corner kick to head the ball down to Horleston, who volleyed the ball in from close range.
Smith should have made it three just moments later, as he capitalised on Barker dispossessing the goalkeeper, only to roll the ball wide from 20 yards.
Mickleover were becoming more and more dominant as the first half progressed, and Hayer further extended their lead in the 31st minute with a fantastic 30-yard strike that dipped and swerved over the goalkeeper’s head.
Barker made it 4-0 just before halftime with a delicate chip over the goalkeeper following a fantastic pass from Mann who bagged his second assist of the game.
It took just five minutes of the second half for Barker to complete his hat-trick, as he set off on a mazy run from the halfway line before finding the far bottom corner with a composed finish.
Just moments later, Barker grabbed Mickleover’s sixth goal of the game and 100th goal of the season, as he played a one-two with Ayetine before beating his man and slotting the ball in the far bottom corner once again.
The Ashland defence were struggling to handle the young Barker as he then grabbed his fourth and fifth goals in quick succession with two more fantastic solo goals.
In the 64th minute, Robinson grabbed his third assist of the game as he ran to the byline , before cutting the ball back to Smith who calmly placed the ball past the goalkeeper to make it 9-0.
Josh Fawcett kept the scoreline down for twenty minutes with some fantastic saves for Ashland, before Mickleover made it double figures in the 83rd minute as Lewin’s cross was met with a bullet header by Robinson.
Mickleover’s final goal of the game came from Mann as his 30-yard effort found the bottom corner brilliantly in the final few seconds to make the full-time score 11-0 to Mickleover.
The reserves are in action again on Saturday away to Blidworth.