Second Half Fightback Nets All Three Points

by Peter Scherer

There were a number of changes in the Mickleover line-up, following last weeks home defeat. But after going a goal down, it was a second half fightback that netted three points.

Starting line-up: 1-Lewis Ridd 2-Jake Bennett 3-Rhys Dolan 4-Will Atkinson 5-Dan Bradley 6-Ethan Mann 7-Andy Dales 8-Will Trueman 9-Fin Ryder 10-Ben Sault 11-Oli Greaves. Subs: Marcus Barnes, Stuart Beavon, Blaine Rowe, Matty Bowman, Tyrrell Waite.

It was Mickleover’s Ridd the first of the two keepers in action, making a low save from Enoru’s driving cross from the right after three minutes.

Barwell were on the attack again two minutes later, but after they lost possession, Dales charged down the right but his cross beat the defence and the strikers too.

Dolan then went on the attack and made space for a telling ninth minute cross, just missing the waiting Dales and Ryder in the box, before rolling out for a goal kick.

Barwell had been on the back foot, but had another attack down the Mickleover right. The cross came in and found Nunn, almost unmarked, leaving him plenty of time to pick his spot in the bottom corner 0-1 after 11 minutes.

Sault tried his luck from the restart but found his shot blocked, but it was the visitors beginning to take the upperhand, pushing forward, despite Mickleover having more of the possession. 

Dolan and Dales combined and almost put Ryder clear, but Barwell keeper Evans was quick off his line to intercept. After a good build up down the left again, Trueman forced another save from Evans, but Barwell continued to look dangerous on the break, as Mickleover tried to push forward.

Enoru and Hill both had shots off target for the visitors, but after 25 minutes Dales was tripped in the box and a penalty awarded. Greaves stepped up to take the kick, putting it to Evans’ right. The keeper guessed perfectly to make the save and it remained 0-1.

There was another half chance for Mickleover two minutes later, after a scramble in the box, it landed at Bradley’s feet, but proved impossible to control before Evans came out to collect.

It was noticeable that Barwell were far more physical and vociferous than Mickleover, with Evans in particular giving precise and clear advice to his defence.

Trueman created some space on the right and put a lovely precise cross into the box, Greaves connected with his head but not sufficiently to divert the ball goalwards and as it went over the bar.

Ryder went close with a minute left in the first half, following another Dolan cross, but chances had been few for Mickleover and never seriously tested the keeper, apart from the missed penalty.

Although Mickleover seemed almost overwhelming in midfield in their favour, the frustration continued to build as the second half got underway. Sault tried an early shot that was blocked, before Atkinson picked up a rebound and tried to lay the ball off, but that was intercepted. Dolan then beat the defence on the left, but there was no one in the middle to collect.

Mann and Bradley had looked composed in the middle of the Sports defence and on occasions both managed to move forward. Mann was close enough to try a shot himself after 56 minutes, but it was just wide of the left-hand post.

New signing Waite was the first sub to come on for Trueman, as Sports continued to push forward, seeking the elusive equaliser.

Just after the hour Dolan lost possession on the left and Barwell were quick to head for goal, until Sault intervened. Ryder had been playing well as a holding striker and after 63 minutes, he set up Greaves, but the final shot failed to test the keeper.

Barwell continued to look dangerous on the breaks and earned a couple of corners, which were despatched efficiently by the home defence.

70 minutes in and Bennett got a cross in from the right, but Evans again charged off his line to intercept at Ryder’s feet.

Barnes came on for Greaves and there was suddenly a surge forward from the Mickleover. Dales roasted the defence on the left, his cross bounced around a bit, before Bennett let fly, but his effort was blocked.

74 minutes and the ball was loose in the visitors box, but no one was on hand to get a shot in, never mind score. Finally 74 minutes and a strong attack from Barnes down the right, fired a cross in to find Bennett, who hammered home the equaliser, 1-1.

Beavon was then on for Ryder, but more importantly the Barwell goal was under siege. Only four minutes after the equaliser, Mickleover had the lead, after another positive build up down the right wing, Waite fired home a debut goal. “I had to score that one or I would have been in trouble and the winner too,” said Waite.

Barwell had a great chance to get back on levels terms, with nine minutes of normal time left. But with the goal at his mercy Onoru missed the target completely.

Waite and Barnes combined well and it was Waite that earned a free kick after 84 minutes, but the free kick came to nought.

Flanagan then had a final chance for Barwell but sent his shot skywards after a nice lay off, but it could have been a third for Mickleover, when Barnes fired in a powerful shot from the right, just going wide after a deflection.

Three points still keeps Sports in touch at the top of the table, but on this occasion the hard work and perseverance finally overcame the frustrations to seal a valuable three points.

I had to give them a good talking to again at half-time and the second half was so much better.

added gaffer, John McGrath.


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