Sports Strike Gold In East Anglia

by Peter Scherer

Straight off the back of last Saturday’s home win over Kettering, Mickleover were back in promotion form with a comfortable win over last years play-off finalists Leiston.

Gaffer John McGrath not surprisingly went for an unchanged side, 1-Lewis Ridd 2-Jake Bennett 3-Ryan Wilson 4- Will Atkinson 5-Will Tamen 6-Ethan Mann 7-Andy Dales 8-Will Trueman 9-Tyrell Waite 10-Ben Sault 11-Oli Greaves. Subs: Stuart Beavon, Dan Bradley, Kyle Rowley, Rhys Dolan, Ethan Fitzhugh.

From the opening whistle Mickleover were on the attack, when Greaves got clear down the left and crossed for Dales, whose shot from just outside the box was just over the bar after two minutes.

Home keeper Johnson had to make his first save only four minutes later, from a Sports header, before Greaves fired in another cross headed away by Jackson.

Leiston managed to break out of their half when Manly won the ball in midfield. He sent Crane on a run but his final effort was just wide of the post.

But it was Mickleover creating more of the chances and after 11 minutes Waite forced Johnson into another diving save, with Casement clearing both the original shot and the rebound.

Sports opened the scoring after 17 minutes, when Johnson managed to save Dales original shot, but Sault fired in the rebound and it was 1-0.

It wasn’t all Mickleover as Leiston tried to fight back, when Lavin picked up the ball in midfield, ran forward  until he was intercepted on the edge of the box, leaving Ridd to collect the loose ball.

Ridd was in action again after 28 minutes, diving to push a Dunbar effort over the bar, from Crane’s free kick.

Dunbar then blocked another Mickleover effort five minutes later from the edge of the box and then intercepted a cross from Loza before it reached its target.

There were three minutes added on before the half time whistle went and Leiston were awarded a penalty. Loza’s effort hit the bar and sent Mickleover straight into attack, with Waite shooting just wide of Johnson’s right-hand post, in the final kick of the half.

The Sports back four of Bennett, Tamen, Mann and Wilson had looked solid in the first half and were able to help midfield take control again early into the second half. 

Greaves had another shot blocked after 52 minutes, and Dunbar tried his luck for our hosts, before Johnson saved again from close range six minutes later.

But 70 minutes in and it was 2-0 to Mickleover when a Greaves cross on the left found Bennett on the back post, who scored number two from close range.

Six minutes more and it was 3-0, when Waite struck the foot of the post and Greaves had side footed in. 

Far from surrendering, Leiston had a couple of late chances. Ridd punched away after Crane corner and saved a 30 yard strike from Lavin.

But Sports almost got a fourth too, as Dales hit the post after 87 minutes and sub Fitzhugh shot just over in time added on.

The points were invaluable as they take Mickleover back into second place, two points ahead of Redditch Utd, but they have a game in hand. Who do we play on Saturday, Redditch!!

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