Telford Were Just Too Good On The Night!

by Peter Scherer

The dream of National League North promotion to the fore, we knew it would be a tough challenge. But a goal in each half sealed the deal in Telford’s favour.

STARTING LINE-UP: 1- Yusuf Mersin 2-Jake Bennett 3-Ryan Wilson 4-Will Atkinson 5- Kyle Rowley 6-Will Tamen 7-Marcus Barnes 8-Ethan Mann 9-Tyrell Waite 10-Ben Sault 11-Will Trueman. Subs: Stuart Beavon, Andy Dales, Ethan Fitzhugh, Rhys Dolan, Oli Greaves.

It was the hosts that took the kick off, with Rowley making an immediate clearance into touch.

There was standing water so passing accurately wasn’t easy, and the opening five minute were tight, with Telford making the attacks.

A long kick from keeper Brandon Hall found Montel Gibson, setting up Ricardo Dinanga for the chase, but Bennett had it covered.

Sault managed to find Barnes in the box as Sports pushed forward, but his early shot was blocked. Tamen then tried a long ball forward with Wilson in space on the left, but it was too long for the skipper to catch.

Telford won a free kick after 12 minutes, when Mann caught Dinanga, but Remi Walker’s kick was headed out of danger.

After another Telford attack had broken down, Waite almost connected with positive rebound on a Mickleover break, but Orrin Pendley just got their first with a saving tackle.

Wilson went in the refs book after 15 minutes, having pulling back Gibson in full flight, but the pressure was building more and more on Sports defence.

Walker again took the free kick, which was headed away for a corner, but after a scramble in the box it was eventually cleared.

The bounce of the ball was still being affected by the wet conditions, but Mickleover managed a good attack 21 minutes in, when Mann put Barnes through on the right, his cross found Waite but the shot was blocked.

Barnes’ pace had the defence stretched at times, but it was still Telford on the attack, and after Tamen slipped in the box after 25 minutes, Dinanga hit a shot, but Mersin was out quickly to save with his legs.

Mickleover were trying to play their usual short passing game, but were losing possession in the conditions. Jordan Piggott had taken the ball from Atkinson and then Nathan Fox was fouled. Walker’s kick found Piggott’s head, but that was cleared, but after 28 minutes Bennett was caught out by an awkward bounce, after the ball had been headed out, Gibson let fly and struck the bar, a lucky escape for Sports.

But Mickleover were quick on another break, after Tamen sent a powerful header out of defence. Aided when Pendley missed a tackle, it was one on one before Kyle Storer intercepted Sault’s effort. But the ball ran to Barnes on the right, only for his cross to be cleared too.

Rowley and Tamen were managing to just about cope with the Telford barrage, as Mann played in front of the back line. But it was some deft touches from Atkinson that seemed to be dictating much of the Mickleover play.

Walker was on the attack again after 38 minutes, but as he tried to find Dinanga, the path was blocked by Tamen. Walker then picked up the lose ball and his shot forced Mersin into a low save to his left.

Fox then won a corner off Bennett, but the ball was dangerously played out of defence to Mann on the edge of the box. He couldn’t retain possession, and Gibson fired it home 0-1.

Mickleover’s response was swift and positive with Hall forced to dive to his left, pushing a Barnes effort around the post for a corner.

But Telford surged forward again with Dinanga in acres of space, he found Gibson, but his effort was well saved by Mersin, who had to make another remarkable stop from the home strike force, in time added on.

Possession wise the home side had the edge, and the 0-1 half time scoreline probably reflected that, but without Mersin’s heroics it could have been more.

There were early second half appeals for a penalty against Wilson, but waved away, but Gibson was soon testing Tamen again.

Some long balls out of the home defence were failing to reach their targets, but Mickleover were trying to push forward and Bennett had a 50th minute shot blocked.

Two minutes later Barnes fired a shot over the bar, but Telford still had the upperhand and Dinanga managed to combine with Walker, before Piggott shot wide.

Gibson had the ball in the net again after 56 minutes, but it was flagged offside.

Mersin was in action again on the hour when Ellis Brown ran at the defence, he pushed the ball around the post for a corner, but the pressure was building.

Wilson managed to break and a put a nice cross in, but Sam Whittall had it covered. Brown collected and set up another attack, with Gibson challenging Tamen. But Brown sent in a low powerful shot, again well saved by Mersin.

Sault’s determination saw him battle through after a nice build up, but he was intercepted just before he could get a shot it. Waite then made a similar run to earn a corner.

69 minutes in and Greaves replaced Trueman, he injected pace and led a break three minutes later, sending Barnes clear down the right, until he was fouled by Fox.

Rowley was yellow carded after a challenge on Dinanga, but 80 minutes gone and Dinanga fell over just outside the box. The referee saw it as a foul though, gave a free kick, which Walker smashed home for their second goal 0-2.

Fitzhugh then came on for Rowley, followed by Beavon for Barnes, but it was Mersin’s heroics again that followed, saving well from sub Matty Stenson’s strike.

There were six minutes added on, but the dream was over for another year. The end of a magnificent season and the end of an era, as we say farewell to John McGrath and his team.


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