Tomlinson Hat-trick In Youth Cup Charge

by Peter Scherer

Mickleover Academy started their 2023/24 Youth Cup campaign with a comfortable 8-0 victory over Leicester Nirvana.

Starting line-up: 1- Josh Maher 2-Mason Hoult 3-Brandon Ferron 4-Toby Smith 5-Jared Cholerton 6-Zak Sandhu 7-Josh Powell 8-Harry Atwal 9-Sam Tomlinson 10-Fin Ryder 11-Mason Tudgay. Subs: Konane Hamza, Josh Bull, Joe Sellers, Luis Mas-Hall, Dean Ironmonger, Owen Parr.

Mickleover were on the attack from the word go, after Atwal found Ferron on the left. His cross into the box was followed by various blocked shots before the danger cleared.

Hoult then charged down the right, but his cross went out of play just over the bar. But it wasn’t long before the goal spree commenced. 

Five minutes in and a nice build up down the right again, found Ryder in the middle, making 1-0 from close range.

Tomlinson almost broke through three minutes later, but Nirvana had their one and only shot of the game after eight minutes. Cholerton lost possession on the left and as the ball was fired into the box, a Nirvana striker saw his spectacular shot go just over the bar, with Maher untroubled.

The visitors had a free kick in dangerous place, but fired it straight into the wall and then after 13 minutes Ferron easily outpaced the defence, with Ryder meeting his cross with a header just over the bar.

Nirvana were struggling to break out of their own half, which allowed the Mickleover back four of Hoult, Cholerton, Sandhu and Ferron, to regularly progress into the visitors half.

Atwal and Smith had an excess of time to plan the moves from midfield, mixed with the tigerish runs of both Powell and Tudgay.

A long ball down the right gave Tomlinson a chase after 14 minutes, but his shot was deflected to earn another corner.

The Nirvana defence had great difficulty in clearing their lines, whether it being a general clearance, goal kick or whatever, with the majority going a few yards straight to  Mickleover players.

Some nice interplay between Powell and Tudgay after 15 minutes brought a second goal, with Ryder tapping in from close range again. 2-0. Only a minute later it was 3-0 with Tudgay cutting in from the left to set up Powell.

Straight from the restart Mickleover continued the barrage on the Nirvana goal, with another Tomlinson effort deflected over the bar, as the visitors keeper continued to put his own side under pressure.

In the 23rd minute his kick barely reached a few feet and was straight to Tudgay. He jinked into space to fire in a shot, which the keeper got his hands to, only for the ball to go straight through for a corner, with Ryder sending the final shot in just wide.

Tomlinson was warned by the referee on the half hour, after a challenge on the keeper, which saw the ball bounce over the bar.

But a minute later the young striker made  it 4-0, collecting a rebound and making no mistake with his shot. He was on the scoresheet again four minutes later, firing in from a Ferron cross, 5-0.

Powell shot just over with a 39th minute effort, before the visiting keeper managed palm away a cross from the right, as Ryder challenged.

The half concluded with Smith jinking through to make space for his own shot, which was just over, but it was a totally dominant first half from Sports.

Mickleover had a half chance blocked almost from kick off in the second half, before Atwal was close to chipping the keeper off his line.

Tomlinson then tried chipping the keeper after 49 minutes, before Atwal was close to sending Ryder clear again a minute later.

Ryder cut in from the line to earn a corner after 55 minutes, from which Atwal dropped a ball into the box, the keeper missed it, but the danger was eventually scrambled clear. 

But goal number six soon followed with a fine distance solo effort from Tomlinson, into the roof of the net, 6-0.

There was nearly a seventh two minutes later, with Ryder outpacing the defence, Tudgay’s shot bounced off the keeper and the bar.

Just after the hour mark Mas-Hall and Ironmonger came on for Tomlinson and Ryder and having only been the pitch for four minutes, Ironmonger made it 7-0, after latching into a Ferron cross.

Sellors came on for Hoult for the last 20 minutes, but Ironmonger went close again after 76 minutes, being just beaten in the chase by the Nirvana keeper.

An 80th minute free kick earned another corner for Sports and two minutes later Ferron had a shot just wide. But there was still one more goal to come, with Smith setting up his own effort, with a crisp long shot into the roof of the net, 8-0 after 85 minutes.

Sellers managed to hit the post in the final minute, but it was a comfortable and convincing win for the Mickleover youngsters, as they now face Alfreton Town at home.

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