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1st Team - Match centre

Mickleover Sports
Full time
J Richards (24', 22'), K Green (33')
Sat 9 Apr 15:00 - The Evo-Stik League Northern Premier - Premier Division Attendance 273

Mickleover Sports 1 Stourbridge 3

Three first half goals were enough to secure the points, despite a second half fight-back by the home team.

Justin Richards struck twice in the space of two minutes midway through the first period, and then Kristian Green added a third just after the half hour to give the Glassboys a commanding interval lead.

But Mickleover produced a stirring second half display.pushing Stourbridge back for long periods. However, a goal from Zeph Thomas on the hour was all they had to show for their efforts, with Matt Gould pulling off several good saves, including an astonishing double stop ten minutes from time to ensure that the points went the way of the visitors.

With play-off rivals Salford City, Ashton United and Workington all dropping points, it proved to be an excellent day all round for Gary Hackett's men as they moved up to fourth in the Premier Division table.

The Glassboys started with the same line-up that had delivered a 2-0 home win against Stamford on Monday night, with the only change amongst the substitutes seeing Stuart Pierpoint replacing Drew Canavan.

Quickly into their stride, Stourbridge might have been ahead within two minutes as Chris Lait came off his wing, exchanging passes with Richards before ballooning his shot over from a good position and with a clear sight of goal, whilst the home side had a chance of their own five minutes in, with the lively Andy Dales feeding Thomas, who could only fire over from a narrow angle.

Generally, however, it was Stourbridge making most of the running. Lait saw his free kick blocked in the area on 13 minutes, with the loose ball falling to Joe Hull, whose shot was deflected wide, and then from the corner, Kristian Green's glancing header drifted wide of the far post.

Sean Geddes tried his luck from almost 30 yards three minutes later, with no more success than Lait's earlier effort, but any thoughts of it being "one of those days" were settled somewhat by a double blast in the space of two minutes from Richards.

The first, on 22 minutes, saw some intricate build-up play involving Green, George Bowerman and Karl Hawley present Richards with the chance to shoot from ten yards and he found the net with the aid of a deflection that left Ross Durrant in the home goal helpless.

The second owed nothing to luck, however, as Dan Scarr picked a pass off at the back before sending the ball ong for Hawley to flick on to Richards who ran on and buried his shot low to Durrant's right.

Straight away the Glassboys made a change, with Lait replaced by Ashley Vincent, the winger clearly struggling with a knock, whilst Sports also made a defensive change at the same time after an earlier blow to the head for Dominic McGarr.

That seemed to have no effect on the pattern of the game, however, as the Glassboys forged further ahead with just 33 minutes played. Scarr got up highest from a Geddes corner to head firmly goalwards. Durrant did well to block, but the ball fell to Green who hammered home from an angle.

The rest of the half saw the home side having more of the possession, as Stourbridge sat back more, although clear openings were limited. Dales sent a shot from distance high and wide on 35 minutes, but that was the extent of serious chances until stoppage time, when the pacy Nyambu Dinanga got free down the right, drove into the penalty area and beat Gould with a low shot that Green got back to clear over the bar from close to the line.

That scare should have sent a warning through the Stourbridge ranks that the game was far from over, particularly with the second half at Ashton the previous Saturday still fresh in the mind, but it was to prove a frustrating second 45 minutes as the visitors held the upper hand and continuously caused problems.

A quiet opening, with few chances at either end, gave no indication as to how difficult things might become. It was fully ten minutes before either side had a sight of goal, and even then Leon Broadhurst's free kick was blocked by Mickleover's defensive wall and cleared.

However, Sports then began to impose themselves, with Dales seeing his shot from a well-worked corner deflected over by the head of Green, before the arrears were cut on the hour. Thomas got the ball out on the left, cut inside and went past Green and Scarr too easily before sliding the ball under Gould to revive Sports' hopes.

Almost immediately Dales was in the action again, with his low shot lacking the power to trouble Gould, who held the ball low down.

The Glassboys defence was being stretched time and again, with the pace of Mickleover's front players causing plenty of problems, and only a combination of timely interceptions and poor finishing preserved the two goal lead.

Ten minutes from time, Gould was in the action again, saving well from Thomas, with the ball then pinging around the Glassboys' box before being cleared to safety.

That was merely a prelude to further heroics from the on-loan keeper moments later, however, as Niall Thompson found himself free with time and space to pick his spot, only for Gould to come out and make a save with his feet. It appeared in vain, though, as the loose ball broke for Jake Green who tapped it towards goal, only for Gould to scramble back and somehow claw the ball away from goal for a corner.

A rare chance for Stourbridge on 85 minutes saw Richards send a free kick narrowly wide of Durrant's left-hand post, whilst the final meaningful action saw Dales again involved, as he hit a rasping shot that didn't clear Gould's crossbar by any great margin.

Three points safely secured, and the Glassboys will reflect that whilst they will undoubtedly have better games, thanks to results elsewhere they will rarely have better days at this stage of the season!

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Key moments

Goal Justin Richards scores for Stourbridge
Goal Justin Richards scores for Stourbridge
Goal Kristian Green scores for Stourbridge


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71:00 Sub Off
Sean Geddes is substituted off for Stourbridge
71:00 Sub Off
George Bowerman is substituted off for Stourbridge
71:00 Sub On
Sam Whittall is substituted on for Stourbridge
71:00 Sub On
Tom Tonks is substituted on for Stourbridge
End of period 1
33:00 Goal 0 - 3
Kristian Green scores for Stourbridge
26:00 Sub Off
Chris Lait is substituted off for Stourbridge
26:00 Sub On
Ashley Vincent is substituted on for Stourbridge
24:00 Goal 0 - 2
Justin Richards scores for Stourbridge
22:00 Goal 0 - 1
Justin Richards scores for Stourbridge
Start of the game
Replay game

As it happened

  • Mickleover Sports
  • Stourbridge
  • 0
  • Justin Richards Goal 22:00'
  • Justin Richards Goal 24:00'
  • Chris Lait Sub Off 26:00'
  • Ashley Vincent Sub On 26:00'
  • Kristian Green Goal 33:00'
  • Sean Geddes Sub Off 71:00'
  • George Bowerman Sub Off 71:00'
  • Sam Whittall Sub On 71:00'
  • Tom Tonks Sub On 71:00'

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