Evo-Stik Northern Premier League

Mickleover Sports

Turner (6), Garnett (27), (38), Belgrave (47), Dales (54)

Hednesford Town

(3) 5

(0) 0



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James Wren


Altrincham (H) 26.9.17

The Pitmen are humiliated on their travels for the second time in four games as they are hammered by a free-scoring Mickleover Sports side who scored at regular intervals to put them out of sight of the poor Pitmen


Boosted by Tuesday night's win over Nantwich Town, Rob Smith brought in new loan signing Jed Davies after the winger had joined the club from local rivalsTamworth for a month, replacing the injured Chekaine Steele. Smith had overseen a brutal culling of the underperforming members of his squad in the previous few day, with no fewer than six players - Devarn Green, Luke Rodgers, Joe Ballinger, Jordan Nadat, Stephen Palmer and Matt Martin - all departing for new clubs after Smith's patience with a number of his fringe players had worn out


Mickleover - still boasting the considerable experience of Clinton Morrison and Pablo Mills in their side - came into the game off the back of four consecutive defeats, dropping them down into the lower half of the Evo-Stik League Premier table in the process after a decent start to the campaign. A 2-1 defeat to highly-fancied Stourbridge at the Don Amott Arena in midweek had come quickly after a shock F.A. Cup defeat to Basford United last weekend


Despite their poor run of form, Mickleover were quickly into their stride and forced James Wren into early action twice in the first six minutes. In the second minute, a neat passage of play sliced the Hednesford defence open and allowed Andy Dales to fire in a shot at goal that Wren turned away brilliantly


Three minutes later, Ben Turner's effort from wide on the right was palmed away by Wren for a Mickleover corner kick. From the second of two corner  kicks, Turner was on hand to divert the ball home with his head as he arrived unmarked in the six-yard box to give Mickleover an early lead


Danny Glover did his best to get the Pitmen back on terms in the twelfth minute as Joe Fitzpatrick's through ball found the striker, but his shot was well saved by Mickleover keeper Lewis King


The busy Davies showed a number of nice touches in the opening quarter and showed a willingness to get involved high up the pitch by offering himself to the midfield. Unfortunately, he spent much of the half feeding off scraps as the Pitmen struggled to keep the ball for any spell of time. On seventeen minutes, Davies found a pocket of space and fired in a shot that flew high over the crossbar from a wide position


Mickleover's Evan Garnett almost doubled the hosts' advantage on twenty-three minutes, as the Pitmen contributed to their own downfall by conceding possession cheaply from a throw-in and allowed Mickleover to break through Garnett, who fired wide from a great position with Wren looming


Glover wasted a gilt-edged chance to equalise for the Pitmen a minute later as James Lawrie's cross was headed straight at King by Glover, who rose highest to head the ball into the grateful arms of the Mickleover number one from six yards out


This was to be a crucial turning point in the game, as with their next attack, Mickleover doubled their advantage over the Pitmen; a neat ball from Jimmy Phillips in behind Richard Platt was dummied by Morrison and caught out the young right back, allowing Garnett to confidently fire past Wren with an angled drive


Davies seemed to be the Pitmen's best avenue of creativity in the game as they looked to undo all of the damage done from a poor opening half hour with the loan man whipping in an inviting cross for Glover on thirty-six minutes, but the ball bouncing in front of the five-goal striker and rebounding into the safe arms of King at the second attempt


Again, this miss from Glover was to prove fatal, as Mickleover essentially sealed the win with a killer third goal on thirty-eight minutes. Once again, the play went down the Hednesford right, with Platt taken apart by the pace of Dales before the midfielder laid the ball off to Garnett who slotted home with ease


Glover's hapless afternoon got no better with a minute left in the half, as he fired home from close range but was denied by a late offside flag. On closer inspection, Glover looked to be coming from behind Mills as he made his move towards the goal


The first half ended in controversy, as Davies was left in a heap down by the corner flag after being pushed into the advertising hoardings by Turner. After struggling to his feet and limping through the remaining moments of the half, Davies was taken off at the break and replaced by a fellow loanee, Conor Levingston


Platt - who had endured a tortuous first period at right back - was spared further punishment by Smith at half time, as he was replaced by Sam Oji in a reshuffle to the team at the break in defence to accommodate the burly centre-back


Any faint hopes the Pitmen had of making a game of it were extinguished on forty-seven minutes, as a weak free-kick rebounded back off the Hednesford wall and into the path of Lewis Belgrave, who drove through a host of bodies and found the bottom corner of the net to make it 4-0


More heroics from Wren kept the score at 4-0, with the keeper making smart saves to deny Morrison and Garnett as Mickleover continued to play through the Pitmen's defence with consummate ease


The hosts did indeed find a fifth goal on fifty-four minutes, as the impressive Dales got himself on the scoresheet. Neat play from Morrison and Garnett opened up the Hednesford defence once again, with Dales firing home from the edge of the penalty area to complete the rout with ease


Bullock had looked out of his depth through the course of the game, coming up against experienced players and losing the ball all too easily. His game was brought to an end on sixty-six minutes as Tyler Lyttle replaced him on the right


A brief passage of positive play from Hednesford saw Lyttle fire over the crossbar on seventy-three minutes, before Glover's afternoon was summed up two minutes later with a header that came back off the crossbar after good work from Lawrie


A good shot from Fitzpatrick was well saved by King on eighty minutes before the Mickleover keeper did a good job to hold Glover's long range shot after Tyler Weir had headed a corner kick down into the striker's path


It nearly got even worse for the poor Pitmen on eighty-three minutes, as Dales got in behind Oji and forced the centre back to bring him down in the penalty area. Garnett stepped up to take the penalty kick, but missed the chance of a hat-trick by lifting his spit kick high over the crossbar


A dreadful afternoon for the Pitmen, who will be looking for a response from their misfiring side when they host Altrincham at Keys Park on Tuesday night, looking to continue their fine home form this season which seems at odds with their woeful away form against the former National League side who are in the mix for promotion back to step two at the first time of asking 


Mickleover Sports: King, Grocett, Turner, McGrath (Scott 56), Mills, Burton, Dales, Morrison (Thomas 68), Phillips (Horne 74), Garnett, Belgrave      Subs Unused: Gordon, Draper


Hednesford Town: Wren, Platt (Oji 45), Weir, Bailey, Mutton , Fitzpatrick, Bullock (Lyttle 66), Thorley ©, Glover, Lawrie, Davies (Levingston 45)     Subs Unused: Melbourne, Steele

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