By Phil Matthews
Sports:- Draper, Grocott, Ricketts (Norcross 65), McGrath, Mills, Burgin, Dales, Morrison (Cole 81), Blake, Belgrave, Scott.
Subs:- Dickinson, Lansdown
Hednesford:- Crane, Hutton, campion, Thompson (Wright 53), Peace-McDonald, Ballinger, McNaught, Thorley (Cater 70), Nadat, Blarke, McDermott (Danquah 86).
Subs:- Ransome, Glover.
Referee R Dadley
There is no doubt that in football when your luck is not in it is right out. Sports went into this game determined to pick up the points that they require to ensure survival in the Evo Stik Prem but were dealt a blow even before kick off when manager John McGrath was forced to change his starting line up minutes before kick off when Ben Turner limped out of the warm up to be replaced by Drew Ricketts.
This was to be only the start of a frustrating afternoon for the hosts who dominated play, hit the woodwork twice, but were unable to actually score.
It was an all too familiar story as Mickleover dominated play but were unable to take their chances.
The first real chance of the game came in the 9th minute as the home team played neat football to provide a chance for Lewis Belgrave whose effort was wide of the mark.
2 minutes later it was Hednesford turn to show what they were capable of but were denied by the reflexes of Nick Draper in the home goal.
Tyler Blake was the next to be given a sight of goal but his 20th minute strike was swallowed up reasonably comfortably by Dan Crane in the opposition goal.
Jake Scott was keen to add his weight to the Sports attack in the 25th minute but had no more luck than those who had gone before.
A John McGrath free kick two minutes later was over the bar, but it was encouraging that the chances kept on coming.
Andy Dales created the best chance of the half 8 minutes before the break battling his way into the penalty area before unleashing a cross which whizzed past everyone and out for a goal kick. How none of the home attackers managed to get a touch, which would have lead to a certain goal remains a mystery.
All square at the interval and Sports looking the better side was encouraging. They started the second half in the same way and thought that they had taken the lead on 50 minutes as Dales worked a coring opportunity, but could only look on in horror as his shot beat everyone only to bounce clear off the post.
It was a real let off for Hednesford who made the most of it by taking the lead 4 minutes later. A straightforward corner taken from the Mickleover right flew past everyone to the far post where Joe Ballinger was lurking unmarked to convert for the only goal of the game.
As the game wore on it became less of a spectacle partially because referee R Dadley seemed too quick to caution. Although it would be wrong to suggest that there weren’t any fouls 6 yellow cards with most being issued against home players seemed a little excessive.
Sports continued to have most of the attacking play but despite their all round performance – one which manager John McGrath admitted to being proud of – they were unable to make the most of their chances and must go again on Tuesday against Sutton Coldfield in a search for the points they need to remain in the division, more displays like this one though will surely give them the victories that they deserve.