Category: First Team


Match Report: Stalybridge (H)


Mickleover Sports scored a dramatic late winner to take a deserved three points against Stalybridge Celtics.

Evan Garnett converted from a rebound after Andy Dales missed his penalty to give Sports their second win in as many days.

Mickleover made a bright start and were pushing the away side back from the off and it was almost the perfect start when the ball fell to John McGrath, who volleyed the ball first time, forcing the Stalybridge goalkeeper to tip the ball just over.

Stalybridge managed to weather the early storm and started to threaten themselves, leaving themselves more vulnerable at the back. The red’s caught the visitors on a counter attack and had the ball in the back of the net but Garnett had run too early and saw his goal ruled out.

The home side’s confidence seemed to be on a high and they were starting to regularly threaten the opposition with Matthew Barnes-Homer being unlucky to see his clever flick from a cross just miss the target.

George Sykes-Kenworthy, the Stalybridge goalkeeper, was keeping his side level in the first half as the ever-dangerous Garnett found himself free in the penalty area but had his shot saved by the resilient ‘keeper.

Heading into the break the score remained 0-0 with Mickleover having the best of the play but the reds couldn’t break the deadlock and needed to improve their finishing going into the second half.
It was a tight opening to the second half with neither side creating many chances. Stalybridge almost fortuitously took the lead however after Lewis King misjudged a cross forcing Pablo Mills into a great goal line clearance.

Mickleover struggled to maintain the pressure from the first half as Stalybridge started to dominate play in the midfield. Chances were still at a premium with King successfully managing to handle the long balls the visitors were pumping into the box.

After a quiet 45 minutes there was drama right at the end as Garnett was pulled down in the box before he could poke the ball into the net, with the visitor’s centre back being sent off for the foul. Andy Dales stepped up to take the penalty and saw his effort saved but luckily for the reds, Garnett was first to the ball and smashed in the winner.

McGrath spoke after the match about the amount of games his side have had to play in recent weeks due to the season ending on Saturday. He said: “It was a typical end of the season game, you could definitely tell that we’re about 50 plus games into the season. Small squad, the lads are tired and it’s the same for Stalybridge, they’ve had to play the same as us. But I think we deserved the win, in the second half we huffed and puffed but I can’t remember them having too many chances.”

Mickleover Sports v Buxton-494

A Great Week for Andy Dales

What a fantastic few days for Andy Dales and Mickleover Sports FC.

In a season that has seen Andy score over 20 goals so far he was picked in the Northern Premier league Premier division team of the year on Sunday night at the Awards ceremony in Barnsley. Voted for by opposition managers and coaches this is a great achievement.

On Monday came even better news as he received the news that he had been called up to the England Contingency squad by manager Paul Fairclough.

The team will travel to Dublin to play the football association of Ireland Amateur international X1 on May 27th.

This is a great honour for both Andy and Mickleover Sports FC and an opportunity for him to show how good he is.



Match Report: Marine (H)

Mickleover Sports suffered an unfortunate defeat to Marine in a heated clash at the Don Amott Arena.

The Reds were the better side throughout the game and will be disappointed that they didn’t take a single point from the game.

It was a tense opening to the game with Mickleover enjoying the majority of possession, but it was Marine that had the first clear cut chance as winger Dominic Reid headed just over from a dangerous cross.

Mickleover dominated the play throughout the first half, forcing Marine to defend in numbers as the away side tried their hardest to frustrate the Reds. Evan Garnett managed to free himself behind the Marine defence however with a clever run, but James Short recovered well for the visitors to thwart Garnett’s opportunity to open the score.

The first 45 minutes was frustrating for both sides as neither team were capable of creating any attacking threat. Constant stoppages in play due to unnecessary fouls from both sides didn’t help the flow of the game either.

Marine came out in the second half the more positive side and Lewis King was forced to make his first save of the game for the home side as he tipped the ball wide from an audacious Marine free kick.

Mickleover made the visitors pay for their wasteful start to the half when Garnett did exceptionally well down the left flank to work himself into the penalty area and cross for Jak Hickman, who just had to tap the ball into the empty net.

Garnett was proving himself as Mickleover’s danger man as he once again got in behind Marine’s defence just after the opening goal. The attacker showed a clever piece of skill to round the goalkeeper but somehow managed to drag his shot wide.

The visitors were causing Mickleover problems from set pieces and they managed to level the game through a free kick from out wide which King misjudged, allowing Short to tap the loose ball into the net.

That equaliser sparked Marine into life as straight from the kick off they attacked again with King being caught out by Danny Mitchey, who set up Billy Smart to smash the visitors into the lead.

Mickleover pushed hard for a deserved point but were not able to create any solid chances due to a resolute Marine defence. Tempers were heated towards the end of the match which meant that the Reds weren’t able to build up enough momentum to mount a serious threat to the opposition goal.

The defeat to Marine ended Mickleover’s three match unbeaten run and has left them stranded in mid-table with only four games left of this season. Sports next game is away at Hednesford Town this Saturday.


Match Report: Buxton (H)

Mickleover Sports 2 – 2 Buxton

Sports:- King, Grocott, Turner, McGrath, Mills, Williams, Dales, Briscoe, Phillips, Garnett, Norcross (Hickman 77).

Subs:- Belgrave, Morris, Barnes-Homer, Burgin.

Buxton:- Budtz, Meade, Baker (Doran), Maguire, Young, Degiralamo, Hinsley (Broadhead 73), Grayson, Wilson, Hardy, Taylor (Chippendale 45).

Subs:- McWilliams, Biggs.

Referee S Brown

Attn:- 232

This game, between local rivals proved to be a feisty affair, not helped by a referee who was quick to administer verbal warnings but slow to issue cards, which seemed to give the message that players could get away with more than perhaps they should.

There was a lengthy delay after only four minutes when visiting keeper Jan Budtz had to be treated for a head injury after an early Mickleover attack had been cleared. Ironically the blow that lead to the wound was caused by his own full back.

The opening goal came after 14 minutes and was a great solo effort from leading scorer Andy Dales who twisted, turned and dribbled past opponents before picking his spot and firing home from the edge of the area.

The physios were both called into action too many times during the first period to let the game flow, and there was not too much football played as a result. Sports went in at half time a goal up, with Buxton having failed to make the most of the few scoring opportunities that they had.

The visitors drew level immediately after the break, and it came from a source well known to Mickleover supporters as Nico Degiralamo headed home his first goal for the club from a corner.

Nico, who had been a fans favourite and Player of the Year while at the club had a deserved reputation for scoring vital goals from set pieces – a fact that seemed to elude the home defence on this occasion.

The hosts were back in front on 56 minutes with a set play of their own. Dales was fouled outside the area and player manager John McGrath restored the lead with a superbly take free-kick that beat both the wall and the Buxton keeper.

It was all square again on 81 minutes as Ant Wilson bundled the ball over the line after home keeper Lewis King failed to make a clean catch. King claimed that he had been fouled but the referee adjudged that the ball was not fully under the keeper’s control at the time.

Evan Garnett had a great opportunity to take all the points in the closing minutes but from close range only managed to fire the ball over the bar with the goal seemingly at his mercy.

Phil Matthews

Freelance Sports Broadcaster and Writer

Fair Play award

Sports Reserves Reach Final!

Mickleover Sports Reserves have reached the DCFA Divisional Cup South Final! After overcoming Gresley FC 3-1 in the Semis, they now have Melbourne Dynamo’s First Team standing in their way of ultimate glory. To get this far in the competition is already a major achievement for the team, here’s a bit of information about their journey in this competition…

Road to the Final
1st Round – bye
2nd Round – 1-0 v Mickleover RBL
3rd Round – 9 – 0 v Little Eaton
Semi – 3-1 v Gresley FC

Manager: Danny Davidson.
Danny is now moved up to be 1st Team assistant Manager. He has been at the club for 5 years working with the Juniors and Reserves having a wealth of experience at Conference and Conference North level with the likes of Burton Albion, Hereford, Stafford R, Crawley Town.

Coach: David Mackenzie
In his 10th season at Station Road having joined the Dick Pratley revolution. Tasked with developing players several have stepped up and had decent careers at non-league football.
With the introduction of the academy John McGrath is giving the youngsters every encouragement to progress.

Squad (In bold have been with 1st team)
Max Bennett, Daniel Cvik, Finley Davies, Jake Dickenson, Tom Eccleshall, Noah Girvan, George Morley, Yakeef Murphy, Will Norcross, Jakub Ondersjco, Jermaine Palmer, Tyreece Robinson, Jake Smith, Harry Stephen’s, Jaro Vvak, Dean Wilkinson, Che Webster, Jack Walsh, Tom Cox, Danny Davidson, Josh Neild.

The final will be played at New Manor Ground, Awsworth Rd, Ilkeston DE7 8JF on 9th April 2018, KO 19:30. Please come down and cheer on our boys!


At Buxton


Match postponed: Halesowen Town (H)

We can confirm that following a pitch inspection, todays home game against Halesowen Town has been postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.

A rescheduled date will be announced in due course.



Match Report: Workington A.F.C (H)

Mickleover Sports 1 – 0 Workington A.F.C

Sports:- King, Hickman (Grocott 77), Scott, McGrath, Mills, Burgin, Dales, Morrison (Garnett 90), Barnes-Homer, Briscoe, Morris (Turner 62).
Subs:- Mulders, Williams,

Workington:- Taylor, Douglas, Smith, Wordsworth, Calvert, Wright, Symington, Wilson (Brown 70), Allison, Rigg, Tinnion.
Subs:- Whitehead, Harker, Holliday, Mossop.

Referee R Dadley

Attn:- 252

This was Mickleovers’ first home league game in 8 weeks due to the postponements brought about by the recent bad weather, and they were keen to put on a show for their football starved fans. They certainly did that.

The 1-0 scoreline was not an accurate reflection of the magnitude as they dominated the majority of the match.

With Andy Dales firing at goal every time that the opportunity arose and Louis Briscoe making chances as well it was a surprise that the game was goal less at the half time break.

The only goal of the game came six minutes after the restart. Captain Tom Burgin heading home from a John McGrath left wing corner.

Workington tried to find a way back into the game but Lewis King in the home goal was a virtual spectator with the visitors wayward in their shooting.

Mickleover had further chances but were unable to make them pay, however, both teams knew at the final whistle that the result was right if not the actual scoreline.

Phil Matthews

Freelance Sports Broadcaster and Writer


Match Report: Warrington Town (A)


Warrington:Pilling, Carden, Mckeown, Williams, Higgins, Goulding, Beeley, Kinsella, Mcdonald (Milne 83), Gray (Piggott 76), Green (Bakare 83). Other subs Hayhurst, Ascroft.

Sports: King, Grocott, Morris, Mcgrath, Mills, Burgin, Dales, Scott, Barnes-Homer, Garnett (Phillips 54- Mulders 78), Briscoe. Other subs Horne, Belgrave
Attendance 283

This was always going to be a tough game, away to 4th placed Warrington and Sports started slowly conceding a 3rd minute goal. Tom Burgin gave away a poor free kick and was punished as Sean Williams floated in the free kick and Liam Goulding was unchallenged to head in from 8 yards out. Sports were under constant pressure and were worried off the ball too often.

It was 2-0 after 24 minutes with another goal from a wide left free kick. Sean Williams this time played in a low cross which left everyone stranded and crept in at the far post.
This seemed to spark Sports into life and Andy Dales went close on 28 minutes, playing a 1-2 with Evan Garnett and forcing a good diving save from debutant on loan keeper, Luke Pilling. Sports were now on top and reduced the deficit on 35 minutes. Louis Briscoe’s shot was pushed out for a corner and when John Mcgrath’s corner came in Pablo Mills scored with a brilliant, powerful header from 8 yards.

Sports now went in search of an equaliser and they completely took over the game. On 38 minutes Loius Briscoe worked space for a shot from 15 yards which was held by Pilling. A minute later Andy Dales was chopped down on the edge of the area (no caution !!) and Louis Briscoe smashed in a low free kick that was again well held by Pilling. And Dales then went closer after cutting inside to fire in a shot that looked a goal all over but Pilling dived full length to pull off a fine save. Yet again Sports went close on 44 minutes as Briscoe found Garnett in space and his cross was half blocked but bounced up to Alex Morris but his 6 yard header cleared the bar. The half time whistle came at the wrong time for Sports as they had dominated since the second Town goal.

Sports were forced into an early substitution when Evan Garnett was replaced by Jimmy Phillps. Jake Scott received a silly caution which was to cost Sports dearly a few minutes later. On 57 minutes Scott challenged Sean Williams seeming to win the ball but the referee interpreted this as a foul and produced a second yellow, reducing Sports to 10 men. Still Sports took the game to the home side and went close with another free kick as Dales was denied a clear run on goal by a deliberate hand ball. Briscoe again fired in a strong free kick that Pilling again saved.
Sports were then hit by another moment of controversy. Jimmy Phillips was the victim of a foul in an aerial challenge ( not given)but after treatment he got up though obviously groggy. The ball was played up to Sports area and collected by Alex Morris who put in a short pass to the unmarked Phillips. Before the ball arrived he went down obviously in trouble from the earlier challenge and the ball broke to Devarn Green – at this point the referee should have whistled for the physio to attend Phillips who was suffering from a head injury, down and in distress – but he allowed play to continue. Green crossed but the ball evaded everyone going to the far wing where Shaun Beeley kept the ball in. He eventually put in a half blocked cross that somehow hit Jamie Mcdonald and evaded Lewis King for the 3rd goal. All this with Phillips still down and in obvious distress. After treatment Phillips was helped off and taken eventually to hospital. Despite all Sports protests the referee was adamant he had made the correct decision which frankly was ridiculous.
This goal took all the stuffing out of Sports and the Home side were content to play the game out.

Mickleover's Jake Scott bursts between two Farsley defenders.
Picture: Eric Gregory.

Match Report: Farsley Celtic (H)



Sports:- King, Grocott, Morris, Scott, Mills, Burgin (Horne 24), Dales, Briscoe, Barnes-Homer, Phillips, Mulders (Abalimba 74).
Subs:- Belgrave, Morrison.

Farsley:- McKibbin, Turner, Baldwin, Atkinson, Harris, Clayton (Atkinson 78), Watson (Murray 78), Turner (Parkin 78), Ellis, Cartman, Cockerline.
Subs:- Walker, Trenery.

Referee:- Steve Darnall
Attendance:- 232

This game only went ahead due to the efforts of a group of volunteers who came down in advance of the game to fork the pitch into a playable condition.

Sports have been without competitive football since January 13th due to a waterlogged pitch, but that has not denied player/manager John McGrath the opportunity to strengthen his squad who has brought in two experienced strikers in Luis Briscoe and Matthew Barnes-Homer along with re-signing midfielder Medi Abalimba.

Mickleover were clearly keen to be back in action after their enforced break The game was end to end in waves but the hosts normal slick game was not as good as it could be with a number of their passing not reaching the intended target, although it was hard to say if this was caused by ring rustiness or a playing surface looked increasingly like Derby County’s old home at the Baseball Ground.

After Lewis King in the home goal made a great interception to deny Nathan Cartman with the match only 4 minutes old McGrath’s men twice had the ball in the back of the net before the half hour mark only to have the goals ruled out for offside. First Barnes-Homer completed a great move on 20 minutes and Dales chipped the keeper with a delightful lob, but in both cases there was little argument that the officials were correct in their decision making.

Briscoe went close in the 31st minute but his shot was blocked. Given the amount of goal mouth action at both ends it was surprising that the half ended goal less.

It only took 6 minutes of the second period for the deadlock to be broken. Neat interplay from Farsley ended with a pass to Nathan Carter who fired home from close range.

Their advantage lasted less than a minute as Pablo Mills restored parity with a powerful header from a Jimmy Phillips corner.

The home side took the lead for the first time on 65 minutes. Briscoe was fouled in the box and referee Steve Darnall had no doubt that it was a penalty.

Barnes Homer took the responsibility of taking the spot kick which though struck with a reasonable amount of power was close enough to McKibbin to parry away from goal. It fell to the inrushing Dales who hit the ball into the empty net from some distance.

Farsley were determined to take something from the game, and after a period of dominance which saw the hosts pushed back into the defensive third of the field for a prolonged spell got their reward with a strike from substitute Luke Parkin in the 87th minute.
The result was a fair reflection on the game which neither side deserved to lose.