Saturday, 18 July 2015

Staveley MW 2 v Mickleover Sports 3 - PSF

Saturday 18th July 2015
Pre Season Friendly, at Inkersall Road
Staveley MW (1) 2
Kurtis Morley 41, 49
Mickleover Sports (3) 3
Jacob Hazel 22 pen, 37 Anthony Griffith Jr 31
Admission £4/£2. Programme £1.50. Attendance 151
Staveley faced their toughest pre-season test so far today, against Evo-Stik Premier League opposition in Mickleover Sports, the same team who ended the Trojans involvement in last year's FA Cup.
In the tentative opening exchanges, the closest either side came to opening the score was when Jamie York had his inswinging left wing corner, plucked from under the crossbar by Ross Atkins, the 'Sports' goalkeeper.
Jacob Hazel - Penalty - 0-1
But on 22 minutes the visitors took the lead with a Jacob Hazel penalty.
Hazel had looked to be slightly offside as he homed in on Chris Butt, whose momentum as he dashed from his line toppled the Mickleover striker over as they came into contact with each other.
The referee Mark Tinsley pointed to the spot and there were a worrying few moments for the Inkersall Road faithful, given that Staveley's other keeper Jason Fisher had been withdrawn from the squad as a precaution during the warm up when he tweaked his knee. Hazel was the last man and clean through on goal when he went to ground, But thankfully, given the nature of the game, the Trojans keeper was shown complete clemency by the match official... and was duly sent the wrong way as the visitors went in front.
Straight from the restart, Ross Goodwin slipped a measured pass through to Stave Carty, but the visitors closed ranks and closed his effort down.
Mickleover Sports looked strong, as you would expect from a team who had claimed the Evo-Stik NPL Division 1 South title at the end of last season, and Staveley's new look defence were being pegged back in their own half and were having to absorb a lot of pressure.
A well timed knock over the Staveley defence to Hazel, would have put the lively striker through on goal, but Chris Butt had charged from his area to thwart him, but in the process of nipping the move in the bud, handled the ball outside the box.
Anthony Griffith Jr whacked a 'training ground' free kick just inside the upright and beyond the reach of Butt, to give 'Sports' a commanding lead on 31 minutes.
Anthony Griffith Jr - Free Kick  - 0-2
Staveley's misery was further compounded six minutes later, when both of the visitors goal scorers exchanged passes inside the Trojans penalty area and Hazel claimed his second goal from 12 yards out.
Just before Mickleover had turned their dominant spell into a commanding lead, Kurt Morley had come on off the bench for Staveley.
Evidently he was chomping at the bit and raring to go.
A combination of Morley's arrival and a switch in tactics from the Staveley bench, saw the tide turn. Where a lesser side might have folded and chucked the towel in, the Trojans dusted themselves down, drew on their reserve tanks of determination, strength and resolve and set about getting themselves back into the game, while putting in a shift that will have given their supporters who had turned out for this practice match, a lot of reason to be optimistic about the season ahead.
The change in formation to a traditional 4-4-2 almost paid off immediately, as Kieren Watson came close to reducing the arrears, twice. His runs into the hole in front of Atkins were both well timed, but he couldn't quite find the final touch on either occasion.
Kurt Morley took matters into his own hands and having claimed the ball 30 yards out, took three strides forward and beat Atkins from 20 yards out to give Staveley a lifeline just before half time.
Game on, 45 minutes to and the Trojans weren't out of it yet!
HT: Staveley MW 1 v Mickleover Sports 3
Jamie Brown attacked down the left flank, straight after the interval and his cross evaded Mickleover's defence, but Morley went to ground having been nudged off the ball on the referee's blind side.
Jamie York slipped the ball our wide to brown who got his cross in again, but Morley, who had arrived at the back post, couldn't quite make contact with the ball at full stretch.
On 49 minutes, with the visitors defence creaking under a wave of Staveley pressure, York dropped a peach of a pass into the path of Morley who took the ball wide of Atkins and rolled it into the back of the net, along the perfectly manicured grass of Inkersall Road's recently relaid pitch.
The Trojans could draw many positives from the second half of this game and a lot of those things centred around Morley, who is developing a great understanding with some of the recent signings.
Matt Varley also stood out, the new Staveley captain led by example and is evidently going to be a tower of strength this season and a great teacher for some of the younger players who are coming through the ranks to learn from.
Simeon Ashoboke went close for the visitors, but Chris Butt, who was looking completely unfazed by by a couple of first half 'moments' when he had been left exposed, narrowed the angle as 'Sports' number 12 slashed his effort across the face of the goal and wide of the right hand post.
The move of the game, saw Staveley passing the ball around their step 3 opponents for fun and almost grab an equaliser inside the final five minutes.
Morley held off a challenge from John McGrath out on the right wing, before laying the ball off to York and continuing his run across the face of the twelve yard box; York passed the ball to Adam Wisdom with his first touch and 'Wis' cued the ball up for Morley, who beat Mickleover's substitute keeper Tom Turner all ends up but saw his shot fly agonisingly wide of the post.
What a grand finale that would have been.
Right at the death, Oshoboke came very close to adding a fourth goal for Mickleover, but Butt was having none of it and got down well to his left to keep the ball out.
FT: Staveley MW 2 v Mickleover Sports 3

The Trojans play Goole AFC at Inkersall Road, S43 3JL on Wednesday night (22nd July, 7.45pm kick off), in their next pre-season game.

In the interim, Staveley MW U21's start their pre-season campaign on Tuesday night (21st July) against Retford FC, a new Central Midlands League side, who play their home games and Retford United's Cannon Park ground on Leverton Road, Retford, DN22 6QF.