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United beaten at Mickleover - full report

Two second half goals from Mickleover Sports saw FC United crash to another defeat in the Evo-Stik Premier Division in front of 1,074 supporters.

In a game of few clear cut opportunities, the Reds toiled with very little end product. There wasn’t much to choose between the sides but the hosts converted two chances to take all three points.

Goals from Kieran O’Connell and Karl Ashton in the last 30 minutes clinched the game for the Derbyshire side as the Reds struggled to find any way of breaching the home defence.

Kick-off was delayed by five minutes as the FC United team coach was late arriving and although it did eventually deliver the team to the Mickleover Sports Stadium, very few of the players actually turned up in terms of putting a performance in.

The first real chance of the game came after five minutes when Ashton twisted past full-back Kyle Jacobs inside from the left wing and curled a shot wide of the far post. It took United until the 15th minute to get a shot on target with Richard Battersby having a goal-bound 25 yard free-kick headed off the line for a corner.

Midway through the first half, a sloppy ball out from the back by centre-back Karl Munroe allowed Ashton to race through on goal. Fortunately for the Reds, Scott McManus made an impressive last ditch sliding tackle just as the Mickleover striker was about to shoot.

United were struggling to create any decent chances or even get the ball into the danger areas. An ambitious 30 yard shot by captain Jacobs, which flew high and wide of the left post on the half hour mark, turned out to be the Reds’ second best chance of the first half, which tells its own story.

Down at the other end, Ashton was pulling the strings for Mickleover. He flashed a ball across the six yard box and O’Connell should have scored but he missed his kick altogether. Moments later, midfielder Eric Graves tried his luck with a chip from 25 yards out but goalkeeper Zach Hibbert was equal to it.

Just before half-time, it was Ashton who went close again, this time with a low drive from 25 yards out. Hibbert did well to parry the ball as it flew through a crowd of players and he was back up in time to deny O’Connell with the rebound, although the linesman did indicate that the striker was off-side.

The Reds had managed to contain Mickleover reasonably well in the first half and there was hope that they could push on and get the breakthrough in the second period. However, it was the hosts who did just that.

With 10 minutes in the second half played, McManus was required to make another last ditch sliding tackle on Ashton inside the penalty area. The big striker was proving to be quite a handful.

Just after the hour Nicky Platt was unfortunate to see a long range effort rise just over the bar after Mickleover had tried to clear the ball to safety. Minutes later, substitute Jerome Wright weaved down the left wing and drilled the ball across the six yard box. Mike Norton tried to steer the ball home but goalkeeper Ed Eley and defender Liam Walshe managed to somehow deny the United man.

Seconds later, Mickleover took the lead. Ashton jinked his way through the United defence and attempted to round Hibbert on the right. The striker shot and Hibbert, who had raced off his line, made a good save close to the penalty spot but O’Connell was on hand to smash home the rebound.

And 12 minutes later, Mickleover doubled their lead. A free-kick from the right wing was met with a good glancing header from Ashton who rose unchallenged to give Hibbert no chance.

United’s best two chances came in the last 10 minutes as they desperately tried to find a way back in to the match. Glynn Hurst chested the ball down with his back to goal and swivelled to hit a 30 yard shot just wide of the right post with ’keeper Eley looking beaten.

In the 90th minute, Lee Neville crossed dangerously from the left-back position and Norton was unlucky to see his diving header dip wide of the back post. But, it was too little, too late from United and Mickleover deserved to take the points.

Manager Karl Marginson must now pick up his side for Wednesday’s visit of Ossett Town and Saturday’s trip up to the north-east to take on Norton and Stockton Ancients in the third qualifying round of the FA Cup.

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First Posted ~ 11:01 Mon 4 Oct 2010
News ID ~ 3138
Last Updated ~ 12:36 Mon 21 May 2018