Clay Cross v Mickleover RBL - 20.9.22

By Richard Lane

Match report by Stan Wilton

Tuesday 20th September 2022

Abacus Lighting Central Midlands League
Black Dragon Premier Division South

This was a vital game in the South Division title race even though it took place so early in the season and was only the Legion’s third game of the campaign. It was a shame that the League saw fit to appoint a disappointingly poor novice of a referee for this game.
It was a game of two halves. The first being highly entertaining with some lovely football, the second being a gritty midfield battle spoilt by some absolute awful decisions by the rookie referee.
There was a chance for the Millers to take a first minute lead when a right wing cross was deflected into the path of Josh Scully who volleyed over the bar.
However, it was the visitors who took a fifth minute lead when OWEN BRADER shot home to end a close passing clever move.
It took another five minutes for the Millers to respond and a great move ended with the impressive Michael Williams firing a few inches over the angle of bar and post from twenty yards.
After a lengthy debate with his Assistant and the unnecessary intervention of both dugouts a penalty was awarded for a trip. The first offence appeared to be clearly inside the penalty area which the referee let go, the second offence was outside the area and was the one the referee signalled. However, which one did the Assistant flag for? Anyway after a considerable debate a penalty was awarded with home people applauding and ones from the visitors doing similar, but sarcastically. Timed at 23 minutes JOSH SCULLY took the opportunity to restore parity to the occasion.
Clay Cross now had their tails up and a minute later Max Dungworth shot narrowly over the bar. But on 27 minutes a MICHAEL WILLIAMS deflected shot found the back of the net to turn the game on its head.
As the interval approached home pressure paid off with an excellent move started by Cameron Evans, set up by Callum Lytham and the ball cracked home by JOSH SCULLY to put the Millers well in control.

Half time:
Clay Cross Town 3 Mickleover Royal British Legion 1

Mickleover were a different side in the second half, contesting midfield strongly. Apart from one brief spell they were never able to put a lot of pressure on the Millers defence although Ryan Hopkins was called into action to take a curling cross from Mason Booth-Davis.
Then came the howler of the night. Mason-Booth was played clear, the Assistant had his flag up for off-side, then put it down. The Poppies striker took the ball round Hopkins and fell down, the home goalkeeper being penalised for bringing him down. Penalty given. Even Mickleover players were laughing their socks off at the decision. Justice appeared to have been done when Hopkins saved Liam Oliver’s poor spot kick after 55 minutes – in reality perhaps no more than half an hour’s playing time.
It was action at the other end on the hour when Branon Meehan did well to deny Regan Edridge from Lytham’s cross, but it was Mickleover who pulled a surprise goal back on 64 minutes when a long ball found MASON BOOTH-DAVIS clear to tickle the ball past Hopkins and reduce the arrears at the same time looking surprised that there was no offside and the goal allowed to stand.
It could have set up a nervy final few minutes for the Millers but they confidently kept charge of midfield and the visitors never looked likely or confident enough to snatch a point.
It was a Millers victory which might well prove to be very valuable come the end of the season.

Clay Cross Town 3 Mickleover Royal British Legion 2

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The Roundup for September 24th A busy weekend of Cup matches in the CML, here are the details.

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