REPORT | The Mikes 4-1 GNP Sports
Another win. Another error strewn performance.
In a game which, overall, was closer than the final score would suggest, two late goals finally put clear water between the Mikes and their visitors from Coventry. Before the game, Boldmerians were speculating as to what to expect. This is only GNP's second season in the Midland League; but they gained promotion from Division Three at the first attempt last term without being defeated at home, and have made a good start to their first campaign in Division Two, having won all five of their League fixtures so far. This was their first Vase encounter, and their first game against the Mikes.
After a quiet first five minutes, Milligan saw that visiting keeper Wardle was off his line, and put in an accurate shot from thirty yards. Wardle had to twist and turn acrobatically to save the shot; but injured his ankle badly going down, and after a five minute break was helped off the park. Replacement stopper Davis had only been on the pitch one minute when Boldmere were ahead, Rikardo Reid
running on to a through ball from Holmes to net. Davis soon had to save with his feet as Brauns ran in from the wing: Milligan headed over from the resultant corner. Three minutes on, the Mikes were two ahead, Owen Parry
heading in to the bottom corner following a flowing four man move. Any thoughts that Boldmere were going to walk this fixture were dispelled on twenty three minutes, as they enlivened yet another score line by conceding a silly goal. Dreadful short passing at the back led to J’Cee Abraham getting his feet tangled as he dithered over a possible back pass to Lewis Fenney
or a clearance. Centre forward Tom Rawlings took advantage nicking the ball past Fenney and tucking home from an acute angle. The Mikes responded in determined fashion, Brauns hitting the bar from well out, Holmes nearly working the ball into the net while being surrounded by three defenders - despite lying on the ground! Having weathered this storm, GNP realised they were still in the game, and more erratic Boldmere defending six minutes before the break was redeemed by Gayle, hammering the ball out while under pressure. By the break the Mikes were fortunate to still be a goal ahead.
The second period was an even affair, with both teams creating chances. As the game went on, you could see GNP realising that they might get something from this joust, and sticking manfully to their task. There was controversy just before the hour, when it appeared that Davis had picked up a deliberate back pass; but referee McIlravey, who took a laissez faire approach to the afternoon's events, waved play on. GNP's Rawlings hit the Boldmere post on 69 minutes as the Church Road faithful wondered whether, yet again, they were going to have to watch their team desperately defend a one goal lead to the game's close. Relief from such tension came in near-comical fashion a quarter of an hour from time. Reece Mitchell
took a free kick from way out on the left wing. As it curved across the crowd of players clustered on the penalty box's edge, it appeared to develop "reverse swing", and a surprised Davis saw it disappearing over his head into the net. Four minutes later, new arrival Ryan Brooks
clattered Davis as they both went for a fifty-fifty ball, and it took some time for the bulky custodian to regain his composure. The game was over as a contest with seven minutes remaining, Ryan Shaw
powering his way past his marker in the box, and firing home for the Mikes' fourth. More idiosyncratic defending saw Corey Brookes put an effort just past the homesters' left post; but within a minute the final whistle went, and Boldmere were through to the next round. As significant as the win is the fact that the Mikes keep up their excellent disciplinary record this term: although each team had a player spoken to, the game had no bookings.
The Mikes: Lewis Fenney
; Cameron Gayle
; Reece Mitchell
; Craig Milligan
, 68 mins); Harry Craven
; J'Cee Abraham
, 89 mins); Jason Holmes
; Ryan Shaw
; Rikardo Reid
, 82 mins); Owen Parry
; Alister Brauns
. Subs not used: Sean Butler
, Sam Heath