Heather St John's 1-3 The Mikes
By The Mikes
The Mikes notched up a quick fire league double over Heather St Johns on a damp day in Leicestershire.
The conditions played a part in the visitors gaining a very early lead. Presented with a free kick opportunity 25 yards out, Ross Clarke adhered to the golden rule of "make it bounce" and the wet ball squirmed through the returning Maguire's hands and into the net.
Maguire looked shaken and moments later he just about fumbled an Osborne cross over the bar. The home side hit back and Slack broke into the box but James Beeson stood tall to hold his awkward bouncing effort.
The visitors enjoyed a sustained bout of pressure and Maguire tipped over a rasping long drive from Clarke, before repeating the dose as Kirk Smith tested him with a 15 yard volley as the home side failed to clear the resultant corner.
From looking in total control, The Mikes gifted Saints an equaliser on the half hour when they lost possession to the persistent Jacob Wright, who whipped a neat low finish past Beeson.
The home side sensed a foothold in the game as they looked to press the visitors in possession, but they presented The Mikes with the lead a few moments later in similar fashion. Ricky Baker surged at the heart of the Saints defence, who also passed up their chance to clear, leaving The Mikes full back to steer home a neat volley beyond the helpless Maguire.
James Slack wriggled free down the right and faced a lovely ball across the Boldmere six yard box, but none of his colleagues were up in support. Saints were made to pay as the visitors gave a perfect demonstration of how it should be done by extending their lead from an identical situation. A superb passing move released Lee Osborne down the left and his excellent low cross fizzed across the six yard box to the far post, where Mark Rose was waiting all alone to steer the ball home.
Osborne was looking a real threat and drove at the heart of the defence, combining superbly with Jason Holmes, but Maguire slid out bravely to deny him the chance to shoot. With The Mikes in the ascendancy, it was Saints who looked relieved to hear the half time whistle.
After the break, the visitors carried on where they left off and exerted pressure from the off. Osborne's volley flew across goal and just eluded Smith sliding in at the far post, before moments later Adam Wood just failed to connect with a delicious Clarke free kick in similar fashion.
The home side gave a reminder that they weren't out of it but Lewis Gorle produced a magnificent last ditch tackle to deny his former club. Maguire was then called upon yet again as he stood up to deny Jason Holmes with his feet, before the home side launched a swift counter attack, but a far post header failed to test Beeson. With it went the home side's hopes of a way back into the game.
The last half hour saw complete dominance from The Mikes and it was a surprise the failed to add to their tally as their superior fitness told against a home side who looked a spent force. Osborne twice fired just wide when clear on goal, then Smith jinked across the home 18 yard line to fashion a shooting chance, but his curling effort drifted inches over. Maguire was still busy as he did well to punch sub Ryan Edmunds delicate cross away from the lurking Holmes, before taking no chances with the wet ball as he beat away a curling Edmunds free kick.
Fraser Doyle became the second youth teamer to make his first team debut this week as he replaced Holmes for the closing stages. The tricky frontman enjoyed a lively cameo, the highlight of which was a lovely turn which left Rolph for dead before feeding Edmunds, but he was unable to get a shot away and the referee brought proceedings to a close.
The Mikes squad was stretched to the full by suspension and illness, but boss Stuart Grosvenor will be delighted that his side was still able to produce a dominant display and register such a comprehensive away victory.
The Mikes: James Beeson, Lewis Gorle, Ricky Baker, Will Perkins, Adam Wood, Ross Clarke, Kirk Smith, Simeon Maye, Jason Holmes, Mark Rose, Lee Osborne.
Subs: Fraser Doyle (Holmes), Jonathan Brown (not used), Andy Lewis (Maye), Ryan Edmunds (Rose).