Freescoring Blues storm to emphatic Mickleover win

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FRICKLEY Athletic stormed back from two goals down inside the first half-hour to run out emphatic 6-3 winners at Mickleover Sports on Wednesday night.

Bradley Grayson started the Blues comeback before second half braces from Peter Knox and James Ashmore and a Ryan Mallon strike saw the visitors to victory.

It was the Blues’ biggest win of the season so far and stretches their unbeaten run in all competitions to four matches.

Already without the injured pair of Alex Callery and Michael Simpkins as well as the suspended Jack Watts, the Blues were without Leon Henry who was unavailable.

Mickleover started the game strongly with Karl Ashton hitting a low 25-yard shot which beat Adam Billard, the Frickley goalkeeper, and came back off the inside of the post after just six minutes. And three minutes later Ashton had a 20-yard shot which flew just wide of Billard’s right hand post.

The Blues’ first real attack came after 19 minutes when a corner was headed in by Peter Knox but the goal was disallowed by the officials for a push.

It was the home side who found the breakthrough on 22 minutes when Karl Ashton knocked a cross in from close range.

Mark Whitehouse had a shot saved as Frickley looked for an instant response but Mickleover soon doubled their advantage with their next attack of the game.

A long ball was headed down by Martin Smythe into the patch of Michael Simpson, who volleyed the ball into the roof of the net from the edge of the box.

It could have got worse on 29 minutes when Mickleover were awarded a penalty but Kieran O’Connell placed his spot-kick well wide of the right hand post.

Within three minutes the Blues gave themselves a lifeline when Knox beat Damian Clarke to a through-ball and flicked it into the path of Brad Grayson who fired into an unguarded net from 12 yards.

Knox then flicked on a throw for Whitehouse but his first-time shot was saved by Clarke and on 36 minutes Whitehouse burst down the left and cut the ball back to Knox, who had two close-range shots blocked on the line by Clarke.

In first-half stoppage time Smythe turned and shot just over the bar from 18-yards whilst at the other end James Ashmore put a free-kick over the bar for Frickley.

The Blues turned the game on its head early in the second half. Knox gave a sign of what was to come when he volleyed over the bar following a long clearance from Billard on 47 minutes but a period of pressure saw the Blues get the equaliser they deserved on 51 minutes when Mallon played the ball back into the box for Knox to head in from six yards out.

Two minutes later the Blues were ahead when Whitehouse’s corner was headed into the roof of the net from close range by Stuart Ludlam.

The visitors were in control and on 56 minutes Ashmore’s free-kick from the left was met by the head of Whitehouse at the back post but his header was cleared off the line.

Whitehouse was involved again on 59 minutes when his cross was handled inside the box and Ashmore stepped up to beat Clarke from the spot.

Knox scored his second, and the Blues’ fifth goal, on 65 minutes, heading in an excellent cross from Mallon into the back of the net.

But Mickleover pulled a goal back on 79 minutes when Keiran O’Connell fired an angled shot past Billard from close range.

The Blues soon regained their three-goal lead when Knox found Whitehouse who drove towards the box before feeding the overlapping Mallon who hit a first time shot from 20 yards past Clarke.

The emphatic win will give Peter Rinkcavage and his troops a big boost going into Saturday’s FA Cup clash at home against Harrogate Town (kick-off 3pm).

Mickleover Sports: Damian Clarke, Jason Beardsley, John Guy (Steve Banks 45), Liam Walshe, Danny Martin (Colin Hoyle 46), Marc Strzyzweski, Eric Graves, Michael Simpson, Karl Ashton, Keiran O’Connell, Martin Smythe (Kyle Bryant 70). Unused sub: Chris Dodsley.

Frickley Athletic: Adam Billard, Kelvin Bleau, David Cyrus, Danny Walsh, Lincoln Adams, Stuart Ludlam, Ryan Mallon (Karl Jones 90), James Ashmore (Ben Leonard 88), Peter Knox, Bradley Grayson (Grant Darley 73), Mark Whitehouse.

Referee: Mr A Newbold

Attendance: 192