Rushall Olympic continued their solid start to life in the Premier Division of the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League after fighting back and overturning an interval deficit to claim a share of the spoils at Dales Lane against a useful Mickleover Sports outfit.
Following the superb opening day draw at Chester FC, the hosts lined up against their Derbyshire opponents with some enforced changes as Chris Morris and Anthony Maguire came in for the injured duo of Ahmed Obeng
and Nick Amos
, while Grant Beckett replaced Louis Keenan.
After a relatively quiet opening, where the opponents sized each other up, some lackadaisical marking cost the Pics dearly on 17 minutes. Sports were given far too much time and space deep in Rushall territory and as the ball was squared from the left channel to DANNY MARTIN
the midfield had ample freedom to manoeuvre inside and unleash a curling 30 yard drive that probed beyond the reach of ‘keeper Chris Gemmell
into the right side of the net.
Five minutes later and it could have been far worse for hosts when on this occasion Martin could only drag a 25 yard strike well wide of the right hand post as Olympic’s defence worryingly opened up directly in front of him.
Rushall finally began to find their feet as the half hour approached and in the 27th minute a spectacular overhead kick from Maguire caused all sorts of problems in the visitor’s penalty area, but the ball was eventually scrambled clear for a corner. However, as play broke down Matt Lewis squared the ball to Danny Bragoli whose low goal bound effort had to be frantically repelled at the last second.
Half-Time: Rushall Olympic 0-1 Mickleover Sports
The Pics began the second period in a far more positive frame of mind and within eleven minutes of the restart Beckett’s centre from the left by-line to the far post picked out Lewis who planted a firm downward header from 12 yards that had to be cleared.
In the very next phase of play Chris Morris broke dangerously through the right channel and despite the obvious lack of support the front runner cut inside and forced ‘keeper Alessandro Baccherini into a fine parry.
With 20 minutes remaining a good centre from the left by substitute Jon Patrick picked out Sean Platt at the far post, but the wing back could only blaze wastefully over from just outside the box.
On 73 minutes the never say die attitude of Maguire reaped huge rewards for the hosts as the midfielder chased a seemingly lost cause down the left flank. With Sports defence under increasing pressure the danger was ultimately cleared by the visitor’s custodian, who could only slice the ball directly to LEWIS some 25 yards from goal. As the front runner took a touch he proceeded to fire a sublimely weighted lob back over his opponents head and into the back of the net to deservedly restore parity.
Full-Time: Rushall Olympic 1-1 Mickleover Sports
: 1. Chris Gemmell
, 2. James Skedgel, 3. Adie Smith ©, 4. Mitchell Tolley
, 5. Sean Platt, 6. Grant Beckett, 7. Richard Blythe, 8. Danny Bragoli, 9. Matt Lewis, 10. Chris Morris, 11. Anthony Maguire. Subs: 12. Jon Patrick (Bragoli 66), 14. Louis Keenan, 15. Craig Bannister
(Morris 84), 16. Lucan Spittle, 17. Nick Amos
: 1. Alessandro Baccherini, 2. David Leigh, 3. John Guy, 4. Liam Walshe ©, 5. Thom Kellogg, 6. Shaun Roulson, 7. Eric Graves, 8. Danny Martin, 9. Karl Ashton, 10. Kieran O’Connell, 11. Michael Simpson. Subs: 12. Jason Beardsley (Kellogg 76), 14. Marc Stryswski (Leigh 65), 15. Mark Farthing, 16. Kyle Bryant, 17. Martin Smyth.
Referee: Ms. S. Ihringova