Mike "The Beast" Taylor's late strike keeps Town's Wembley dreams alive!
By Andy Chilton
The Blues make club FA Trophy history & go 13 games unbeaten
Match Report by KEVIN HAND, Match Stats by ROD ABRAHAMS, Photographs by GRANTY
Mickleover Sports v Stratford TOWN
Tuesday 13 November, 2018 7.45 pm
Buildbase FA Trophy 2nd Qualifying Round
Mickleover 0 Stratford 1 HT (0-0)
• All’s well that ends well.
It’s difficult to review a match in which you’ve missed the first 30 minutes of the action. Freak traffic conditions with a major accident on the M40 North meant that the 1 hour 30 min journey north took 3 and a half hours. Thanks to the wonders of our Twitter feed we knew an exciting game was in progress with chances at both ends, thanks also to Rod Abrahams for his cryptic and helpful notes.
The team sheet on arrival at the Station Road ground showed two significant changes from Saturday’s line up Oulton replaced Fry and Lewis Wilson moved up front leaving Mike Taylor on the benchIn a free flowing first half, edged by Town, the biggest incident of note was a badly under-hit back pass from Isaac. Walton saved coolly but the linesman had already raised his flag, inexplicably, for off side. For Town on 43 minutes substitute Fry had a shot blocked that fell to Grocott who was just wide.
The consensus was that Wilson had a fine game but it was Taylor’s return to the fray that was to prove decisive. By the break both sides had made changes; Fry replacing the injured and ‘carded’ Ross Oulton; and for Mickleover Jimmy Phillips replacing Jack Walsh.
The second half and was reminiscent of Saturday’s game; Stratford all neat and purposeful going forward but lacking a final killer ball or shot; Mickleover equally neat but less progressive and never threatening to break the mid-field stronghold of Skendi, Grocott and Fry. Both defences were on top.
Evan Garnett briefly threatened for Mickleover but once he wastefully shot over and next he was thwarted by an excellent McAteer tackle. It was the introduction of Taylor on 60 minutes replacing the injured Westwood that was to change the dynamic of the contest. Isaac slotted in effectively at left wing back and Lewis moved to the right. As Mickleover tired Town’s superior strength and fitness began to tell. On 83 minutes Grocott found Taylor whose shot was smothered by the impressive ginat Mickleover keeper, Corey Addai. Then Cox crossed and Taylor’s header was safely gathered by the custodian. The deadlock was broken on 88 minutes when Cox crossed to the far post and Taylor was on hand to bundle the ball in from close range.
The change of atmosphere in the stadium was palpable. The crowd of 183 quickly thinned as Town managed the remaining few minutes in impeccable professional style to progress to the next round of the FA Trophy the furthest in the clubs history.
It is likely to be an exciting tie when the form team of the Northern Premier League, the Mariners of South Shields, visit the Arden Garages Stadium on Saturday 24 November. Manager, Thomas, was strong in his praise of Lewis Wilson for his first-half performance and Taylor for his impact from the bench. He once again praised the fitness levels of his squad.
Among many impressive performances once again McAteer and Williams stood tall. On this occasion McAteer just shaded it.
Man of the Match Jamie McAteer
Match stats by Rod Abrahams
| Mickleover Sports || Stratford Town|
| 7||Goal Attempts|| 17|
| 4||On Target|| 6|
| 0||Blocked Shots|| 0|
| 0||Hit Woodwork|| 0|
| 1||Corners Won|| 2|
| 4||Crosses into Box|| 8|
| 13||Fouls Conceded|| 10|
| 4||Off Side|| 2|
| 1||Yellow Cards|| 2|
| 0||Red Cards|| 0|
Saturday 17 November Needham Market (A) 3.00pm EvoStik Southern Premier League
Tuesday 20 November Aston Villa (H) Birmingham Senior Cup KO 7.45pm