HomeFeaturedLocal SportShotton gives Hanley a creditable draw with Mickleover FC.

Shotton gives Hanley a creditable draw with Mickleover FC.

A second-half goal from Ryan Shotton saw Northern Premier League new boys Hanley Town take a creditable draw against Southern League Central Premier Division side Mickleover FC.

The defender finished off a lovely move after he controlled a cross from Reece Jones before expertly side footing the ball past former England C team goalkeeper Johnathon Hedge just after the hour mark, and it was the least Hanley deserved as they put in an impressive performance against an established step three side.

Hanley started the game on the front foot and could have been ahead after just two minutes when new signing Danny Glover tried to whip the ball into the far corner of the goal, however, the former Nantwich Town and Rushall Olympic forward put the effort just wide of the post.

Glover then had an even better chance to score on 10 minutes when he forced Hedge into a decent one-handed save when he flicked on a Reece Jones corner at the near post.

Despite the early chances for Hanley, Mickleover took the lead with their first chance of the game on 22 minutes. Elliott Reeves, a summer signing from National League North side Alfreton Town, raced clear on goal and stroked the ball beyond the reach of goalkeeper Ben Chapman and into the corner of the net.

Three minutes after the goal, Hanley should have had a penalty when Glover was flattened inside the area as he tried to control a Jones cross. However, with all eyes on the referee, expecting him to point to the penalty spot, he waved play on and told Glover to get up.

Mickleover could have been 2-0 up just after the half-hour mark when Ben Holston was able to shrug off the advances of Shotton before speeding towards the penalty area and getting his shot away. Thankfully for Hanley, it was diverted around the post for a corner by Chapman.

Glover continued with his fine performance as he almost turned provider on 39 minutes as he played in Jones. Hanley’s top scorer from last season broke into the area, but sadly for the winger, he saw his tame effort saved by Hedge.

After the break, Hanley continued with the onslaught as they looked for an equaliser with substitutes Theo Stair and Aaron Cole going close, but neither of them could find a way past Hedge, who was standing firm between the sticks for Mickleover.

That was until the 67th minute when after a succession of balls into the box from Hanley, a cross from Jones fell to Shotton who controlled the ball with his chest before rolling the ball past Hedge into the corner of the goal. It was a delightful goal from the former Stoke City defender and a special moment as well because he was the only outfield player not to score during Hanley’s title-winning campaign last season.

After the goal, the game started to fizzle out with both sides only managing a couple of efforts each, Jones saw his volley from the edge of the area blocked by a defender, while James Butler put his header from a free-kick go over Kieran Harrison’s goal.

In the end, a draw was probably a fair result, but Hanley Town player-manager Carl Dickinson can be proud of how his side stepped up against a team higher up than them in the Non-League pyramid.

Richard Scott
Richard Scott
Sports Reporter

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