EMCL - Gedling Miners Welfare 2 - v - 3 Radford
Pheasants end 10-man Miners winning run
Gedling Miners Welfare – v – Radford
East Midlands Counties Football League
Plains Road | 15.00 Kick off
Gedling Miners Welfare …….. 2 (Plummer 75’, Westcarr 90+1’)
Radford ………………………...... 3 (Hore 26’ pen, Reeves 40’, Brett OG 64’)
Gedling Miners Welfare welcomed city neighbours Radford to Plains Road on Saturday looking for their 8th straight win in all competitions following on from their impressive 5-2 away win at Dunkirk last time out. The visitors, meanwhile, were aiming to the secure their first league win in 5 attempts, with their last domestic victory coming against West Bridgford back in mid-September.
It was the away side who started the brighter of the two sides as Hurricane Brian also looked to stamp his mark on the game and it became obvious that each side would experience a tough 45 minutes when facing the adverse weather. Kevin Spriggs, in attempt to exploit the strong winds, stung an effort goalwards after 8 minutes but it was catching practice for Chris Heltorp.
As expected, the early exchanges were played out with fierce mentality. The tackles weren’t without hesitation as Radford were forced into two early substitutions amongst a flurry of yellow cards for both sides in-between for late tackles. With no real football display evident in difficult conditions, the first major talking point came after 25 minutes.
After getting in behind Steven Brett down the defensive left, wideman Ryan Perkins, through his own determination and pace, was innocuously felled by the defender prior to pulling the trigger. Referee Scott Spering pointed to the spot to award Radford an opportunity to take the lead but, much to anger of Radford and Perkins, who had suffered a serious match-ending injury, refused to send off Brett despite appearing to be Gedling’s last man. Regardless, former-Miner Simon Hore stepped up and duly dispatched the penalty for the go-ahead goal.
At the other end, Jurgen Charlesworth really should have equalised at the far post for Gedling on 32 minutes, but his indecisiveness allowed away custodian Hadlee Dunn the chance to smother. That miss proved costly for the home side as 8 minutes later, Radford doubled their lead. A floated free-kick on the halfway line by Nick Hawkins, muchly assisted by the wind, found an unmarked Kenny Reeves who spectacularly fired a first time volley into the top corner past the despairing Heltorp.
2-0 at the break and Radford looked comfortable with Gedling, poor in the first half, failing to capitalise on their chances. However, only 47 seconds into the second half, and the second major incident of the match that, would ultimately, knock the stuffing out of the Miners. Jack Jepson, rather quiet all game, found himself facing two Radford defenders in the area after he looked to offer his side a way back into the game.
After bundling his way around Hawkins, in which he had to pirouette to stay on his feet, a clear reflection of the pressure he was under, Jepson then skipped over Hore only to be tripped by the defender’s leg for what appeared to be a clear penalty. However, the referee deemed Jepson had bought the game into disrepute via simulation, and amazingly gave the striker his marching orders for his second bookable offence, a decision which stunned and baffled all associated with both teams.
Gedling, now up against it in both a scoreline and personnel sense of grievance, were facing a stubborn Radford side that consolidated defensively and, with respect, dealt with the retaliated pressure. Despite their defensive frame of mind, and to rub salt into the wounds, they all but wrapped up the game, or so it then seemed, just after the hour. After fantastic wide play by Raverne Jackson, his deft touch inside found top scorer Ryan Smith, whose shot-cum-cross was inadvertently diverted into his own net by Brett for 3-0 as Radford had achieved even more than they may have expected from the game.
At this point, Gedling must have assumed they were out of the game as their typical attacking prowess was lacking. Though, it wasn’t the football that was taking centre stage. Referee Mr. Spering decided that the game was becoming far too intense for his liking and distributed a number of unwarranted cautions as the half wore on. In addition, his stop-start approach to the game was infuriating both sets of players and fans when completely needless. His total lack of control and game Management as an official left a lot to be desired and his assistants didn’t help themselves throughout.
Away from this, 15 minutes from the end and a mere shadow of hope for the home side. From an in-swinging corner from Ross McCaughey, substitute Ryan Plummer cutely flicked home at the near post as his teammates congregated to collect the ball to restart the game as quick as possible. Minutes later, debutant Carey Knight, after superbly setting himself from a delightful lobbed pass from Joe Meakin, tested Dunn in the Radford goal but he saved well low down.
The time ticked as Gedling looked reduce Radford’s now two-goal cushion, however, to no avail as Dunn, and those in front of him, spearheaded by a superb captain’s performance from Matt Hopewell, stood firm. Though, those in purple must have been nervous when, on 89 minutes, Gedling pulled another back. After superb build up play down the left from Dwayne Brown, his pass found another debutant Carl Westcarr whose effort, after characteristic hold-up, found the top corner of the net via a deflection of Simon Hore.
3-2 down and still with 5 minutes to play, Gedling had sensed they could snatch an undeserved draw from the game. However, Radford’s resilience saw them through to the final whistle as it was evident they were delighted with such a result.
The Miners knew that somewhere down the line, their impressive stretch of wins would come to an end, and Radford, to their credit, utilised both the difficult conditions and their game plan to their advantage to ensure that day belonged to them. Gedling, through their own admission, were poor, but could argue that their task was unnecessarily jeopardised by the overall decision making from the officials, whose performances were questionable.
They will be out looking to amend this blip as they travel to Birstall United on Saturday (28th October) in the first of 3 consecutive away matches, kick off 3pm.
Onto a couple of footnotes, I have been a member of the Gedling Miners Welfare club, and thus the EMCL, community as a player for 8 years, before somewhat retiring through injury to take up a position as their first-team match reporter this season and I am categorically bewildered at the standard of officiating today.
It speaks volumes when Radford, even when 3-0 ahead, still had to understandably berate and question the official’s decision making due to the negative impact it was having on a game that, whilst feisty, was played out to the law and with no real malice by either side. As football lovers, we understand that officials have it tough, but they do not help themselves by wanting to be centre of attention, it seems, in a very highly competitive and combative league.
Secondly, with a more heart-warming feel, myself and everyone associated with Gedling, would like to pass on our congratulations to Radford defender Nick Hawkins who had to prematurely leave the game mid-way through the second half to attend the birth of his baby. We wish you, your partner and the baby well.
Gedling Miners Welfare Man of the Match – Carey Knight
Match Attendance – 93
Referee – Mr. Scott Spering
Assistant Referees – Mr. Paul Dixon and Mr. Fanran Meng
Gedling Miners Welfare – Chris Heltorp, Joe Evans (Carl Westcarr 61’), Ross McCaughey, Jordan Whitehead (Ryan Plummer 45’), Luke Smith (Carey Knight 36’), Steven Brett, Jimmy Spiers (c), Joe Meakin, Dwayne Brown, Jurgen Charlesworth, Jack Jepson.
Unused Substitutions – Lance Cunningham, Lubban Cardell
Cautions – Jepson (foul 21’), Meakin (foul 35’), Knight (foul 79’), Spiers (foul 84’), Westcarr (dissent 85’), Brett (foul 87’)
Dismissal – Jepson (simulation 46’)
Radford FC – Hadlee Dunn, Matt Hopewell (c), Courtney Bartley, Kevin Spriggs, Simon Hore, Nick Hawkins (Paul Durham 68’), Kenny Reeves, Tom Cooper-Richards (Tom Black 18’), Raverne Jackson, Ryan Perkins (Matt Fowler 27’), Ryan Smith.
Unused Substitution – Wes Spencer
Cautions – Reeves (foul 7’), Spriggs (foul 15’)
Match report compiled and edited by Marc Williams