EMCL - Birstall United 0 - v - 2 Gedling Miners Welfare
Gedling bounce back at Birstall.
Birstall United – v – Gedling Miners Welfare
East Midlands Counties Football League
Meadow Lane | 15.00 Kick off
Birstall United…………………………….. 0
Gedling Miners Welfare ……………… 2 (Charlesworth 27’, Plummer 58’)
Gedling Miners Welfare made the 64-mile round trip to Leicestershire on Saturday looking to avenge their first loss in 8 games last weekend at home to Radford. Similarly, their hosts, who have made an in-different start to their campaign and sat mid-table, were also looking to bounce back after their most recent result, a 3-1 midweek cup loss to neighbours Kirkby Muxloe.
The game opened in an energetic fashion as neither team shied out of tackles and were extremely combative. Ross McCaughey and goalkeeper Chris Heltorp were on the receiving end of fierce tackles as the tone of the game was evident early on. The first ten minutes belonged to the home side as they started brightly. Their intricate passing and deft flicks to find feet gave Gedling something to think about as Ashley Way, spearheading Birstall’s attack, showed characteristic protectiveness up front as Steven Brett and Martin Holt looked to settle in the heart of Gedling’s defence.
The first meaningful chance of the game came after just 18 minutes and it went to the visitors but home ‘keeper Elliot Shilliam produced a fantastic double save low down to prevent Jurgen Charlesworth and then Ryan Plummer as both players really should have found the net. However, only 8 minutes later Gedling did take the lead, contrary to the possession statistic that heavily favoured Birstall.
After patient wide play by Cardell Lubban and Joe Meakin, who both began sharply, the latter’s deep low cross eventually found its way to Jurgen Charlesworth and, after one touch to set himself, fired a snapped volley toward goal that, through a number of congregated players, nestled in the right-hand corner past the stranded Shilliam for 1-0, arguably against the run of play.
Despite being a goal down, Birstall were positive when driving forward. They continued with their nimble football and their intentions were commendable and may have equalised a few minutes after going behind, but Michael Paparozzi’s effort was thwarted by the resilient visiting rearguard. Moments earlier, Charlesworth had a chance to double his personal tally, but his curling effort was well wide.
However, on 38 minutes and Birstall had their two best chances of the half to equalise, both within minutes of each other. Mitch Williams found himself in acres on the left when in behind Joe Evans, but failed to hit his effort on target as his shot was dragged well wide under no real pressure. 3 minutes later, in a similar build-up, Alex Johnson found himself one-on-one with Heltorp, but the ‘keeper fantastically anticipated the scooped finish and parried away before the danger was eventually cleared.
Gedling started the second half well looking to build on their lead, but ultimately both sets of defensive stalwarts were proving tough nuts to crack. Lubban and Charlesworth continued to tirelessly run the channels as their respective opposing full-backs, Dominic Watts and Jack Green, began to struggle defensively and, rather unsurprisingly, 10 minutes after the restart and Gedling had doubled their lead.
After a superb switch-of-play from Martin Holt, excellent all game, Meakin found himself in an unnatural left wing position, though his tricky wing play caused troubles for Green and his powerful low cross evaded everyone before Ryan Plummer stabbed the ball home into the roof of the net as the travellers erupted in delight.
To their credit, Birstall still continued to play their fine-flowing football and were a delight to watch in places. But in fairness, not much was going to penetrate the strength of Gedling’s defensive back line on the day, typically lead by a man of the match performance from Brett. At the other end, Lubban, after a back header from Green to Shilliam fell short, nipped to intercept the pass but his lobbed effort fell the wrong side of the crossbar from a Gedling perspective.
Predictably, Birstall ended the final 15 minutes on top as they sought looking for a way back into the affair. They went closest to reducing the arrears on 76 minutes, but Charlie Roberts finely anticipated a low drive from Lewis Dodds and cleared well off the line after Heltorp was beaten. This was their best chance back into a game that was really out of Birstall’s grasp. Their reluctance to deliver crosses into Gedling’s box when the opportunity arose really was their Achilles heel, and, although neat, their possession and build-up play ultimately played into the hands of Gedling as they dealt with everything in front of them with minimal difficulty.
In the final minute of play, Gedling could have made it 3, but after a fine Ross McCaughey corner, Carl Westcarr was deemed offside by the far-sided official before he prodded home into an open goal amidst a scramble. However, the game was sealed as Gedling chalked off another fine away performance for one of their best results against a very well organised Birstall side.
A team is often assessed in their next game following a defeat the previous week and Gedling showed exemplary resolve and bouncebackability to secure an immense result away from home. They have showed that they have adopted a phenomenal footballing mindset under the stewardship of Stuart Robinson and Chris Marks, and could find themselves challenging for silverware come May.
They are back on the road again next week in the second of three away games in Leicestershire. They visit Barrow Town next Saturday (4th November) with a 3pm kick off.
Gedling Miners Welfare Man of the Match – Steven Brett
Match Attendance – 43
Referee – Mr. Tom Burt
Assistant Referees – Mr. Michael Scriven and Mr. Paul Riley
Birstall United – Elliot Shilliam, Jack Green, Dominic Watts, Joe Shaw, James Dodds, Charlie Young, Lewis Dodds (c), Michael Paparozzi (Jake Robertson 64’), Mitch Williams, Alex Johnson (Aaron Headley 72’), Ash Way.
Unused Substitutions – Aaron Shilliam, Thomas Burton, Reif Armstrong.
Cautions – Dodds (foul 24’), Watts (foul 44’), Green (dissent 75’)
Gedling Miners Welfare – Chris Heltorp, Joe Evans (Charlie Roberts 61’), Ross McCaughey, Steven Brett, Martin Holt, Jay Knight, Jurgen Charlesworth, Jimmy Spiers, Ryan Plummer, Joe Meakin, Cardell Lubban (Carl Westcarr 67’).
Unused Substitutions – Keaton Sharpe, Carey Knight.
Cautions – N/A
Match report compiled and edited by Marc Williams