EMCL - Gedling Miners Welfare 3 -v- 2 Holwell Sports
Miners hold off a resurgent Holwell to claim all 3 points
Gedling Miners Welfare – v – Holwell Sports
East Midlands Counties Football League
Plains Road | 19.45 Kick off
Tuesday 1st May 2018
Gedling Miners Welfare ………….... 3 (Brown 25’, Jepson 27’, Sylla 40’)
Holwell Sports ………………………..... 2 (Tinsley 14’, O’Grady 53’)
Gedling Miners Welfare welcomed Holwell Sports to Plains Road in the penultimate game of their East Midlands Counties campaign. The visitors, in no relegation trouble and failing to really worry those in the top half, arrive unbeaten in 3 and dumped their hosts out of the League Cup back in March at the quarter final stage. Gedling, seeking their revenge on the men from Melton Mowbray, continue to jostle their mid-table position with Radford, Aylestone Park and Belper and will be looking to finish as high as they can despite a 2-0 defeat to the latter at the weekend.
They began on the front foot and the game opened in a frantic manner. Both sides cancelled each other out early on as it became evident that there may be goals and, after only the 3rd minute, Holwell registered their first attempt on goal as their intent on causing another upset was clear. After a mazy run from deep in his own half, Kyle Reek forced the first save of the game out of Danny Brown who did well to tip around after seeing it late.
Despite the chance, Gedling remained the better team and they sought to retreat their opponents at every opportunity. However, against the run of play, it was Holwell who, rather fortuitously, took the lead after only 14 minutes. After a skyward punt by away custodian Richard Cragg caught everyone napping, the ball bounced over the anticipating Brown, who missed his header, and Mark Tinsley slid home to ensure the ball found the back of the net under pressure from Charlie Roberts.
Gedling continued to push forward and maintain their way of playing. They found success through the channels and Aboubacar Sylla was beginning to slowly stamp his authority on the game as the Holwell defence struggled to cope with the young winger, so it was no real surprise that he played an architectural role in Gedling’s equaliser on the 25th minute. After one of his umpteen dazzling runs was undeterred, his deft chip to the back post found an unmarked Dwayne Brown who coolly thumped the ball home into the top corner as Sylla took the plaudits for his role.
At this stage, Sylla was starting to run Holwell ragged with full back Brad Smith and co. really struggling to tame him and only 3 minutes after setting up Brown for the equaliser, he played another prominent role in giving his side the lead. After Smith failed to cope with the trickery and speed of the wide man, Sylla’s flashed cross was only parried by Cragg and the ball fell kindly to Jack Jepson who passed home to notch his 21st goal in all competitions this season. A superb return from the summer acquisition from Aylestone Park.
Since going ahead, Gedling had real control over the game and some would argue they were playing the best they have all year. In complete ascendancy they came at the tiring Holwell defensive line more than the visitors had wished for and 5 minutes before the half they all but confirmed the 3 points and redemption for their cup exit in early in the year. After patient build up play down the left between Joe Meakin and Sylla, the latter found space and unleashed a fierce strike that whistled past Cragg from all of 35 yards into the top corner. A sublime strike that deserved all the accreditation it received and topped off a superb performance from both Sylla and Gedling in the first half.
He may have extended Gedling’s lead in the last act of the half but, after good intricate play between Brown and Meakin again, this time down the right, Sylla could only acrobatically divert his effort wide of the post.
Holwell came out in the second adamant on preventing the home side steam rolling them and to their credit they continued to push seeking a way back into the game. Substitute Shaun Smith audaciously tested his luck 5 minutes after the interval but Brown remained untroubled. However, only 3 minutes later they did find themselves back into the game, again rather fortunately.
After a looped pass was innocuously floated into the empty Gedling area from the middle of the park, the ball was carried by the wind and, before a surprised Brown could react, the ball bounced back into play via the crossbar and Connor O’Grady, rushing in at the back stick sensing his luck, nodded home into an open net to pull his side within one.
Unsurprisingly, the goal sparked Holwell into a sense of urgency unwitnessed so far in this game and they felt the comeback was on. With Gedling unable to replicate their performances in the first half, Holwell slowly ascended into the game as they looked to repeat their league cup exploits in their hosts. Without any real clear cut opportunities, both sides continued to pour forward in droves as Gedling looked to consolidate their leading position, with the visitors sensing their trip from Leicestershire might not be wasted.
On the 70th minute, Jepson may have doubled his tally but his deflected header from a Luke Smith cross, whilst on target, was safely collected by Cragg as the ‘keeper urged his team forward going into the latter stages. Gedling entered the last 10 minutes on the back foot and it took for some stubborn rear-guard defending to maintain their lead. At this point, anywhere and everywhere was the mentality as Holwell disregarded all form of tactics and formation as they maintained the pressure seeking the leveller, and, deep into injury time, they were rewarded for their efforts and perseverance.
Turning sharply in the Gedling penalty area, Tinsley was felled by Jimmy Spiers after he got on the wrong side of the striker. Referee Martin Fryer, who was excellent all game, made no hesitation in pointing to spot much to the delight of all those associated with the visitors who looked certain to grab an unlikely point. However, after a minor delay, Michael Stevenson, up from the back, stepped up and his penalty was excellently saved by Danny Brown who more than atoned for his error earlier in the game. After the ball was thumped clear from the rebound, Fryer drew a close to proceedings as Brown justifiably gained the recognition he deserved from his team.
A much needed and deserved win helped Gedling inch themselves within touching distance of those above them as their EMCL season comes to its conclusion. Their final game of the campaign is on Saturday (5th May) when Ashby Ivanhoe make the lengthy journey north from Leicester to Plains Road, 3pm kick off.
Gedling Miners Welfare Man of the Match - Aboubacar Sylla
Match Attendance – 52
Referee – Mr. Martin Fryer
Assistant Referees – Mr. David Henfrey and Mr. Frank Webster
Gedling Miners Welfare – Danny Brown, Joe Evans, Luke Smith, Charlie Roberts (Jordan Whitehead 58’), Steven Brett, Ross McCaughey (Daniel Pass 71’), Dwayne Brown, Jimmy Spiers (c), Jack Jepson, Joe Meakin, Aboubacar Sylla
Unused Substitutes – Adam Morley, Chris Marks, Stuart Robinson
Holwell Sports – Richard Cragg, Brad Smith, Michael Stevenson, Ben Betteridge (Shaun Smith 12’), Ian Bitmead (c), Rob Woodcock, Liam Ambrose (Ross Cragg 81’), Connor O’Grady, Mark Tinsley, Kyle Reek, Mark Cowling
Unused Substitutes – Liam Chapman, Dave Hazeldine
On a personal note, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the fans, staff, and players of Gedling Miners Welfare Football Club for your committed and fantastic support this season and we hope to see a big turnout for the final game on Saturday against Ashby Ivanhoe. I hope you enjoyed the match reports, as well as all our programme notes, and I look forward to continuing in the same role next season.
Match report compiled and written by Marc Williams