Clifton All Whites 2 - v - 3 Gedling Miners Welfare
Miners edge a 5-goal thriller
Clifton All Whites – v – Gedling Miners Welfare
Clifton All Whites…………………….2 (Shannon-Lewis 45’, 58’)
East Midlands Counties Football League
Norman Archer Memorial Ground | 15.00 Kick off
Saturday 20th January 2018
Gedling Miners Welfare ……………3 (Campbell 47’, Plummer 56’, Knight 87’)
Gedling Miners Welfare made the short journey south to face Clifton All Whites seeking the double over their city neighbours after their 2-0 home victory back in August. Troubled by their inconsistencies so far this season, Miners came into the game on the back of a surprise home defeat to Stapenhill last week whilst Clifton, boasting one of the better goal differences in the EMCL prior to kick off, were unbeaten in the league since mid-November.
Predictably, the game started with a combative edge as both sides, renowned for their tough-tackling approach, looked to place their stamp on the game early doors. Clifton started the game the better of the two and looked to dangerous widemen Connor Hardy and Theo Smith to set the tone. However, the earliest chance fell to Gedling. After superb hold up play by Jay Knight and Aboubacar Sylla, the latter found Joe Meakin whose effort, whilst not lacking power, failed to trouble Alex Smith in the home goal.
Despite the frantic opening exchanges, the game dwindled into an otherwise uneventful affair with both sides limited in front of goal regardless of the attacking threat on display. Jahred Russell audaciously tried his luck from the half way line after a rushed clearance by debutant away custodian Danny Brown but the effort was way off. At the other end, from a typically accurate Ross McCaughey corner, Luke Smith’s header floated wide.
All Whites, with their undoubted talent on show, were always going to look to cause problems with their forward play, but the resilience of Gedling’s defensive four was superb all afternoon. On the reverse, the away side were excellent in possession but were culpable of retaining the ball for longer than needed which frustrated them. In a reflection of the tenacity, and despite the wholeheartedness and commitment of both sides, referee Jack Forder’s constant interruption of the game with his somewhat questionable decision making was unnecessary and really affected the natural flow of the game.
The next real opportunity came 10 minutes from the break and it was the closest to the games introductory goal. Meakin once more, after another piece of commendable build up play from himself and Sylla, took aim but his deflected effort clipped the outside of the woodwork. On the ascendency and arguably the better side, Gedling sensed the opener was inevitable and with any Clifton danger ultimately dwindling into nothing, they couldn’t be blamed. However, shortly before the break and they were a goal down as a result of their own undoing.
After holding onto the ball for too long, Sylla was dispossessed and, typical of Clifton’s attack, they countered at speed and, after a cutting through ball by Russell, Theo Smith, in behind Joe Evans, squared the ball for leading goalscorer Tyrell Shannon-Lewis who bundled the ball home under pressure from Martin Holt.
One down at the break and visitors, despite their dominance, will have felt very aggrieved, especially in the manner they fell behind. However, they didn’t have to wait long after the interval to level the scores.
After his own free kick was kept alive by Luke Smith, initially being parried by namesake Alex, the ball found an unmarked Errol Campbell who, with a sublime acrobatic overhead kick, found the bottom corner before rightly being congatulated by his teammates, as those in attendance stood to applaud the fine effort. Gedling were now deservedly back in the game and Clifton felt shocked by the leveller and only 8 minutes later their dismay was exemplified as they went 2-1 down and in some style that arguably emulated the first.
After another Luke Smith free kick was clawed away by ‘keeper Smith, albeit lacking distance, the ball fell kindly to a lurking Ryan Plummer who, after composing himself from all of 30 yards, fired a half volley that whistled into the top corner as he took all the plaudits - an absolutely exquisite effort that exhausted all superlatives.
However, before Gedling could relax themselves from the jubilation that had befallen them, the scoreline was all square again 2 minutes later as all their work to lead the game was wasted. After fine wing play from the left, Connor Hardy stood up a fine cross to the back post and the ball found an unmarked Shannon-Lewis who couldn’t miss from 2 yards out.
Back into proceedings and Clifton underwent their best spell of the game and only 2 minutes after their equaliser Theo Smith may have put his side in front for the second time but his toed effort, through a medley of players, bounced off the foot of the post and was cleared.
To their credit, Gedling continued to play their easy-on-the-eye football emanating from defence as they sought after another go-ahead goal, and the introduction of leading goalscorer Jack Jepson, making his long awaited return after injury, really spurred them on. It was Jepson who may have given his side the lead but, after Meakin found him unmarked in the box, the onrushing striker could only squander his moment wide of the goal when it was debatably easier to hit the target.
Though, only 9 minutes from the end and the wasted chance was simply a memory as Gedling regained the lead. After finding himself behind Ashley Miles, Plummer chipped out a deep cross and the ball fell kindly at the feet of Jay Knight who prodded home Gedling’s third through an accumulation of bodies in a crowded area, much to delight of the travellers who deserved it based on their performance and attitude.
Meakin, in an attempt to extend Gedling’s lead and confirm the three points, curled an effort on goal but his shot was always rising and at the other end, Hardy, who was one of the brighter sparks for the home side, let off a fierce strike but his effort was turned around the post by Brown as Clifton put the pressure on seeking a late equaliser. Late on in the 95th minute, Craig Anderson must have thought his goal-bound attempt was flying in the top corner, but Brown, solid all game on his debut, turned the ball wide as Mr. Forder drew the game to a close and Gedling celebrated a hard fought victory against tricky opposition.
They entertain Kimberley Miners Welfare at Plains Road next Saturday (27th) and will be looking to build on their recent victory that, should all results go their way, see them rise to fifth.
Gedling Miners Welfare Man of the Match – Joe Evans
Match Attendance – 39
Referee – Mr. Jack Forder
Assistant Referees – Mr. Scott Anderson and Mr. Alex Cotterill
Clifton All Whites – Alex Smith, Ashley Miles, Jahred Russell, Tobias Richardson, Jack Reid, Cameron Gray (Jevin Seaton 67’), Corbi Brown (Callum Swain 79’), Craig Anderson (c), Tyrell Shannon-Lewis, Theo Smith (Nathan Kelly 74’), Connor Hardy
Unused Substitutions – Tommy Street and Grant Walton
Caution - Reid (foul 46’)
Gedling Miners Welfare – Danny Brown, Joe Evans, Charlie Roberts, Martin Holt, Ross McCaughey, Ryan Plummer, Luke Smith (c) (Jack Jepson 57’), Jay Knight, Joe Meakin, Errol Campbell, Aboubacar Sylla
Unused Substitution – Daniel Pass
Cautions – Holt (dissent 44’), Evans (foul 64’), Knight (dissent 64’)
Match report compiled and edited by Marc Williams