EMCL - Clifton All Whites 4 -v- 2 Gedling Miners Welfare
Miners fall short in season opener
Clifton All Whites – v – Gedling Miners Welfare
East Midlands Counties Football League
Norman Archer Memorial Ground
Saturday 4th August | 3pm Kick Off
Clifton All Whites ………………………… 4 (Way 27’, Thomas 59’, 68’, Green 80’)
Gedling Miners Welfare ………………... 2 (Pakrouz 45’, Jepson 46’)
A Daryll Thomas double put Gedling Miners Welfare to the sword as Clifton came out on top in the season’s curtain raiser on Saturday afternoon. The forward, who signed from neighbours Dunkirk after their promotion last season, proved the difference as his goals condemned the visitors to an opening day defeat in a sun-soaked Norman Archer Memorial Ground.
Gedling started the game the better of the two sides and their football early on was commendable in places. New signing Joe Harrison was beginning to pull some customary strings in the middle of the park with Joe Meakin and Jimmy Spiers as they looked to tie down territory in the opening exchanges.
Despite the start, Clifton had the best opportunity to take the lead. After finding himself in behind Gedling’s back four, Ashley Way could only put his audacious lob over Danny Brown, who was scrambling in vein, the wrong side of the post from his perspective.
The game mellowed and each side were restricting one another to play forward, but after 13 minutes Way thought he had put his side in front when his header found the back of the net but his push on Steven Brett in the build-up was deemed unfair by referee Karl Donaghey. 5 minutes later and Brown had to be alert once more when the impressive Richard Whyman, lingering up field from a previous attack, tested the ‘keeper but the tall stalwart did extremely well to tip round for a corner.
Clifton, at this stage, were dominant and matched their opponents in a footballing sense playing some very neat stuff. They looked early for talisman Thomas who was starting to impose his presence on the encounter and it wasn’t long until they took the lead. From the right, a fine cross from Mark Green found the unmarked Way and his looping header found the far corner, despite a fingertip from Brown, to give his side the advantage in the 27th minute.
Deservedly ahead and Clifton remained fairly untroubled for the most part and it took until 2 minutes before the break for Gedling to register their first effort on Jake Want’s goal. Jack Jepson, looking to continue his rich form from last season, found himself in behind Clifton’s appealing defensive line but, after slight hesitation, could only lift his attempt over the crossbar whilst under pressure from the retreating Whyman.
However, despite the miss, Gedling did find themselves back in the game going into the break with the last kick of the half. Still pushing forward in search for the leveller, Meakin found himself with some time out wide and his rather innocuous cross found its way to debutant Bijan Pakrouz and, with clever footwork, the wide man slotted home to ensure the teams went into the interval all square.
As the teams trundled down the tunnel, the coaching staff may have had a lot to ponder ahead of their first managerial team talk as league managers, but all doubts were eradicated just 45 seconds into the second period when Gedling took the lead. Straight from kick off, Jimmy Spiers’ delicate defence-splitting through ball found Jepson and, after manoeuvring the ball from under his feet, the talisman delightfully curled the ball around the outstretched Want before nestling into the bottom corner.
5 minutes later, Gedling may have added a third when they caught a very lethargic Clifton still napping but, after fine work again by Harrison, Mason Coy’s lob over Want once more fell the wrong side of the post.
Reenergised, the home side found a new lease of life and they continued to exploit the talents of the experienced Thomas up front, who was causing troubles all game, and it was no surprise that the striker brought his side level just before the hour. After winger Jake Upton found himself behind Ross McCaughey, his fine low cross found the onrushing Thomas who slammed the ball home for the equaliser.
The wind was really now in the hosts’ sails and they were in the ascendancy whilst continuing to push forward seeking the go-ahead goal. They looked more threatening going forward and, only 8 minutes after equalising, they regained the lead.
Amidst a host of substitutions by both sides and after a bit of pinball in the away area, a cross from the left ricocheted to Thomas who had the simple task of tapping home for his second. Thomas, deemed to be in an offside position but ignored by the officials, continuing where he left off last season after bagging 20 goals in an impressive campaign for his previous employers.
Despite the score line, Gedling continued to push forward in an attempt to retrieve something from their opening fixture. They had their best chance of the second half only minutes after going behind but a left alone Jepson couldn’t connect with his header 3 yards out from a fine McCaughey centre and the thankful Want in the away goal annulled any further threat.
The opportunity came and went as the travellers’ luck had run out and, 10 minutes from time, the home side sealed victory. After another fine wide attack from the left, a low meaningless cross trickled its way to the back post and the unmarked Mark Green swept home his side’s fourth of the afternoon to ensure Clifton started the season with maximum points. Ashley Way may have added some gloss to proceedings late on but he could only scoop his effort over Brown’s goal before the referee drew a close to the match.
A wake up call for Gedling’s young squad as they come to terms with the competitiveness and quality that the East Midlands Counties League will promise this season. Despite the result, however, an encouraging and praiseworthy performance by a team that will be aiming for the higher end of the standings come the end of the campaign.
They look for their first points of the season when they travel to league newcomers Eastwood Community next Saturday (11th August), who went down to a late Ingles goal this afternoon, kick off 3pm.
Gedling Miners Welfare Man of the Match
– Danny Brown
Match Attendance – 35
Referee – Karl Donaghey
Assistant Referees – Lee Harrison and Fanran Meng
Clifton All Whites – Jake Want, Robbie McNicholas (Craig Meakin 38’), James Price, Jake Richardson, Richard Whyman (c), Jacob Branden, Jahred Russell (Jack Wood 56’), Jake Upton (Jack Reid 56’) Daryll Thomas, Mark Green, Ashley Way
Unused Substitutes – Aiden Bennett
Gedling Miners Welfare – Danny Brown, Adam Morley, Ross McCaughey (c), Joe Harrison (Sam Mellor 76’), Steven Brett, Liam Corrigan, Bijan Pakrouz (David Boafo 68’), Jimmy Spiers, Jack Jepson, Joe Meakin, Mason Coy (Max Pashley 76’)
Unused Substitutes – Liam Towle, Tristan Comery
Match report compiled and edited by Marc Williams