Gedling Miners Welfare gave a very good account of themselves in a 3-1 defeat away at Basford United on Tuesday night. It was a hard fought encounter played in horrendously wet and windy conditions.
This didn’t seem to phase Gedling though as they took the game to the hosts despite the three division gulf that separates the two teams.
It was Gedling who carved out the first good opportunity of the game in the fourth minute. Greg Tempest, a former Basford player, whipped in a delightful cross from the left wing following a short free kick, and Josh Thornton headed it just wide of the target.
Moments later, Tony Law received the ball on the edge of the penalty area and turned smartly with it before unleashing a snap shot at goal. However, he couldn’t find the power required and the ball trickled through to the Basford goalkeeper for a comfortable save.
Basford responded with their first meaningful effort at goal just inside the opening ten minutes of the game. An accurate cutback from the right landed at James Carvell’s feet, little more than six yards out but he fired his shot over the crossbar.
Ten minutes later, Carvell threatened again. This time he cut in from the left but dragged his shot wide of the target.
With just under half an hour gone, Basford had arguably their best chance of the half. Niall Towle came within inches of connecting with an inviting cross from Marcus Marshall when any sort of contact would, in all likelihood, have put the hosts ahead.
Five minutes later, Tempest showed good feet to beat Declan Dunn and burst towards the penalty area. An accurate pass found Thornton and Gedling’s captain shot narrowly wide.
The teams looked set to trudge off level at half time but the visitors had other ideas. With seconds of the half remaining, Thornton flicked the ball into the net from little more than six yards out, after a teasing Tempest corner, to give Gedling the lead.
Unsurprisingly, Basford began the second half with their tails up and showed every intention of getting back into the game.
They dominated possession in the early moments of the half and put Gedling under pressure. However, their equaliser came about in unusual circumstances. Less than 90 seconds after the restart, Ryan Wilson’s left wing cross flew over everyone and, aided by the wind, deceived substitute goalkeeper Keaton Sharpe. The ball nestled into the far corner of the net to level the scores.
Basford continued to press and with just under an hour gone, Marshall hit a fierce drive which Sharpe did superbly well to turn over the bar with one hand. The resultant corner was then headed against the bar as the hosts searched for a way into the lead.
With twenty minutes remaining, despite Basford enjoying the better chances in the second half, it was still a close contest and Gedling were starting to look as if they were going to pull off a shock draw. However, a defensive lapse saw them present the ball to Rev James in the penalty area. He showed great composure to slot the ball into the corner of the net and give Basford the lead for the first time in the game.
Gedling responded well but try as they might, they just couldn’t find an equaliser despite some great build up play.
Their best moment came with nine minutes remaining when Jacob Tabreham clipped a delightful ball through for a trialist to chase. He managed to reach the ball before the Basford defender but couldn’t quite test the ‘keeper with his shot across goal which fizzed narrowly wide.
Right at the death, Towle’s impressive overhead kick found the back of the net to give the scoreline a more convincing look for the hosts in what had been a competitive game.
Manager Andy Clerke said: "We were pleased on the whole with the performance. Great reaction following Ilkeston on Saturday. It was nice to get our noses in front. I took a lot of positives out of tonight. I can see a platform we can build from going into the last couple of Saturdays before the season starts. The lads pulled together, I thought the shape was a lot better tonight; a few lessons learnt from Saturday. It's not an unhappy dressing room on the back of a defeat tonight."