REPORT | Clifton All Whites 1 - 2 Gedling Miners Welfare
By Tony Hay
Miners begin centenary season with victory at Clifton
Clifton All Whites - Gedling Miners Welfare
Norman Archer Memorial Ground
Saturday 3rd August | 15.00 Kick Off
Clifton All Whites ..................... 1 (Hemagou 51')
Gedling Miners Welfare ........... 2 (Spiers 47', Thornton 54')
Second half strikes from Jimmy Spiers and Josh Thornton gave Gedling Miners Welfare a opening day victory against 10-man Clifton All Whites on Saturday afternoon in the East Midlands Counties League.
Miners made the short journey south of the river on the back of an encouraging pre-season and almost took an early lead when Dwayne Brown broke the offside trap but was denied by a last ditch Matt Jelfs tackle before Matt Newton's rebounded strike was superbly parried away by Jason Kirk.
A minute later and visiting 'keeper Keaton Sharpe was called upon early as he did excellently to deny Ben Clark with his legs after he nipped in between Felix Hogg and Dean Gent as the early signs of an open affair were evident.
However, the first period failed to produce any further promise as both sides could only share half chances in a very uninspiring opening 45 minutes.
Clark went closest for his side with 19 minutes played but after driving through the heart of the Gedling defence from half way, his finish lacked accuracy as his effort was scooped harmlessly over the crossbar.
2 minutes later and Clark, one of Clifton's brighter sparks on the afternoon, did cleverly to avoid a couple of challenges, however, after some fancy footwork to allow him some room, his goalbound strike was tame and easy for Sharpe.
The visitors' best chances came just before the half hour when Brown was inches away from connecting with Courtney Hastings' deep cross but for the slight intervention of James Allen who recovered well to clear.
Hastings himself then went close with a rasping strike from range shortly after but Kirk was equal to the effort before Sharpe denied Jevin Seaton at the other end with a fine two-handed save as he turned around for a corner as both sides headed into the interval all square.
Looking for a repeat of performances displayed in pre-season, the game was there for Gedling who just edged a cagey first half and, only 2 minutes after the restart, they made their possession count when they took the lead.
Competing for a loose ball, Hastings and Spiers' combined tenacity allowed room for an effort and the latter's drilled strike whistled past Kirk into the bottom corner much to the delight of the travellers.
Deservedly ahead, Gedling pushed for a second that would have all but ensured the three points headed safely back to Plains Road such was Clifton's lack of threat going forward, but only 4 minutes after going behind, they drew level.
Clark's deep free kick was met by an unconvincing punch by Sharpe and as the ball was kept alive by Jak Holland, looping the ball back into the area, striker Kevin Hemagou tapped home his first of the season as he was mobbed by his colleagues.
The hosts were back in it as momentum swung in their favour. Though their hard work was undone only 3 minutes after the equaliser when skipper Jack Reid was given his marching orders by referee Gary Lord for an unnecessary trip on Hastings following an earlier caution. From the resulting free kick, Gedling regained the lead.
Luke Smith's dangerously delivered cross was firmly met by Hastings who rose highest to divert the ball into the path of an unmarked Josh Thornton who, on his league debut, powerfully volleyed Miners back in front past a helpless Kirk.
With the man advantage, the visitors looked untroubled as the second half wore on and any chance of a home revival were diminished following Reid's dismissal.
Their best chance back into the game came with 18 minutes left but Keaton once again did wonderfully to thwart Clark after some find build up play.
The chance was about as good as it got for a youthful looking Clifton side who could only watch as Gedling pushed forward looking to put the game out of their reach.
With 10 minutes remaining, Hastings went close to notching a goal his performance deserved after he stung the hands of Kirk with a powerful effort before Spiers, teasing Jelfs and Holland with his trickery, fired a low effort just past the far post 6 minutes later as Gedling were unlucky not to add to their tally before Lord blew for time to secure the 3 points.
Just reward for Gedling as they kickstart their campaign with a deserved opening day win. They look to make it two from two next Saturday (10th August) as Teversal visit Plains Road in their first home game of the new season, kick off 15.00.
Gedling Miners Welfare Man of the MatchMatch Attendance
- Courtney Hastings
Referee - Gary Lord
Assistant Referees - Jevon Swinscoe & Alex Cotterill
Clifton All Whites - Jason Kirk, James Allen, Ryan Bowen, Matt Jelfs, Jak Holland, Jack Reid, Jurgen Charlesworth (Abdul Ferej 68'), Jevin Seaton, Kevin Hemagou, Ben Clark, Jordan Smith (Charles Nduka 62')
Unused Substitutes - David Hankes, Adam Taylor
Cautions - Reid (foul 46')
Dismissals - Reid (second bookable offence 54')
Gedling Miners Welfare - Keaton Sharpe, Charlie Roberts, Luke Smith, Ross McCaughey (c), Felix Hogg, Dean Gent, Matt Newton (Tony Law 60'), Josh Thornton, Courtney Hastings (Jordan Knight 85'), Jimmy Spiers, Dwayne Brown (Alex Haughton 80')
Unused Substitutes - Liam Corrigan, Joe Meakin
Cautions - Gent (foul 55')
Match report compiled and written by Marc Williams
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @ichbinmarc_
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