Gedling MW ............. 5 (Hogg 21’, Wiggins-Thomas 28’, 90+1’, Piliero (p) 53’, Corrigan 71’)
Birstall United ............2 (Pallett 78’, Articolo 82’)
Gedling Miners Welfare secured their first home win of the season with an excellent display against Birstall United yesterday.
In a game played in glorious sunshine it was The Miners who shone the brightest with a display full of craft, desire, and skill.
After a competitive start, it took just three minutes for the hosts to create the first real chance of the match. Greg Tempest picked up the ball on the edge of the area and hit a fierce shot but it sailed narrowly wide of the target.
The visitors responded a couple of minutes later with a chance of their own. Paul Pallett floated an inviting cross into the box and Louis Taylor, at full stretch, could only steer it wide of the goal.
With just over ten minutes gone, Paolo Piliero had an opportunity to break the deadlock. The visitors failed to clear their lines in defence and the ball dropped to Piliero who twisted and turned to make room for his shot. As he pulled the trigger, a Birstall defender got in the way and the shot was blocked behind for a corner.
A minute later, Birstall had a chance of their own to take the lead. Taylor wriggled into the box and made room for a low shot which Matt Simpson did well to palm behind for a corner.
This proved a crucial moment as Gedling seized the initiative and scored the first goal with just over 20 minutes played. Tempest delivered an accurate corner kick, and it was met with a bullet header by Felix Hogg which gave the goalkeeper no chance.
The hosts didn’t look back, and eight minutes later deservedly doubled their advantage. Ruben Wiggins-Thomas smashed a left footed volley into the top corner following a well worked short corner.
Another defensive mix up from Birstall gave Tempest an opportunity to add a third before half time but with the goalkeeper stranded, and the goal seemingly at his mercy, Tempest’s strike from the edge of the box was narrowly wide.
Just before half time Birstall did have a rare chance to get back into the game but Pallett scuffed his shot wide from six yards out.
After a relatively quiet start to the second half, Gedling fans had further reason to cheer when their side were awarded a penalty in the 52nd minute. Wiggins-Thomas’ run tied the defenders in knots, and he was eventually unceremoniously upended giving the referee no option but to point to the spot. Piliero stepped up to take the penalty and drilled the ball into the bottom corner of the net. Despite getting two hands to it, the ‘keeper couldn’t stop the ball such was the ferocity of the strike.
There were very few chances immediately after the third goal as Gedling controlled the tempo and managed the game, keeping Birstall at arm’s length.
Until, with twenty minutes to go, the game began to get a little more stretched and there were a cluster of late opportunities and goals.
Gedling added their fourth of the afternoon with a well worked team goal. Birstall failed to clear a corner properly and the ball fell to Josh Thornton who was about 25 yards from goal. He played a delightful ball out to Tempest on the right who put a first time cross into the penalty area, and Liam Corrigan unmarked, powered a header home.
As the game headed towards the final ten minutes, Birstall sensed an opportunity to get a consolation and have something so to show for their efforts. Taylor burst into the penalty area and hit a low shot which an alert Simpson did well to save with his legs.
Gedling didn’t heed this warning though, and a minute later, the visitors had a goal. A lapse in concentration in defence allowed Pallett to get clean through on goal and he produced a cool finish to slot the ball past Simpson and deny The Miners their first clean sheet of the season.
Four minutes later, Birstall had their second as Dre Articolo’s header hit the underside of the bar and was adjudged to have crossed the line.
This set up a potentially nervy final eight minutes as the visitors sensed a comeback. However, Gedling showed their experience and composure to take the sting out of the game and prevent the opposition from creating clear cut chances.
They then put the game beyond all doubt as the clock ticked past 90 minutes as Tony Law, on as a substitute, threaded a neat through ball past the Birstall defence for Wiggins-Thomas to run onto. He raced clear and lifted the ball over the ‘keeper to give Gedling their fifth goal of the afternoon and ensure they had their first home win of the season.
Assistant Manager Tony Mullen said: “Good performance from the lads, started bright. We were forced into a change of formation with an injury during the warmup which we adapted to quite well; carried on where we left off last week, which was pleasing to carry that momentum forward and get five goals. Had a bit of a lapse in concentration sort of 15 minutes before the end but held together and saw the game out, so pleased overall with the performance of the lads.”
Of his brace, striker Ruben Wiggins-Thomas said: “It’s nice to get the two goals and the win. The first one I saw Greg and Niall had done a bit of good work on the left-hand side and I’ve shouted at them just pull it back and he’s chipped it back nicely and I’ve managed to hit it on the left into the top corner, so it was a nice one. I just wanted to get a good connection and I’ve got a good side foot on it and it’s flown off my boot. The second one, Tony’s played me through, ‘keeper came rushing out, I’ve tried to lift it over him, managed to do it.
“The game got stretched, I think everyone wanted to score, so we stopped doing the right things, passing forward and we were just a little bit disjointed so to get the last goal just to kill the game gave us a bit of a breather. I’m enjoying it (at Gedling) get some more wins and some more goals and it’s happy days.”
Gedling Man of the Match, Paolo Piliero said: “We played well last week but I think with ten men we didn’t quite hang on so we just took the same mentality really. We had to start well, move the ball quick which I think we did and I think that was why we got our goals because we got in behind and we punished them in the end which was good. It was a good performance from the whole team, the boys did well which meant that we were able to get the three points which is important.
“The attitude last week was spot on and I think that gave us confidence today that we knew it was in us. We’ve got good players at Gedling and we knew that we had to keep pressing forward. I think today topped it off that we could score a few goals. I quite like having them (penalties) if I can have them but it was good to put it away. For me, I just hit as hard as I can and try to put it in the corner; it’s nice that it went in.”
Gedling Miners Welfare Man of the Match – Paolo Piliero
Referee – George Dibbs
Assistant referees – Derek Spray and Jevon Swinscoe
Gedling Miners Welfare – Matthew Simpson, Dwayne Brown, Oliver Papworth (Tony Law 62’), Felix Hogg (Kieran Harrison 65’), Daniel Dixon, Liam Corrigan, Josh Thornton, Niall Hylton, Ruben Wiggins-Thomas, Greg Tempest, Paolo Piliero
Unused substitutes- Ryan Marsh, Ross McCaughey, Zibusiso Sibanda.
Birstall United Social FC- Charlie, Doherty, Nkosinathi Ncube, Luke Day, Zach Watts, Dominic Watts, Luke Higgins, Louis Taylor, Andres Articolo, Paul Pallett, Luke Moran, Tanatswa Kanyangarara
Substitutes- Ashley Jordan, Callum Ballinger, Sean Phillips, Rhys Weston, Andrew Tapera.