Spirited Shepshed sweep aside Sporting
Shepshed Dynamo battled to a hard-fought win over Sporting Khalsa in a match riven with controversy on a blustery afternoon at The Dovecote.
By Lucas Monk
This compelling contest, which only took place after a Herculean effort from the home side’s ground staff, saw a red card for each side with Shepshed producing a spirited performance after Chris Acott received his marching orders in the first period.
Celson Patrocinio and Matt Melbourne scored in either half to hand them just a second victory since the turn of the year.
Jay Holdcroft replied for the visitors late on, but Shepshed held on for a victory that elevated them to fourth place in the Midland Football League table.
Damion Beckford-Quailey's side, roared on by a crowd of Shepshed and Ilkeston supporters, got off to the perfect start. They took the lead with an excellent goal after nine minutes.
Patrocinio glanced a fine header into the corner of the net to hand his side the advantage. This followed Liam Hurst's sprightly run and excellent cross from the left.
However, a red card dealt the home side's hopes of ending a run of three consecutive defeats a significant blow on 25 minutes.
The referee, perhaps harshly, sent defender Chris Acott off after deeming his challenge on Khalsa's Alex Perry overzealous. The decision elicited much ire from the home crowd.
This prompted Beckford-Quailey to withdraw the unlucky and lively Patrocinio and throw on Josh Thomas, who took up the left-back position.
The remainder of the half was rather nondescript. Shepshed held firm. Sporting failed to create a clear opportunity to restore parity.
After a comfortable first half, Dynamo had to withstand a frenetic start to the second.
Brandon Ganley, who impressed in the reverse fixture between the two sides, produced two terrific saves in succession to keep his side's lead intact.
Shepshed were then handed a big boost when the referee levelled things up. Sporting defender Adam Osbourne received a second yellow card after felling Pearson Mwanyongo on 59 minutes.
They capitalised upon this 14 minutes later with another incisive breakaway.
Melbourne and Karl Whymark split the Khalsa defence open with a slick exchange of passes. The striker kept his composure and guided, with aplomb, a measured shot into the bottom corner.
The goal sparked wild scenes of jubilation amongst the home crowd. Shepshed were heading for a crucial victory.
But the game was far from over. Ganley had to produce good saves to keep out Khalsa's Josh Thomas and Dan Westwood as time ebbed away.
And when Holdcroft latched onto a direct ball and fired home from inside the box, a nervy finish ensued.
However, a resolute Shepshed held on for the three points. Ganley produced further good saves to deny Rico Taylor and Dave Meese before the last blast of the referee’s whistle.
The final whistle was music to the home crowd's ears. They acclaimed the valiant and victorious Dynamo, who thoroughly deserved this triumph over adversity.
Each and every Shepshed player played his heart out for the team. Ran himself into the ground. Put his body on the line. They were all excellent.
However, if pressed for a man of the match, the vast majority of the home crowd would surely have chosen Jordan Wakeling. The former Gresley defender made several blocks and tackles to help the hosts to victory.
Shepshed were also aided by the support of a vociferous crowd, and the Ilkeston fans, whose side did not have a match on the day, certainly played their part.
Having returned to winning ways, Dynamo will now look forward to their next fixture, which sees them host Dunkirk on February 23.
Dynamo: Ganley, Doy, Wakeling, Pheasant, Acott, Mwanyongo (Hill 90+1'), Whymark, Prenderville, Hurst, Patrocinio (Thomas 28'), Melbourne (Moore 81').
Unused substitutes: Conteh, Phillips.
Sporting Khalsa: Arnold, Franco, Miles, Boothe, Perry (Westwood 69'), Armstrong (Taylor 55'), Meese, Holdcroft, Beckley (Thomas 58'), Williams.
Unused substitutes: Kinch, Robinson.