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MATCH REPORT: Gedling Miners Welfare FC 2 – 0 Barrow Town

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Having undergone a two-week hiatus since their last outing, a 2-0 win away at Graham Street Prims, Gedling Miners Welfare entered the business end of the East Midlands Counties League season hosting Barrow Town looking to strengthen their chances for entry into next season’s FA Cup qualifying rounds.

The visitors, looking to complete the double over their hosts after their 3-1 win back in November, came into the game ending Dunkirk’s 13 match unbeaten run, beating the Boatman 2-1 in late March.

Gedling started well and in the opening minutes both Luke Smith and Liam Corrigan found their range and intent early, but ultimately failed to trouble Joshua Hallam in the away goal. On the contrary, Barrow began hesitantly and were guilty of forcing the play defensively in a rushed manner. After ten minutes Gedling’s start nearly rewarded them with an opener but, after superb interplay between Jimmy Spiers and Aboubacar Sylla, the latter’s scooped effort from a tight angle was tipped over by Hallam.

Barrow, though started slowly, grew into the game and were always going to carry an attacking threat boasting a member of the league’s highest goal scoring charts in Ndouma Chilaka and he nearly added to his seasons tally but, after linking well with strike partner Buster Hoy, his low effort, whilst on target, was saved superbly by the feet of Danny Brown.

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At this stage, Barrow was well and truly in the game and with the experienced and talented skipper Anthony Marriott pulling all the strings in the middle of the park, they always seemed on the front foot. Just before the quarter hour, it was Hoy’s time to register his first effort on goal but was blocked by committed home defenders and the danger was cleared as the game turned combative and both sides were now exchanging attacking threats. Hoy again tested his luck, but his effort just before the 20th minute was tame as both ‘keepers remained untroubled in the early minutes despite the frantic start.

The game then mellowed with both sides sharing only offside decisions and very little else. Both sets of midfields, clogged through respective formations, cancelled each other out and failed to pose any real attacking threat at either end. Barrow had the better opportunities as the half edged closer, but Gedling remained resilient and, whilst failing to materialise any offensive prowess themselves, looked comfortable for the most part. Chilaka, though, may have put his side ahead at the break but his left footed effort, when his opposed foot may have been a better option, was blocked by a dogged and determined Charlie Roberts.

Gedling came out better in the second half and started the brighter of the two sides and only 2 minutes after the restart they opened the scoring, rather fortunately. After timely and patient play down the left by Luke Smith and Liam Corrigan, Smith’s cross-cum-shot innocuously floated over the head of a resigned Hallam via the inside of the post. 5 minutes later, and Corrigan himself may have gotten on the scoresheet but his effort, after good play by Adam Morley down the right, was skied over the crossbar.

The half-time team talk seemed to spur the hosts and the difference in performances was now evident as they were by far the better side. Their high pressure, emanating from the defensive line, worried Barrow and they seemed to struggle every time Gedling ventured forward.

Despite this, Barrow were never out of the game and at 1-0 always fancied their chances to pull the game level. As ever, Chilaka, still posing his brute and strength, went close once again on the 58th minute but his thunderous left footed effort fired across goal and had Brown scrambling momentarily.

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From the resultant goal kick, Brown’s pitch long punt found Ryan Plummer and his exquisite first-time volley over his shoulder was matched by a tremendous save by Hallam who tipped around as Gedling, at this stage, were in complete ascendancy. However, only 2 minutes later, just after the hour, and the 3 points were sealed.

After fine footwork on the edge of the area by Sylla concerned the frantic Barrow defenders, a fortunate ricochet off a defenders leg found an unmarked Liam Corrigan who, with aplomb, slotted the ball into the top corner past the wrong footed custodian – a deserved goal for the midfielder who was impressive all afternoon. 5 minutes later and he could have added some gloss to proceedings but, after a delightful deft through ball by Sylla in behind the struggling Harry Solomon, he could only drag his effort wide.

As the game ticked toward its conclusion, Gedling remained the better side and retained possession well in key areas. In their defence, Barrow played their part in entertaining those in attendance but failed to cope with Gedling’s second half superiority.

In the other camp, a fine second half performance rewarded Gedling with their second win in as many games and their route into the FA Cup looks promising. Facing a congested fixture list due to the recent adverse weather, they travel to Selhurst Street on Tuesday night (10th April) to face a tricky Radford side seeking to consolidate their position in the table, 7.45 kick off.

The Miners then host Selston at Plains Road on Saturday (14th April), 3pm kick off in the first of six home games between now and the end of the campaign.

Gedling Miners Welfare Man of the Match – Dwayne Brown

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