Sherwood Colliery ………… 2 (Taylor 50′, Theakstone 90+1′)
Gedling MW ………………… 3 (Hastings 15′, 54′ pen, 90+3′)
Courtney Hastings’ hat trick, his third strike in the dying seconds, gave Gedling Miners Welfare a superb victory at previously unbeaten Sherwood Colliery on Saturday afternoon in the East Midlands Counties League.
The visitors arrived in Mansfield on the back of three successive defeats and had ‘keeper Keaton Sharpe to thank early on as an excellent double save prevented his side from going behind.
Firstly, Dwayne Brown’s pass back held up in some surface water following a flash downpour and was pounced on by former-Miner Jack Jepson, but the ‘keeper did well to thwart with his feet.
Minutes later and Klarke Greenham found space down the right after being fed by Gareth Curtis, but Sharpe’s acrobatic efforts ensured the game remained goalless as he deservedly received the plaudits.
At the other end, Jimmy Spiers found Courtney Hastings but the striker’s effort fizzed wide of Josh Turton’s post as the match opened with promise.
The home side came into this one unbeaten in the league and only experienced defeat for the first time in twelve when they lost in an FA Cup replay against Loughborough Dynamo earlier this month.
However, they were poor on the ball and found the testing conditions difficult as they often squandered early possession.
On the contrary, Miners, despite recent form, looked comfortable and were starting to look the more dangerous going forward; finding success between Sherwood’s static lines.
With 13 minutes played, the ever-consistent Josh Thornton’s dangerous delivery was tempting, but Hasting’s couldn’t direct his header as the ball dropped wide of Turton’s post.
In the ascendancy, Welfare continued to press as Sherwood remained reluctant to pressurise and after a quarter of an hour, they were made to rue their lack of effort when Gedling took a deserved lead.
Finding acres of space through the centre, Joe Meakin’s lobbed through pass was perfect and Hastings latched onto the supply before rounding Turton and passing home.
The scoreline may have doubled only 3 minutes later when Hastings then turned provider, but his cross, after doing wonderfully to get around Stevie Souter, was flicked wide by Tony Law as the strike partners applauded respective efforts.
Tempo was maintained and the travellers were dominant. Jobe Shaw’s last ditch effort to prevent Law increasing the lead following Spiers’ low cross was impressive as the skipper’s expletive enquiry began.
In a rare venture forward with 10 minutes before the break, Curtis and Liam Theakstone combined, but Sharpe was on hand to palm away a stinging effort to keep Gedling ahead.
6 minutes later, Thornton and Matt Newton’s link up down the left deceived substitute Nathan Clarke, and the latter’s fantastic cross found Law whose header skipped agonisingly wide with Turton sprawling as Miners went into the break in control.
Arguably, the half-time break was an unwanted respite for the visitors as they looked to maintain their momentum. As such, it was the hosts who came out for the second period better and 5 minutes after the restart they drew level.
Jimmy Adcock’s corner on the far-side was floated in and towering second half replacement Charlie Taylor, on only 2 minutes prior, looped his header into the far corner beyond Sharpe.
With impetus and purpose to push forward, Colliery should have been sparked by their equaliser, but only four minutes after getting themselves back into the game, their work was undone.
Thornton’s high ball forced a race between Hastings and the onrushing Turton who needlessly clattered the talisman and referee Andy Wood, deeming only a caution was warranted, pointed to the spot.
Hastings dusted himself down and emphatically slammed the ball past Turton to restore Welfare’s lead.
A minute later, Turton, fortunate to be on the pitch, made amends when he wonderfully tipped around Law’s sliding effort after he found himself between Shaw and Taylor on the end of Luke Smith’s delightful cross.
The game was frantic and both sides played their part in giving those in attendance something to savour in the Mansfield rain, but was often marred by the officials who did their best to ruin a fine game to the dismay of both benches.
With time ticking, the introduction of Curtis Millward, against his former club, was astute and the former-Arnold Town striker made a huge difference.
13 minutes from time, his trickery was too much for Taylor after committing the defender, but could only scoop the ball over the crossbar with the pitch playing its part as Gedling chased a third.
At the other end, Miners defended resolutely and formed a tough barrier to penetrate as substitutes Cameron Thurgood and TK Mushambi, spearheaded by the experience of Dean Gent and Dwayne Brown, were immense all afternoon with a free-scoring Colliery limited to only half-chances.
Ex-Rainworth winger Ethan Wiesztort’s bundled header was emphatically cleared off the line by the colossal Gent who read the danger excellently.
Moments later, a skewed cross-cum-shot from Curtis down the right crashed off the outside of Sharpe’s post before the threat was alleviated.
With minutes remaining, Sherwood threw everything they had at Miners hoping to preserve their unbeaten start to the league campaign. Looking dangerous down the flanks and as the clock ticked into injury time, the scores were level.
Down the left, Greenham did well to get to the by-line and his dangerous cross was turned home by Theakstone to salvage what looked like an unlikely point for the home side.
Late persistence paid dividends for Colliery who sought the winner deep into stoppage time. However, they were the architects of their own downfall when looking for a quick restart when, three minutes into stoppage time, Gedling snatched a dramatic winner.
Thornton’s pass into the space of Millward was good and the substitute, not wanting to consolidate for a point, had ample space down the right to pick his spot.
With time to weigh up his options, his fantastic cross allowed an unmarked Hastings to stoop low and power his header past Turton as the visiting bench erupted to the sound of referee Wood’s final whistle.
An excellent all-round performance from Gedling who were superb on the day to claim one of the finest results of their season against a Sherwood side tipped for promotion.
The players were a credit to their team and managers Andy Clerke and Chris Marks will be delighted at how their approach sealed an important 3 points for Gedling who return to winning ways.
They will hope the trend continues when they welcome Clipstone to Plains Road on Saturday (5 October), kick off 15:00.
Gedling Miners Welfare Man of the Match – Courtney Hastings
Match Attendance – 43
Referee – Andy Wood
Assistant Referees – Stephen Sears & Lawrence Chapman
Sherwood Colliery – Josh Turton, Stevie Souter (Nathan Clarke 23′), Jobe Shaw (c), Jordan Harris (Charlie Taylor 48′) Jack Jepson, Jimmy Adcock (Liam West 69′), Liam Theakstone, Gareth Curtis, Lewis Weaver, Klarke Greenham, Ethan Wiesztort
Unused Substitutes – Ricky Starbuck, Olly Ashton
Cautions – Clarke (foul 23′),
Gedling Miners Welfare – Keaton Sharpe, Joe Meakin (Cameron Thugood 26′), Matt Newton, Dwayne Brown, Dean Gent, Luke Smith (TK Mushambi 54′), Ross McCaughey (c), Josh Thornton, Courtney Hastings, Jimmy Spiers, Tony Law (Curtis Millward 69′)
Unused Substitutes – Kieran Harrison, Aaron Large
Cautions – Law (foul 47′)