Barrow Town were the hosts on Saturday as Gedling Miners Welfare made their second trip to Leicestershire in as many weeks hoping to carry on from where they left off last time out, coming away from Birstall United with an impressive 2-0 victory.
Barrow meanwhile, sat in 12th position at the start of play, were hoping a repeat of their latest result, an impressive 2-1 win away at Clifton in midweek, was on the cards as they looked to upset the odds favourable to the visitors who sat 5th.
However, only 55 seconds had surpassed when they were caught cold after Cardell Lubban found himself in behind their static back line after a fine dissecting through ball from Joe Meakin, but the striker clearly had too much time on his hands and his hesitative effort was thwarted by the feet of Jake Hilton. Though, only 3 minutes later, and Gedling did punish the home side through a carbon copy of the previous attack.
This time, Jack Jepson went in behind the very highly positioned defensive line of Barrow, after a similar through ball from Jimmy Spiers, and he made no mistake in slotting home into an open net after rounding Hilton. A minute after the restart and Barrow really should have equalised. Buster Hoy found himself with room down the right hand side but Chris Heltorp superbly denied the strikers efforts with a fine double save that drew applause from all those in attendance.
After 14 end-to-end minutes, Lubban had an opportunity to make amends for his earlier apprehension but, in a similar position to before, he failed to hit the target when Hilton had committed a long way out of his area – a real reflection of how the game had opened. Despite the electric start, the game had quietened somewhat with both sides continuously losing possession with their panicked football and the quality had considerably deteriorated. Chris Davies fired a volley on goal but his effort failed to test Heltorp as it flew over his crossbar as both teams looked to settle.
Barrow entered the latter stages of the first half on top and their patient footballing approach was commendable.
On the other hand, Gedling were lethargic despite being a goal ahead and they were becoming increasingly frustrated by their own undoing. They were lucky to go into the break still in the lead as Barrow went closest to the equaliser, however, Fran Finnemore’s thunderous strike smashed the underside of the crossbar and bounced clear. From the pieces, Gav Williamson fired over from 5 yards when the ball was kept alive by Joe Simpson.
Despite their disappointing first half performance, Gedling led at half-time, probably contrary to what they deserved, but after a scrappy opening 10 minutes of the second period, Barrow eventually levelled the scoreline. After a delightful corner from Anthony Marriott, Chris Davies rose highest above the pack to flick his side back into the game, much to his delight. The home side were clearly in the ascendancy and their confidence, emanating from their goal, was clear for all to see. They went close again after Heltorp had punched a free kick from Ndouma Chilaka just after the hour. Finnemore unleashed another rasping effort toward goal but, much to his annoyance, crashed off the crossbar once more and was eventually cleared.
Their pressure continued with Gedling spending a lot of time defending their own area on the back foot. Their best chance to take the lead came just after the hour, but, after the ball fell to Simpson following a commanding run and cross from the excellent Sam Beaver down the right, his snapped half-volley went the other side of the post as it clearly became a matter of when, not if, their go ahead goal was coming. However, they didn’t have to wait too much longer as after 70 minutes they deservedly went ahead.
After a deep cross-field ball toward Chilaka caused trouble in the visiting area, a mistake by Charlie Roberts, who failed to clear his lines convincingly, opened the door for Chilaka in and after showing fine strength and poise fired under the advancing Heltorp as he wheeled away in celebration.
In truth, Barrow deserved their lead. They were quickest to every ball and relied well on each other to recover the loose balls when called upon. Gedling, still rooted deep in their half, failed to materialise anything going forward and the defensive line of Barrow remained untroubled, despite their nervous start to the game.
10 minutes before the end, and the hosts really should have signed the game off and taken the 3 points, but Chilaka, still causing no end of trouble, forced a good save from Heltorp who was really keeping the visitors in the affair. However, only 2 minutes later, and the victory was confirmed – and in some style. After another fine, trouble causing, corner from Marriott, full-back Sam Beaver, who was excellent all game, dispatched his effort into the top corner from the edge of the area with aplomb giving Heltorp no chance as Barrow knew they had the game won.
Knowingly, Gedling deserved nothing from the game, but one can always concede that it’s even more bitter when they go one up early on and failed to capitalise on their chances. They make their final trip of three in succession to Leicestershire next Saturday (11th November) to face Anstey Nomads, with a 3pm kick off at Davidson Homes Park.
Gedling Miners Welfare Man of the Match – Steven Brett
Match Attendance – 31
Referee – Mr. Reece Scott
Barrow Town – Jake Hilton, Sam Beaver (George Thomas 86’), James Hewing, James Portwood, Gav Williamson, Anthony Marriott (c), Chris Davies (Shaun Martin 84’), Joe Simpson, Buster Hoy, Ndouma Chilaka, Ben Law (Fran Finnemore 34’).
Unused Substitutions – Grant Hartley.
Cautions – Chilaka (dissent 45’).
Gedling Miners Welfare – Chris Heltorp, Charlie Roberts, Ross McCaughey, Steven Brett, Jay Knight, Jurgen Charlesworth, Jimmy Spiers, Ryan Plummer, Jack Jepson, Cardell Lubban (Dwayne Brown 54’), Joe Meakin (Carl Westcarr 62’).