Gedling MW …………….. 0
Belper United……………. 2 (Williamson 19′, 57′)
A Curtis Williamson strike either side of half time was enough to give Belper United all three points against Gedling Miners Welfare on Saturday afternoon at Plains Road.
Looking to bounce back from a disappointing FA Vase exit on Tuesday night, the hosts were nearly caught napping after only 3 minutes when Dean Oliver’s strike was superbly tipped onto the crossbar by Keaton Sharpe after patient build-up play by Josh Wright.
At the other end, Courtney Hasting’s tempting cross was inches from Tony Law’s outstretched boot as the striker failed to connect after getting in between Ashley Dhinsa and Ben Rushby.
Welfare started well against a Belper side more than content with the long, direct approach to striker James Rushby as they arrived in Mapperley with only one win in their opening six.
Law’s low effort with 18 minutes played stung the hands of Mark Rathbone in the visiting goal as they sought to take a stronghold early on.
Without further troubling Rathbone, the home side looked more than comfortable, however a loose ball in the middle of the park was pounced on by James Rushby to break and although forced wide by Sharpe, his square pass to Curtis Williamson saw the wide man bundle home, despite the best efforts of Luke Smith, to give Belper the lead.
Going behind deflated Gedling as they struggled thereafter to make any real possession count and lacked urgency in a game that carried a pre-season feel.
Their best effort came on the half hour after good work down the right by Josh Thornton but his cross, though collected well by Law, was slashed wide.
Shortly before the break and Sharpe had to be equal to Vickers’ effort from an angle as he did his best to ensure the hosts went into the breaking facing only a single goal deficit.
Miners restarted the brighter of the two and nearly took an inadvertent lead only 2 minutes after the break when Thornton’s free kick floated onto the crossbar with Rathbone a mere spectator.
Despite the promising spells in possession, the hosts struggled to make anything stick and their culpability of overplaying at times was proving costly and shortly before the hour mark, the visitors capitalised.
With space down the left, Williamson did well to evade Charlie Roberts’ tackle before cutting inside and unleashing a wicked effort that whistled across Sharpe into the far corner to notch his fourth of the campaign.
Hoping to now preserve their recent unbeaten league run, Miners pushed forward looking to reduce the arrears.
Smith and Roberts combined well after a patient approach on the edge of the area but the latter’s effort was catching practice for Rathbone.
2 minutes later and with their best chance of the match to score, Law’s deft flick into the path of Matt Newton was promising, but he could only spur his chance over the crossbar to with an effort that summed up Gedling’s afternoon in front of goal.
As the prospect of a second defeat of the season faced them, things may have worsened for Welfare with 20 minutes remaining when Williamson rounded Sharpe chasing his hat-trick, but his strike hit the far post before Roberts cleared.
Belper were happy to consolidate their lead and defended everything the home side threw at them, with skipper Ben Rusbhy leading by example.
Seconds remained when brother James’ rasping strike from 25-yards was tipped around by Sharpe, as referee Paul Sanderson drew an end to the game and dent Gedling’s impressive recent run.
They look to bounce back to winning ways when they travel to Rainworth Miners Welfare on Tuesday (24 September), kick off 19:45.
Gedling Miners Welfare Man of the Match – Josh Thornton
Match Attendance – 64
Referee – Paul Sanderson
Assistant Referees – Derek Spray & Dan Smith
Gedling Miners Welfare – Keaton Sharpe, Cameron Thurgood (Alex Clarson 64′), Matt Newton, Charlie Roberts (Takunda Mushambi 72′), Dean Gent, Luke Smith (c), Aaron Large, Josh Thornton, Courtney Hastings, Jimmy Spiers, Tony Law (Stephen Cox 75′)
Unused Substitutes – Ross McCaughey, Dwayne Brown
Cautions – Smith (foul 12′), Gent (foul 37′), Clarson (foul 90′)
Belper United – Mark Rathbone, Dale Stewart, Joss Walmsley, Ashley Dhinsa (Tom Rushby 43′), Ben Rushby (c), Louis Anthony, Curtis Williamson (Adam Dring 68′), Dean Oliver, James Rushby, Josh Wright, Sam Vickers (Ryan Baker 64′)
Unused Substitutes – Tom Curtis
Cautions – Dhinsa (foul 20), Williamson (foul 35′), Vickers (foul 60′)