Stapenhill visited Plains Road on Saturday afternoon looking to avenge their 5-1 home defeat to Gedling Miners Welfare in August, and, most recently, their 3-2 home loss to Birstall in the week.
The home side, troubled with inconsistency this season, also came into the game on the back of a midweek loss, going down 4-3 away to Blaby and Whetstone.
The game kicked off in a frantic manner with both sides playing the game at full pace, so it was no real surprise when the deadlock was broken after just 2 minutes and it went in favour to the away side. Niall Dawkins swept a long ball in behind Ross McCaughey and his pass found Jamie Disney who, after setting himself up, thundered a strike into the top far corner from 25 yards passed the outstretched hand of Scott Miles. At the other end Errol Campbell could have equalised but his flicked header went the wrong side of the post from a Gedling perspective.
Despite the scoreline, Gedling were in complete control of the game. The intricacy in their approach was superb and Stapenhill, at times, struggled and were often chasing. Abou Sylla was the most recent Gedling player looking for the leveller but his effort was always curling wide of Ryan Larkins’ goal. However, less than 10 minutes after going a goal down Gedling deservedly equalised. Standing over a free kick, Joe Meakin nonchalantly curled his effort into the top left-hand corner via the hand of Larkins. A delightful attempt as he received the plaudits from his teammates.
With their tails up and sensing the change in impetus since levelling, Gedling may have taken the lead just before the half an hour but Sylla’s prodded attempted was tipped around his post by Larkins. From the resulting Ross McCaughey corner, Martin Holt rose highest above the pack but his header sailed over the bar.
As the half wore on, Stapenhill posed very little in an attacking sense and, in truth, found it difficult to cope with Gedling’s football but they were often guilty of losing possession far too easily for their liking. 5 minutes before the half, it was the away side that went closest to scoring the games next goal but, from a deep Dawkins’ cross, Charlie Rumin’s header smashed off the crossbar before the danger was eventually cleared. In a now end-to-end affair, Campbell was unfortunate not to put Gedling in front but his speculative lob over the onrushing Larkins’ narrowly missed the target.
All square at the break despite Gedling’s dominance in possession. Though, 5 minutes into the second period and the turning point that arguably set the tone for the rest of the encounter. After losing possession in the middle of the park, an overzealous Jimmy Spiers, attempting to retrieve the loose ball, belatedly lunged straight at Rumin and was duly given a straight red card by referee Mr Williamson who deemed Spiers’ actions too dangerous.
At this stage, Stapenhill sensed they could make their one man advantage count and they started to press as the half wore on. Shortly before the hour, a mistake by Holt presented Derry Creighton the opportunity with a one-on-one with Scott Miles but the home custodian stood firm and saved well with his feet, but could do nothing a minute later when the visitors did eventually retake the lead. From a low right cross by Jacob Yeomans, George Teeney nipped in ahead of Charlie Roberts to divert his effort past Miles for his side’s go ahead goal and the same man was on hand once again to extend Staphenhill’s lead only 9 minutes later. This time, commotion and uncertainty in Gedling’s defensive backline, typically level headed all game, allowed Teeney acres of time and space as he crashed home unmarked through a body of players.
With Gedling posing very little since going down to 10, Stapenhill knew that they could focus on their defensive approach with the two-goal cushion. However, 17 minutes from the end and the home side did pull one back. Meakin, once more from a set piece, effortlessly curled into the bottom corner, albeit via a slight deflection that may have deceived Larkins. Two fine efforts from Gedling’s man of the match on the day.
The introduction of Ryan Plummer in an attempt to bolster Gedling’s attacking threat ultimately came to no avail as the one man difference between the two sides was evident. Stapenhill left Plains Road with all 3 points and their celebrations at the final whistle outlined their satisfaction with their performance and the result.
Gedling will look to bounce back from their recent defeat when they travel to face a tricky Clifton All Whites team next Saturday (20th) at the Norman Archer Memorial Ground, 3pm kick off.