Gedling Miners Welfare played host to fellow EMCL side Selston at Plains Road on Tuesday night in the second round of the Nottinghamshire Senior Cup, with the winners progressing to the third round to visit Northern Counties East League side Clipstone Welfare in December.
The home team, on the back of two consecutive league defeats in as many weeks, were looking to upset Selston’s fine run of only 1 loss in their previous 13 in all competitions whilst sitting joint-second in the table.
The contest looked promising on paper and it didn’t fail to disappoint. Only 2 minutes were on the clock when Gedling must have thought that their run without a win would continue and a long night was ahead of them as Selston took the lead. After patient build up play by the visitors, Sean Gregory tapped home into an open net, despite shades of offside, after a shot from Kane Hempshall was parried by Chris Heltorp. The hosts’ prolonged protests delayed the restart and Martin Holt was duly cautioned for his complaints. At the other end, Jack Jepson dragged a free-kick wide of the mark as Gedling looked to retaliate immediately.
Selston looked dangerous and it was no surprise to see they carried such an impressive record coming into the encounter. Dominic Airey, spearheading their attack, and the tricky Tom Widdowson on the left were linking up well and it was the latter who went closest to extending their lead on 24 minutes but, when in behind Dwayne Brown, his lobbed effort fell the wrong side of the post from his perspective. Prior, Jimmy Spiers, starting well, went closest to an equaliser but his thumping effort deflected agonisingly over the crossbar.
Despite their strong start and attacking poise, Selston always looked shaky defensively and, with Gedling coming into the game and sharing the majority of the possession, their frailties would cost them, so it was no real surprise when, just before the half hour, Gedling equalised. After a fine left wing delivery from Ross McCaughey, a left-alone Carl Westcarr scuffed a header from 6-years out under away custodian Jake Ball as he took the plaudits.
Selston, now knowing they were in a full combative contest, continued to pull strings going forward. 7 minutes after conceding the equaliser, they may have approached the break with the lead, however Airey’s deft effort skipped past the post as they looked to regain the impetus. But their failure to capitalise on their chances came back to haunt them as in injury time at the end of the first half, Gedling counted on lady luck to take the lead.
After a no-pressured back pass from defender Perry Marriott to Ball, the ‘keeper inexplicably let the ball roll under his foot and his efforts to retrieve the situation were in vain as the ball was adjudged to have trickled over the line by assistant referee David Hague. After a slight deliberation, referee Kieran Shaw confirmed the goal and ordered for a restart as Gedling celebrated amongst themselves a fine bit of fortune their football on the night deserved.
2-1 at the interval and a fine first half Gedling performance to boast against very organised opposition. Shortly after the half, Joe Meakin stung an effort at goal, however his target bound effort was thwarted and deflected behind as Gedling looked to continue where they had left off. However, only 4 minutes into the period and despite being on top, Selston equalised.
After a trouble-causing free-kick by Lee Sutton swung into the defensive area, his effort was saved well down low by Heltorp in tricky conditions, but the Norwegian could only palm the effort into the path of Dominic Airey who cleverly headed the rebounded ball home over the stranded goalkeeper.
All square and not many people in attendance would wager on a victor. The subsequent series of attacks were dealt with whole heartedness and desire as it became clear that at this stage neither side wanted to fold. Though, 10 minutes after their equaliser, Selston had taken the lead for the second time in the game. After a mazy run and a superb deep pin-pointed cross from Sean Gregory, Lee Sutton found himself in acres of space and duly directed his header back across Heltorp for his sides lead.
To those that have been involved in Football for a prolonged period of time would have known that the end of the scoring was not complete, simply based on how the game was panning out. So, typical of Gedling’s never-say-die attitude and on the aforementioned assumption, only 8 minutes after going behind, they equalised in the most exquisite manner.
After an innocuous foul on Jack Jepson by the tiring Selston defence, Ross McCaughey stepped up, and with his trustworthy left foot, dispatched the cleanest of strikes with precision and finesse into the top right-hand corner from 25-yards out that left Ball in the away goal helpless. A strike that deserve to win any match.
For the following exchanges, Gedling were on top and sensed that they could really upset their visitors and continued to play their fine-flowing forward whilst resilient when required. However, as tempers flared on occasions, and with any chances on goal from either side were restricted to a half chance, the inevitable extra-time loomed.
As the extra periods began, the football on show was still extremely commendable as both sides posed a threat, albeit tiring, and the tenacity was still as evident despite the flurry of cards throughout the game. However, shortly before the second half-time interval of the game and all of Gedling’s tireless efforts were somewhat rewarded, but not without incident.
The lively Sean Gregory found himself in behind the defensive line of Gedling but, when appeared to be through on goal, rather puzzlingly threw himself to the ground under minor pressure. Kieran Sharp showed no hesitation in awarding the free-kick in the home side’s favour, and gave Gregory his marching orders after showing him his second yellow card of the game.
Gedling sensed their opportunity and considered Gregory’s dismissal a turning point in their fortune and 2 minutes before the 120th, they had taken a well-deserved lead. Substitute Cardell Lubban, showing fresh intent from the right, looped a cross into the area and the unmarked Jay Knight stooped low to divert his header underneath Jake Ball, who really should have done better, for what turned out to be the winner amidst rapturous celebrations from those connected with the home side.
An outstanding display from Gedling on the night saw them rewarded with a third round trip to Clipstone Welfare. The entire contest as a whole was very easy on the eye and extremely worth the admission fee as I’m sure all 77 in attendance would concur and was played out in fantastic non-league spirit.
League action resumes this weekend as Miners host Graham Street Prims at Plains Road on Saturday (18th November) with a 15.00 kick off.
Gedling Miners Welfare Man of the Match – Dwayne Brown
Match Attendance – 77
Referee – Mr. Kieran Shaw
Assistant Referees – Mr. George Sleigh and Mr. David Hague
Gedling Miners Welfare – Chris Heltorp, Dwayne Brown, Steven Brett, Martin Holt, Ross McCaughey (Charlie Roberts 90+2’), Jay Knight, Carey Knight, Jimmy Spiers (c), Jack Jepson, Carl Westcarr (Cardell Lubban 72’), Joe Meakin.
Unused Substitutions – Ryan Plummer, Jurgen Charlesworth, Stuart Robinson.
Cautions – Holt (verbal dissent 2’), Knight (foul 78’), Lubban (Foul 109’)
Selston FC– Jake Ball, Grant Hackett, Rory Davis, Elliot Jones (Shaun Farnsworth 89’), Perry Marriott, Ben Moore (c), Sean Gregory, Kane Hempshall, Dominic Airey, Lee Sutton (Josh Waldram 83’), Thomas Widdowson (Jamie Shacklock 72’).