Radford ……………. 1 (Smith 13′)
Gedling MW ……… 4 (Hogg 21′, 81′, Thornton 40′, Newton 84′)
Gedling Miners Welfare made it three wins on the spin as they came from behind to beat Radford at the CDW Arena on Saturday afternoon.
The visitors started well at a notoriously difficult venue and Courtney Hastings’ stinging strike was an early warning sign to the hosts after he did well to shrug off Wes Spencer after only 6 minutes.
Enjoying a decent spell in boggy conditions, Welfare grew on their promising start and looked the more settled, whilst Radford sought the more direct approach from wingers Ravarne Jackson and Conor Moore; instrumental in the game’s opening goal.
In their first venture forward, Moore’s delightfully chipped pass from the left found leading talisman Ryan Smith who, after breaking the offside trap, chested well and powered the ball under Keaton Sharpe to give his side a thirteenth minute lead.
Undeterred by the early set back, Miners continued to look the more promising on the ball and only 8 minutes after going behind deservedly drew level.
Some patient build-up down the left saw Aaron Large, Josh Thornton and Curtis Millward all combine to tee up Felix Hogg who arrowed a fine strike into the top corner out of reach of the despairing Warren Squires in the home goal.
Always a fixture that draws a bumper crowd at Selhurst Street, the game offered ample opportunities in poor conditions – the lion’s share of which fell to the visitors.
Firstly, however, Moore’s cross-cum-shot from all of 40 yards gave Sharpe something to think about in the swirling wind but the young stalwart did well to cautiously tip over just before the half hour.
At the other end, Thornton’s free kick was only half cleared to Charlie Roberts who did well to divert a low strike towards goal, but former-Miners defender Simon Hore did well to block before Kieran Harrison flicked Ross McCaughey’s corner agonisingly wide from the resultant set-piece.
The half ended with Welfare well on top as they recovered superbly from Smith’s early strike and 5 minutes before the interval they found themselves ahead.
Roberts’ deep delivery from the right was perfect and Large’s knock down, out-jumping Radford favourite Matt Hopewell, was perfect for an unmarked Thornton to poke home from four yards out and give Welfare the lead as the defensive inquest began.
Things may have even bettered for the travellers a minute before half-time when Hopewell’s tackle on Hastings, wonderfully timed, was surprisingly deemed unlawful by referee William Perry who awarded a spot-kick.
Justice was served, however, as Squires did wonderfully to beat away Hastings’ strike from twelve yards as the home protests continued well into the break.
Welfare resumed their exploits in the second half and looked to add a third, all but sealing a game where a typically dangerous Radford were limited to half chances under the firm defensive grip of the excellent Roberts, Harrison, Dean Gent and Luke Smith.
It took an hour for their best chance to arrive when Smith eventually found himself in between Harrison and Gent but the usually composed striker could only drag his rushed effort wide of Sharpe’s post.
5 minutes later and Roberts nearly put Welfare out of sight with a spectacular looping volley from an angle when he found himself on the end of Courtney Bartley’s headed clearance, but a scrambling Squires was equal to the effort.
The pressure mounted and Radford may have been lucky to end the game with all eleven on the field when Moore went unpunished following a trailing elbow on Hastings having already been cautioned earlier in the game.
15 minutes from time, Harrison looked certain to get on the score sheet when his free-kick curled towards the top corner, but Squires did magnificently to claw away for a corner and keep the Pheasants in with a shout.
It wasn’t to be, however, and Gedling only built on their fine performance as they eventually ensured all three points headed back to Plains Road with a quickfire double late on.
Calmness personified, Harrison’s exquisite control and pass into the path of Hastings’ saw the striker break the offside trap and set up Hogg who, after dancing around the challenge of Spencer, slotted underneath Squires for his second of the afternoon.
Matt Newton then got in the act after Thornton’s wicked shot was spilled into his path by Squires and the substitute reacted quickest to fire powerfully past the ‘keeper for his first goal in the yellow and blue.
An workmanlike performance from Gedling as they overcome tricky opposition and move into second in the league. They hope the impressive form through a tough winter period continues next Saturday (30 November) when they make the trip to Eastwood Community, kick off 15:00.
Gedling Miners Welfare Man of the Match – Kieran Harrison
Match Attendance – 100
Referee – William Perry
Assistant Referees – Mick Newton & Max Roulstone
Radford – Warren Squires, Matt Hopewell (Errol Campbell 78′), Joe Nice (Courtney Bartley 60′), Simon Hore, Wes Spencer (c), Paul Durham, Ravarn Jackson, Kevin Spriggs (Gino Kelleher 60′), Jake Richardson, Ryan Smith, Conor Moore
Unused Substitutes – Liam Smallwood, Will Daly
Cautions – Durham (foul 61′), Moore (foul 71′), Kelleher (foul 71′)
Gedling Miners Welfare – Keaton Sharpe, Charlie Roberts (Cameron Thurgood 75′), Luke Smith, Kieran Harrison, Dean Gent, Ross McCuaghey (c), Aaron Large, Josh Thornton, Courtney Hastings, Felix Hogg (Jordan Knight 86′), Curtis Millward (Matt Newton 62′)
Unused Substitutes – Joe Meakin, TK Mushambi
Cautions – Millward (foul 56′), Roberts (foul 70′)