Gedling Miners Welfare made it 2 wins from 2 as they came from behind to beat Rainworth Miners Welfare after a Courtney Hastings strike 11 minutes from time sealed all 3 points at Kirklington Road.
The visitors started the better of the two teams and set about building on their win against Ashby Ivanhoe last weekend. In the opening exchanges, their forward-thinking mentality forced home full back Roberto Labbate into a few hesitant moments as he struggled to cope with Tom Coole and company early on.
Only three minutes had passed when Jimmy Spiers, after good work by Courtney Hastings, stung the hands of home custodian Warren Squires but he collected at the second attempt as he berated his colleagues for allowing the early opportunity.
Rainworth’s defence began vulnerably and with their attack not seeing much of the ball in the opening 5 minutes, Gedling will have certainly sensed their early intentions would have been rewarded. However, on the 6th minute and from their first noteworthy piece of possession, the home side took the lead.
After Luke Walker found himself down the right, his low cross to the front post was dangerous and Bryan Dakouri, under pressure from two, deftly flicked an effort under Danny Brown for the lead.
Despite dominating the early opening minutes, Gedling will have felt aggrieved at going behind. However, they weren’t to be frustrated for long as, only 3 minutes after going behind, they equalised in some fashion.
Following some extremely scrappy build up play on the edge of the area, the ball fortuitously dropped to the awaiting Spiers but, after setting himself up well, he fiercely struck the ball into the top corner over the outstretched Squires for the equaliser. A superb strike from range that deservedly took the plaudits from both sets of supporters.
The trend continued and both sides were now showing attacking intent as the game remained open. After an outswinging corner was cleared by Liam Corrigan in the 10th minute, Scott Wesley cleverly fired an effort on Brown’s goal but the ball was always curling away from goal.
Despite the start, neither team were really utilising the large playing surface at Kirklington Road and any opportunity when in behind respective defensive stalwarts often emanated from a long punt up field.
Joe Meakin registered Gedling’s next worthy effort on goal after a Spiers cross fell kindly for him, but his low drive was saved well by Squires who collected the loose ball with ease after he parried the initial shot away.
The home side sought to exploit their strengths and continued to look for the hold-up skills of Dakouri, Walker and Liam Jepson; all 3 prominent figures in the Rainworth ranks. In the 20th minute, Jacob Webster’s looping header nearly caught Brown off guard but the ‘keeper reacted well to tip over.
At the other end, Squires did well to match Hasting’s goal bound effort from range after he was found by Jack Millward. 5 minutes later and Brown was equal to Walker’s curling effort after good play between the winger and Anton Foster.
The game mellowed, and whilst the half offered ample opportunity for both teams to venture forward, there were no real clear cut efforts of note despite exposing some defensive hesitancy at times. 4 minutes after the break and a well worked corner by Jepson and Wesley saw the latter cushion a promising effort through a congested penalty area but the ball sailed wide of Brown’s post.
The second began as the first ended; with an open feel that may have warranted more chances in front of goal. Gedling came out the better team and may have taken the lead 10 minutes after the restart but, after exciting build up play between Meakin and Hastings, the striker’s effort was tremendously saved by Squires who spread himself big when confronted.
A minute later and The Wrens had their own opportunity to take the lead but, after a dangerous cross from Walker wasn’t dealt with, Dakouri, struggling to find his feet, scuffed an effort on goal and the retreating Bijan Pakrouz, brilliant on the day, cleared off the line to preserve the scoreline.
Both teams continued to push forward but were frequently halted by some questionable decision making by referee Wayne Mason who did his best to unnecessarily interrupt proceedings much to the dismay of both sides.
17 minutes before time, an arrowed pass from Meakin in the middle of the park found the clever movement of Hastings but after evading the attention of Labbate, he cut inside but blazed his effort over the crossbar in what was Gedling’s best chance of the half to take the lead. A minute later and Brown continued to irritate Rainworth as he gave his side every chance register their second win in as many games by excellently tipping around a forceful shot by substitute Anton Wedderburn.
The visitors remained the better of the two teams and, whilst not particularly dominating possession, certainly played the more attractive football when in possession and they eventually made their trip to Mansfield worthwhile when, 11 minutes before time, they took the lead.
After Walker was dispossessed by Ross McCaughey, the left back scampered forward and his indefensible low cross, splitting Labbate and Kieran Barnes, was swept home by Hastings into the top corner via the hand of Squires who couldn’t prevent the ball from hitting the back of the net. An impressive finish by Hastings for his second of the season to match the wonderful pass from McCaughey.
Gedling, now good for their lead, were rarely troubled thereafter. They consolidated their position and restricted their hosts to half chances at best as they saw out the remainder of the game to ensure the 3 points were headed back to Plains Road. Dakouri and substitute Blessing Adeleye did their best to salvage a point at the death but Gedling’s defensive unit, resilient to the end, stood firm as the referee drew the game to its close.
Far from their most convincing performance of the season but a deserved 3 points nonetheless and, even more importantly, a win that stretches the gap between themselves and Rainworth in the latest league standings. They look to make it 3 wins from 3 when they visit the unbeaten Selston on Wednesday night (19th September) in the East Midlands Counties League, kick off 7.45pm.
Manager Chris Marks spoke after the game – “We played some good football today. If we did that a bit higher up the pitch then we would have been a much bigger threat. Saying that, we grinded out the result we needed and we managed the game a lot better than previous weeks. We look forward to Selston on Wednesday night.”