A brace from Jack Jepson was enough for Gedling Miners Welfare on Saturday afternoon as they deservedly returned to winning ways against Teversal at the SR Timber Arena in the East Midlands Counties League.
Having trouble to make the ball stick in the opening exchanges and despite some early intentions, the all-round quality was poor and it appeared both teams might favour the long and direct approach as they sought an early goal. 18 minutes had surpassed when the first chance arrived for the visitors.
Courtney Hastings found space down the left and after doing battle with Josh Madin, his goal bound effort took a deflection off the defender, but wasn’t enough to wrong foot home ‘keeper Rio Alberry who did well to anticipate the shot.
2 minutes later and from the opposite flank, Joe Meakin and Jurgen Charlesworth linked up well and following a pull back from the byline, Meakin, following up his fine build up play, skied over as Gedling started to take control.
A positive start for the travellers who looked to bounce back from their disappointing Senior Cup exit to Kimberley in the week and with a quarter of an hour played, they took a deserved lead.
Meakin, captain on the day in lieu of the absent Ross McCaughey, found space in the middle of the park and his cutting through ball behind Jake Payling was timed excellently for Jack Jepson who controlled superbly before delightfully chipping the onrushing Alberry to give his side the advantage.
Teversal had begun poorly and rarely failed to threaten a Gedling defence who looked at ease against any forward threat. With 27 minutes played Anthony Rowley, who had personally started brightly, could only drag his effort wide of the target under no real attention.
However, 10 minutes before the break, and with their best chance of a rather dismal first half from their perspective, they should have equalised.
From an Aaron Pride punt up field, Rowley headed into the path of strike partner Danny Fullwood, but as he found himself one-on-one with Brown, his inexcusable delay allowed the stalwart to close the angle before pouncing on the loose ball.
Despite the chance, the home side never got going and failed to look like scoring in a half that completely belonged to Gedling and they may have gone into the break with more than just the one goal cushion.
Jepson, causing fullback Ash Bartle a torrid time down the left, once again beat his man with ease, and Alberry could only parry his effort but Stuart Baker did superbly to clear the danger before Hastings could tap home into an empty net.
4 minutes later and following some encouraging interplay between Hastings and Jack Millward, Jepson again found himself behind Bartle but his shot from a very tight angle could only find the side netting.
Teversal ended the half well and experienced a strong spell of possession looking to go into the half all square. Such was nearly the case with the last action of the first half but Rowley’s improvised header from a Matt Wilkinson corner was cleared off the line by Matt Fowler, making his first start for the club.
They failed, however, to emulate that form early in the second half as Gedling came out for the second period the stronger side with a host of opportunities to increase the deficit.
Just after the restart, Jepson and Hastings worked in tandem to yield half an opportunity but the shot deflected wide. Shortly after Jepson again found himself in behind latching onto another superb through ball from Meakin but Alberry had anticipated the striker’s attempts and collected with ease down by his left.
With the third chance in as many minutes, Felix Hogg flicked Luke Smith’s floated free kick just wide as Gedling looked to seal an 8th league win of the season.
Teversal’s best chance of a very subdued second half came just before the hour but, ignoring the claims of offside in the build-up, Fullwood’s effort sailed way over the crossbar as he vented his frustration.
Despite the lacklustre performance, the home side did look more comfortable on the ball and slowly went about increasing their possession percentages as the half wore on, but always looked defensively susceptible.
Substitute Raheem Suban’s direct approach saw him get in behind Payling after bundling his way through a number of challenges, but his thunderous strike from a disadvantaged angle arrowed narrowly wide.
A minute later and Alberry had to be on toes once again to claw away Madin’s accidental interception, which was looping toward the top corner.
Defensively Gedling looked sound and were excellent all day in nullifying any trouble Teversal posed. 12 minutes from time when the home side did have the ball in the net, but Jordan Black’s strike was ruled out for an alleged push on Smith by referee Liam Vayro who was poor all afternoon.
However, only 60 seconds later and they were unlucky not to draw level with an effort that no defence could avoid.
Payling’s set piece from deep fell to an unmarked Baker, loitering at the back post, but the defender could only watch as his wonderful volley crashed back into the play off the crossbar with Brown well and truly beaten before the threat was fully averted.
The chance came and went for the hosts who came up against an inspired and professional Gedling defence who were fantastic on the day and 6 minutes from time their defensive efforts were rewarded when, at the other end, they were given the chance to double their lead.
Suban’s run down the left went undeterred and as he found himself in limbo with Madin, the winger was tripped by a tired leg and referee Vayro made no hesitation in pointing to the spot.
Jepson stepped up and sent Alberry the wrong way to notch his 25th of the season and ensure all 3 points headed back to Plains Road as Gedling leapfrogged their opponents in the latest league standings.
A resolute performance from Gedling who got it all right defensively against a tricky outfit as they return to winning ways following last weekend’s defeat at home to Kimberley.
They make the journey to Sherwood Colliery next Saturday (9th March) hoping to continue the winning mentality as the season enters its business end with 9 games remaining, kick off 3pm.
Match Attendance – 81
Referee – Liam Vayro
Assistant Referees – Tim Gregory & Gareth Davies