Gedling Miners Welfare traveled south of the River Trent to face reigning East Midlands Counties champions West Bridgford in what was the first visit back to their old stomping ground for title-winning managerial duo Stuart Robinson and Chris Marks, now in charge of the visitors.
The hosts, who sat 18th at the start of play, came into the game on the back of a 6-0 thumping to Dunkirk last time out whilst Gedling, looking to rise to 6th with victory, also suffered defeat – a 2-1 home loss to Kimberley Miners Welfare last weekend.
The game was only 3 minutes old when Gedling may have taken the lead. However, after good interplay by Aboubacar Syllaand Ross McCaughey down the left, Connor Croft could only pass his effort into the arms of Danny Rigley in the West Bridgford goal. Despite the fast start, the game failed to materialise into a spectacle as both sides could only muster half opportunities that failed to trouble either defences.
Sylla, though, had begun brightly and was causing his full back Tom Hall some difficulties as it became evident early on that Gedling would find success down that wing. However, despite being in the ascendancy for the most part, the next few chances fell to the home side after 16 minutes. After good work by Will Daley his flashed effort across Danny Brown’s goal wasn’t dealt with by the Gedling back line, but, fortunately for them, former-Miner Jurgen Charlesworth couldn’t dig out an effort from under his feet and the danger was eventually cleared. In truth, both sides became sloppy in possession and was ultimately uneventful on the eye in admittedly difficult conditions, but on either side of the half hour mark
West Bridgford, after coping with early Gedling dominance, should really have gone into the half a goal up. Charlesworth, causing trouble down the right, fired a low cross to strike partner Taylor Gardner but his well-directed effort was tipped around well by Brown after 26 minutes. 8 minutes later and the same duo linked up finely again, but Gardner’s flicked header, this time from a high cross from Charlesworth, looped over the crossbar.
Despite the spell of creativity by West Bridgford, it was Gedling who went into the break one up. After a mazy run by McCaughey was unhalted by the home defence, he found Sylla, once more behind his full back, and his fine low cross found an unmarked Connor Croft who this time swept home from the penalty spot for his second in as many games.
Despite being a goal down, West Bridgford always sensed they were in the game, notably due to the tricky wing play of Ross Haig and Tomi Jaiyeloa, but their threat was annulled superbly by Gedling’s defensive four and Brown in the away goal was a spectator for the majority.
The earlier pressure from both sides had dwindled and the second half really failed to produce any noteworthy events. The football really had deteriorated and the focus was mainly on keeping 22 men on the field as the game became a feisty affair after each side shared earlier cautions.
Both sets of players rarely troubled their opposition and you may have sensed that the visitors would take the 3 points back to Plains Road and, 12 minutes before the end, they all but confirmed the victory and in very similar fashion to their opener.
This time, from a wide free kick, McCaughey’s low delivery found an unmarked Croft who, poised on the edge of the area, passed his effort into the bottom corner for his second of the game as West Bridgford succumbed to defeat.
A minute later, from another wide cross, Jake Wholey should have added a third but he couldn’t keep his undisturbed header down.
That miss may have proved costly, however, as 7 minutes from time and the home side did pull one back in a very innocuous manner. From the right, Will Daley delivered a deep hanging cross to the far post but, only known to Daley himself if intentional or not, the ball looped over Brown and nestled into the top corner as his side sensed they may salvage a draw from a very unlikely position.
However, despite the scare, Gedling were defensively resilient and fairly untroubled when called upon. They managed to see out the rest of the encounter without further worry as they recorded the double over West Bridgford this season after their 1-0 home victory back in September.
They host Holwell Sports on Tuesday night (6th February) at Plains Road looking to build on their performance and result today.