Monday, September 24, 2007
Gedling MW 3 Atherstone Town 2
A pleasant night at Plumtree Cricket Club last night with Sticky junior picking up the Bowling Award for the u11s. “The Skipper’s” team returned to form this morning also, but once again I chose to stay away, I’m not ready to watch my team yet.
I saw a neighbour earlier today, whilst washing the car, and asked him how he was. He replied he was nervous at the prospect of watching England v Samoa. To be honest I didn’t know what the hell he was talking about. It turned out that it’s the Rugby World Cup Finals, I was totally unaware, and personally I’d rather have a night out with Lee Bowyer than watch them egg chasers.
I’m off to Gedling today, not Town, but Miners’ Welfare; they are playing Atherstone Town, from Warwickshire in the FA Vase. The visitors play two rungs further up the non-league pyramid. It will be a good test for Gedling.
Atherstone has a population of 10,000 and lies close to the River Anker. The Coventry Canal, with its eleven locks is nearby. In years gone by it was famous for hat-making. They were previously known as Atherstone United, and once sold Andy Rammell to Manchester United for £40,000 back in 1989.
I pass the old entrance to Gedling Colliery. There’s a plaque outside with 1899-1991 on it. The mine produced some of the best coal this county has ever seen from its High Hazles Seam – Maggie got personal and closed it down.
I park in the Welfare car park (it’s now called Mapperley Social Club). It’s a mandatory £4 admission and a £1 for the programme, which once again is of a high standard and has won many awards.
The ground lacks atmosphere, it’s neat and tidy and on a slope, and is hidden away from the busy main road.
I take my pitch in between the two dugouts. The Adders have come in a posh coach and are sponsored by Aldi.
Gedling start the game well and youngster Ryan Johnson thumps a shot home from the edge of the area after Atherstone had failed to clear a corner.
Gedling are rampant, midfielder Matt Richards hits a pearler from distance to make it 2-0 after 7 minutes.
The Gedling management are an amusing duo and have a little chat with me now and again.
The Atherstone bench are livid with their team. They don’t have to wait long for a comeback with Reece ghosting in at the far post to nod home a Wells cross. It’s 2-2 after 12 minutes with Tomlinson the quickest to react to a loose ball.
Atherstone take hold of the game by the scuff of the neck. Gedling can’t get near them, their movement is the key. Dunkley is top drawer for Atherstone.
Sticky gets hit the face by a stray ball, at half-time: “no wonder you’re a sub” I shout at the guilty Adders’ player.
I meet a lovely old guy from Gedling who has painted the whole ground pre-season. And I also chat to a fellow Hopper who tips me a few grounds to go to.
Atherstone don’t enjoy playing with slope second half, and slowly but surely Gedling’s confidence begins to increase. A dreadful mistake by Adders’ Civzeis leaves Henson in the clear, his finish is clinical.
The Adders’ coaching staff are a miserable pairing they could moan for Warwickshire. Dollies are out the pram over where the spare ball should be kept. Atherstone coach Jimmy Ginnelly calls Gedling’s John Bartlett a “p***k.” The crowd roar with laughter.
They are poor losers and aren’t used to it. They’ve lost their sparkle and have begun to look predictable. Ryan Johnson, on the wing for Gedling is mustard. They use him as an outlet in the last 15 minutes and he’s unlucky not to add to his early strike. A few league clubs have been sniffing about, and I’m not surprised, he’s a raw talent.
The final whistle goes, the Gedling bench are euphoric; their team are good value in the second period. Lessons will have been learnt by the visitors.
Gedling MW 3 Johnson, Richards and Henson Atherstone 2 Reece and Tomlinson
Attendance: not many.
Man of the Match: Matt Richards