Gedling Miners Welfare 1 Blackstones 1

Saturday 15th August 2009
Gedling Miners Welfare 1 Blackstones 1
FA Cup sponsored by E.ON Extra Preliminary Round
At: Mapperley Plains Sports and Social Club, Plains Road
Kick-off: 3-00 pm
Admission: £5; Programme: £1-50 (32 pages)
Attendance: 46
Weather: sunny, breezy
Duration: first-half: 49:28; second-half: 46:38

A total of 762 clubs were accepted into this season’s FA Cup with 406 of them starting in the Extra Preliminary Round, the first hurdle. With Slade Green resigning from the Kent League, their opponents Faversham Town were given a bye leaving 202 ties to be contested over this weekend.

After leaving of Mrs and Junior ‘iwf’ in the Broadmarsh Shopping Centre and the entrance to the city caves, I decided to head of the tie between Gedling Miners Welfare and Blackstone – step 6 v. step 5.

Being unfamiliar with Nottingham, I put the postcode (NG3 5RH) into the SatNav and it took me straight to the ground entrance on Plains Road. Travelling away from the city centre via Woodborough Road (B684) which became Plains Road, the ground was prominent on the right opposite the Tree Tops pub.

The ground itself was part of a larger complex with football to the right running lengthways and parallel with the road, car park to the left and both a separate health club and social club as well. A sign near the entrance advertised the next fixture for Gedling Colliery Cricket Club though the cricket ground was obscured from view.

I emerged through the turnstile near to one corner, with the pitch (orientated north-east–south-west) running widthways mostly to the right. Behind the near goal was a large net, as there was behind the far goal as well. Along the opposite touchline were two stands, either side of the dugouts on halfway, each containing one row of individual blue bucket seats. Also on the far side were the tea bar and club shop as well as the changing rooms and club room inside the social club building.

I obtained a teamsheet at the turnstile, which made the job of obtaining the line-ups so much easier, though they were announced over the tannoy a few minutes before kick-off. There was time to investigate the tea bar and club shop, from where it picked up two different designs of club badge for £3 each.

Gedling Miners Welfare went into the tie in seventh position in the embryonic East Midlands Counties League table. Each club had played one game and last Saturday Gedling defeated Holbrook Miners Welfare by the odd goal in three at home.

Visitors Blackstones, based in Stamford, found themselves bottom of the United Counties League Premier Division table after losing both of their opening two games, admittedly both were away from home. Last Saturday on the opening day they went down 4-3 at Long Buckby Town and on Tuesday against conceded four goals at Boston Town without getting on the scoresheet.

Blackstones’ Lincoln Road ground is perhaps unique in my own records as I’ve visited it for an FA Youth Cup tie (against Stafford Rangers in 2005) but not for a first-team fixture.

Both sides emerged in fair-play fashion in the bright sunshine and exchanged handshakes before Gedling (wearing yellow shirts, blue shorts and yellow socks) got the game underway defending the end nearest to the entrance and car park.

I opted for a seat close to half way in the Harold Hume Stand with Blackstones fans close by on either side of me. The fans were encouraged by their side’s early possession during which Kevin Ainslie fired a left foot shot straight at Welfare keeper Lance Walker.

Gedling took the lead in the 11th minute through a softly conceded penalty. Richard Jones brought down Barry Payne just inside the area and Craig Boulton confidently fired home a taken left-foot penalty.

“That was a nice dive ref,” said the Blackstones fan sat to my left wearing a grey and sky blue hooped sweatshirt.

Encouraged by the early goal, Gedling started to pose more of a threat. Just past the midpoint of the first half, Chris Hall delivered a right-foot cross into the area from out on the left. Flavell left his line to claim only to fail to make contact allowing Jones to head wide of an unguarded goal.

Gedling were certainly comfortable with their one-goal lead with Blackstones (wearing green shirts, black shorts and green socks) creating just the odd chance without troubling Walker. They did go close in the 43rd minute when Mark Jones ran into the area from the left and fired into the near side netting.

Walker took the resulting goal kick only to go down in agony with what looked like a nasty injury to his right leg. The keeper needed several minutes of treatment and the players took advantage to have an impromptu drink break even though the interval was imminent.

Thankfully for Gedling, Walker was able to continue though he was hurt again dealing with a Blackstones corner just before referee blew the half-time whistle.

In need of food and drink I returned to the Tea Bar for another tea and tray of chips before returning to my seat in the stand.

Walker wearing his bright orange top emerged for the second half, admittedly moving slowly, and there were no substitutions by either manager.

Boulton went down inside the area a minute after the restart, though the referee wasn’t the slightest bit interested in awarding another penalty.

Blackstones were awarded a free-kick 30 yards out for a foul on Mark Jones by defender Ryan Marsh. With the players expecting a cross to the far side of the area, Flavell opted to test the injured Walker and the keeper did well to turn the ball round that was heading for the top left corner.

It started to cloud over to the south and in the 51st minute Blackstones midfielder Elton Holmes became the first player to be booked, for a foul on Richard Harrison.

With Blackstones pressing for an equaliser, Gedling created a chance against the run of recent play. Good work by Warren Hatfield on the right set up Barry Payne who hit a right foot shot which Flavell held diving to his right.

The sun returned around the time Gedling made a change in the 61st minute. Ben Middleton replaced Grant Newton.

The visitors made a change in the 70th minute – Daniel Fountain replaced Andrew Boolie who had earlier picked up a knock – and got back on level terms in the 72nd minute. Ainslie cut in from the left and bundled the ball home at the near post.

Gedling almost regained the lead with a well-struck effort from Boulton. The ball swerved in the air from 25-yards out which Flavell did well to stop and it was cleared for a corner. The was further danger for the visitors when Richard Jones headed a backpass into the path of Boulton but Flavell raced off his line to clear.

A mistake by March in the 81st minute let in Mark Jones who was brough down – March received a yellow card.

Blackstones replaced Mark Jones with Adam Scotcher in the 83rd minute and this almost became a perfect substitution. Scother went straight into the Gedling area and headed home Elton Holmes’ corner with his first touch. The referee spotted pushing and disallowed the goal.

The fan in the hooped top was not amused: “It should have been 2-1 to our lads”.

Gedling, perhaps keen to avoid a trip to Stamford in three days time made a double change a minute later – Craig Thomason replaced Boulton and Jamie Archer came on for Chris Ison.

Just like Blackstones a few minutes before, Gedling also thought they’d taken the lead in the 87th minute. Warren Hatfield’s well-struck volley was pushed into the air by Flavell and juggled underneath the bar. Gedling thought it had crossed the line but the referee said it hadn’t so the scores remained level.

Blackstones made one final effort to snatch victory. Scotcher battled on the left, cut in and won a corner. Homes delivered the ball into a crowded area, Walker held it and the referee blew for full-time.

Replay on Tuesday at Blackstones.

Gedling Miners Welfare (yellow/blue/yellow): 1. Lance Walker, 2. Richard Harrison (capt), 3. Chris Hall, 4. Rico Martt, 5. Ryan March, 6. Chris Ison, 7. Jamie Brown, 8. Warren Hatfield, 9. Craig Boulton, 10. Barry Payne, 11. Grant Walton. Subs: 12. Ben Middleton (for Walton, 61), 14. Craig Thomason (for Boulton, 84), 15. Coey Nightingale (not used), 16. Jamie Archer (for Ison, 84), 17. Grant Russell (not used), 18. Ross Lawrence (not used), 19. Marc Williams (not used).

Blackstones (green/black/green): 1. Ian Flavell, 2. Carl Bird. 3. Kevin Ainslie, 4. Darren Glover , 5. Richard Jones (capt), 6. Matt Doyle, 7. Elton Holmes, 8. Andrew Boolie, 9. Mark Jones, 10. Richard Thompson, 11. Jonathon Stead. Subs: 12. Adam Scotcher (for Jones, 83), 14. Daniel Fountain (for Boolie, 70), 15. Elio Salerno (not used), 16. Karl Down (not used).

Referee: M. Fletcher.
Assistants: N. Marriott and C. Shackleton.

1-0 Boulton (11)
1-1 Ainslie (72)

Gedling: none.
Blackstones: Elton Holmes (YC, 51)