Kimberley Set For Table Top Clash

Having afforded themselves a little breathing space at the of the United Counties League Division One, and coming off the back of a derby success against West Bridgford, Kimberley Miners Welfare head into this weekends’ table-topping clash with Hinckley, brimming with confidence.

The top two have both put West Bridgford to the sword this past week, Kimberley having won 3-1 at home this past weekend, whilst in midweek, and with both Charlie Evans, and Ryan Harkin bagging braces, Hinckley claimed an 8-1 win on Wednesday night.

Kimberley though, they still hold a six-point advantage on their title rivals, during what is fast becoming a season for the ages for a side who last won a league championship, over two decades ago (they won the old Notts Alliance Division One title in 2000).

Now, with just five league games remaining, could this really be a title-procession for the NW Nottinghamshire club?

Granted, there is still a lot to play, but one can dream – and those at The Stag are certainly starting to, quietly, perhaps even confidently….

Speaking to Graham Furnell, joint-manager at The Stag, he said of their last outing, on Non-League Day, against West Bridgford, and one where they afforded the honour of being mascots to Priory Celtic U12s Girls, whom Kimberley are partnered with this season, said that: “Having watched them in their previous, midweek game against Hucknall, and despite the score-line (Hucknall won 3-0) I came away with no doubt that, if we weren’t on our game, we could come unstuck.

“Going into that game, we had an enforced change, with TK picking up a knee injury at Birstall that he couldn’t shake off so In came Philipp Jauch, who had until recently held a regular place in the starting eleven, so we knew he was capable of stepping straight back into the fold.

“Our other absentees were (Michael) Pearson and (Josh) Barr-Rostron, but other than that, we had plenty of good options to choose from.”

Luis Rose would open the scoring early on for the hosts, and, although guilty of wasting a number of chances overall, it would be Rise who’d snatch the second, smashing the ball home, before the opposition pulled one back with Fitzpatrick firing home from some twenty-five yards.

“We had to make a few tweaks during the break, and get the lads to re-focus,” continued Graham.

“After that, we went about putting the game to bed, knowing how crucial that next goal would be.

“We created numerous chances, but we still looked far from the ruthless way we had dispatched Birstall the game before; then, with around fifteen to go, up stepped Aaron Coyle to slam home from inside the box, giving us a 3-1 lead.

“Credit must go to Russ and his new look West Bridgford team though, they certainly made us work for the win and certainly gave us plenty to think about going into this Saturday’s game with Hinckley.”

Kimberley’s hosts this weekend have already inflicted defeat on them this season, Hinckley winning 1-0 back in early November, Andrew Kear snatching the points at the death.

And, with games against Bourne and Harrowby to follow, the management will be letting the players know, firmly, that against these three sides alone this campaign, Kimberley have only picked up one point from a possible nine.

Coupled with that narrow loss to Hinckley, Bourne saw the point earned from a 2-2 draw, whilst Harrowby, that was a 3-1 defeat away from home.

“Nothing changes with regards preparations and we will train as normal,” explained Graham.

“With all the excitement around the club though Ant (Ward) and I, we have had to be the party poopers.

“Those reverse fixtures have seen us taking just one point from a possible nine, so, when we say there’s still plenty to do, hopefully this statistic alone confirms it.

“We won’t be taking anything for granted either, and will continue to earn the right to keep our noses in front at the top, on a game-by-game basis.

“But, we’re hopeful of having a fully-fit squad in which to choose from, although we’ll leave it right up until Thursday night and anyone that is unable to train fully in that final session, then they won’t be risked.”

Kimberley travel to the Kirkby Road Sports Ground this Saturday for a top-of-the-table clash in the United Counties Division One, against Hinckley; victory for Kimberley will see them hit the 100 points mark, and open up a nine-point advantage on those chasing them.

*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).

*Main image @KimberleyMWFC Welfare lining up before their recent win against West Bridgford.

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