United Counties Premier Division North outfit, Kimberley Miners Welfare, are looking to do in the FA Vase this, what they’ve done in the FA Cup, create a little, club history.
A little run to the First Qualifying Round in the FA Cup, before losing to Atherstone Town, saw Kimberley put together their best run to date in that competition, the other though, they’ll need to pull out all the stops – but they’re doing alright, so far!
In drawing Sandbach United, away, in the First Round Proper, will mark the fourth time they’ve reached this stage of the competition, in recent years, and it was in 2018 where they went one step further, and reached the Second Round – Graham Furnell and Ant Ward will be hoping for similar this time around.
Having seen off Melton Town at the weekend, the Kimberley management having already watched their opponents pre-season with them having achieved some great, off-field work, and producing a well-organised team, on it.
They’d also started the current campaign well, sitting fifth in the same division as the Notts club, having won five and drawn one of their seven league outings to date, their only defeat, prior to the weekend, a few weeks earlier away to Anstey Nomads.
Looking back at the game, and another cup win for Kimberley, joint-manager, Graham Furnell, said: “Both teams started the tie brightly and were really keen to get on the front foot early on.
“After just ten minutes we made the first breakthrough, (Tom) Jones and (James) Shaw linking up well, and the latter, getting on the end of a defence-splitting pass before showing a clean pair of heels and finishing in the bottom corner, beating the ‘keeper on a narrow angle.
“This helped to settle our nerves whilst also allowing us to make a couple of tweaks in our shape, especially as Melton set up slightly different to how we expected them to.”
With those, little changes, implemented, the Kimberley bench knew as to where the hosts’ threat would arise, set-pieces, due to the size of some of their players, as well as the ever-dangerous, Henry Eze
“On the while, we dealt with them well, and limited them to just one or two efforts at goal, which thankfully were off target,” continued Furnell.
“We continued with some good play, and carved out several half-chances, making their ‘keeper work by ensuring we continually hit the target.
“Looking like we’d go into the break with a slender lead, some excellent pressing led to Jones turning the ball over high up the pitch before playing in young Louis Nicholson, who put us two goals up, minutes before the break.”
As the opening of the second period played, both sides looking somewhat cagey, cancelling each other out, whilst trying not to leave anything open, Kimberley knew mistakes would prove, costly.
A slip, on 56 minutes, afforded the slightest of shooting chances, which Melton took, in style, Henry Dunn firing a rocket past Matthew White, from fully twenty-five yards, and in doing so, halved the deficit heading into the final half hour.
Melton then piled on the pressure, looking for what, at that point, would have been a deserved equaliser, and no doubt would have rocked Kimberley, a number of differing outcomes though kept the back door closed.
“We definitely rode our luck for the majority of the final half hour,” explained Furnell.
“Melton did everything they could in order to fashion out an equaliser.
“We made a few changes and, despite the pressure, we knew that, if we could create another chance, especially with them throwing bodies forward, we could put the game to bed.”
That finally arrived, but only after some seven minutes of added time was shown.
“Shaw and (Nathan) Banton had worked tirelessly up front and we finally wrapped the game up in the 95 minute,” added Furnell.
“As they combined, Banton would place the ball under the home ‘keeper and ensuring us passage into the First Round Proper, for the second successive season.
“Melton though, they’re a fantastic team and we’re already looking forward to two more games against them in the league, games in which I strongly recommend people get down to watch.”
With the First Round draw having been made, and another away day for Kimberley and their supporters, to Sandbach United (NWCL Division One South, Cheshire), on Saturday 22 October, focus now returns to the league.
Pinchbeck United are the visitors to The Stag on Saturday 1 October, prior to consecutive away days, a local clash with Sherwood Colliery (4 October) and away to Heanor Town (10 October), Kimbo looking to close the ten point gap on leaders Loughborough Students, from ninth, and with two games in hand.
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*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).
*Main image @KimberleyMWFC the Welfare team at a wet Melton on Saturday.