Those over at The Stag have had a mixed week indeed, both on, and off the field of play.
Having suffered a narrow, battling defeat, the previous week, against the league leaders Loughborough Students, it was fast followed by a battling draw when away to second-placed Melton Town last time out.
We say last time out, as Kimberley Miners Welfare’s midweek match, away to many people’s favourites, Anstey Nomads, was postponed last minute due to a waterlogged pitch.
The draw with Melton though, was coupled with Remembrance Services, and the shock news of the passing of Fin Bowens, a former team-mate of two Kimbo players, Kai Moore and George Atwell.
Kai and George, they stepped to the plate in memory of their friend as a poppy wreath was laid in honour of both those that had fallen, and for Fin, the duo being commended for the way they handled themselves, and for the channelling of their emotions.
The game itself, with Melton Town, a team with whom Kimbo had previously beaten, 3-1, in the FA Vase, earlier in the season, was one in which the club hoped “we hadn’t used up all of our luck in that one game.”
As for Melton, in the league, Kimberley fielded the same starting eleven for the first time in some time, meaning they’d look to build on the Loughborough strengths.
With any manager though, Kimberley’s co-manager, Graham Furnell is the same in that: “We could always do more and, because of that, we should’ve opened the scoring way before we actually did.
“The goal itself though, came following good work down the left, between Tom Eccleshall and Nathan Banton, the latter putting in a delightful ball into the box from which (Kai) Moore thought he’d scored.
“The ‘keeper however, blocked the effort, only for the ball to drop to James Shaw who wasted little time in stroking the ball home from 12 yards.”
That in itself was to be Shaw’s 20th goal of an already productive season, and was witnessed by a collective sigh of relief from the Kimbo faithful, more considering the challenges which had gone begging.
Melton saw their chances limited but, with the aerial presence they possess, the hosts though, they were always going to be a threat from set-pieces but Danny Rigley, in the Kimberley goal, kept them at bay and cleared any danger.
The equaliser though, arrived late in the first period, Melton striker, Kairo Edwards-John, won a race to the ball with Rigley following an up-field punt, Rigley would be seen to slice his clearance straight into the path of Edwards-John, who took great delight into rolling the ball into the now empty net.
Kimberley needed to regroup, quickly, at the break, and lift their heads for a big, second half, whilst looking to continue in creating chances when on the attack.
“Melton, as we expected them to, came racing out the traps having tweaked their shape and played with more width,” admitted Furnell of the opening stages of the second period.
“Once we’d got to grips with that, we again started to create more, guilt-edge chances, and a couple of excellent saves by their ‘keeper, prevented us from retaking the lead.
“Then, bizarrely, around the hour, Melton threw caution to the wind and sent their centre-half, Henry Eze, up top, as a make-shift forward, he looking to get on the end of some crosses by the former Liverpool (2006-09) and Nottingham Forest player (2008-12, following a loan spell), Paul Anderson, who had swapped from left, to right wing.
“Our back-line though, including Rigley, stood firm, with Ryan Wheatley clearing off the line twice in the space of five mins.
“The players, we asked them to be brave and to keep their shape, whilst sticking to the game plan, knowing we had both pace, and skill, to cause more problems in the final third.”
Kimberley though, they’d squander numerous chances as they hunted what would have proved the winning goal, (James) Shaw seeing a goal disallowed, but neither side could find the winner.
“Whilst it was frustrating not to come away with the win, our performance alone deserved, we will probably look back at this point as a good one at the end of the season,” admitted Furnell.
“In recent weeks, we have gone toe-to-toe with the current, top two sides (Loughborough and Melton) in the league and we feel we should’ve had four points to show for it, not the single point we did end up with.”
With Anstey called off at the very last minute, and with no pitch inspection having been planned, the majority of the Kimberley staff, players, and supporters, were already there, therefore, should the game at home to Belper United, on Saturday afternoon (19 November) beat the weather, a free beverage, by way of an apology, will be on offer to those travelling fans.
Finishing on some good news, Kimbo’s club physio welcomed a daughter to the world during the weekend, whilst Friday night, saw the Christmas Lights Switch-On – in the meantime, keep up-to-date with all things Kimberley Miners Welfare, via their Twitter.
*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).
*Main image @KimberleyMWFC Kimberley Manager Graham Furnell.