Returning players boost Shirebrook

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A goal in the opening five minutes of each half was enough to secure the points for Shirebrook at The Fitzwilliam Stadium on Saturday.

Even before the match a quick look at the team sheet filled the loyal away support with optimism.

The return and availability of players gave a strong and balanced look to the starting line-up.

Manager Rudy Funk described Hemsworth as a difficult place to play.

He said “They are a well organised side who are difficult to break down”.

The visitors, however, caught the home side cold and when Richard Guest made a surging run down the right flank on five minutes, Joe Naylor stretched out a toe to get on the end of Guest’s low driven cross. The ball beat the advancing keeper Dale Walstow and nestled in the corner of the net.

That was Naylor’s fifth goal in three games since his return to the club.

Pete Stubley, who had earlier in the season scored a hat-trick against Hemsworth was again making their defence work hard. His 20th minute strike saw Walstow turn the effort around the post for a corner.

Shirebrook were looking solid at the back and keeper Ed Eley never had a shot to save during the first half, mainly due to the heroics of Daryll Winter and man of the match Mark Robinson, who won every header and tackle that came his way.

Shirebrook doubled their lead two minutes into the re-start.

Stubley was fed the ball in the box by Naylor. The striker controlled the ball well and a sharp turn coupled with a blistering drive gave Walstow no chance.

On the hour mark Michael Lyall rode two hefty challenges before unleashing a 20 yard effort that was always rising over the bar.

On the left flank Lewis Jackson tied two defenders in knots with his quick feet before forcing a corner after 70 minutes.

Substitute Jez Mitchell linked well with Lyall, the latter bringing a superb save out of Walstow on 84 minutes.

To cap off a great performance, with two minutes to go Walstow turned Joe Naylor’s spot kick around the post after Lyall had been chopped down in the box.

Funk said: “I think Hemsworth worked very hard and defended well in pitch conditions that were difficult for both teams, but I am delighted in the way we won the game. Certain partnerships worked well today.

“This is another step forward for Shirebrook and I was especially happy that we kept a clean sheet.”

Shirebrook Town: Eley, Rowbottom, Davey, Roche(Bettison 85), Robinson, Winter, Guest (Bowring 72), Naylor, Stubley (Mitchell 78), Lyall, Jackson. Subs not used: Bedward, McLane.

Attendance: 125.

Referee: Mr Tom Hewitt of Batley.

Shirebrook man of the match: Mark Robinson.