Kimberley MW aim to keep the pressure on in title battle

Joint-boss Graham Furnell says Kimberley Miners Welfare will go into another quickfire double-header full of confidence as they continue their pursuit of promotion.

Thursday, 17th February 2022, 10:42 am
Updated Friday, 18th February 2022, 10:14 am
Action from Kimberley's win over Dunkirk (in blue) last weekend. More photos can be found at
Action from Kimberley's win over Dunkirk (in blue) last weekend. More photos can be found at

Important wins against Hucknall Town and then Dunkirk in the last week have kept the Miners three points behind leaders Hinckley with a game in hand, with the two sides due to meet in early April.

In the meantime, Kimberley go into this weekend’s visit of Holwell Sports – in a match that will be played on the 3G pitch at Ilkeston Town’s New Manor Ground – and then Tuesday’s trip to Birstall United in confident mood but taking nothing for granted.

Furnell said: “When we faced Holwell earlier in the season we were two up early on and got a third after an hour, only for them to get two back and give us a real scare.

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"Their current league position is by no way a true reflection of where their squad should be, having a fair few quality players at their disposal especially in the attacking areas.

"We have to go into the game confident but at the same time show them respect and take nothing for granted.

"Again we will have to shuffle the squad around and may even go into the transfer market before the game.

"Birstall were the first team to beat us on home soil in a close game ending 2-1 and are impressive as a team with real threats throughout, so we’ll have to really up our performance and concentration levels.”

Saturday’s win over Dunkirk (match gallery HERE) saw Sacha Markelic hit a late winner after Nathan Banton had scored twice in the first-half, with it being the third time they’ve beaten Dunkirk in league and cup this season.

Furnell said: “Dunkirk put us under pressure early on but then Nathan Banton scored a well-deserved brace to put us two up.

"We should really have been four or five up at half-time but then there was a lot of injury-time and Dunkirk pulled one back, so the message was to cut out the mistakes and prepare for more pressure in the second-half whilst knowing we had the weapons to hurt them.

"It ended up being like a basketball game, very end-to-end with no real control shown by either side but I think that suited Dunkirk more than us and they got level on 63 minutes.

"We were deflated a bit by that and it gave Dunkirk an extra swagger in their step and the efforts of having to play with ten men for a half at Hucknall a few days before started to weigh heavy on us.

"We brought Blaise Duruaku and Josh Barr-Rostron on to freshen things up and Josh had a big influence, calming things down with his experience and then Sacha Markelic scored a great winner late on.

"Again the added time found by the referee left us scratching our heads as to where he was finding it but we held out to take another vital three points.”

The victory over Hucknall three days earlier came despite Tom Eccleshall being sent off just before half-time when Kimberley were 3-0 up thanks to goals from Luis Rose, Sam Brown and Sacha Markelic, that being enough to take the points despite Hucknall pressure in the second-half, Furnell hailing Kimberley’s “guts, guile and a togetherness that has shone throughout this season.”