Two big wins and a walkover leave Kimberley MW firmly in the title race

Kimberley MW can reflect on a perfect week as they prepare to visit Kirby Muxloe this weekend.

Thursday, 27th January 2022, 9:00 am
Updated Thursday, 27th January 2022, 10:33 am
Graham Furnell and co-manager Ant Ward have guided Kimberley to second in the league standings.
Graham Furnell and co-manager Ant Ward have guided Kimberley to second in the league standings.

Not only did two wins – against local rivals and fellow promotion hopefuls Radford and Dunkirk – push the Miners back into the play-off zone, but the award of three points without kicking a ball thanks to Aylestone Park being unable to fulfil their fixture at the Stag Ground in December means Kimberley are now second in the UCL Division One table.

It means were Kimberley to win their game in hand over leaders Hinckley they’d go two points clear at the top, and joint-boss Graham Furnell says the pursuit of the title will be firmly in mind this weekend.

He said: “Saturday is another new ground to visit a team new team to pit our wits against on a 4G pitch.

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"Our message will be very clear – we can't afford to underestimate any team in this league but we have to go in confident of keeping the charge going and wanting to bring the points back with us.”

The accumulation of nine more points came firstly thanks to a 2-1 win over Radford, that despite being a goal down to a penalty just before half-time.

Luis Rose levelled with a penalty of the Miners’ own on the hour, then Sacha Markelic snatched another late winner for Kimberley with a 94th minute strike.

Then, on Tuesday, an impressive 4-1 win at Dunkirk came thanks to the in-form Rose scoring all four goals, two of them in second-half stoppage time, to seal another impressive three points in a match where skipper Sam Brown made his 50th appearance for the club.

Furnell said: “These were two great wins to give us a six-point week against two very good and experienced sides at what is a key stage of the season.

"At half-time on Saturday we pointed out a few areas we needed to improve on but the message was the same, to stick to the game plan and be patient as we had shown in flashes in the first-half that we had the ability to get through them and create chances.

"Once we got level we were confident we would go onto win the game. Our players’ attitude to fitness is excellent and we benefit from this so often in the latter stages of games and it was the case again on Saturday.

“Against Dunkirk, we had to deal with a lot of pressure when 2-1 up and had to work tirelessly with our backs against the wall defending, but we changed things late on to help us keep the ball higher up the pitch and it paid off.

"We then received news that the postponed game with Aylestone Park on December 18, a side also chasing a play-off place, has been awarded to us.

"I'm not sure of the full details until we meet up with club officials on Thursday but it seems after an investigation by the league, they weren't satisfied with the reasons put forward and awarded us the three points and handed out a fine to Aylestone.

“It’s not the way we would like to get points on the board but I suppose rules are rules and we will take them and chalk off another game against a play-off rival in the process.”