AFC defy late fightback to claim victory

Long Eaton Sunday League

Division Four

AFC Kimberley 3

Shardlow St James 2

KIMBERLEY’S hopes of promotion increased with a close win at home to Shardlow on Sunday.

AFC started with a mindful approach as usual though the first ten minutes were slow and scrappy.

The first chance went to Kimberley when a through ball from Ant Harwood was latched onto by winger Christian Holmes but instead of running on and going into a one-on-one situation, a strike from 25 yards flew harmlessly wide.

Gary Pickering was next to try and open the scoring with a low shot which the keeper parried wide.

Kimberley finally got the breakthrough on 24 minutes when neat build-up play ended with Pickering firing a left foot shot in off the post for his 34th of the season.

The second goal came on 35 minutes when again Pickering popped up to smash home from six yards after good work from Ant Watkinson, Harwood and Vaughen Crompton, and AFC led 2-0 at the break.

The opening ten minutes of the second-half was as it was in the first with AFC pressing for goals and the third arrived within that spell.

A long searching ball down AFC’s left saw Holmes with another chance to end his goalless streak and finally he did so with a left foot shot that again went across the goalkeeper and into the far side of the goal.

It could have and possibly should have been four when a long ball from Ant Watkinson foundCrompton one-on-one with the Shardlow keeper but with the ball dropping he volleyed high wide and not so very handsome.

Shardlow got back into the game on 75 minutes when a player rose unmarked from a corner to make it 3-1.

Their second duly arrived on 85 minutes when a silly foul given out wide saw a free-kick crossed in and a scramble in the area ended with a Shardlow player smashing home.

Late pressure resulted in no further goals from the visitors and Kimberley held on for three vital points.

Man-of-the-match: Ant Harwood.

This weekend sees a big top-of-the-table clash at the Stag Ground as AFC host leaders Lovell Partnerships, kick-off 10.30am.