Bilborough Town 0 - 1 Kimberley Miners Welfare AFC
Town were left to rue missed chances on Saturday as they suffered an opening day defeat to NSL new boys, AFC Kimberley. The game got off to a hectic start when Morgan was caught out of position and brought down the Kimberley striker in the box, giving the referee no choice but to award a penalty in the 2nd minute. Luckily, Ivanov pulled off an excellent save to his bottom right and rescued Town from going down almost straight away. With both teams finding their feet and suffering opening day nerves, the game was scrappy for the first half and chances were few and far between. McKeag was running the show in the middle of the park but was forced out wide when Nicholson had to come off with a recurring back injury, pushing Kane up front and giving Town more of a physical presence up top. This almost paid dividends when a ball was flashed across the face of Kimberley’s goal twice in quick succession, only for nobody to be able to get on the end of it. The half petered out with both teams content with their performances. HT 0-0 The 2nd half got off to just as much as a frantic start as the first when, straight from kick off, Law struck the ball from the halfway line, over the goalkeeper’s head, only to see it crash off the bar. Town must still have been admiring the effort as, in a rare Kimberley attack, a long ball into the box allowed Clowes to flick on a soft header past Ivanov to put them 1-0 up. Kimberley took the chance to shut up shop as Bilborough began their tirade of attacks. The Kimberely goalkeeper put in a man-of-the-match award and rightly so as he denied one-on-one opportunities for both Kane and Stewart, whilst also keeping a number of efforts out from Law. It wasn’t going to be Town’s day when Johnson, who had come on to replace the injured Nicholson, had to be replaced himself as he appeared to pull his hamstring when bearing down on goal. Despite the Town defence being strangely comfortable, they couldn’t find a way past the resilience of Kimberley and the Romanies suffered an arguably undeserved opening day defeat. They will have to pick themselves up and put their chances away on Wednesday as they take on FC Cavaliers, who also suffered an opening defeat at the hands of Ruddington.