Flowserve go fifth as Smith strikes again

THERE’S an old question in football about classy teams in top flight football: “Yes, but can they do it on a cold Tuesday night in Stoke?”

The inference is whether or not those footballing artistes are capable of rolling up their sleeves and performing when the going gets tough.

Some of Newark Flowserve’s football is breath-taking at times, and they are capable of playing some of the most attractive play that this observer has seen in a third of century of reporting on the game in the town.

Yet on a cold Tuesday night in Gresley they battled their way to a 1-0 victory and a clean sheet that will have thrilled the management team as their charges moved to fifth place in the Midland Football League Premier Division, two points adrift of leaders Walsall Wood and with a game in hand.

A gutsy Gresley, despite being rock bottom of the table, took the Highwaymen close once again, as they had earlier in the season when Flowserve had won by the same scoreline.

Jack Beckett was the victim of an elbow in an incident that saw a Gresley player receive a straight red card in the 74th minute, and the only warmth on the night came from the wonderful hospitality on offer from the home club.

The delightfully quaint old Moat Ground on the East Midlands flightpath twinkled under the floodlights in the crisp night air, and Greg Smith took the opportunity to mark the occasion with his third goal in two games since his arrival from Grantham Town.

He could have had another two minutes into stoppage time, with his shot from the right hitting the far post and rebounding into play, and that would have given a better resemblance of the gap between the two teams, but by that time everyone’s thoughts were on a mug or perhaps a glass of something reviving.

Flowserve had the majority of the play from the start, with the first real goal action coming in the 14th minute when Beckett’s left foot cross was punched clear by the diving home keeper Ben Allsop as far as Meadows whose returned header dropped into the hands of the home custodian.

Then Flowserve keeper Joe Searson raced from his goal to send a long clearance into the path of Meadows who took a first great touch, rounded Allsop, but blazed his effort over the bar.

But leading marksman Kyle Dixon turned provider in the 18th minute when his corner from the left was headed home by Smith, adding to the brace that he had bagged six days earlier at Selston.

A largely unremarkable second half saw a great chance for the visitors when Meadows whipped in superb cross from a seemingly impossible angle and sub Sean Woolley dived full length only for his header to be denied by Allsop, who had taken the man of the match honours at Lowfields in August.

Hard to pick a hero out of the men in the change kit of blue on Tuesday. They deserved the title to a man.

Newark Flowserve: 1 Joe Searson; 2 James Craig; 3 Sol Miller; 4 Tom Potts (captain); 5 Mitch Robinson; 6 Jack Beckett (Paolo Piliero 76mins); 7 Danny Meadows; 8 Kyle Dixon; 9 Greg Smith; 10 Ben Hutchinson (Keylun Pollard 83mins); 11 Jamie Turner (Sean Woolley 57mins).

Attendance: 116.