NEWARK FLOWSERVE showed both sides of their character as they clinched a 2-1 win at home to AFC Wulfrunians in the Midland Football League Premier Division at Lowfields on Saturday.
Their slick attractive passing game brought them two goals but they then had to roll up their sleeves and battle hard to keep out the visitors when they were reduced to ten men with eight minutes of normal time remaining and an additional six minutes of stoppage time.
The win takes The Highwaymen to fourth place in the table, two points behind leaders Heather St John’s with a game in hand, and a hardy crowd of 240 ventured out on a dark and dank November afternoon to witness the progress of their heroes, with many of the supporters sporting the club colours.
Sol Miller came in at left-back in place of the departed Jack Andrews, while Jamie Turner dropped to the bench to accommodate loan signing Zak Goodson from Basford United.
Visiting goalkeeper Tom Turner kept out a wave of Flowserve attacks and pulled off three outstanding saves to keep the half-time score respectable.
The game was only four minutes old when Greg Smith headed firmly over the bar following Kyle Dixon’s corner from the right, and then a great touch from Smith enabled him to cushion a high ball before laying it off into the path of Jack Beckett whose fierce left foot strike was pushed around his right upright by the diving Turner.
In the eighth minute Flowserve were ahead. More close control from Smith’s strike partner Ben Hutchinson enabled him to roll the ball back to Dixon on the edge of the box, and his right foot thump thundered past the Wulfs’ custodian to register his seventh goal of a productive campaign for the likeable central midfielder who has quickly become a favourite with the home faithful.
On 14 minutes the visitors equalised with their first attack when Dominic Dell turned the ball into the empty net after Flowserve had switched off at the back. It was a rare moment in offence from the visitors until their late flurry.
There was a confusing moment on 36 minutes when Hutchinson was hauled down in the box by a Wulfs defender and everyone stopped for the penalty, only for the referee to deem that the Flowserve forward had been the transgressor.
Four minutes before the break Danny Meadows drove the ball across the face of goal only for the terrific Turner to somehow keep out a point-blank effort from Goodson.
Two minutes later Tom Potts fired in a direct free-kick that will be familiar to all those who have enjoyed Alex Abraham’s films of the Lowfields festivities, only for that man Turner to defy the thunderbolt with a fingertip save around the post.
The fact that it was only 1-1 at the interval must have earned the visiting goalkeeper the right to drive a flock of sheep through the centre of Wolverhampton.
Flowserve were on it from the restart, with Smith shooting into the side-netting and then heading a Goodson cross over the top.
The men in orange had to wait until the 58th minute for their second. Hutchinson’s flick released the speedy Goodson and, when he was sent sprawling in the box, the referee pointed to the spot. Hutchinson stepped up and stroked the ball into the opposite corner as Turner dived to his right.
On 80 minutes Miller was booked for entering the field without the referee’s permission following treatment for cramp, and two minutes later the assistant referee informed the man in the middle that Miller had committed a foul while in a tussle near the touchline with a visiting opponent.
A second yellow card followed and a mystified Miller departed, leaving Flowserve a tricky quarter of an hour to negotiate. The fact that they did so comfortably suggests that this side is more than worthy of the magnificent support that it attracts.
Newark Flowserve: 1 Joe Searson; 2 James Craig; 3 Sol Miller; 4 Tom Potts (captain); 5 Mitch Robinson; 6 Jack Beckett (Paolo Piliero 71mins); 7 Danny Meadows; 8 Kyle Dixon; 9 Ben Hutchinson (Jahren Barrow 83mins); 10 Greg Smith (Jamie Turner 87mins); 11 Zak Goodson.