United clinch the title with a point
NAILSEA UNITED 2-2 MINEHEAD TOWN
On Saturday United played hosts to Minehead Town with an early mid-day kick off. Nailsea knew that a minimum of three points to be gained from their remaining three matches would see them crowned as Champions of The Premier Division of the Somerset County League. The first opportunity came with the visit of the team from the Somerset coast. If United failed to beat Minehead they could still be crowned Champions dependant on the results of their nearest challengers who were involved in matches that started mid afternoon.
The opening minutes were even with no real scoring opportunities although on the quarter of the hour mark a move down the right saw Steve Lester pick out Harry Hope in a good position but the youngster not realising that he had more time then he thought shot wide. Minutes later a long throw by James Taylor was met by Stuart Lee who headed into the side netting.
Minehead are always a side that like to play good football using this to their advantage on 20 minutes when the Nailsea defenders were caught square allowing the visitors to take the lead. Minutes later in a replica of the first goal Minehead doubled their advantage to lead by two goals.
In recent matches United have had to dig deep after losing early goals, this match was no different with them reducing the arrears on 25 minutes. A corner from the right was well delivered by Alex Goodwin to be met Stuart Lee who out jumped the Minehead defence to send a looping header into the corner of the goal to reduce the deficit to one goal.
The remaining minutes of the first half were even with the ball difficult to control in the gusty wind and surprisingly firm ground. Minehead were unlucky not to add to their lead on 37 minutes when the ball was allowed to run across the Nailsea goal area before rebounding off of the upright. A
minute before the half time whistle an Ellis Wilmot free kick was headed over by Jim Lee from a good position. Going into the break one goal down was not the position Nailsea wanted but they knew that they were still very much in the game looking for those elusive three points.
Nailsea started the second half in a much more positive manner with a good move starting with Stuart Lee who found Matt Long whose chested pass was hit by Steve Lester just wide of the post. Eight minutes into the half Nailsea scored the equaliser with Ellis Wilmot sending Jim Lee away, the tall striker made no mistake in finding the back of the net which was goal number 49 for the league's leading marksmen.
Most of the play was now in the MInehead half with Jim Lee going close again on 60 minutes when he connected with another accurate free kick by Ellis Wilmot only to see his effort cannon off of the post with the visiting keeper stranded.
Nailsea manager Mark Savage then made a number of substitutions in an effort to force the winner with Liam Lester, Darren Bloomfield and Sam Long replacing Mike Wallington, Harry Hope and Steve Lester respectively. With 7 minutes remaining Nailsea thought they had scored the winner when an inswinging corner from the right by Ellis Wilmot eluded both defenders and attacker alike to sail directly into the back of the Minehead net. Nailsea celebrations were short lived as the referee decided that the Minehead keeper had been fouled and disallowed the goal.
The score remained 2-2 with Nailsea picking up just one point in their quest for the Championship, would they require further points from their remaining two fixtures or would their nearest rivals also fail to pick up maximum points?
Nailsea had to wait another three hours until the results of the matches that kicked off at 3.00pm were known. Of particular interest were the fixtures involving near neighbours Ashton & Backwell and Langford Rovers. Victory for either side would mean Nailsea still requiring points before being declared Champions. The first result received was that Ashton & Backwell had been trounced by Cheddar leaving only the result of the Langford Rovers game to be announced. Minutes later came the news that Langford had been beaten. Nailsea United were Champions of the Premier Division of The Somerset County League.
Congratulations to Mark Savage and his team on being worthy winners of the league, however whilst the first team have done the business on the pitch all playing members and officials of Nailsea United Football Club have contributed to this success. It is the players in the Colts, A and B teams and of course the Reserves that make this club the success story that it is. This has been a truly all round club effort. Well done to all.
The remaining first team league games are away to Clevedon United on Tuesday night Kick Off 6.30 with the final league game of the season being at home to Shirehampton next Saturday May 12th. Kick Off 3.00pm
The Reserves finalise their programme also next Saturday with a local derby away to Ashton & Backwell Reserves. Kick Off 3.00pm.
Do not forget that with the league championship wrapped up the first team play the final of The League Knock Out Cup against Langford Rovers on Thursday May 17th at The Hand Stadium, Clevedon. Kick Off 7.30pm. Make sure that you are there to see if the double can be achieved.