Clay Cross Town arrived at Plains Road as underdogs once again but it took less than ten-minutes to address that when Kieran Ordidge skipped effortlessly past two midfield tackles and fired a thirty-yard strike that saw the home custodian, Keaton Sharpe flapping helplessly in despair. It was expected then that the Miners would push forward for a quick equaliser but what followed saw them adopt the long ball approach to try and by-pass our strong midfield but our defenders dealt comfortably with this predictable tactic.
Encouraged by the lack of clear threats on Andy Topham's goal the game was then taken to the hosts and Adam Kimberley, Grant Mitchell, Josh Scully and Kieran Ordidge all applied pressure on the Gedling rearguard. Then on the half-hour mark came another astonishing twenty-five yard strike when Grant Mitchell fired low into the bottom corner. Josh Parfitt had a one-on-one with keeper, Sharpe but on this occasion Sharpe won the duel and the score remained 2-0. Topham did have a couple of efforts to test his agility but he handled them comfortably to further frustrate the previously free-scoring striker, Courtney Hastings.
The Millers now looked even more relaxed in possession and passed the ball comfortably around the midfield and patiently waited to carve out each assault on the home goal. It was during a quick passing move just before the interval that saw an awful challenge on Kieran Ordidge that the referee, Karl Donaghey justifiably brandished a straight red card for Felix Hogg.
The second period saw Gedling out of the traps the quickest and this was rewarded by a goal for Jimmy Spiers on 49 minutes. There was no sign of concern for the Millers at this stage and Josh Parfitt now had the upper hand in all of the attacks brushing aside challenges from Smith, Gent and Thornton and one such chance saw him evade two challenges before screwing the ball narrowly wide of the near post.
The third Millers goal came on 55 minutes when a through ball saw Parfitt effortlessly shrug off a desperate challenge, out pace his marker and amid his advance on goal unleashed a perfect strike from 40 yards out. Jake Johnson was a tower of strength in his holding midfield role and very little got the better of him all evening.
An injury to Ashley Radmore saw Jordan Hendley introduced into play on 74 minutes and at this stage Gedling could sense a cup upset was on the cards and so they threw all of their efforts into attack. The ball continued to go long and wide as Gedling pumped in hopeful crosses and Josh Thornton was the grateful recipient of one such cross that he forced home to make it 3-2. It was a nervous last fifteen minutes of play but it could have still seen the Millers further increase their lead when substitute, Jack Weaver's piercing run was only cleared before it reached Parfitt lurking in the area. Another substitute, Ross Murcott needed to be aware of a late, late advance on Topham's goal but his interception was perfectly timed. After three-minutes of time added on referee, Donaghey blew his whistle to end the game and reward Clay Cross with a home tie in the next round against Cottesmore AFC of the Leicestershire Senior League. A thoroughly deserved win against higher placed opposition on the football pyramid and a credit to the Central Midlands Football League.