An ideal taster for the new football season saw local-derby rivals Kimberley Miners Welfare and Eastwood Community battle it out for the Horace Hibbert Shield at The Stag Ground.
Separated by only 1.6 miles and by only one level on the non-league pyramid, much was at stake, even if it was only a pre-season friendly.
And although the match failed to attract a three-figure crowd, it proved to be a good workout for both sides, with Welfare winning 2-1 against a new-look Badgers outfit, bolstered by the arrival of fresh management and players from Hucknall Rolls Leisure.
After a slow start to the contest, Central Midlands League outfit Eastwood took a 25th minute lead as Kyle McDermott broke a flimsy offside trap to round ‘keeper Rikki Turner and slot home from 12 yards.
In response, Welfare wasted four or five decent chances, most notably when centre-half Josh Stevenson fired over from close range after a cross by Jarrod Westcarr. But they levelled on 38 with a goal against his former club by Greg Simmons, who fired a well-placed free-kick past static ‘keeper Jack Walker.
The winner arrived 17 minutes into the second period when Westcarr latched on to a through ball, defied offside shouts and nipped round Walker to roll the ball home.
Greg Conn had a goal disallowed for Eastwood, while McDermott also fired just wide. But Westcarr was twice denied by the ‘keeper and Welfare almost added a third in the closing minutes when Stevenson’s effort cannoned off the bar
LINE-UP -- KIMBERLEY: Turner/Morley, Hogg, Dale, Stevenson, Middleton, Carlile, Simmons, Westcarr, Smith, Bailey. SUBS: Strode, Slade, Powell, Britton, Griggs, Moran, Hassall, Bodkin.
EASTWOOD: Walker/ Brooks, Thomas, Leeming, Short, Patterson, Conn, Smith R., Bettridge, Hallam, McDermott. SUBS: Smith J., Waplington, Allen H.