The Mikes, in an intense but ultimately uneventful game, left it late to seal the points on a freezing cold night at the Trevor Brown Memorial Ground.
Challenges and hopeful balls were flying in left, right and centre during the early parts of the game, and it took nearly 15 minutes for the first half-decent opportunity to be forged. Alister Brauns nearly found Stuart Capaldi through on goal, but Cotterell in the Long Eaton goal was on hand to smother the ball. Long Eaton then grew into the game with a couple of good chances; the best of which came when Aaron Cole played a beautiful ball across the width of the pitch to find Blair Anderson, but he couldn’t do anything meaningful with it.
It was then that Boldmere right winger – a Burton Albion academy loanee in Cameron Shaw – really started to show his quality. A series of dangerous deliveries were floated into the Long Eaton penalty area but despite Shaw’s obvious talent on set pieces, nobody could get the decisive touch, and a rather bland first half came to a close.
Half time: Boldmere St Michaels 0-0 Long Eaton United
Just five minutes of the second half went by before the best chance of the game went begging. The ball bounced to Boldmere’s Joe Lyng on the edge of the area who volleyed fiercely at goal but the Long Eaton back line was there to block and clear it off the line. Then came another drab 15-minute spell, where neither team looked like creating anything, and the game seemed as though it was heading for an anti-climactic 0-0.
However, with 25 minutes to play, Cameron Shaw was at it again. A brilliant run ended with him trying his luck from the edge of the area, but Matthew Cotterell held it. Another ten minutes went by before the next big talking point and it was Man of the Match Shaw at the centre of it again as Stuart Capaldi met his delivery, however downward header bouncing up onto the underside of the bar, then down onto the line before being cleared. Three minutes later though, the breakthrough. Capaldi was slid through on goal and with a huge amount of composure, rounded Cotterell and slotted the ball into the empty net. 1-0, finally.
Long Eaton did their best to get back into it, with Brandon Gwinnutt and Aaron Cole carving out some half chances but the Mikes held on for a vital three points.
Full Time: Boldmere St Michaels 1-0 Long Eaton United