FRUSTRATING is just one of the words that can be used about Gresley’s performance on the opening day of the Evo-Stik Division One South.
Last season Gresley were denied a share of the points when the hosts grabbed a late goal and it was the same this time round as Scholars’ substitute Jazz Luckie prodded in the winner with just three minutes remaining.
Chasetown had taken the lead on the hour mark through Nick Wellecomme, with Alex Steadman levelling 20 minutes later.
Gresley manager Martin Rowe gave debuts to goalkeeper Tom Turner, Rob Ritchie-Smith and Rob Mulonga and his side started the game the brighter of the two sides.
They could and should have been a couple of goals to the good by the half-time break but struggled to put any of their chances away despite dominating large parts of the game.
Kieran O’Connell robbed Tsefa Robinson of the ball and laid the ball back to Ritchie-Smith who fired his shot wide of the post.
O’Connell then hit his shot straight at keeper John Bateman minutes later.
The visitors were having the better of the first half but were guilty of trying to pass the ball into the net rather than shooting when they were in a good position.
Delaying the pulling of the trigger allowed the Scholars defence to crowd in and snuff out any danger.
The best chance of the game fell to Gresley when O’Connell fed the ball through to Eric Graves, who turned his marker but his shot was blocked by Bateman.
Chasetown had barely been a threat to the Gresley keeper as most of the action was at the other end, with Jamie Barrett (pictured) heading a cross from the right over the bar and O’Connell shooting over from Graves’ pass.
The first half ended with a corner from the left which was blocked at the near post, with Mulonga trying to poke the ball into the goal. Surely the home defence would yield in the second period.
Sadly, that was not the case as the second half belonged to the hosts, who took the lead on 59 minutes. Using the stiff breeze blowing down the pitch, a long free kick was launched which flew over the Gresley back line.
Wellecomme raced forward and beat Turner to the ball and lifted it into the empty net, despite desperate attempts to prevent it.
Chasetown could have doubled their advantage 10 minutes later as a quick break ended with Nathaniel Waite shooting wide from a very good position.
Gresley were still trying to press forward but a goal seemed improbable as Chasetown defended resolutely and it took a mistake to get the Moatmen level.
A quick throw-in on the right was lifted into the box by O’Connell, which looked a simple claim for Bateman.
However, the keeper fumbled his catch and the ball fell to Graves who somehow managed to push the ball to substitute Steadman, who had replaced Mulonga ten minutes previously, and he scuffed the ball into the far corner of the net.
A point apiece would have been the right result but once again Gresley were the authors of their own downfall when some hesitant defending allowed home substitute Luckie to live up to his name and put his side in front.
In the dying minutes, Gresley did have a half chance to claim a share of the spoils but substitute Jack Langston could only head a corner from the left over the bar.
Gresley will be looking for a big improvement tomorrow evening when they host Sutton Coldfield Town (7.45pm).
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