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Loughborough Dynamo 3, Gresley 2

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: January 15, 2014

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A combination of missed chances and good goalkeeping contrived to see Gresley drop out of the Doodson Sport League Cup at the third round stage in defeat to Loughborough Dynamo last night.

The Moatmen were playing their first game for a fortnight as the recent wet weather had put paid to their previous three fixtures.

Even this game began in light rain, which got heavier as the match progressed, but the pitch stood up to the downpour remarkably well.

Stand-in manager Wayne Thornhill fielded a strong side to give his players as much pitch time as possible.

Jamie Barrett took the right back slot with Mitch Hanson out through injury and Matt Roome back at university, while midfielder Danny Holmes also made a welcome return to the squad.

The visitors could quite easily have taken a very early lead when Paulo Piliero's cross from the left threaded through the area, but a sliding Rob Spencer could not quite stretch his leg long enough to get the vital touch at the far post.

Spencer went close again minutes later but his shot brought out the first of several good saves from home keeper Ross Whalin as he tipped the ball over the bar.

The third of three consecutive corners almost gave Gresley the lead when Piliero swung in the flag kick, which was met by the head of Liam Guest (pictured), but his effort was cleared off the line with the keeper beaten.

Play swiftly moved to the other end with a Dynamo break, and it was Gresley keeper Mats Morch's turn to make a smart save, diving to his right.

Both sides were playing some good football despite the conditions, but another quick break saw the home side take the lead from a low shot by Rob Norris on the left which took a deflection off John Guy and beat Morch at his near post.

Six minutes later, Gresley were level as Piliero laid the ball back invitingly for Jack Langston, who hit a 25-yard shot that beat Whalin.

The home keeper was not to beaten a couple of minutes later as Spencer's cross from the right was smashed towards goal by Steadman, but Whalin made an outstanding save, pushing the ball behind.

And from the resultant corner, Gresley increased their lead as Steadman connected to Piliero's kick, and although his first effort was stopped on the line, he followed up to ram the ball home.

Kieran O'Connell had his goal-bound shot deflected away as Gresley threatened to take control of the game and the Moatmen had another couple of efforts cleared off the line from two corners before Guest's header was saved by Whalin.

Morch was called on again to make a good block to deny Nathan Watson as he broke through the Gresley rearguard.

And Dynamo ensured they went into the break level when a corner from the left was played over to the far post, where Jake Betts was waiting to slot home.

The second half began with a succession of corners for the visitors which again produced two more blocks on the line as the Dynamo goal led a charmed life.

Langston was inches away from restoring his side's lead but his low shot spun wide of the far post, before Spencer was denied by Whalin, who again brought off a superb save.

The visitors were to rue not taking those chances as Dynamo scored what proved to be the winner when Luke Blakely struck a sweetly hit low shot which beat Morch and flew into the far bottom corner of the net.

Whalin was having a terrific game, and was on hand to deny Gresley again when Eric Graves noticed the keeper off his line after a poor clearance, and tried an audacious lob which had Whalin scurrying back to somehow manage to get a fingertip to the ball to tip it over the bar.

Steadman forced another good save from Whalin as a sustained final period of pressure from Gresley - resulting in five consecutive corners - threatened to take the game to penalties.

But the visitors' night was summed up deep into time added on when a ferocious shot by Lucas Harrison looked certain to end up in the back of the net, only to be blocked on the line by team-mate Graves.

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