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SLIDESHOW: Gresley 1, Rainworth Miners Welfare 0

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: February 16, 2014

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A ROB Spencer strike on 67 minutes lifted Gresley two places up to 17th in Evo-Stik First Division South.

Gresley boss Martin Rowe hailed his side’s defensive qualities – and claimed Saturday’s 1-0 victory over Rainworth Miners Welfare could have been more emphatic.

“We defended well in the first half but we didn’t create much,” said Rowe. “But in the second half the game opened up and we played a lot better.

“After we’d scored Kieran O’Connell had a chance to score and then Jack Langston right at the end.

“Mickey Lyons went close as well. And it was nice to get a clean sheet.

“Mats Morch didn’t have much to do but right at the end he pulled a save out of the bag for us.

“He was very disappointing for us against Belper, but he’s always come back and I thought he was excellent.

“He commanded his area, his kicking was good and he kept us in the game.

“All round Mats has played really well and showed the true class he’s got. He will be a good goalkeeper.”

“We changed things today (Saturday).

“I think Lucas Harrison was very unlucky to be left out but we just wanted a bit more height at the back today because of their aerial threat.

“Liam Guest has come in and done really well.

The game had been in doubt right up until kick-off, but was given the all clear despite further rainfall before the whistle.

Both sides found it difficult to come to terms with a wet and soft surface – along with a very stiff breeze – with chances few and far between.

Rowe made changes to the side which faced Belper more than two weeks ago, with Guy pushed over to left back and Guest brought back into the centre of the defence.

Spencer returned up front in place of Royce Turville who was ruled out with a virus.

Neither keeper was overly busy in the first period.

Gresley’s keeper was tested first with a free kick from 25 yards which he held comfortably.

At the opposite end Miners’ number one James Martin was called upon at the end of the half to make a top draw save – tipping Guy’s 20 yard free kick over the bar.

The second half continued to see few chances in the early stages.

But as the game progressed it opened up and on the hour mark Gresley’s Paulo Piliero saw a goal-bound shot deflected away for a corner.

The Moatmen scored what proved to be the only goal of the game seven minutes later.

Eric Graves lofted a ball to the far post where Jamie Barrett was waiting to head the ball back into the box – for Spencer to head home from close in.

The home side went close to adding another goal just a few minutes later.

Piliero picked out Kieran O’Connell down the left, but Martin closed the chance down and made a good save to block the ball.

With 15 minutes remaining Gresley were awarded a free kick on the edge of the penalty area.

Guy stepped up but his decent effort was saved by Martin, who pushed the attempt away for a corner.

Substitute Jack Langston then went close, with the in-form Martin tipping the ball away for another Gresley corner.

Just when it seemed the hosts had done enough for all three points Rainworth almost grabbed an unlikely equaliser at the end of the game.

But Morch made a fine block at his near post to preserve his clean sheet and all three deserved points for his side.

Rowe was delighted just to get another match on the board.

He said: “It was good to get a game played. Mother Nature must have changed in our favour.

“The high winds last night (Friday evening) really dried the pitch out.

“To be fair I didn’t think we’d be playing today but when I got to the Moat around half past one and went on the pitch was fine except for one boggy area.

“Then at quarter to three it started raining again but the pitch held up and has done really well.

“The ground staff and supporters have really done well.

“They really do need a pat on the back and it was a good performance from the team under difficult circumstances.”

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