A SPECTACULAR strike from Jack Langston paved the way for Gresley to clinch victory over Goole at the Moat Ground.
Langston rifled the ball into the top corner from 22 yards out in the latter stages of the first half.
Kieran O’Connell doubled the hosts’ advantage before John Guy’s unfortunate own goal set up a nervy ending.
Gresley boss Martin Rowe revealed that Langston had not been an automatic choice to start.
He said: “It was a bit of a gamble to play Jack Langston.
“He showed enough on Tuesday (against Loughborough) that he can change games for us and that’s what he’s done today.
“A very quick free kick caught them by surprise and Jack bunged it into the top corner – a great goal.
“I thought we were a bit sluggish and slow to get going.
“First 10 we may have just edged it, but as the game went on in the first half we got better and better – and with the goal we began to settle down a bit.
“First half we did alright but in the second half we had enough chances to bury them again.
“Kieran O’Connell had one off his shin and I thought Mickey Lyons maybe should have scored as well.
“Alex Steadman also had a chance, but when we scored the second one we were comfortable and never looked like conceding with the back four playing well.”
The Moatmen did concede in bizarre circumstances.
“John Guy clears 30 or 40 feet into the air and the ball came down and went into the goal,” said Rowe.
“I think that hit us hard really and it took us a while to recover from that.
“A few of the players thought here we go again. But we held onto a 2-1 win.”
Goole were gifted an opportunity to pull one back before Guy’s own goal, when referee Mark Griffiths awarded a dubious penalty for a Mark Strzyzewski foul.
Mats Morch made the save – but Rowe was critical of the decision to award a spot-kick.
He said: “I didn’t think it was a penalty. Marc Strzyzewski was a good two to three yards away from him.
“The ball has gone out of play and he took a dive.
“Unfortunately, with this referee you can’t talk to him.
“I remember him against Market Drayton when their player had handled the ball into the net and they got a draw.
“The referee has his opinions and he sticks by them.
“Poor Mitch Hanson makes one tackle in the second half and the referee’s booked him for it when the ball was going out of play.
“It does make you wonder sometimes.”
Rowe made changes to the side that lost to Loughborough Dynamo in midweek.
Guy returned at left back while Strzyzewski came into the heart of the defence alongside Jamie Barrett.
O’Connell and Langston were both also given starts.
Chances were at a premium in the first half with Gresley having the best of those created.
Guy went close but his header from Langston’s corner flashed wide of the post.
The goal that the game badly needed came in the 36th minute and what a goal it was.
A free kick on the right, apparently for shirt pulling, was quickly taken by O’Connell.
He fed Langston who hit an unstoppable shot from 22 yards.
Langston’s thunderbolt hit the top corner of the net before Goole keeper Liam Flynn had even moved.
The Moatmen had one more chance as the first half drew to a close, but Mickey Lyons’ well struck shot went straight at the visiting keeper.
O’Connell doubled Gresley’s lead within five minutes of the start of the second period.
Alex Steadman made a good run down the right before slipping the ball square for O’Connell, who slotted the home.
Langston was a fingertip away from scoring what would have arguably been better than his first goal.
A corner from Lyons found the midfielder just outside the area.
Langston hit the almost perfect side-footed volley, but Flynn made a superb save to tip the ball over the bar and deny the midfielder.
From the resulting corner, taken by Langston, the ball came to Barrett who was denied by the woodwork as his shot crashed back off a post.
Goole were handed a chance at reducing the deficit when a dubious penalty was given for a supposed foul inside the area.
However, justice was done when Morch chose the correct way to dive, saving Mitch Husbands’ spot-kick and grabbing the ball at the second attempt.
However, Goole did get a goal in somewhat bizarre circumstances.
Gresley defender Guy went to clear the danger and badly sliced his clearance high into the sky.
Morch, who had shouted for the ball as he rushed off his line, was left stranded as the ball flew over his head.
The keeper made a frantic attempt to get back to his goal but the ball ended in the net.
Gresley had two chances to increase their advantage towards the end of the game.
The first fell to Eric Graves who hit a shot marginally wide of the near post.
Substitute Lucas Harrison then chased a back pass and charged down Flynn’s attempted clearance, only to watch as the ball rolled agonisingly the wrong side of the far post.
Rowe is now calling for consistency from his side ahead of Wednesday’s trip to Harrison Park and a clash with promotion-chasing Leek Town, kick-off 7.45pm.
He said: “We know exactly how Leek are going to play and we’ve already been warned that the pitch isn’t what it should be, so it’s going to be a very difficult game and it might be more suited to rugby!
“I’ve just said to the lads that we’ve got to go on a run.
“We can’t win one lose one but that’s how our season’s going at the moment.
“It’s up to the players and me to try and get some consistency.”