THE “excellent” Alex Steadman netted all five Gresley goal as rock bottom Kidsgrove Athletic left the Moat Ground empty handed.
Steadman struck towards the start and end of the opening half, and had bagged his full five before the hour mark.
Delighted Gresley boss Martin Rowe said: “We have been playing him (Steadman) up front, but he is a wide player who normally plays on the left hand side.
“He’s actually been playing with an injury so all credit to him for getting through as many minutes as he did and he’s come up with the goods – five goals.
“It’s brilliant for his confidence and if we’d have had that all season we’d have certainly been in contention if nothing else.”
Gresley were on the wrong end of some dubious decisions once again, and have now conceded six penalties in five consecutive games after Matt Haddrell scored twice from the spot for Grove.
Rowe said: “I wasn’t sure about the referees’ decisions for some of the penalties we’ve had recently.
“I think both (Kidsgrove) penalties were questionable.
“Obviously we haven’t got the use of replays so we can’t have another good look at it.
“But if we take that out of our game we are defending reasonably well, though not quite as well as I’d like.”
Bradley Wells was handed his first start for Gresley on Saturday, with new signing Serge Makofo on the bench alongside Mickey Lyons, who had missed the last two games.
Gresley started brightly with Steadman forcing a good block at his near post by keeper Daniel Read – but his second attempt could not be stopped.
Eric Graves found the forward who finished coolly as he slipped the ball past Read and into the far corner.
The first controversial decision arrived when Wells was adjudged to have handled inside the area, in a decision hotly disputed by the Gresley players.
Haddrell hammered the spot-kick straight down the middle to beat Mats Morch and restore parity.
Gresley went close to regaining the lead a couple of minutes later. Lucas Harrison hit a tremendous free kick from just outside the area which Read did well to tip over the bar.
Wells then went close to scoring when he met Steadman’s cross from the left, but his header was saved by the keeper at his near post.
Gresley’s second goal came through the persistence of Royce Turville, who forced Read into a mistake on the bye-line.
Turville then sent the ball into the box to Steadman, and although it seemed to get stuck under his feet – giving a defender the opportunity to try and get a tackle in – the striker was able to force the ball home.
The second half started in the best way possible for Gresley.
With barely two minutes gone Steadman raced into the area and despite the attention of a defender, managed to get his shot off.
His effort looked to have been saved by the Grove keeper, diving to his left, but he somehow fumbled the ball over his own body and into the net.
Just before the hour mark Gresley made it four and it was that man Steadman again.
A free kick from the left by Harrison was headed onto the bar by Guest, and Steadman reacted quickest to smash beyond Read.
Steadman completed his five-goal haul when he left the Kidsgrove backline for dead, racing through before beating Read.
In a rare attempt on goal from the visitors, Jordan Johnson had a shot blocked by Morch at his near post.
The action soon returned to the other end, with Harrison stinging the palms of Read who needed two attempts to claim the ball.
Spencer then blistered the paint on the top of the bar as he blasted a shot over from substitute Mikofo’s pass.
Gresley continued to press forward and Zibusiso Nyatito had a shot saved from Wells’ cross.
Grove scored their second of the afternoon when Jordan Johnson hit a dipping volley which Morch seemed to have covered, but let slip through his hands as he dived to his right.
With just five minutes remaining Grove won a second contentious penalty.
A shot from the left apparently hit Guest who had turned his back on the ball.
The referee harshly adjudged that Guest had intentionally handled, with Haddrell again clinical from 12 yards, to make the scoreline a little more flattering for Grove, who had mustered just one shot from open play all game.