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SLIDESHOW: Kidsgrove Athletic 2, Gresley 1

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: January 19, 2014

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GRESLEY boss Martin Rowe was damning in his criticism after the Moatmen lost 2-1 to 10-man Kidsgrove Athletic.

The visitors had almost an hour to make their numerical superiority pay following a second yellow card to Grove skipper Andy Taylor.

Kieran O’Connor finally fired Gresley into a 1-0 lead on 75 minutes.

But the Moatmen had missed a plethora of chances and were made to pay when sloppy defending gifted Kidsgrove two goals in seven minutes at the end of the game.

“It’s not good enough,” said Rowe. “It’s as simple as that. We can’t keep coming up with excuses week in week out.

“Our final ball was not good enough and (we conceded) two sloppy goals.

“Alright, Liam Guest has put his hand up – he’s made a mistake and it’s gone through his legs and their lad took the goal really well.

“Then, poor defending from a corner and we conceded (again).

“When we got into good situations today we’ve just not delivered.

“We can keep going on and on about this, but if you don’t put the ball in the right area you’re not going to score and that’s what we did today.

“I’m just as frustrated as every Gresley player in the dressing room because we know we can do it on the day, but unfortunately, it’s not going for us and with me being the manager I’ve got to take that responsibility and try and turn the team around.

“The lads are very disappointed. The defence are blaming the forwards and the forwards are blaming the defence – and you’ve got the poor lads in midfield in the middle.”

Rowe, in his first game since returning from holiday, was forced to make a change to the side which lost in midweek, with goalkeeper Mats Morch replaced by Alex Townsend after picking up an injury in training.

On a very poor pitch, which must have been border-line unplayable, Gresley started well with Alex Steadman having a header cleared off the line at the back post from Paolo Piliero’s corner.

John Guy then brought a fine save from home keeper Daniel Read, who managed to tip over the defender’s effort from the bye-line.

Townsend was called upon at the other end, saving well from Paul Taylor whose header from Cohen Bramall’s corner threatened to open the scoring.

Just after the half hour mark the Grove were reduced to 10 men when Andy Taylor went through the back of Rob Spencer who was in on goal – giving referee Adam Dean littler choice other than to show a second yellow card following the Grove captain’s earlier booking.

Lucas Harrison then cracked a vicious shot which Read managed to block.

The follow-up was forced into the net, only for the assistant referee’s raised flag to curtail the celebrations.

Piliero had a good shot on the turn saved by Read, but the Grove went close to taking a lead into the break when a speculative lob-shot was acrobatically touched over the bar by Townsend to keep things level.

Despite an atrocious surface Gresley tried to play the ball on the ground and a good move between Piliero and Eric Graves saw the latter strike a low shot that flew just past the far post.

Gresley took the lead with 15 minutes remaining. Substitute Royce Turville, who had replaced Steadman, slipped the ball back to O’Connell who drove a low shot from just outside the area past Read.

Kidsgrove levelled the game six minutes later when a long goal kick down the middle was missed by Guest.

Jordan Johnson took advantage, racing forward before slipping the ball past the onrushing Townsend.

It could have got a whole lot worse just a couple of minutes later when a quick break ended with substitute Thomas Wakefield hitting a powerful shot – but the Gresley stopper was up to the task, making another fine save.

It was hard to tell which side had 10 men with the hosts fired up. And the Grove looked the more likely to snatch all three points as they applied pressure on the Gresley defence.

That pressure told with just two minutes remaining, when some slack defending from a corner allowed Karl Espley to score at the far post.

The width of the woodwork denied Gresley a point at the death when Guy launched a hopeful high ball towards goal.

Read was caught off his line but the keeper was relieved to see the ball bounce back off the bar.

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