GRESLEY will lock horns with Brackley Town in an FA Cup second road qualifying replay at the Moat Ground tomorrow night after earning a creditable draw on Saturday.
Marc Goodfellow equalised from the spot two minutes after Glenn Walker had given the hosts a second-half lead.
But Gresley boss Martin Rowe was furious that Walker was still on the pitch to net his 71st minute free-kick after two incidents involving Kieran O’Connell.
Rowe said: “The player who scored should not have been on the pitch.
“It happened right in front of us. The first incident with Kieran their guy tried to punch him and fortunately missed.
“On the second occasion he just pulled Kieran down with both hands and the referee saw it and did nothing again.
“I felt their goal was a bit of a joke. Their lad just fell over, no-one touched him and he went down and the referee gave it.
“I’m absolutely gutted. The decisions just didn’t go our way. I don’t know what it is about this season but decisions don’t seem to go for us.
Rowe made changes to the side which had beaten Sutton Coldfield Town the previous Monday, bringing Jamie Barrett in alongside Marc Strzyzewski at the heart of the defence.
And with Mitch Hanson unavailable through work commitments Matt Roome came in at right-back, with James Jepson in midfield and Danny Holmes on the bench.
The Saints, flying high in Conference North, were soon applying the pressure, forcing numerous early corners. But Gresley held firm with Town limited to just one shot which Steve Diggin fired wide.
Gresley began to settle and it was the visitors who had the first attempt on target when Dean Oliver fired a low shot which Town keeper Billy Turley saved.
Another wave of pressure from Town followed but the only shot of note – from Walker – flew well over the bar.
The second-half started how the first had finished, with Town applying pressure. But again the Gresley defence dealt with Town’s treat comfortably.
Saints should have taken the lead when Walker found himself in space at the far post, but his shot went straight at Ross Etheridge.
The hosts opened their account when the referee awarded a dubious free-kick just outside the area minutes later.
Walker, who Rowe argued should not have been on the pitch after his tussles with O’Connell, hit a low shot which appeared to go through the wall and into the bottom corner of the net – giving Etheridge no chance.
Town’s celebrations were immediately cut short when Gresley went straight up the other end from the restart.
O’Connell burst into the area and was cynically brought down by Turley who conceded the penalty, but only received a yellow card.
Turley got a hand to Goodfellow’s low spot-kick but could not prevent the equaliser.
It was nothing more than the visitors deserved after a solid display. And the Moatmen could have snatched a memorable win when Eric Graves’ run down the right ended with a shot which Turley managed to turn around the near post for a corner.
Rowe said: “Let’s look forward to Tuesday now and obviously we are hoping for a big gate.
“We will need our supporters behind us to push us on, to get the victory and make the next round.
“When you look at the Brackley pitch it is beautiful for playing football.
“Unfortunately our pitch is slightly different – they are in for a rude awakening!”