19:26 Sunday 29 December 2013

Gresley 2, Market Drayton Town 2: Match report

Written bySPORTSDESK

A “BLATANT” handball denied Gresley all three points at home to Market Drayton Town on Saturday.

Rob Spencer scored his fourth goal in six games to add to Mitch Hanson’s early strike, and although William Whieldon pulled a goal back, the Moatmen led 2-1 going into injury time, when Yannick Makota “punched” the ball into the back of the net.

Gresley manager Martin Rowe said: “It’s so frustrating.

“On Boxing Day we had some very good officials and today we have officials that missed a blatant handball.

“The lad punched the ball into the back of the net and how the referee and the linesman have not seen it is unbelievable.

“Three hundred-odd supporters saw it and even their management were embarrassed about it – but they’ll still take the point home with them.

“We are absolutely gutted to come away with only a point.

“It feels like a defeat.

“Things aren’t going for us at the moment but we are knitting together as a team and we’ll get there.”

Rowe was forced into changes with Jamie Barrett and John Guy out through injury.

Hanson was fit to rejoin the squad while Marc Strzyzewski was available following his two-game suspension.

In what was a pretty dour affair following the excitement of the 3-3 draw with Coalville Town on Boxing Day, it was Town who started brightest with Robert Stevenson testing Gresley keeper Mats Morch in the first minute with a low shot which he dealt with comfortably.

Kieran O’Connell had Gresley’s first chance when he struck wide on the turn.

O’Connell then turned provider as he slipped a pass to Spencer, whose well-struck effort was saved by Town keeper Damien Stevens to his right.

Gresley took the lead on 13 minutes when Hanson headed home Jack Langston’s corner from the left.

Town responded with Makota hitting a shot at the near post which Morch did well to block.

The visitors levelled just before the break when William Whieldon headed home Stevenson’s cross.

The Moatmen went close to regaining the lead early in the second half, when Liam Guest’s header from Langston’s corner grazed the bar as it flew over.

On a heavy pitch both sides struggled to play football, but it was Gresley who were creating the clearer chances, with Lucas Harrison firing over the bar and O’Connell inches away from connecting with a cross into the area.

Morch needed to be alert when Stevenson found Kyle Blake - but the keeper was up to the task, making a good save.

Seconds later Gresley were back in front. A high ball over the defence was raced onto by Spencer who got to the ball at the same time as the onrushing Stevens.

Both players made contact with the ball which then sailed into the empty net.

Gresley substitute Royce Turville had a good chance to add to the hosts’ tally but blazed his effort well over the bar from a good position.

Spencer then flicked a header onto O’Connell, who flashed a shot across the face of Stevens’ goal.

Just as it seemed that Gresley had taken the spoils the controversial goal arrived.

A lofted cross to the far post was a couple of inches too high for Makota, who punched the ball into the net.

It proved a devastating blow for the Gresley players and support who made their views clear as loud booing followed the officials off the ground.”

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