GRESLEY 1, LEEK TOWN 1
GRESLEY halted their run of home defeats but were held to a draw by Leek Town at a wet and heavy Moat Ground on Tuesday night.
The weather deteriorated late in the afternoon, but had little bearing on a game which was one of the most entertaining seen for a while as both sides tried to play attacking football in extremely difficult conditions.
Royce Turville opened the scoring for the Moatmen after just three minutes, but the Blues - who reached the Evo-Stik NPL Division One South play-off final last season - levelled just before the break through Sam Hall, and the scores stayed that way.
Turville was once more given a starting role alongside Richard Hanslow, with new signing Louis Hamilton on the bench.
Defender Sam Woods took the right-back slot in place of Jamie Barrett, who was suffering from a sickness bug.
Gresley’s dismal performance on Saturday was soon forgotten as they opened the scoring within minutes of the start against a very useful Leek side.
A pinpoint cross from Dean Rathbone on the right found Turville, who made no mistake as he steered the ball home past Leek keeper Ben Chapman.
The home side could have doubled their score but the visitors’ goal led a charmed life as somehow Chapman managed to block two point-blank efforts from Hanslow in succession.
At the other end, Leek should have levelled things when Tim Grice raced through but embarrassingly fired well over the bar with only Gresley keeper Gary Hateley to beat.
Marc Goodfellow then went close but saw a stinging shot well blocked at the near post by Chapman.
Leek were still finding their aim a little wayward as Hall fired well wide from a good position before the action switched to the other end and Hanslow went close as he hooked a shot which Chapman managed to block with his legs on the line.
Just before the break Hall, who had missed a golden chance moments earlier, made up for it with a stunning low shot from distance which flew through a crowd of players and into the bottom corner of the net.
Although the surface was deteriorating, the second half began with both sides going close to scoring.
First Hanslow fired a low shot that Chapman did well to hold onto, and then Dan Shelley hit a thunderous shot which Hateley acrobatically tipped over the bar.
Gresley were almost gifted the lead back when Chapman came out to punch a ball he had little chance of connecting with, and it fell to substitute Phil Massingham, who had replaced the struggling Hanslow five minutes earlier, but his shot was cleared off the line.
The conditions were beginning to take their toll on the hardworking players of both sides but Goodfellow defied the heavy pitch and raced down the right before eventually finding Massingham, who was unlucky to see his goalbound shot deflected away for a corner.
Gresley had a chance to close the match out when Jepson fed the ball through to Massingham, but his final shot flew over the bar.
GOALS: Turville 3 (Gresley); Hall 42 (Town).
MOATMEN: Hateley, Woods, Gough, Strzyzewski, Nottingham, Holmes, Rathbone (Lyons 80), Jepson, Hanslow (Massingham 57), Turville (Hamilton 87), Goodfellow; sub not used: Walker.
BLUES: Chapman, Sanders, Smith, Melling, Danylyk, Hall, Bell, Shelley, Haddrell (Wright 65), Grice, Brannan (Urwin 80); subs not used: Peach, Roberts.
BOOKINGS: Strzyzewski (Gresley); Danylyk (Town).
GRESLEY STAR MAN: Michael Nottingham.
REFEREE: Scott Postin (Coventry).