GRESLEY dropped out of the Division One South play-off zone after Luke Keen struck for lowly Romulus 10 minutes before the final whistle.
The Moat Men also finished with 10 men for the second consecutive game on Saturday. Phil Massingham had only been on the pitch for 15 second half minutes when he was involved in a skirmish with Romulus substitute Graham Deakin which saw both players receive straight red cards.
Neither sending off had much of a bearing on the result with the Moat Men unable to get the better of some stubborn defending and sterling work from visiting keeper Lewis Exall to even claim a share of the spoils against a side second from bottom on in the league.
Gresley gave new signing Louis Hamilton his debut with both Royce Turville and Marc Goodfellow afforded places in the starting 11 ahead of Richard Hanslow and Massingham.
The first half was a pretty dour affair. Turville attempted to light the Moat Ground up with two excellent attempts – only to be denied by Exall.
Turville forced a save out of the away keeper when he headed on Goodfellow’s cross. And minutes later Exall made an even better save when he tipped Turville’s scissor-kick over the bar.
Unfortunately for the Moat Ground faithful that was the a rare bright spot in a somewhat grey first half performance from both sides, though Romulus could have closed the half a goal to the good had Dexter Ravenhill found the target rather than firing well wide after being sent through on goal.
After the break Hamilton made a good run down the left and crossed the ball to Dean Rathbone. His header beat Exall but not the far post as the ball crashed back onto the pitch off the woodwork.
Goodfellow then struck a low shot that Exall did well to push away for a corner. Gresley continued to press and substitute Hanslow hit a tremendous shot which Exall did well to block.
Romulus bagged the decisive goal in a smash-and–grab act. The visitors had not really troubled Gresley keeper Gary Hateley all after noon before Daniel O’Callaghan floated a cross from the left.
Luke Keen, who was fortunate to still be on the field after an earlier tussle with Danny Holmes, somehow got a touch on the ball and his header managed to squeeze between Hateley and his near post.
Gresley did apply some pressure in the latter stages. Michael Nottingham headed a Holmes free kick straight at Exall who managed to hold onto the strike.
Both sides were then reduced to 10 men following the incident involving Massingham and Deakin. But it altered little as the visitors managed to hold out to grab an unlikely win to boost their bid to avoid the drop zone.