GRESLEY manager Martin Rowe praised his team’s fighting qualities after the Moatmen recovered from a 3-1 deficit to snatch a share of the spoils against Coalville Town on Boxing Day.
Rob Spencer had given Gresley a first-half lead before the hosts “lost their way” towards the end of the opening period.
Rowe said: “I thought we played some pretty good stuff on a difficult pitch.
“Second half we came out and took the game to them.
“Alex Steadman had a terrific chance when he cut in from the left and let rip and the ball went just over the bar.
“Unfortunately, they got back into it again with a deflection which beat Mats Morch at the near post – there’s nothing you can do about them.
“Their second goal, Jamie Barrett has gone to sleep and the third Liam Guest has gone to sleep.
“Basically we gave them two goals.
“We then had a fight on our hands, but I thought the team showed great spirit to come back into the game.
“We kept believing and Alex made it 3-2 and then we got the penalty with 15 minutes to go which Jack Langston put away.”
The Moat boss made just one change to the side that started at Brigg last weekend, with Jamie Barrett returning at centre half and John Guy taking the left-back slot.
Gresley made the better start in front of the biggest gate of the season.
A superbly timed tackle denied Kieran O’Connell a shooting opportunity with barely a minute on the clock.
Seconds later former Gresley striker Jordan Nadat had a chance but Morch made a fine block.
Steadman then went close with a shot which was well held by Town keeper Sean Bowles at his near post.
Morch needed to be alert seconds later to tip Callum Woodward’s strike over the bar.
The Gresley crowd thought their side had taken the lead when a flowing move between Spencer, Paulo Piliero and Eric Graves ended with Piliero firing into the side netting.
The crowd did not have long to wait for a goal, and when it came it received the loudest cheer of the afternoon.
A cross from the right from Langston was met by the head of Spencer who beat Bowles to the ball – alleviating the painful memory of the game last New Year’s Day when a collision with Bowles caused a double fracture of the jaw which ended Spencer’s season.
Early in the second half Steadman went close to doubling the hosts’ advantage when his shot scorched the top of the Town’s bar.
Gresley, who had been comfortable, found themselves two goals down in the space of five minutes.
On 56 minutes came Jordan Hempenstall’s shot from the left took a huge deflection to wrong foot Morch.
The second, three minutes later, was even more fortunate for the visitors.
Nadat slipped the ball forward to Ben Saunders who was a couple of yards offside, but with the referee and her assistant behind play, the move was allowed to continue and Saunders found the far bottom corner.
Guest slipper for Town’s third, and Nadat took advantage to beat Morch.
But Gresley rolled their sleeves up and then took the game to Coalville.
Their hard work was rewarded on 68 minutes when Graves slid the ball through to Steadman who finished in emphatic style.
On 76 minutes Steadman once more caused problems and was brought down by Danny Jenno inside the area.
Langston made no mistake when beating Bowles, while Jenno was fortunate to escape a second booking.
The referee was perfectly placed to see an off-the-ball incident as the penalty was scored with Woodward, who had already been booked, given a straight red card.
Jenno then forced a good save from Morch while Spencer was twice denied the winner at the other end.
GOALS: Spencer 16, Steadman 68, Langston (p) 76 (Gresley). Hempenstall 56, Saunders 59, Nadat 61.
GRESLEY: Morch, Roome, Guy, Guest, Barrett (Harrison 60), Graves, O’Connell, Langston, Steadman, Spencer (Turville 89), Piliero. Subs not used: Austin, Grice.
COALVILLE: Bowles, Hutchinson (Evans 78), Lester, Jenno, McAteer, Kay, Woodward, Nadat (Miller 81), Saunders (King 65), Hempenstall, Miveld. Subs not used: Moore.
STAR MAN: Kieran O’Connell – worked hard and a threat up front.
REFEREE: Lisa Rashid (Birmingham).