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Gresley: Stalemate as Moatmen draw a blank with Sutton Coldfield

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: August 21, 2014

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GRESLEY manager Martin Rowe wants his side to be "more positive" in front of goal after they picked up their first point of the season in a goalless draw at home to Sutton Coldfield Town.

This was not a game for the football purist as both sides seemed set up not to lose, and this led to very few chances until the final 15 minutes when things started to liven up.

Rowe said: "I'm pleased with the clean sheet but it didn't quite happen in front of goal.

"I don't know if it was the pressure of not winning on Saturday and this first home game.

"We looked a bit tense and I don't know why.

"We didn't move the ball about quickly enough compared to how we had been and I think really both sides cancelled each other out.

"We're a bit disappointed but the good thing is that we've got a clean sheet.

"Tom Turner has come back from the one mistake he made on Saturday and showed what he's made of.

"We've got to be a bit more commanding in front of goal.

"We want one or two more touches all the time and we need to get back to how we played in pre-season, opening teams up.

"I don't know whether it was pressure on the night or the side we were playing, but we need to relax a bit more on the ball and start playing again.

"Rob Ritchie-Smith had the perfect cross for a diving header at the far post but for some unknown reason he chose to volley the ball.

"In the second half when we brought Brad Wells on and he opened the game up a bit more, but even he didn't go to the far post area where he should have been, and where he could have had a goal as well.

"We've got to be a bit more positive in front of goal and more direct.

"I'm sure the forwards will come good like they did in pre-season and I'm sure they'll do it in the league.

Rowe made just one change to the side that suffered defeat at Chasetown on Saturday, with Alex Steadman starting and Brad Wells taking a place on the bench.

The first half was a cagey affair with neither goalkeeper really being tested.

Gresley's Eric Graves hit a shot well over the bar and Rob Ritchie-Smith also volleyed a shot over.

The Royals also had a half chance but a header from Daryl Taylor was blocked at his near post by Tom Turner.

Ashley Robinson should have given the visitors the lead when he had a clear chance from the centre of the area but hit his shot straight at Turner.

Things did marginally improve in the second half as Sutton substitute Danny O'Callaghan fired a free kick wide and at the other end, Graves hit a shot at keeper Lee Evans.

It was then the turn of Sutton's Justin Richards to try to break the deadlock but his shot flew over the bar as both sides struggled to hit the target.

Kieran O'Connell had a shot blocked by a defender, before with 15 minutes remaining, the game livened up and Gresley went close to taking the lead with the best shot of the game.

Mitch Hanson laid the ball back to Graves, who hit a first-time shot which was heading into the top corner, only for Evans to acrobatically tip the effort over the bar.

Hanson then had a chance himself but headed a cross from the left narrowly wide of the far post.

Gresley substitute Martin Smyth had a couple of chances but fired his first wide of the near post, followed by a shot which he put over the bar.

The Royals thought they had a decent shout for a penalty late in the game when they appealed for what appeared to be a Gresley handball in the area but it was turned down.

The visitors could have stolen all the points deep in time added on but substitute Craig Milligan could only shoot wide.

GRESLEY: Turner, Hanson, Harrison, Guy, Barrett (c), Graves, Mulonga (Wells 69), Roome, Steadman, O'Connell, Ritchie-Smith (Smyth 69). Subs not used: Langston, Land, Johns.

SUTTON COLDFIELD: Evans, Andre, Jackson (c), Donahue, Tunicliffe, Male, Taylor (O'Callaghan 38), McNaught (Mulligan 73), Robinson (Edwards 65), Leek, Richards. Subs not used: Walker, Gwilliams.

REFEREE: D Bourne (Nottingham).


STAR PLAYER: Jamie Barrett - continued were he left off.

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