Kidsgrove Athletic 2 Gresley Rovers 1

Wednesday 17th September 2008
Kidsgrove Athletic 2 Gresley Rovers 1
Unibond League Division One South
At: Seddon Stadium, Hollingwood Road
Kick-off: 7-45 pm
Attendance: 157
Weather: mild, dry

I'm making a habit of this - driving to a game thinking I know how to get to the ground by memory and somehow getting lost. But finding this ground is straight forward. Take the A34 exit off the A500 and following signs to the north for Congleton. Turn right at the Cauldwell Arms, staying on the A34 then down the hill and right at the next set of lights into Cedar Avenue. I turned off Cedar Drive too early but the correct route is third right into Lower Ash Road then third left into Hollingwood Road, ground on the left.

The is a close to the left off Hollingwood Road which leads up to the ground. Programmes are sold by the entrance and all the main facilities are on this west side of the ground (orientated just about north-south), including the tea bar. There is seated stand on halfway, split into two sections by the players entrance, and another area of covered seats towards the top end of the ground along this near touchline. In between these two stands is a raised viewing platform used by sponsors. In fact, there is covered seating on each of the four sides of the ground which I guess not many Unibond League clubs can boast. Behind the bottom goal to the left is the Harold Taylor Stand, opposite behind the dugouts is another stand on halfway and behind the top goals the Seddon Stand.

I met up with Malc, my photographer friend, who introduced me to manager Peter Ward and some of the others behind the scences, as well as pointing out that teamsheets were available from the Press/PA box at the bottom end of the main stand. Kidsgrove is certainly a very welcoming club.

I chose to watch the first half from the main stand and saw Kidsgrove (blue shirts, blue shorts and blue socks) kick-off attacking up the slope towards the Seddon Stand, Fans from both sides chanted from behind the respective ends their sides were attacking and the Kidsgrove drummer started to make himself heard.

Gresley (red shirts, white shorts, red socks) made the better start and had several near misses before taking the lead in the 14th minute with a spectacular strike. Carl Slater hit a rising 35-yard drive which the leaping Adam Wilkes got his hands to but couldn't prevent going into the top-right corner of the net.

The home side, in need of points near the bottom of the table, got back on level terms eight minutes later. Dave Shaw scored with a glancing header from Craig Dove's lofted down the middle into the area. Just after the half-hour mark, Shaw held off the attentions of a defender to head staright at Gresley keeper Simon Baldwin from 8 yards out.

As the interval approached, I overheard an interesting discussion as to where Gresley were from. Lancashire? Leicestershire? They are, in fact, a Derbyshire side based in Church Gresley near Swadlincote.

After a half-time cuppa, I decided to watch round to the opposite side via the Seddon Stand end and eventually took a seat near to the Kidsgrove dugout. Chances continued to be created and Gresley's David Blenkinsopp hit the bar from the edge of the area. Kidsgrove appealled for a penalty when substitute Andy Hurst went down under the challenge of Dan Douglas but the referee wasn't interested. I could clearly hear Ward encouraging his young side as they enjoyed a good spells either side of the midpoint of the second half. Shaw headed wide across the face of goal and Tim Sanders volleyed over the bar from 15 yards out.

Ward wanted his side to "keep the tempo up" with Gresley hanging on but the visitors almost scored in the 88th minute. Miles Chamberlain met Jordi Gough's corner and watched a downward header agonisingly end up just wide. However, it was KIdsgrove who were celebrating with a winner timed in the third minute of added time. Skipper Aidan Matranga fired across the face of goal from the right and low into the opposite corner of the net. Play continued for another 85 seconds and Kidsgrove held on for their second league victory of the season.

Kidsgrove Athletic (blue/blue/blue): 1. Adam Wilkes, 2. Danny Smith, 3. Mitch Shenton, 4. Tom Schwartz, 5. Matt Elder, 6. Tim Sanders, 7. Aiden Matrange (capt), 8. Craig Dove, 9. Tom Moss, 10, Dave Shaw, 11. Ricky Bridge. Subs: 12. Andy Matthews (for Bridge, 90+1), 14. Chris Leigh, 15. Andy Hurst (for Moss, 56), 16. Simon Eldershaw (for Shaw, 89), 17. Chris Smith.

Gresley Rovers (red/white/red): 1. Simon Baldwin, 2. Dan Douglas, 3. Sam Milson, 4. Miles Chamberlain, 5. Nathan Morris, 6. Carl Slater (capt), 7. Nicky Lyons, 8. Jamie Barrett, 9. Oliver Hancock, 10. David Blenkinsopp, 11. Robbie Banks. Subs: 12. Jamie Hood (for Hancock, 76), 14. Kevin Lock (for Banks, 60), 15. Jordi Gough (for Lyons, 69), 16. Tom Liversage, 17. Brian Woodhall.

Referee: C Rushton.