Goals either side of half time from Harry Vince and Cosmos Matwasa condemned Kidsgrove Athletic to a 2-0 defeat at 2nd place Stamford AFC in the BetVictor Northern Premier League.
To make matters worse for the Grove, Ruben Wiggins-Thomas missed a penalty with just under 10 minutes to go. Had it been scored then it would have made for a very interesting conclusion to the game as Kidsgrove looked for an equaliser.
Manager Ryan Austin made two changes to the side that got the last gasp draw with Belper Town a week ago. Ben Hart made his first start since returning on loan from Burton Albion with Kieran Coates unavailable. While Stoke City loanee, Tom Sparrow, made his first start for the club in place of Lee Williamson who had picked up on a knock on his calf.
Tom Siddons is among the pack chasing Leek Town’s Tim Grice in the race for the division’s top scorer award and, he could have added to his tally of 15 league goals as he put two clear cut chances wide of the post with his head.
Kidsgrove’s first chance of the afternoon came through Rhys Thompson who put a volley wide of the goal after his free-kick was smashed into the wall from around 25-yards out.
Although Stamford were looking more likely to score, the complexion of the game completely changed on 33 minutes when the referee, Daniel Woolley, penalised Oliver Jepson for accidentally colliding with Tendai Chitiza. From the free-kick Stamford won a corner, which was played short into the area, only for Ollie Brown-Hill to hit the floor which saw Mr Woolley point to the spot, much to the anger of the Kidsgrove players.
Once order had been restored Vince stepped up and sent Kieran Harrison the wrong way to make it 1-0.
Wiggins-Thomas went close to equalising just before the break when he saw Danny Haystead tip his effort over the crossbar. From the corner, Anthony Malbon had his header cleared at the back post.
Stamford doubled their lead just before the hour mark when they broke on the Grove. Harry Limb, who had been on the pitch for a matters minutes ran at Hart before crossing to Matwasa who made no mistake in beating the onrushing Harrison.
Limb almost got a third goal with just under 20 minutes to go when Harrison’s kick fell straight to him. With the Kidsgrove’s number one out of his area, the midfielder went for goal, which thankfully for the Grove went over the bar.
Kidsgrove were handed a lifeline on 83 minutes when Haystead brought down Wiggins-Thomas for a penalty after some neat work by Tom France on the wing. However, the former Carlton Town man stepped up and hit his penalty wide of the target.
With that penalty miss, the Grove’s chances of taking anything from the game was gone as the hosts saw out the match to take the win, which keeps them five points off league leaders Leek Town. While for Kidsgrove they drop down to 10th in the league table.
After the game, I spoke to Kidsgrove manager Ryan Austin to get his thoughts on the game.
Kidsgrove Athletic: Harrison, Hart, Morris, Hall (France, 72), Jepson, Butler, Thompson, Blake, Wiggins-Thomas, Malbon (Adu-Gyamfi, 57) and Sparrow (Bath, 65).
Unused subs: Austin.
Stamford AFC: Haystead, Armstrong, Cooke, Vince, Wright, Blunden, Chitiza, Morgan, Siddons (O’Hare, 80), Brown-Hill (Limb, 56) and Matwasa (Taylor, 89).
Unused subs: Challinor and Mwanyongo.