It was a frustrating afternoon for Kidsgrove Athletic as they lost 2-0 at 3rd place Cleethorpes Town.
Goals either side of half-time from Scott Vernon condemned the Grove to defeat leaving them eight points off 5th place Stocksbridge Park Steels, although the Grove do have three games in on the side from Sheffield.
Vernon got his first of the afternoon after 19 minutes of play when Curtis Bateson crossed the ball into the box and, the former Blackpool forward brushed off James Butler to plant a header past Kieran Harrison in the goal.
The Grove could have been 2-0 down on 25 minutes when Caine Winfarrah headed the ball onto the crossbar after Harrison had done well to save the first effort from Ross Hannah.
Kingsley Adu-Gyamfi had Kidsgrove’s first effort of the afternoon when he was found in the box. However, the forward blazed his shot over the crossbar.
Vernon could have doubled the Owl’s lead just before the break when a through ball, which Butler couldn’t intercept, allowed him into the area. However, his shot was to run across the face of the goal.
Lee Williamson went close to an equaliser when he almost caught Theo Richardson out with a corner. However, the Cleethorpes goalkeeper was able to push the ball onto the crossbar as the Grove looked to improve on their first-half performance.
Richard Duffy almost caught Richardson out with a free-kick from the halfway line. However, the former Port Vale man saw his effort grabbed by the Cleethorpes number one at the last minute.
The hosts doubled their lead with 20 minutes to go when Jon Oglesby whipped a cross in and, despite Harrison saving the first effort. Vernon managed to squeeze the ball over the line for 2-0.
Vernon went close to his hat-trick on 83 minutes when his header went inches wide of Harrison’s post from Bateson’s cross.
Kidsgrove continued to press the Cleethorpes defence looking for a way to get back into the game. However, one wasn’t forthcoming.
The result keeps Kidsgrove still within a chance of making the end of season playoffs. However, they’re eight points behind Stocksbridge Park Steels, although they do have games in hand.
After the game, I spoke to Kidsgrove manager Ryan Austin to get his thoughts on the game.
Kidsgrove Athletic: Harrison, Coates, Morris, Hall (Bath, 85), Duffy, Butler, France (Blake, 65), Thompson, Wiggins-Thomas (Jepson, 46, Adu-Gyamfi and Williamson.
Unused sub: Malbon
Cleethorpes Town: Richardson, Topliss, Oglesby, Middleton, Lowe (Donald, 46), Walker, Bateson, Flett, Vernon (Marshall, 87), Hannah and Winfarrah (Lacey, 65)
Unused sub: Dickins and Usher.