Kidsgrove Athletic put in what was probably their best ever defensive performances to get a 1-0 win away at Chasetown in the BetVictor Northern Premier League South East Division.
The Grove had to be alert throughout the 90 minutes to deny the Scholars a goal, who threw everything but the kitchen sink at Kieran Harrison and his backline. However, they stood firm to deny Scott Dundas’ men.
Jack Langston went close to opening the scoring after just nine minutes of play when he put his free-kick just wide of the goal, it was an effort that had Harrison at full stretch.
The only goal of the game came on 17 minutes when Rhys Thompson flicked the ball into the Chasetown area for Anthony Malbon. The forward went up against two defenders, and between the three of them, the ball was put past Curtis Pond into the back of the net.
It may go down as an own goal. However, Malbon will be looking to claim the goal as he edges near to his 150th Kidsgrove goal.
Malbon could have made it 2-0 just five minutes later when Thompson whipped a free-kick into the area. The captain tried a half-volley which went just wide of the post.
Levi Reid was wondering how he didn’t equalise on 24 minutes when the ball was allowed to run across the Kidsgrove penalty area to him. The midfielder’s powerful shot rattled the post with Harrison being left rooted to the spot.
The hosts were to rattle the woodwork again on 30 minutes when Langston should have made it 1-1. He was left free in the six yard box, but his header was to come back off the post.
Malbon had another chance to make it 2-0 just before half-time when Kieran Coates went on a mazy run forward. He fed the ball to the forward. However, his shot was at Pond.
One of the strangest things happened at the interval as Chasetown was forced to change their shirts. They had been wearing Blue in the first half, the Grove in Purple. However, Mr Robson thought it would be tricky to see which team was which in the fading light. It meant the hosts would have to wear red jerseys for the second half.
The second half saw the Grove put in a fine defensive display as Chasetown moved up a gear looking for the equaliser.
Ryan Winter hit the side netting while Danny Cocks went on a jinking run into the area and it took the efforts of three Kidsgrove players to stop him from scoring.
Meanwhile, Coates had to clear a cross from underneath the bar as Chasetown continued to put pressure on the Grove goal.
Ruben Wiggins-Thomas was brought on for Kingsley Adu-Gyamfi with 20 minutes to go. It was hoped that Wiggins-Thomas would be able to use his strength to keep hold of possession, which he did extremely well as Kidsgrove looked to use up more time.
At the other end, there was no let up in the Chasetown pressure and, it almost led to a goal with five minutes to go when a corner was whipped in and headed at goal and, it looked like it was going in. However, the Grove were able to scramble it off the line.
Malbon had one more chance to make the points safe for Grove. Pond had rushed out to clear the ball, but it fell to Malbon who tried to lift it into an empty net. However, a back-tracking defender was able to deny him the winner.
It’s a result that puts Kidsgrove just five points of the playoff places, they also have five games in hand on some of the teams above them. They welcome Tamworth on Monday night before welcoming Belper Town in another big league fixture next Saturday.
Kidsgrove Athletic: Harrison, Coates, Morris, Hall (O’Neill, 90), Jepson, Butler, Thompson, Blake, Adu-Gyamfi (Wiggins-Thomas, 72), Malbon and Williamson.
Unused subs: Chesters, Austin and Kuraisk.
Chasetown: Pond, Hayward, M.O’Reilly (Curtis, 84), Reid (Cocks, 60), J.O’Rielly, Beddows, Carter, Langston, Winter, Wheildon and J. Brown (K.Brown, 60).
Unused subs: Kirton.