A brace from Rhys Thompson ensured Kidsgrove Athletic progressed in the Integro Sports Cup at the expense of Market Drayton Town.
However, the Grove didn’t have it all their own way, as they had to come from behind due to Tyrell McFarlane giving the visitors from Shropshire a half-time lead.
Ryan Austin opted to make several changes to the team with Dom Kuarsik, Jim O’Neill and James Jennings all starting for the Grove. While on the bench was Tom France who returned following an ACL injury that he picked up at Skelmersdale United last December.
The Grove could have had a penalty after just nine minutes of play when Market Drayton goalkeeper Ash Rawlins tripped Kingsley Adu-Gyamfi. However, the referee didn’t award the spot kick as he had decided that Gyamfi had dived.
Thompson thought he had given the Grove the lead on 10 minutes when he saw his shot beat Rawlins. However, a Market Drayton defender was able to clear the ball off the line.
For all of Kidsgrove’s dominance, the visitors nearly took the lead on 23 minutes when Joe Thomas was able to go through one-on-one with Kurasik. However, the Australian goalkeeper made a fine save to deny him.
The visitors did take the lead on the stroke of half-time when McFarlane was able to ghost through the Kidsgrove defence to poke home a corner to make it 1-0.
You could sense the frustration of the Kidsgrove players for going a goal behind as they took a real foothold in the second half. It took just 10 minutes for the Grove to level up proceedings when Alex Morris’ pinpoint cross found Thompson who headed home past Rawlins.
The goal ensured the wind was up Kidsgrove’s sail with Thompson going close on a couple of occasions from free-kicks. However, he couldn’t get the shots on target.
Thompson was able to get his second goal of the night with just 15 minutes to go when he was left unmarked in the Market Drayton area. He showed great composure to rifle home from six-yards out.
The loudest cheer of the night came with just seven minutes to go when France replaced James Jennings. It was great for Austin to give France some match time as he stepped up his recovery from his injury.
Despite a late onslaught from Market Drayton, with the clubs top scorer Christopher Aziamale going closest, the Grove were able to hold on to progress to the 3rd round of the competition.
They are back in action on Saturday when they visit Spalding United in the BetVictor Northern Premier League.
After the game, I spoke to Ryan Austin to get his thoughts on the match.
Kidsgrove: Kurasik, Hart, Morris, Blake, O’Neill, Butler, Thompson, Lundstram, Adu-Gyamfi, Jennings (France, 83) and Rangira (Hati, 46).
Unused subs: Wiggins-Thomas, Hall and Duffy.
Market Drayton Town: Rawlins, Bennett-Tindall, Arnold, McFarlane, Hill, Stanton, Hemman-Mason (Buxton, 77), Green-Birch, Aziamale, Thomas and Glover.
Unused subs: Hughes, Hunter, Stevens and Davies.