Scott Dundas claimed his first win as Kidsgrove Athletic manager as they beat Stocksbridge Park Steels 1-0 thanks to a late goal from Kingsley Adu-Gyamfi.
Adu-Gyamfi scored with just nine minutes left on the clock to ensure the Grove left the Bracken Moors with all three points as his shot from just outside the area left Steels goalkeeper Ed Hall with no chance of saving the effort.
The game itself won’t live long in the memory of the 147 fans present at the Eco-Power Environmental stadium as it was a scrappy affair, with the ball spending a lot of time up in the air and not on the ground. It meant that both forward lines didn’t get much of a look in as the defenders were winning all the headers.
Kidsgrove captain Anthony Malbon went extremely close to breaking the deadlock midway through the first half when he twisted and turned inside the area before getting his shot away. However, it curled just wide of Hall’s far post.
At the other end, Kieran Harrison pulled off a fine save to deny Scott Ruthven from opening the scoring, before Luke Mangham had an overhead kick blocked by the chest of Spencer Gunnell just before the interval.
Dundas would have probably been the happier of the two managers at half-time as despite not creating many clear cut opportunities, his players tried to run at the Stocksbridge defence when they could and forced their backline into several mistakes.
If the first half saw a few chances then, the second half was poor in quality as neither goalkeeper had a shot to deal with. The only moment to note was Ricky Bridge limping off injured just 10 minutes into the second half.
Bridge had burst forward and seemed to have been caught by the Stocksbridge defender. The challenged looked innocuous. However, Bridge couldn’t continue and was brought off for Danny Cocks.
Cocks did try to change the flow of the tie with a couple of good runs at the Stocksbridge defence, but sadly it was to no avail.
Dundas also brought on Ruben Wiggins-Thomas (for Jake Lovatt) and Tom France for Malbon in a bid to try and force the breakthrough.
However, it was one of the starters who broke the deadlock when Adu-Gyamfi ran at the defence before unleashing the powerful drive across goal and leaving Hall with no chance of saving it.
The goal came late enough to leave Stocksbridge no chance of mounting a comeback as the Grove held out for all three points.
It wasn’t the best game the Grove will ever play. But that doesn’t matter as the scoreline does and it finished Stocksbridge Park Steels 0 v Kidsgrove Athletic 1.
The Grove have the week off before heading to Cambridge City to start their Buildbase FA Trophy campaign next Saturday.
After the game, Scott Dundas gave us his assessment of the tie.
Kidsgrove Athletic: Harrison, Byers, Bridge (Cocks 54), Bromfield, Gunnel, Bergin, Diskin, Blake, Lovatt (Wiggins-Thomas 65), Malbon (France 79), Adu-Gyamfi
Unused subs: Hickman, Chester
Stocksbridge: Hall, Lemon (Greaves 72), Trench, Turner, Ludlam, Fielding, Pugh (Whitham 74), Goodwin, Mangham, Ruthven, Nodder (Thompson 74)
Unused subs: Reay, Lumsden