A sublime goal from John Johnston settled the first-ever meeting between Kidsgrove and City of Liverpool as the wing wizard struck with just nine minutes to go to ensure Kidsgrove won back-to-back league games for the first time this season.
It was Kidsgrove who had the better of the first-half chances with Kieran Brown heading over from close range. Meanwhile, Johnston tested City of Liverpool goalkeeper Danny Taberner with a stinging shot which forced the keeper to parry the effort away to safety.
While at the other end, Spencer Gunnell and Callum Lovatt did well to expertly marshall Josh Quarless. The forward had recently arrived from Burscough and had already scored three goals in two games for his new club including a brace last week against Leek Town.
Will Whieldon should have opened the scoring midway through the first half. The former Chasetown man picked up a loose ball on the edge of the area before creating a chance for himself which curled just wide of the goal. It left many of the supporters inside the ground wondering how the ball hadn’t nestled into the back of the net.
Kidsgrove did take the lead on 43 minutes when Callum Lovatt headed home an Oliver Hickman cross after some great work on the wing by the Kidsgrove right back. It was a special moment for Callum as he scored his first goal for Kidsgrove and, it was the least the Grove deserved after a fantastic first-half performance in which they dominated proceedings.
The Grove expected the visitors from Liverpool to come back strongly in the second 45 minutes and, they did just that but, Ryan Brown and his defence did well to repel any attack that came their way.
However, City of Liverpool broke Kidsgrove’s resistance on 63 minutes when Jack Hazlehurst was able to turn and rifle an unstoppable effort past Ryan Brown to bring the visitors level. No goalkeeper in the world would have been able to save the effort from Hazlehurst as it was hit with some force and over the young goalkeeper.
A few weeks ago Kidsgrove’s heads would have dropped at the equaliser but, the players showed great character to get themselves back in the game with Johnston and Kieran Brown both fashioning great chances to score.
While, Anthony Malbon is the Kidsgrove’s all-time top goalscorer and, you would have put your life on him scoring on 79 minutes when he was found unmarked in the six-yard box. However, his effort was expertly turned over the crossbar by Taberner, who received praise for the save from many inside the ground including from the Malbon himself.
However, Malbon was to have a hand in the winner just two minutes later when he flicked on a long ball to Kieran Brown. The forward fed the ball out to Johnston who took one touch to steady himself before driving the ball into the far corner of the net. The goal sparked wild scenes of celebration all around the Autonet Insurance Stadium as the Grove fans could sense the victory was coming.
City of Liverpool had chances to equalise as they threw everything at the stubborn Kidsgrove defence but, they didn’t even test Ryan Brown as George Hassell saw his volley go wide of one post. While captain Sean Kelly headed wide of the other post from a corner in the final minute of injury time.
The result moves Kidsgrove into 9th place in the league table and are just nine points off the playoff places in the Northern Premier League West division. Manager Scott Dundas and his players will be hoping that their recent loss of form is behind them and, they can start climbing that league table once again.
Kidsgrove Athletic: R.Brown, Hickman (Byers, 66), Morris, Bromfield, Gunnell (Bergin, 46), C.Lovatt, Whieldon (J.Lovatt, 74), Blake, K.Brown, Malbon and Johnston.
Unused subs: Adu-Gyamfi and Cocks.
City of Liverpool: Taberner, Aley, Walls, Kelly, Lycett, Hughes (Rule, 55), Edgar, Devine (Hazlehurst, 55), Quarless, Murphy and Gibson (Hassall, 83).
Unused subs: Johnston and Corrigan.