In conditions that were more akin to the Antarctic than Northern England, Kidsgrove Athletic were just minutes away from claiming all three points against Glossop North End in an entertaining 2-2 draw.
John Johnston and Jake Lovatt had both given the Grove the lead in the second half. However, Ekow Coker and Keaton Mulvey scored from dead ball situations to ensure the points were shared between the two sides.
Kidsgrove made the journey across to Derbyshire with a threadbare squad as captain Anthony Malbon, Lewis Bergin, Spencer Gunnell, Josh Beaumont and Will Whieldon were all missing due to various reasons. It meant that defender Liam Bell got his first start for the club since joining from Handsworth a month ago as well as Danny Cocks and Kingsley Adu-Gyamfi getting the opportunity to start a league game.
The weather conditions at the Amdec Forklift stadium did little to improve what was a drab first half as neither team could get a real control of the game. Every one of goalkeeper Ryan Brown’s goal kicks were holding up in the wind and, dropping five yards before their intended target, while the host’s corners were causing problems for the Kidsgrove defence as they were dropping right on top of the goal line.
Ryan Brown has made the number one jersey his own since the departure of Kieran Harrison and, he proved his worth just before the half an hour mark when Glossop broke down the wing through Rory Fallon. He lifted the ball into the path of Mulvey who’s first time shot looked destined to hit the back of the net. However, Brown was able to get down well to block the close range effort.
Meanwhile, Kidsgrove could have taken the lead just before the break when Adu-Gyamfi played in Kieran Brown. The forward was able to twist and turn his way past Lee Wilshaw before hitting a shot straight at goalkeeper Harry Allen, the attack wasn’t over as the ball then fell back to Brown who lifted it across goal to Danny Cocks who headed the ball onto the post from an acute angle.
Just after the break, Johnston should have given Kidsgrove the lead when he hit a free-kick towards the top corner of Allen’s goal. However, the on-loan goalkeeper from Premier League side Burnley was able to push the effort over the crossbar.
The last two times Kidsgrove and Glossop have met the match has finished 0-0 and, it looked like we were going to get a similar outcome as the game moved past the hour mark. However, Johnston had other ideas as he opened the scoring as he was able to get on the end of a long pass forward to flick the ball with the outside of his boot past the onrushing Allen.
As the rain continued to pour down around the ground, Kidsgrove were looking to hold on for an important three points to get their playoff challenge back on track, however, they were pegged back on 78 minutes when a free-kick was whipped into the area and Coker rose highest to head the ball at Brown. It looked like the goalkeeper had got a hand on the ball to keep it out, sadly it rolled underneath him and into the back of the net.
Glossop were left feeling hard done by on 85 minutes when the hosts strongly felt they should have had a penalty as Callum Lovatt wrestled his man to the ground in a bit to stop him from getting a shot on goal. However, the referee Jack Hall waved away the appeals much to the surprise of everyone in the stadium.
Kidsgrove looked to take full advantage of that decision as they restored their lead on 89 minutes. After some great work down the wing by Adu-Gyamfi, he crossed the ball into Jake Lovatt whose first shot was saved by Allen. Lovatt was able to pick up the loose ball and showed fantastic composure to lift the ball over the goalkeeper and into the back of the net from an acute angle.
At that point everyone thought that all three points were heading back to Staffordshire but, Glossop had other ideas as they won a free-kick in the 90th minute when Will Byers blocked his man from getting forward. The resulting free-kick was met by Mulvey who powered home to ensure both sides shared the points.
A disappointing afternoon for the Grove in the end as it was certainly a case of two points dropped having led twice in the game. They remain 12th in the Northern Premier League West Division 10 points off 5th place Clitheroe.
Glossop North End: Allen, Haslam (Whalley, 79), Sanogo,Coker, Barratt, Wilshaw, Sanogo-Fofana, White, Rainford, Mulvey and Fallon (Burey, 75).
Unused sub: Nock, Hartshorne and Jones-Griffiths.
Kidsgrove Athletic: R.Brown, Byers, Morris, Bromfield, Bell, C.Lovatt, Johnston, Blake, K.Brown, Adu-Gyamfi and Cocks (Cocks, 62)