It wasn’t the start that new Kidsgrove manager Scott Dundas would have wanted as they lost 1-0 to his old club Chasetown in the Emirates FA Cup.
Jack Langston scored the only goal of the game just after the hour mark as he was able to put a rebound away after Kieran Harrison had saved his penalty.
The Scholars also had Lewis Riley Stewart sent off just before the end for two bookable offences. However, despite throwing on forwards Ruben Wiggins-Thomas and Jake Lovatt, the Grove couldn’t take the game to the penalty shootout which is replacing replays in this seasons competition.
Having had six months away from competitive football, the tie as you can imagine was a scrappy affair with Kingsley Adu-Gyamfi having the first chance of the afternoon as he sliced his volley over the bar.
He was then to have a strong penalty appeal turned down after 15 minutes when he was pushed over in the area. However, the referee didn’t point to the spot.
Josh Thorpe was one of several players who were making their Kidsgrove debut as a new era was starting for the club and, he had to be on hand to clear a Joey Butlin effort off the line to keep the score at 0-0.
The Grove should have taken the lead in first-half stoppage time as Adu-Gyamfi put the ball out wide to Will Byers. The full-back managed to whip in a low cross to Anthony Malbon. The captain hit one of the cleanest connections with everyone thinking the ball was going to hit the back of the net. However, his effort struck the crossbar and bounced away to safety.
Byers had a decent chance to open the scoring just after the break when he advanced into the Chasetown half before hitting a fierce strike towards goal. However, his effort soared wide of the target.
The games main talking point came on 62 minutes when Thorpe and Jack Kirton seemed to accidentally collide in the penalty area. However, the referee Ben Robinson pointed to the spot. Up stepped Langston who had his effort saved by Harrison, but the midfielder was the first to the rebound and was able to slide it into the net.
Kidsgrove knew they had to go for it now. However, the Chasetown’s defence stood up firm to stop them from really testing Curtis Pond in the Chasetown goal.
Riley Stewart was sent off on 73 minutes as he hauled down Adu-Gyamfi as he got down the wing and having already be booked in the first half for a similar foul, the referee was left with no option but to send him off.
Adu-Gyamfi had two excellent chances to take the game to a penalty shootout. The first saw him put the ball over the bar after Malbon set him up. Before he struck the crossbar with a powerful effort with time running out.
Chasetown nearly sealed the victory in injury time when Reggie Cooke got clear. However, his effort was to hit the post.
It was a disappointing start to the new season for the Grove who would have been hoping to enjoy a great run in the famous competition. However, they can now focus on the league which starts next Saturday at Stocksbridge Park Steels.
Kidsgrove Athletic: Harrison, Byers, Bridge, Bromfield (Lovatt, 75), Gunnell, Thorpe (Bergin, 83), Diskin, Blake, Adu-Gyamfi, Malbon and Cocks (Wiggins-Thomas, 75).
Unused subs: Hickman, France, Chesters and ShuffleBoatham.
Chasetown: Pond, Melbourne, Evans, Riley Stewart, Wynter, O.Haywood, Kirton, Langston (Wheildon, 83), Butlin (Cooke, 80), O’Calloghan and Curtis (Taylor, 73)
Unused subs: Slater, Haddaway, Smith and C.Haywood.