It’s now six games unbeaten for Kidsgrove Athletic as they were held to a 0-0 draw by promotion-chasing Marine, who had former Accrington Stanley and Morecambe defender Dean Winnard sent off after just 75 seconds of play.
Winnard was sent for a very early bath as he raised an arm towards Danny Cocks after the two players challenged for the ball from a free kick. It was a moment of stupidity that a former professional footballer should have known better not to do and it almost cost his team points as they had to play with ten men for 88 minutes.
Lewis Reilly had the game’s first shot on target as he hit a free-kick straight at goal. However, Ryan Brown was to deny the former Crewe Alexandra man from opening the scoring. Brown was to have a fantastic game between the sticks and on another day could have taken the club’s man of the match award. On this occasion, the award went to midfielder Callum Leigh.
Another Kidsgrove player who was in a confident mood was Kingsley Adu-Gyamfi. The forward has been in a rich vein of form and he had the Grove’s first effort of the afternoon on 16 minutes when he flicked the ball over the defender’s head before hitting an effort straight at Bayleigh Passant.
They had an even better chance on 38 minutes when Adu-Gyamfi played a through ball to Max McCarthy. The forward raced through and looked destined to guide the ball into the far corner of the goal. However, Passant got a hand on the ball to turn it away for a corner.
Adu-Gyamfi should have broken the deadlock on the hour mark when Kieran Brown squared the ball to him. However, the former Silverdale Athletic forward dragged the effort wide of the goal.
Kidsgrove had a substitute bench that would have been the envy of many Non-League sides with captain Anthony Malbon, John Johnston, Kyle Diskin and Callum Lovatt joining Brown on the sidelines and it was Malbon who had the next chance to score.
Johnston was able to break down the wing before putting a cross into Malbon. The Grove’s all-time top scorer was to see his first-time effort pushed away by Passant. It was great to see Malbon back on the pitch as he had been out since he picked up an injury away at Mossley at the end of last month.
Malbon did have the ball in the back of the net with just 10 minutes to go when he tapped home a knockdown from Kieran Brown. However, the goal was chalked off as the Grove captain had strayed offside.
While for Marine, they did continue to press the Kidsgrove backline as they looked for the opener but the Kidsgrove defence stood firm to stop any attacks from the men in White getting past them. When they were able to get chances in on goal, they found Ryan Brown in good form catching every cross they threw at him.
The Grove could have won it late on, as Adu-Gyamfi hit a long-range effort well wide of Passant’s goal, but in the end, they have to settle for a point which on the face of it, is a good point against a side chasing promotion to the Northern Premier League Premier Vision.
Kidsgrove’s attention now turns to the Staffordshire FA Senior Cup on Tuesday night as they welcome Midlands Football League side Stone Old Alleynians to the Autonet Insurance Stadium. The winners of that game will visit Leek Town in the Semi-Finals.
After the game, I spoke to Grove manager Scott Dundas about the match.
Kidsgrove Athletic: R.Brown, Bromfield, Bergin, Padden (Johnston, 53), Jepson, O’Riordan, Leigh, Blake, Adu-Gyamfi, McCarthy (K.Brown, 68) and Cocks (Malbon, 53).
Unused subs: Lovatt and Diskin.
Marine: Passant, Solomon-Davies, White, Howarth, Muir, Winnard, Barrigan, Doyle (Devine, 85), Reilly (Watkinson, 68), Wignall (Watkinson, 68) and Kengni.
Unused subs: Cummins and Lynch.