Second-half goals from Kingsley Adu-Gyamfi and Max McCarthy helped Kidsgrove Athletic move up to 13th place in the Pitching In Northern Premier League West division table as won 2-0 win against play-off chasing Clitheroe.
The Grove were looking to get back to winning ways following a disappointing defeat to Stone Old Alleynians on Tuesday night in the Staffordshire Senior Cup Quarter-finals. Following that defeat to Stone, manager Scott Dundas rang the changes with Lewis Bergin, Jack Bromfield, Kyle Diskin, Callum
Lovatt and Danny Cocks all starting. They replaced Alex Morris, Kieran Brown, Anthony Malbon and John Johnston, who were all on the substitutes bench for the afternoon.
The first half was a mundane affair with not a lot of action to write home about. The first effort on goal saw Diskin have a shot deflect out for a corner off Lee Pugh after some great work by Adu-Gyamfi, who had done well to work a crossing opportunity inside the Clitheroe box.
Clitheroe player-manager Billy Priestley will be left wondering how he didn’t open the scoring on 24 minutes when he was left unmarked in the area from a corner. However, the former Southport defender was to put his chance narrowly over Ryan Brown’s crossbar.
Kidsgrove ended the half strongly as they had two great efforts to break the deadlock. The first saw stand-in captain Oliver Jepson crash a volley from just outside the area over the crossbar and into the woods of Clough Hall park. Then in time added on, Cocks was able to twist and turn past his defender, but he was also put his effort over Chris Thompson’s goal.
Kidsgrove made a tactical change at the break as they withdrew Lovatt for club captain Malbon. The forward partnered Adu-Gyamfi up top in a move that worked well as it allowed the former Silverdale Athletic man to link up with someone having played the first 45 minutes as a lone striker.
Clitheroe’s Priestley had another glorious opportunity to open the scoring just five minutes into the second half when he got on the end of a knockdown from his captain Sefton Gonzales. However, the defender was to put his chance over the crossbar.
From there, Kidsgrove really grew into the game, and if anyone looked like scoring, then it would have been the Grove as they had several great opportunities to find the back of the net.
The first chance came just before the hour mark when Adu-Gyamfi was tripped just outside the area by Lee Pugh. Up stepped Diskin, who almost marked his first start for the club since returning from Congleton Town with a goal as he put the free-kick just wide of the target.
Then Callum Leigh had a great chance when he hit a dipping volley from around 30-yards out goalwards, it was a well-struck chance for the midfielder, but it was caught by Thompson.
Kidsgrove finally broke the deadlock on 67 minutes when Cocks played a great ball was played into Adu-Gyamfi, who turned and hit a venomous strike past Thompson. It left the goalkeeper clutching at thin air as Adu-Gyamfi raced away to celebrate his 11th goal of the season with the fans.
Malbon could have made it 2-0 when he tried to get on the end of a low free-kick from Diskin on 70 minutes. However, the free-kick from Diskin was too strong, and the ball was to run into the hands of Thompson.
Despite being a goal behind, Clitheroe kept searching for an equaliser, and they were left wondering how they didn’t depart North Staffordshire with a least a point as they had two fantastic opportunities to find the back of the net. The first saw Gonzales put a header just wide of the goal after he was unmarked in the penalty box, while his teammate Ben Mckenna hit his free-kick wide by the same margin just moments later.
McCarthy sealed the win in the first minute of stoppage time when Adu-Gyamfi sent the striker through on goal. The forward kept his cool and rolled the ball past the onrushing Thompson into the far corner of the net.
The win sees Kidsgrove climb to 13th in the league table and puts them a whisker away from the top half of the table. It’s certainly not where Dundas and his team wanted to be at the start of the season, but after a campaign where they’ve lost key players for various reasons, I’m sure they will take it.
After the game, Scott Dundas spoke to Moorlands Radio about the victory.
Kidsgrove Athletic: R.Brown, Padden, Bergin, Bromfield, Jepson, O’Riordan, Diskin, Lovatt (Malbon, 46, McCarthy, 75), Adu-Gyamfi, Leigh and Cocks (Johnston, 56).
Unused subs: K.Brown and Morris.
Clitheroe: Thompson, Burrows, Sloane (Connelly), Baker, Pugh, Priestley, McKenna, Byrom (Turner), Gonzales, Cane (Cummings) and Wilkins.
Unused subs: Dent and Edwards.