Kidsgrove Athletic bowed out of the Buildbase FA Trophy with a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Northern Premier League South East Division rivals Stamford AFC.
Goals either side of half-time from Tom Siddons (Stamford’s leading goal scorer with seven goals in all competitions) and Harry Vince ensured the Daniels progressed to round two to face Vanarama National League North side Kidderminster Harriers on Tuesday.
The team managed by Scott Dundas had a behind closed doors friendly last week against Midland’s Premier League side AFC Wulfrunians and, you could see the advantages of having that game as in the opening exchanges of this game Kidsgrove looked the sharper of the two teams.
They should have had a penalty in the opening minute when defender Josh Thorpe was wrestled to the ground as Kyle Diskin whipped in a corner. However, the referee waved away the appeals from the Grove players.
While Jake Lovatt had a fantastic opportunity to open the scoring on six minutes when Diskin did well to win the ball off his man before whipping in a low cross, however, Lovatt put his effort just millimetres wide of the goal.
Lovatt then had another effort on 23 minutes when left-back Ricky Bridge charged down the wing before whipping in a fantastic cross, the former Chasetown forward came steaming into the penalty area like an express train. However, his diving header was to fly wide of Max Peverall’s goal.
The visitors took the lead on 38 minutes when Kieran Harrison made a fantastic save to deny Rob Morgan as he tried a long range effort. The ball rebounded to Siddons who tapped the ball home into an empty net with the Kidsgrove defence appealing for an offside flag that never came.
At the interval, Kidsgrove changed their shape with Thorpe being pushed up alongside Lovatt with Kingsley Adu-Gymafi and Diskin also moving forward to try and help beat the Stamford defence.
The main talking point of the second half came on 67 minutes when Thorpe and Daniels goalkeeper Peverall collided as they both chased a loose ball. The referee decided to show Thorpe (who had been booked in the first half) a second yellow card and send him from the field of play. The decision from the referee led to an off the ball incident which saw Stamford sub Sean Wright sent off.
Thorpe’s red card did cost Kidsgrove as they couldn’t find a way past a stubborn Stamford defence. Kidsgrove youngster Ben Chesters had the Grove’s best effort of the second half. However, his shot from just outside the area was saved by Peverall.
Stamford almost won the game with 10 minutes to go when Jack Duffy broke clear of the defence. However, he put his effort well wide of the target when he looked destined to score.
But, the team from Lincolnshire did win the game on 82 minutes when Harrison pulled off a fine save but, the defenders couldn’t clear their lines and, it allowed Vince to slot home to make it 2-0 to the visitors.
The defeat sees Kidsgrove bow out of the competition despite some excellent performances at Cambridge City, Daventry and Stratford Town. Dundas and his team will be hoping that they can get back to league action soon. Following the news from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport earlier this week in terms of allowing fans into Tier 3 then hopefully, it will be sooner rather than later that the Northern Premier League South/East division resumes.
Kidsgrove Athletic: Harrison, Byers, Bridge, Bergin, Gunnell, Thorpe, Diskin (Chesters, 84), Blake, Lovatt(Twyford, 65), Wheildon (Hickman, 74) and Adu-Gyamfi.
Unused subs: Hartshorn, Bromfield and Shufflebotham.
Stamford: Peverall, Burgess, Bartle, Armstrong, Cooke, Blunden, Chitiza (Vince, 46), Morgan, Siddons (Duffy, 77), Hicks (Limb, 83) and Matwasa.
Unused subs: Wright and Tarris.