Saturday 21st January 2017. COMPETITION - Evo-Stik NPL Division One South. VENUE - The Novus-Solutions Stadium, Kidsgrove
LINE-UP'S - Kidsgrove Ath - Martin, Ashman, Bergin, Davidson (Birchall 61'), Austin, Skelton, Diskin (Johns 81'), Grocott (caution), Clayton, Malbon (C), Pickerill. Un-used subs' - Street, Hodgkinson, Bath.
Vics' - Forth, Lawrence (Matthews 73'), Doran (caution), Fitzgerald, Mannion, Clarke (C), Bennett, Pritchard (Berrisford 80'), Short (caution), Gyimah, Johnson. Un-used sub' - Lyndon.
Unavailable for Vics' - Godwin Abadaki - Striker (shoulder), Stuart McDonald - forward (hamstring), Jack Turnbull - Defender (work commitments)
GOALS - Kidsgrove Ath - Harry Clayton 37', 68'. Vics' - Drew Matthews 84'.
Vics' and Grove' began this fixture and there was nothing between the teams in the opening quarter, save for a Tom Bergin low direct free-kick that was beaten away to safety by Vics' keeper' Dylan Forth on 17'. Vics' were denied on 23' when Grove' keeper' Chris Martin made a superb flying save to prevent Yaw Gyimah's 20-yard angled right-foot drive from dipping under the cross-bar into the net. Grove' took the lead on 37' when Harry Clayton swept in right-footed past Vics' keeper Forth from eight yards after running onto a back-heeled through-ball. The Green and Whites' kept going though and Dave Short's thunderous free-kick from 25 yards saw Grove' glove-man Chris Martin dive low and full-length to his right to thwart the tremendous effort and ensure the home side went into the break with a slender lead.
HALF-TIME - Kidsgrove Ath 1-0 Vics'.
The second half's opening period was very much nip and tuck with Grove' fromt-man Ant Malbon seeing a shot saved reasonably well by Vics' keeper Forth and then Dave Short spurning a good opportunity for the Vics' on 62'; sending a low right-foot screamer inches wide from 20 yards after receiving captain for the day Matty Clarke's precise cushioned pass. Vics' best spell of the game ensued but that spell was punctured when Harry Clayton doubled his tally for the afternoon and the home side's lead, ramming home a low shot from eight yards after receiving fellow striker Ant Malbon's cross from the left. It nearly became 3-0 on 77' when some brilliant inter-change play between Malbon and Clayton saw the former fire just wide from twelve yards. Vics' finally halved the arrears on 84' when lively teenage sub Drew Matthews fired low into the net left-footed from 8 yards out after being teed up by Yaw Gyimah's clever assist from the right following an inch-perfect long raking pass into his feet by Matty Clarke. Vics' pressed for an equaliser in the remaining six minutes of normal time and 3' added on but to no avail and now face Rugby Town at home on Sat 28th January in a real six-pointer occasion.
Vics' M.O.M - Jake Doran. A central midfielder playing out of position at centre-back due to Club captain Reece Lyndon (hamstring pull) not being 100% fit - but did a sterling job in containing Grove' dangerman Ant Malbon. Cultured and non-rushed when in possession too.
Vics' Manager Paul Moores' reaction -
Another ok performance but just lacking a little in the final third, our games recently are being lost narrowly, much like most of the season so far. The cohesion in the team is looking good in spite of the raft of new signings.
Going into the game we had a positive feel after such a good performance over at Ashton Utd last Tuesday night. Reece Lyndon then pulled out with the continuous hamstring niggle he suffered in that game and Adam Lawrence started but was struggling from the start.
We adopted our shape from Tuesday with Adam Lawrence starting at right-back and Jake Doran at centre-half, and also Dave Short up-top. 3 changes that I didn't want to make due to the great performance on Tuesday.
The game set off quite quickly and although they had a couple of chances we did create some ourselves and I was pleased with the way tried to keep the ball on the deck to prevent them from winning and getting us into an aerial battle. The half looked like it was going to end score-less - and I would have been happy with that; but out of nothing they took the lead.
The second half brought a change to our shape to 4-4-2 - and I thought we could stop their attacks down the flanks and get some joy out wide ourselves. It did prove to be the correct decision as we looked competitive and resolute. However, a clever run by Ant Malbon; opened the chance again, and we fell to another goal from our own attack.
We did show signs that we could get back into the game, and having grabbed a good goal through Drew Matthews - who stayed calm under pressure; we had 10 minutes to secure at least a point. We had a couple of chances but it never came.
I am aware now that we are hard to break down, but we are lacking that cutting edge up top; pace and control in the final third. I will look to improve that area very soon and hopefully be in a position to add by the weekend. We play Rugby Town at home Saturday - which is now a must win game for us; as our survival depends on winning such games. It is looking like a 4 horse race between the bottom 4 clubs to secure safety, and we need to win those games against each one of the teams in that group.
We have a number of injuries that are causing problems with the embargo still in place, Godwin Abadaki (shoulder) is out until the 18th Feb, Reece Lyndon is nursing a slight hamstring strain, Stuart McDonald is also in the same position. Adam Lawrence is struggling with a quad tear, and Andrew Fitzgerald is nursing an ankle injury and playing through the pain barrier.
Its been tough going and not easy when you can only sign 16 players at any one time. But hopefully over the next couple of weeks if we can get a win or two, it will lift the squad.
Once again thanks to the supporters who never stop cheering the lads on.
Match report & interview by Jamie Dewsbury.