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Match Report  |  Gresley Rovers vs Atherstone Town

Note that this page is from our Gresley Rovers archive.
It may not be related to the new club Gresley FC.
Gresley Rovers  1
Barrett 44
Atherstone Town  0

Pre-Season Friendly

The Moat Ground, Church Gresley

Wednesday, 6th August 2008, 7.30pm

Adders Beaten by Barrett's Strike

Manager Gary Norton described this match a bit like 'after the Lord Mayor's show' and so it was.

Rovers never looked like reaching the heights of the stunning performance at the Pirelli Stadium against Burton Albion in the Bass Vase final last week.

However, there were glimpses of the side beginning to gel together even though Norton still experimented with his line up.

Last season's top scorer David Blenkinsopp was on the bench alongside Jamie Hood, Dan Douglas and Gavin Saunders allowing match time for Josh Butler, Chris White, Kevin Lock and Jordi Gough.

Keeper David Clarke played the first half although struggling with a slight ankle problem with Simon Baldwin, back from his honeymoon, replacing him at the break.

The visitors, Atherstone Town, were preparing for life back in the Southern League after gaining promotion as champions of the Midland Alliance last season.

Managed by Jimmy Ginnelly and assisted by former Moatman Dale Belford Rovers knew they were going to be in for a stern test.

With a mixture of youth and experience The Adders had much of the first half without carving out many clear-cut chances.

One notable attempt came on 17 minutes when a well struck shot from Kyle Storer was well save by Clarke denying the midfielder the chance to give his side arguably a deserved lead.

The first half looked to be fizzling out when Rovers were awarded a corner with just a minute left on the clock.

Robbie Banks swung in a ball from the left that found it's way to Jamie Barrett lurking on the edge of the area. The right back's crisply low struck shot flew through the crowd of players, past keeper Ransome and into the net.

Rovers had a much better second half with Blenkinsopp, Hood, Saunders, Douglas, Chris Sleath and Baldwin all being called into action.

However, it was the visitors who threatened early on with Luke Barlone testing Baldwin with a low shot.

On the hour Gough headed a good cross from Blenkinsopp narrowly wide but The Adders were almost handed a leveller four minutes later.

Baldwin came out to the edge of his area to clear the ball and seemed to slip on the greasy surface giving Barlone a golden opportunity with the open net beckoning. Unbelievably, the striker also slipped firing wide - a chance missed.

Adders substitute Collis hit a dipping free kick just over the bar but it was the home side that had the last chance with four minutes of the game remaining.

A cross was sent over by Brian Woodall that was met by Blenkinsopp but the striker's header clattered the post and was cleared before he could get to the rebound.

Manager's View

"It was a decent workout with a few things coming out of it. Hopefully we've not picked up any more injuries because we've started to build a little bit of a list already.

"It's been a good workout using all the players who were available to us tonight. Everyone's had a good shift. It was bit like after the Lord Mayor's Show after the expectation levels had gone through the roof after the performance at Burton.

"We knew all along that this was going to be a little bit more about our meat and drink and staple diet of league football.

"Atherstone put together a very competitive, young in some places but quality and some experience in places as well and we know it would be a good test for us and so it proved.

"But, over all fairly happy and we managed to get the win which I'm not overly bothered about at this stage in the proceedings. It was a tight game and could have gone either way and we managed to get it and keep a clean sheet as well, which is quite important to us.

"It was something we wanted to be getting in friendlies is getting things right defensively. Okay we had one or two let offs particularly when Simon (Baldwin) slipped over with an open net but we got away with that one and it's nice to get a clean sheet. There were several positive performances tonight.

"Simon Baldwin is very capable and has played at this level. When you're looking to bring a keeper in as number two - David Clarke has the number one shirt at the moment - not a lot of people are going to jump at the opportunity. To sit on our bench or play in the reserves is not that appealing to established keepers so we are still having a look around. We may have someone in to have a little look at on Saturday.

"But, except for his little slip, Simon hasn't done himself any harm tonight. He was good tonight. His kicking was good and he's played at this level before and we are going to sit down with him in the coming days and see what his thoughts are.

"The keepers' situation is not much of a concern. Obviously it will become a concern if David (Clarke) picks an injury up. He's been struggling a little bit with an ankle. The plan was to give him an hour tonight but at halftime he was feeling it slightly so we decided to take no risks and give Simon his opportunity from half time.

"We were frustrated in some respects that neither Mickey Lyons and Lee Mellon couldn't make it tonight. But it did us a favour in another way. There may well be times when Mickey is not available due to injury or whatever and we needed to look at one or two things.

"There were several players who needed pitch time tonight - Lee was one of them. He trained on Monday and he's been training with a bit of a toe problem - a severely bruised toe - and it's flared up and he couldn't get a boot on.

"The whole pre-season has absolutely flown by and I've managed to fit getting married in between and that seems a distance memory although it's only just over three weeks ago!

"It's not gone quite to plan at times - we've struggled in some friendlies and done well in others. It's not all about winning games but about getting enough players around us and enough quality in the squad and trying to get ourselves organised.

"I feel we're not a million miles away. We are fairly, Steve, Tony and I, with the squad we've got at the minute and if better players come a long we'll add but at the money we are fairly happy with what we've got."

Streaming Interview
Gresley Rovers
1 David Clarke
2 Jamie Barrett
3 Josh Butler
4 Barry Woolley
5 Miles Chamberlain
6 Carl Slater (c)
7 Robbie Banks
8 Chris White
9 Brian Woodall
10 Kevin Lock
11 Jordi Gough
12 Dan Douglas
13 Simon Baldwin (gk)
14 Jamie Hood
15 David Blenkinsopp
16 Gavin Saunders
17 Chris Sleath
Atherstone Town
1 Ransome
2 Lawrence
3 Dominic Reece
4 Chris Tullin
5 Woolastone
6 Kyle Storer
7 James Dance
8 S Clamp
9 Luke Barlone
10 Tom Bates
11 Wells
12 Roy Dunkley
13 Dale Belford (gk)
not used
14 Ashby
15 Simmons
16 Collis
not used
17 Keen
not used
18 Beale
not used
Other Match Info

Referee: M Sutton

Attendance: 147