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Match Report  |  Gresley Rovers vs Alfreton 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
Tucker 87
Alfreton Town  4
Muirhead 35, 55  |  Curtis 54  |  Davidson 79

Derbyshire Senior Cup 3rd Round

The Moat Ground, Church Gresley

Tuesday, 23rd December 2008, 7.45pm

Rovers Slip Out Of County Cup

Gresley Rovers' interest in this season's Derbyshire Senior Cup competition ended in the 3rd round as Blue Square North Alfreton Town ran out winners.

The home side made things extremely difficult for their illustrious visitors but their superior fitness paid dividends in the second half as Rovers tired visibly.

The game started brightly with Rovers almost making the perfect start when on 2 minutes Matt Weightman picked up the ball in centre of the field strode forward before unleashing a thunderous long-range shot that Town's keeper Kyle Sutcliffe did well to parry.

A deflection almost gave Town the lead six minutes later. A wild shot from Jordan Hall fell kindly for Tom Curtis but Rovers' keeper Simon Baldwin made a superb block to deny the visiting skipper.

Rovers had an even better chance of shocking Town when Carl Timms battled for possession in midfield before releasing Kevin Lock who raced into the area and then slipped the ball past the advancing Sutcliffe only to see his attempt bobble past the far post.

Town began to apply more pressure and had two decent chance within 4 minutes. The first came on 22 minutes when Dan Davidson tried to chip Baldwin but the keeper got a finger to the ball touching it over the bar. Then arguably the easiest chance for Town came when Ben Cusworth in acres of space could only direct his header straight at Baldwin.

Seconds later a poor backpass from Martyn Rowntree put his side in trouble but Leo Fortune-West mad an audacious dive in the penalty area as Baldwin came for the ball but as well as waving away the penalty appeals the referee Mr Thornhill amazingly let the big forward get away scott free for his play acting.

The opening goal was somewhat fortunate. On 35 minutes a shot from outside the area was heading well wide but a deflection put the ball in the path of Ben Muirhead who slotted the ball low across Baldwin and into the far corner.

Weightman then had a coupler of half chances as the first half drew to a close. First a shot flew over the keeper but also the bar and then the young striker was inches away from connecting with Lock's cross from the right.

Within minutes of the second half starting Rovers went close to equalising. John Shales collected the ball on the edge of the area before thumping a goalward shot that unluckily hit teammate Paul Edwards.

Alfreton doubled their lead on 54 minutes again in dubious circumstances. Davidson had made good ground down the left and fired in a shot that looked to be heading wide of the far post but Curtis standing two yards offside in the middle of the box got a touch to divert the ball past the unfortunate Baldwin.

The visitors added a third just one minute later. A clattering tackle on Timms looked to have given Rovers a free kick in the middle of the field but the referee allowed play to continue until a Town player was adjudged to have been fouled near the left touch line.

While Rovers were still getting ready for the set play a quick free kick allowed Muirhead to poke home Alfreton's third of the night.

On 70 minutes it took a superbly timed last-ditch tackle to deny Lock a scoring chance as the Rovers' front man raced into the area. Shales then went close with a shot that just cleared Sutcliffe's bar.

Alfreton's fourth goal came on 79 minutes when a cross from the right by Curtis found Davidson in the box. Baldwin appeared to be undecided as to whether to go for the cross or leave it. Unfortunately he left it and Davidson had the simplest of tasks nodding the ball into the net.

Minutes later Rovers' manager Gary Norton made what proved to be a good substitution bringing on reserves team player Craig Tucker for the struggling Weightman and the change soon paid dividends.

On 88 minutes Shales put a pass to Tucker deep in the centre of the Alfreton half. It looked odds on that the diminutive midfielder who play it out wide to his right but he decided a different outcome.

Tucker took a couple of strides forward before hitting a missile like drive from 35 yards that flew over the head of Sutcliffe and into the top of the net leaving the keeper grasping at thin air.

It was nothing more than Rovers deserved but no-one could deny the better team went through on the night.

Manager's View

"Tonight Alfreton's superiority shone through. The gulf in class, the movement, the touch, the individual quality of the Alfreton players as Nicky (Laws) put out a strong side tonight and it shone through.

"The big thing for me was the fitness. The first half we more than matched them and we worked very, very hard. We were stretched at times but having said that going forward we had enough to make me think if we could continue in that vein in the second half we may well get something from it but you could see early in the second half they upped it to be honest and we've not managed to go with it. The longer the game went on you could you see us getting more and more tired.

"Simon (Baldwin) has done brilliantly in the last few games. His handling's been good, his kicking's been good and another good performance tonight.

"As a back four we did very, very well and all it was was the fitness. A lack of concentration, switching off but I was pleased we got on the score sheet tonight because we deserved it.

"I was particularly pleased with Matt Weightman's performance - it was his full debut. I started with two youth team players Harley (Hollingshead) and Matt and they both did brilliant so I'm very happy.

"I wanted to get Craig Tucker on the pitch because he's done superbly well over the last season or so. Every time you watch him he's so proud to wear that Gresley shirt. When I've see him play for the reserves or watch him train he will give one hundred and ten percent all day long and it was lovely to see him get into that position to let the shot go.

"I believe Ant (Anthony Hemmings) was just about to rollick him for not passing it out wide but to be fair he's got himself in that position and let one go and he's done what we always say to our players hit the target. At least he's hit the target and asked the question and it flew in.

"We are a little bit concerned that the goals are not going in. I'm too concerned tonight because of the opposition we were playing. Kevin Lock is working very, very hard and that isn't in question but you can tell from his body shape he's a striker short on confidence,

"But, he'll work and continue to get into those positions, that's the one good thing about Kev and I said to him when we brought him off sooner or later something will break for him and he'll be on a run again.

"I've got no problems with Kev at all. He works hard but today like a game or two games previous it's not quite coming off for him. He got himself in a good position and we thought he'd scored but just bobbled wide. When you're a striker and your luck is not going with you that's the sort of thing that happens.

"He'll get something off his backside or a fluky goal or something in the next couple of games and hopefully that'll be him off and running again.

"I'm really impressed with John Shales. I've been bit frustrated having seen him in the last couple of games and not having got hold of the guy earlier to work with because he an absolute pleasure. He's composed, can play with both feet and can play in a variety of positions.

"It's like having a blank canvas and as long as the guys are putting a shift in week in week out the supporters and more importantly the management staff, aren't going to ask too many questions. The quality is not there at times but we can work on that.

"Carl Timm's has run himself into a hole tonight and he's finished the game for us up front because Matt's (Weightman) had to come off, he's got a couple of bumps and bruises.

"Matt showed a lot tonight, hell of a lot. He's put some Conference North defenders and established quality Conference North defenders on the back foot with his running and work rate off the ball. The technique he showed and the confident he showed in the second minute to take a shot with his left foot from that distance so early in his debut just epitomises the guy - he's got no fear and he can certainly build on that for me.

"For sixty, seventy minutes Paul Edwards did a cracking job in the middle. Used his experience, talked and organised in there and we finished the game with Paul up front."

Match Stats
Shots on Target 3 7
Shots off Target 5 6
Corners 1 5
Fouls Conceded 12 10
Yellow Cards 1 0
Red Cards 0 0
Possession (%) 45 55
Streaming Interview
Gresley Rovers
1 Simon Baldwin
2 Harley Hollinshead
3 Jordi Gough
4 Chris Mawbey
5 Martyn Rowntree (c)
6 Carl Timms
7 Lee Fell
8 Paul Edwards Yellow Card
9 Matt Weightman
10 Kevin Lock
11 John Shales
12 Zak Callaghan
for 2 - 66 mins
14 Nathan Tate
for 10 - 71 mins
15 Craig Tucker
for 9 - 82 mins
Alfreton Town
1 Kyle Sutcliffe
2 Simon Marples
3 Anton Brown
4 Paul Ellender
5 Matt Wilson
6 Tom Curtis (c)
7 Ben Muirhead
8 Jordan Hall
9 Brian Cushworth
10 Leo Fortune-West
11 Dan Davidson
12 Liam Hearn
not used
14 Tony Butler
not used
15 Kyle McFadzean
not used
19 Tom Evans (gk)
not used
Other Match Info

Referee: Mr J Thornhill (Ilkeston)

Attendance: 189

Star Player

Matt Weightman

Great start to what is hoped to be a long and fruitful time at Gresley