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Match Report  |  Gresley Rovers vs Malvern Town

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14th January 1989

Gresley Rovers vs Malvern Town

Gresley get the breaks – Andy Parker – Burton Mail

Off-colour Rovers rode their luck before completing what was ultimately a satisfying victory over hard-working Malvern.

Town, who deprived Gresley of two valuable points in the first game of 1989, did more than enough to repeat the performance at the Moat Ground on Saturday but in the end a fluke opening goal, a bad referee’s error and some poor finishing by the visitors allowed Rovers to remain comfortably atop the Banks’s Premier Division.

It became clear that it was not to be Malvern’s day as early as the fifth minute. Rovers midfielder Andy Moore swung in a deep cross from the right, the ball swayed and swirled in the wind and finally keeper Mark Hingley could only help it into the top corner of the net.

Said Moore – who was later to play another vital part in Gresley’s victory – afterwards: “I never intended it as a shot but I suppose it was typical of the match – we had a bit of luck.”

“Personally, I felt I only played in patches today and in the end I was knocking long balls which isn’t my best game. But I was glad to get a couple of goals.”

That the busy midfielder was knocked thus from his stride is an indication of Malvern’s resolve but in the end it came to naught.

Moore’s second – and his 14th of the campaign so far – put paid to their challenge and was a much more satisfying effort. It came two minutes from the interval when Paul Acklam knocked in a superb cross from the right, Graham Jones challenged where lesser players would fear to tread and when the ball broke free, Moore crashed it into the top of the net.

An almost audible sigh of relief greeted the goal because Gresley could easily have been well in arrears by that stage.

Keeper Bob Aston had first saved instinctively from Joey Rawle’s point blank effort as Malvern battled to erase their unfortunate arrears. Then a suicidal backpass by the unhappy Ian Wells let in winger Darren Bullock but with only Aston to beat he shot haplessly wide.

If that was bad, there was worse to come. Wells unveiled a carbon copy backpass with 44 minutes on the clock and again Bullock strode free. This time the finish was perfect – too perfect. The ball beat Aston, hit a stanchion in the back of the net and bounced clear. And to the disbelief of all, referee Carrington waved play on.

Malvern were quite rightly rankled. Said Bullock afterwards: “I just couldn’t believe his decision – it was definitely a goal. The ball wouldn’t have come out like that if it had hit the post. The whole crowd knew it was a goal but the ref missed it.”

Keeper Aston was another who was quick to acknowledge that an equaliser should have been awarded. “It should have stood but it was just one of those fluke things like our first goal. At the end of the day it was a good win and a clean sheet and that’s all that matters.”

True, but not entirely true. It also matters that Gresley visit title rivals Blakenall on Saturday with their best form behind them, although there was one flash of class in the second half when Graham Jones – booked earlier after a couple of over-enthusiastic challenges – swung over an inch-perfect cross from the left and Paul Acklam glanced his now customary goal past the luckless Hingley.

It was significant, though, that with the game won Rovers were able to give midfielder Richard Denby a run out after injury. His full fitness and consequent restoration to the centre of the park could have a crucial bearing on next week’s Banks’s League match-of-the-day at Blakenall.

Gresley Rovers (1) 3

Malvern Town (0) 0

Scorers: Moore 5,47; Acklam 74.

Gresley Rovers: Aston, Dick, Perry, Guest, Haskins, Page, Moore, Evans (Smith 53), Acklam, Wells (Denby 64), Jones.

Malvern Town: Hingley, Russell, Kerby, Jones, Burton, O’Neill (Price 60), Cotterill, Aldington, Rawle (Judge 66), Moverley, Bullock.

Gresley man-of-the-match: Dean Page.

Referee: M Carrington (Shepshed).

Attendance: 275