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Match Report  |  Bilston Town vs Gresley Rovers

Bilston Town  3
No.8 14  |  Ward (og) 23  |  No.9 33
Gresley Rovers  1
Kavanagh 81

Pre-Season Friendly

Queen Street, Bilston

Saturday, 29th August 2020, 3.00pm

Disappointing End To Pre-Season

Alfie Burley

Rovers’ pre-season campaign came to a disappointing end with a 3-1 defeat at Bilston Town.

Despite a largely positive pre-season, Carl Abbott and Gary Norton suffered their second defeat at the helm of Gresley Rovers with a shock loss at Bilston.

Goals from the home side’s number eight and nine, combined with an own goal from Connor Ward gave Town a commanding lead. Despite a slightly better second period, and a goal from Liam Kavanagh, Rovers were powerless to prevent defeat.

The opening of the game went relatively smoothly for the visitors. Mason Frizelle headed a free kick wide of the target whilst Danny Munday was unlucky to see a shot blocked from close range.

Yet, in the 14th minute, Bilston would take the lead. A delivery from the right hand side was only cleared to the edge of the box by Cameron Steele, and number eight pounced, taking a touch before curling past Ben Allsop.

Bizarrely, both teams would be reduced to ten men temporarily as the referee sinbinned Bilston’s number 11 and Lee Butler, after the home side’s striker had gone in late with a two-footed lunge on the Rovers’ midfielder.

Being a goal down, and now a man down, Rovers seemed to panic, and in the 23rd minute, they conceded a very avoidable goal. Once again, a ball was delivered down the right-hand side, but this time it was met by Connor Ward who shanked a clearance into the corner of his own net.

Despite being a level lower than Rovers, Bilston were now brimming with confidence, and looked the most likely to score the third goal of the game. Number nine could’ve been one-on-one had his first touch been cleaner, before Allsop produced a magnificent finger-tip save to deny their number five following a corner.

The home side would not be denied however, and they made it 3-0 in the 33rd minute. Some more passive defending allowed the Bilston Town number nine to receive the ball mere yards from goal, where he made no mistake in stroking into the net.

Andy Westwood’s half-volley over the crossbar was Rovers only real sight of goal in the half, and Bilston’s confidence was epitomised when at the end of the first 45, Bilston’s number four attempted an audacious overhead kick which flew wide.

After a dismal first-half performance, Rovers were determined to bounce back, with a plethora of substitutions marking their intent. Yet, it was much of the same in the opening exchanges of the second half.

Bilston were excellent in their shape, denying Gresley space and forcing Rovers to concede possession. The Gresley players continued to cut frustrated figures on the pitch, with Danny Holmes’ speculative shot from the edge of the box being their only effort of note.

In fact, the home side still looked the more likely, and in the 70th minute, another fingertip save from Allsop was all that denied their number ten a spectacular fourth.

With 15 minutes to go, Carl Abbott’s side seemed to finally find their feet, and in the 76th minute created their best opening of the game. David Kolodynski raced down the right-hand side, away from his marker, before delivering into the middle. The cross was perfect for Danny Munday, but the striker headed over from close range.

With nine minutes to go, Rovers would find the back of the net to reduce the arrears. Following a corner kick, Mason Frizelle rose highest to nod down to Liam Kavanagh who half-volleyed past the Bilston goalkeeper who had been a spectator for much of the match.

The goal didn’t phase Bilston, however, and Rovers wouldn’t have another shot for the rest of the game. In fact, Town could’ve strengthened their lead through their substitute striker, but ultimately the scoreline didn’t change and Bilston came away with an impressive 3-1 victory.

Gresley Rovers
1 Ben Allsop
2 Cameron Steele
3 Lucas Harrison (c)
4 Connor Ward
5 Mason Frizelle
6 Jake McIntosh
7 Lee Butler
8 Andy Westwood
9 Keith Thomas
10 Kaylum Mitchell
11 Danny Munday
12 Riley Crawley
14 Danny Holmes
15 David Kolodynski
16 Liam Kavanagh
17 Louis Briscoe
18 Kyle Batchelor
19 Tom Dupres
20 Joe Fryatt (GK)
not used