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Match Report  |  Gresley Rovers vs Stafford Rangers

Gresley Rovers  1
Mitchell 8
Stafford Rangers  2
Harrison (og) 24  |  Candlin 31

Pre-Season Friendly

The Moat Ground

Saturday, 22nd August 2020, 3.00pm

Rovers In Unlucky Defeat

Alfie Burley

Rovers acquitted themselves superbly as they fell to a slim 2-1 defeat to seventh-tier, Stafford Rangers.

A simple finish from Kaylum Mitchell had originally given the home side a shock lead, but Rangers managed to turn it around in the space of seven first-half minutes.

Lucas Harrison’s bizarre own goal levelled the scores, before a controversial winner from Mitchell Candlin sealed victory for the away side. It could have been different had Louis Briscoe struck home a second-half penalty, but it wasn’t to be.

Gresley started extremely brightly, pressing Rangers into mistakes in possession, and it didn’t take them long to open the scoring.

In the sixth minute, brilliant play from Joe Haines saw the winger win the ball back before feeding Louis Briscoe. The striker held up play before returning the favour to Haines down the left wing. He darted into the box, and slid the ball across goal, setting up Mitchell for an easy conversion.

Mitchell, who was causing all sorts of problems in the opening stages, was once again played through, this time by Briscoe, but his opportunity was snuffed out.

The game, however, did slowly turn in favour of the higher-tiered opposition, when in the 24th minute a mistake by Alby Lansdowne only went unpunished thanks to a brilliant block from Joe Fryatt.

A minute later, Rangers would be back level in very bizarre fashion. A fairly innocuous cross from the left-hand side wasn’t cleanly headed by Harrison. The full-back’s attempted clearance instead floated over Fryatt and into the back of his own net an impressive finish had it been at the other end.

Stafford would continue this momentum and take the lead in the 31st minute but it wasn’t without its controversy. What looked like a high boot in the build-up was waved away by the referee, allowing Mitchell Candlin to race through on goal. The attacking midfielder rounded Fryatt before dispatching into an empty net.

With the away side now firmly in control, Rovers were fortunate to see Joe Cuff and Candlin shoot wide of the goal. Yet, the home side dragged themselves back into the contest with a late flurry in the half.

However, two dangerous free kicks failed to trouble the goalkeeper, and the Moatmen went into half-time behind.

In the second-half, chances were few and far between, as Gresley defended well to deny Stafford any opportunities to extend their lead. Rovers, however, should have been level in the 57th minute.

Some good skill from Mitchell took him past a couple of defenders before playing into the feet of Briscoe, the striker’s first touch was actually disappointing, but it drew Andre Johnson in to commit the foul and gift the home side an opportunity from the spot.

Louis Briscoe’s penalty, however, was well over the crossbar, leaving Rangers with the 2-1 advantage.

Rovers didn’t let this knock them back, and they continued to pressure the Stafford goal. Mitchell headed just over from a corner kick, whilst Joe Haines was unfortunate to see a shot blocked inside the box after some attractive build-up play.

Another talking point late on, saw David Kolodynski barged to the floor from behind when he looked poised to equalise in the 85th minute. Yet, the referee saw nothing wrong with the challenge, denying Gresley a second chance to equalise from the spot.

Despite the best efforts of Rovers in the second half, Rangers’ first half advantage proved to be enough to end Gresley’s superb unbeaten pre-season.

Streaming Interview
Gresley Rovers
1 Joe Fryatt
2 Junior Smikle
3 Lucas Harrison
4 Danny Holmes
5 Alby Lansdowne Yellow Card
6 Mason Frizelle
7 Kaylum Mitchell
8 Connor Ward
9 Louis Briscoe
10 Liam Kavanagh
11 Joe Haines
12 Jake McIntosh
not used
14 Cameron Steele
16 Danny Munday
17 David Kolodynski
18 Keith Thomas
not used
Stafford Rangers
1 Lewis King
2 Josh Burns
3 Danny Burns
4 Trialist
5 Trialist
6 Alex Ray Harvey
7 Mo Sebbeh-Njie
8 Joe Kenton
9 Joe Cuff
10 Mitch Candlin
11 Andre Johnson