Tulips hit by early goals
Kidsgrove Athletic 3, Tulips 1
Conceding two goals inside the opening ten minutes left the Tulips with a huge mountain to climb, a task they were unable to achieve against a strong, fast moving Kidsgrove side.
Both of the goals in the BetVictor NPL South East Division clash came from swift right side movements and penetrating crosses which the Tulips were unable to deal with and it was a situation that was to continue almost throughout a largely scrappy encounter in which play was constantly interrupted by the referee’s whistle which resulted in a nine minutes period of added time at the end of the game.
Team changes were forced upon manager Lewis Thorogood with inspirational captain Lewis Brownhill sidelined with a niggling hamstring, and trusty centre back Ben Greenwood away on RAF duty. Ben Richards, after sitting out a number of weeks on the subs bench, replaced Greenwood while Kevin Bastos also joined the starting line-up.
It was hard work for the Tulips in blustery conditions but they stuck to the task in hand and were back in the hunt for valuable points when Jamie Jackson reduced arrears with a powerful and well directed header. But the home side were gifted a third goal in the second minute of added time when goalkeeper Michael Duggan conceded a penalty, crashing into a challenging forward when attempting to punch the ball clear.
Ruben Wiggins-Thomas gave KIdsgrove their early advantage with a clinical close range range finish from a Tom France cross. Five minutes later the lively France added his name to the scoresheet, again slotting the ball into the net from close range in a packed area.
It was not until the 35th minute before the Tulips seriously threatened the home goal when Joel Brownhill forced ‘keeper Kieran Harrison into a full stretch save following a following a right side attacking movement.
Early in the second half the ‘keeper again came to Kidsgrove’s rescue, this time turning the ball away at the foot of a post to keep out Kevin Bastos’s effort which followed next interchanges between Jackson and Kegan Everington.
The home goal was finally breached in the 63rd minute with Jackson on the end of a perfectly weighted free kick by Joel Brownhill. More good promising Tulips attacking sequences were ended by some strange decisions by the match official, but hopes of snatching a late equaliser were dashed by the injury time penalty driven by Lee Williamson.
Team: Duggan, Spencer, Hugo, Bucci, Yeomans, Richards (Jack Smith 83 mins), Bastos, Everington, Joel Brownhill, Floyd (Burrell 45 mins), Jackson. Subs (Not used) Liversedge, Ramsden, Alex Smith. Att: 169