Grove forced to share the points with Droylsden after a six-goal thriller

Photo thanks to Paul Griffiths

Kidsgrove Athletic were left scratching their heads as to how they hadn’t taken all three points, as they chucked away a 3-0 lead to draw 3-3 with Droylsden.

Grove raced into that 3-0 lead thanks to an Anthony Malbon hat-trick and it looked like Kidsgrove would go onto get their third victory in a week. However, Sefton Gonzales got a treble of his own to ensure the two teams shared the points.

It was Kidsgrove who had the early chances of the match as Kyle Diskin and, Will Saxon went close to scoring, but, neither could test Chris Thompson in the Bloods goal. While at the other Kieran Harrison, fresh from signing a contract with the club was mostly a spectator in that first half with little to do.

The game burst into life on 37 minutes when Malbon was able to dance around the defender before slotting the ball past the on-rushing Thompson to make it 1-0.

Malbon could have made it 2-0 with five minutes to go until the half-time whistle when he saw his shot from an acute angle go millimetres wide of the post.

However, he wasn’t to be denied just seconds later when Thompson parried a Diskin strike back into the danger zone and, Malbon was the only one alert to it and able to drive the ball into the back of the net.

As the second half kicked off, the Grove had two good chances to go 3-0 up thanks to Saxon, but the midfielder saw both of his shots saved by Thompson.

Saxon’s afternoon was to end early on 55 minutes when, he was on the wrong end of a tackle from Sam Baird, the defender got booked and, Saxon was brought off for Rumenio.

The injury didn’t affect the flow of the game as on 58 minutes, Malbon broke clear and, hit a delicate chip over Thompson to nestle in the back of the net for his second hat-trick in a week, having put three past Runcorn Linnets the previous weekend.

With Wednesday’s senior cup semi-final on the mind, Malbon was brought off for James O’Neill, who went into midfield to try and see the game out. But it was at this point the game turned on its head.

Gonzales has scored 15 league goals this season and, he got his 16th when he was persistent in the Grove area to stick the ball past Harrison on 64 minutes.

He got his second with just under 20 minutes remaining when Droylsden captain Michael Brewster did well down the wing before crossing the ball to Gonzales who was able to head the ball into an empty net, as Harrison tried to grab the ball at his near post.

Rumenio had an excellent chance to win the game for Kidsgrove in the last five minutes when he got clear down the wing before cutting into the area. However, his shot was straight at Thompson to keep it at 3-2.

As the board went up for three minutes of added time, Droylsden got the equaliser, when another cross was whipped in by Brewster and Gonzales headed the ball towards goal. It took a nick of Dom Smith who might claim it. But Gonzales will not want to lose his hat-trick.

Kidsgrove will look to rectify the result on Wednesday when they welcome Stafford Rangers to Hollinwood Road for Semi-final of the Staffordshire FA Senior Cup.

Kidsgrove Athletic: Harrison, Thompson, Morris, Blake (Rhodes, 81), Bergin, Butler, Diskin, Williamson, Budrys, Malbon (O’Neill, 65) and Saxon (Rumenio, 58).
Unused subs: Jepson and Austin.

Droylsden: Thompson, Brewster, Rigby, Baird, Pirie (Tserpes, 56), Camera (Smith, 46), Hopper, Rouse, Makela (Webb-Foster, 46) and Caddick.
Unused subs: Ford and Clarke.

Attendance: 172