• Harry Tizard

Gresley stay second after hammering Nirvana

UCL Premier North

Leicester Nirvana 1

Master 33

Gresley Rovers 5

Seal 9, 39, J Harrison 28, Munday 50, Hart 89

Gresley Rovers extended their unbeaten run in the UCL Premier Division North to 15 games with an emphatic 5-1 away victory against Leicester Nirvana.

Ryan Seal and new signing James Harrison gave the Rovers a two-goal advantage before a wonder goal from Deen Master gave the hosts hope of a positive result.

However, optimism was quashed at the start of the second-half, with a second goal from Seal and a first from Danny Munday ending their chances of a positive result.

Yet to get on the scoresheet on Saturday afternoon, talisman Steve Hart scored his 20th of the season with just minutes to play to round-off a five-star performance.

After a cagey opening 10 minutes, Gresley took the lead through their captain. Dinked over the defence by Mason Frizelle, Seal latched onto the ball inside the box before chipping it over Jacob Wood into the net.

Clearly, something pinpointed by the Moatmen’s hierarchy, Gresley almost scored in an identical way moments later. Frizelle found Seal for the second time, who chose to lob the ‘keeper once again. Heading goal-bound, a covering defender was able to clear the ball away from danger.

The away side dominated the proceedings, with debutant Harrison opening his account with his new club just before the half-hour mark.

Held up by Hart in the box, the forward laid the ball off to Harrison who smashed the ball past the ‘keeper to double the lead.

Nirvana struggled to break down the back-four consisting of George Clark, Alex Morris, Izak Reid and Frizelle, only finding a way back into the game through a moment of magic.

Positioned just inside the Gresley half, Master’s ambitious strike flew over Lewis Fenney, dipping just under the bar to halve the deficit.

Half-time was required for the Rovers to reset and regain the control they had of the game, with the 15-minute break doing just that.

Gresley came out the blocks firing in the second-half, scoring twice in quick succession to put the game beyond the hosts.

Hart’s whipped ball into the box found the foot of an unmarked Seal at the back post, smashing the ball across goal into the bottom corner to score his second and Gresley’s third of the game.

Not looking to be left out of the action, with Seal, Hart and Harrison all involved in the first three goals, Munday scored one himself to extend the Moatmen’s advantage to three in the 52nd minute.

A popular scoring method on Saturday afternoon, Munday chipped the ball over Wood in the Nirvana net having gained possession on the edge of the box, scoring his 16th goal of the season.

Having provided two assists during the game, Hart tried to score himself. Flicking the ball up outside the box, the forward lashed a dipping volley towards the goal, but his effort evaded the crossbar.

The Rovers top scorer was then denied by a goal-saving block. Darting towards the back post from a corner, Hart shook off his marker before driving his shot against an incoming Nirvana defender diverting the ball away from the goal into the side netting.

The pattern of the first-half continued into the second for Nirvana. Struggling to break down the resolute Rovers defence, the home side failed to trouble Fenney. A curling effort from Finn Shorrock was the closest the home side came, with his strike bouncing past the post.

Instead, it was Gresley who completed their away performance with a goal. It was Hart who scored it, poking the ball past Wood, with the away following’s celebrations delayed due to the uncertainty of whether it had rustled the inside or outside of the net.

The victory for Gresley kept the gap between themselves and top of the league Long Eaton United at eight points, with their title challenges beating fifth-placed Loughborough Students 3-0.