REPORT: Late blitz sees Rovers take the points
Gresley Rovers staged an outstanding comeback on Tuesday night as they scored three times in the final ten minutes to secure a hard-fought three points against Highgate United.
Two goals from substitute Danny Munday and a calamitous own goal saw Rovers cancel out an early opener from Anthony Smith.
Smith’s goal from a set piece looked to have sealed a frustrating afternoon for Carl Abbott and Gary Norton’s side, but a late rescue job saw Rovers turn it around and claim victory.
It was a slow start from Gresley and a Highgate side under new management took advantage. A corner kick from the right-hand side caused havoc in the Rovers box and after a good reaction save from Joe Fryatt, Smith was on hand to poke in from close range.
With a one-goal advantage, United seemed happy to sit on the lead, and make it difficult for Rovers to get in behind them.
Fourteen minutes in, however, Rovers should have equalised when a long-range shot from Kyle Batchelor was awkwardly dealt with by the goalkeeper, and the ball popped back up to David Kolodynski who volleyed over the crossbar with the whole goal to aim at.
The first-half was a very frustrating one for the Moatmen as they could not find the space to really hurt the Highgate defence.
Yet, the first piece of slick passing from Gresley resulted in a fantastic chance. Louis Briscoe was fed down the right-hand side and took the ball to the by-line before squaring to Kolodynski, but the striker couldn’t apply the finish, side-footing wide.
In the second-half, Gresley had a golden opportunity to equalise and once again it landed at the feet of Kolodynski. After being set away on goal by Paul Sullivan, Kolodynski couldn’t find a way past Fenny, who denied the striker when one-on-one.
After being let off with these major scares, the visitors nearly put the result beyond Gresley’s reach. First, captain, Corey Currithers saw his goal-bound shot blocked by the presence of Batchelor, before Chandler Pegg’s volley from the left-hand side of the box was parried away by Fryatt.
With the score still 1-0 and Gate looking to be tiring, Rovers turned on the pressure and must have thought it wasn’t going to be their day when three chances came and went, thanks to a combination of poor finishing and inspired goalkeeping.
First, Alby Lansdowne had a header tipped over the crossbar from a free kick before Fenny did superbly to claw an outstanding curling effort from Sullivan out of the top corner.
Their best opportunity of the three came, however, when substitute Munday somehow stuck his effort over the crossbar after having an open goal following a Jack Storer effort from outside the box being saved.
Finally, in the 83rd minute, Rovers would find a way past the inspired Highgate ‘keeper. A ball from the right from Junior Smikle evaded the defenders before landing at the feet of Munday, who took a touch before smashing the ball into the bottom corner.
The goal seemed to turn Rovers’ luck around and four minutes later a large slice of fortune would give them the lead. The same combination of Smikle and Munday led to the latter sending a downwards header towards goal, and whilst it was originally parried by Fenny, the covering defender, Andre Gonzales, calamitously put the ball into his own net.
The visitors weren’t giving up, and nearly equalised themselves when Pegg once again found himself free down the left and subsequently forced Fryatt into a brilliant one-handed save.
Ultimately, however, Rovers would wrap up the three points in injury-time as Munday made it nine goals in seven games when he raced through on goal and slotted the ball underneath the body of Fenny, sealing a valuable three points.