• Harry Tizard

Rovers unlucky in defeat as Romulus prevail

Gresley Rovers suffered a frustrating defeat at Romulus in the Midland Premier Division, losing 2-1 at the Castle Vale Stadium.

Despite dominating most of the game, goals from Brett Fellows and Alfie Bloomer gave the home side a comfortable advantage.

A late strike from Paul Sullivan cut the deficit to just one goal, but the Moatmen were unable to muster a comeback and suffered a slender loss.

The win for the home side continued their impressive start to the season, with Romulus suffering just one defeat in their opening ten league games.

Gresley came into the game off the back of a disappointing away defeat to Stourport but did not let the 4-1 loss affect their performance.

Just two minutes in, and Gresley had the opening chance of the game. After a good passing move, a dipping strike from Sullivan was punched away by Stuart Parsons and cleared away for a corner.

Romulus responded with a chance of their own. After the ball was cleared from a corner, a first-time volley from Fellows was angling for the bottom corner before Joe Fryatt palmed the ball away.

They built on their chance, with Alby Lansdowne making up for a poor mistake within a couple of seconds. Originally giving the ball away, the defender’s last-ditch block from a Keiron Clarke shot kept the score level.

A tightly contested midfield affair saw both teams struggle to build clear cut chances in the opening 30 minutes, with ambitious strikes from Joe Haines and David Kolodynski the closest either side came in the remaining minutes of the opening third of the contest.

Intricate passing play between Ashley Brown, Sullivan and Oli Bailey followed, but the ending shot by Sullivan flew well over the bar.

Debutante Bailey came close in the following attack, but his swivelled shot from close range rolled straight into the hands of Parsons.

The attacking dominance from Gresley failed to pay off in the first half, and it was the home side who took the lead against the run of play. After Junior Smikle gave a dubious free-kick away for handball, a fantastic curling shot from Fellows clipped the underside of the bar and went over the line.

Gresley came close to responding with a free-kick of their own in the second half, but the attempt from Lee Butler whistled just over the bar.

The contest was end-to-end, with a fantastic save from Fryatt ensuring the Romulus lead was not doubled. From a tight angle from the right-hand side, Clarke's attempt was tipped just around the far post by the Gresley 'keeper.

The counter almost led to an equalising goal. Sullivan picked up the ball in a similar area to that of Clarke, with his defected shot missing the goal by an inch.

The chance was soon followed up by a long-range drive from Danny Holmes. 25 yards from goal, his shot left the goalkeeper rooted, crashing the bar and flying out for a goal kick.

Romulus always possessed an attacking danger, with Clarke almost ending the game as a contest 15 minutes from time. Reviving the ball in the area, his overhead kick bobbled just past the post.

Up the other end, Gresley came close to an equaliser twice in quick succession. A Smikle header was saved from close range before a volley from Louis Briscoe narrowly avoided the boot of Bailey, who would have had a tap in.

Their lack of a clinical edge proved costly, with Romulus taking a two-goal advantage moments later. Cam Lee latched onto the ball from a free-kick, sliding the ball home. There was some confusion as who had scored but Romulus credited Lee.

Gresley gave themselves a lifeline soon after the restart, with Sullivan smashing the ball into the back of the net, but it proved to be too little too late.

Briscoe came closest to levelling the score, with his effort blundered by goalkeeper Parsons, but the ball rolled just wide. With back-to-back losses, Gresley have dropped to sixth.

However, with an encouraging performance against Romulus, the Moatmen will have confidence going into their FA Vase match against Congleton Town.

Cover photo by Mick Haynes