Eastwood Town’s hopes of a good cup run ended at the first qualifying round stage on Saturday as Gresley won by the odd goal in five at The Moat Ground.
The Badgers contrived their own downfall with a performance littered with mistakes and they were rightly punished by a lively Gresley side.
Gresley included their ex-Eastwood contingent in the form of striker Dean Oliver and full-back Mitch Hanson, however Eastwood’s ex-Gresley players were both sidelined, Richard Hanslow having played in Gresley’s first round victory at Kettering and Carl Slater still recovering from injury.
The home side started brightly and at pace with Oliver firing wide and James Jepson over before Oliver opened the scoring in the fifth minute when he netted a rebound after Kieran O’Connell’s shot was parried by keeper Alex Malong.
Gresley pressed for a second with Eastwood’s only foray into the opposition’s half being Kieran Wells’ shot from the edge of the box that failed to trouble Ross Etheridge in goal.
However the Badgers did break through against the run of play in the 16th minute when Rich Whyman played a delightfully-weighted ball through to Greg Simmons who finished well.
Back came Gresley and Marc Goodfellow saw two efforts go close, but the Badgers enjoyed the lion’s share of the play during the final 15 minutes of the first-half with Brad Munn and Simmons guilty of some wayward shooting.
Had Wells’ glancing header not been touched onto the post by Etheridge the result might have been different.
However, all optimism built up amongst the Badgers fans at the half-time interval quickly disappeared as Oliver, twice, and Lucas Harrison both nearly scored for Gresley early in the second-half.
The second goal came when the ball pinged around the Eastwood box and Goodfellow was allowed far too much time to volley Gresley in front.
Goodfellow almost added a third when he robbed Tyrone Burton just outside the area and his shot cleared the bar, but there was no such let off in the next attack when sub Russell Peel brought down O’Connell in the area after the winger had gone around the Badgers keeper. Goodfellow scored with confidence from the spot.
Gresley had several good chances to increase their lead but when Tris Whitman replaced Burton the Badgers started to get a foothold in the game.
Wells had a header saved, Whyman shot just wide from Tyrone Kirk’s cross and when Whitman sent over a superb cross to Kirk his first time shot beat Ross Etheridge with nine minutes to go.
Whitman saw a late shot saved as the Badgers sought to earn a replay, but it wasn’t to be and Gresley progressed.
Saturday, September 14, 2013:
Gresley: 1 Ross Etheridge 2 Mitch Hanson (Matt Roome 58) 3 Lucas Harrison 4 Marc Strzyzewski 5 John Guy 6 Eric Graves 7 Kieran O’Connell 8 James Jepson (Sam Grice 61) 9 Dean Oliver 10 Rob Spencer (Danny Holmes 42) 11 Marc Goodfellow. Subs not used: Charles Wilson, Micky Lyons, Harry Austin, Gary Hateley
Eastwood: 1 Alex Malong 2 Tyrone Burton (Tris Whitman 66) 3 Paul Riley 4 Gavin Hurren 5 Sam Craven 6 Rich Whyman 7 Tyrone Kirk 8 Ben Gowing (Russell Peel 46) 9 Kieran Wells 10 Greg Simmons (Liam Garner 58) 11 Brad Munn. Subs not used: Jevon Seaton, Josh Raven, Dan Dobbie, Chris Shaw. Att: 300 Ref: Alan Hull Best Badger: Kieran Wells
Report by Andy Cope