This 60th anniversary of Eastwood Town’s foundation is quickly turning into a nightmare.
In the wake of last week’s very public off field fall-outs, many of the players chose to follow the manager out of the club and the Badgers were forced to name a team containing only six players who had been with the club prior to last Wednesday.
New signing Lewis King started in goal but Paris Simmons had to settle for a place on the bench.
Bottom club Kidsgrove couldn’t have got off to a worse start. Despite the match day announcer giving the goal to Kieran Wells, it was right-back Ryan Grocott that chipped his own keeper from outside the box to put the Badgers in front in the first minute.
Things could and should have got a lot better for the Badgers three minutes later when Greg Simmons beat two players, cut inside and with only the keeper to beat fired his shot over the bar.
This let-off inspired the home side and led by former Mansfield player Wayne Corden they started to take control of the game.
Thomas Urwin managed to beat the offside trap but couldn’t control the ball, before Grocott soon made amends for his mistake when his delightful cross was headed home by Matt Haddrell.
King made a good save to deny Cordon at the expense of a corner from which Phil Parkinson should have scored but put his header wide.
As expected, a lot of Eastwood’s play was disjointed and they were contributing to their own downfall. David Leak was called upon to produce a great tackle to deny Haddrell as the big striker was through on goal.
Wayne Corden fired a dangerous free-kick over the bar and Grocott lost his composure to fire over as the home side finished the half strongly.
Kidsgrove went ahead in the 55th minute as the Eastwood defence went AWOL allowing debutant Karl Espley a free header from Corden’s corner.
Two minutes later Haddrell should have put the game to bed but the striker fired over when he really should have scored.
The Badgers started to get their act together and ask questions of the home side.
Striker Tris Whitman, playing a captain’s role, saw his shot blocked, Greg Simmons fired over and Tyrone Kirk’s free-kick was easily saved by Daniel Read.
It was Kidsgrove though that looked the more likely to score and Wayne Johnson went close, heading wide from a corner.
The Badgers rearguard was being over worked and in the 73rd minute Urwin set up first Shane Reany then Thomas Wakefield and finally Reany again, but on each occasion defenders put their bodies in the way to defend their goal.
The Badgers pushed for an equaliser as the game entered the final ten minutes.
Wells was inches from applying a decisive touch to Simmons’ cross and Whitman’s mazy run was blocked inside the box.
However gaps appeared at the back and when Haddrell headed a free-kick back across goal substitute Wakefield was on hand to tap it past King.
With that goal the Badgers wilted and Haddrell should have helped himself to two goals in the dying seconds but was wide of the target on both occasions.
Daniel Read, Ryan Grocott (Shane Reany 55), Paul Taylor, Philip Parkinson, Wayne Johnson (Christopher Smith 87),Andrew Taylor, Kevin Street, Karl Espley, Matt Hardell, Thomas Urwin, Wayne Corden (Thomas Wakefield 70) Subs Elliott Ledwards, Darren Twigg.
Lewis King, Elijah Reid, Joshua Schofield, Tyronne Burton, David Leak, Greg Hawes, Roberto Labbate, Greg Simmons, Kieran Wells, Tris Whitman, Tyrone Kirk (Vijay Selvam 73) Subs Alex Malong, Paris Simmons
Ref Michael Hanley
Best Badger Tris Whitman
Report by Andy Cope