Updated: Dec 27, 2019
Heather St John’s edged a fiery affair, as 10-man Gresley fell to a narrow defeat at St John’s Park.
A superb individual effort from Michael Nelson was not enough as the Moatmen fell to defeat against Heather St John’s on Boxing Day. Strikes from Malachi Farquhasen and Umar Zaman proved to be enough for the home side, their cause strengthened through the late sending off of former-Saint, Jacob Sturgess.
It was an ill-tempered first period at St John’s Park as the affair lived up to its status as a local derby. As both sides settled into the contest, Michael Nelson produced the best opening for either side as his near post effort was parried away by Stuart Parsons.
However, it wasn’t long before the match reached boiling point - Keiron Clarke booked for simulation whilst Adam Skeldon saw yellow for kicking the ball away just 14 minutes in.
It was the home side that had the biggest chance of the first half 20 minutes in. The referee adjudged that Jacob Sturgess had fouled Brett Fellows in the box. Yet, the Moatmen would get away with it, Ben Allsop stretching superbly to deny captain, Dean Morris from the spot.
The joy was short-lived for the away side, as Heather took the lead just moments later. From the resulting corner, Fellows whipped the ball in and Farquhasen managed to hook an effort into the bottom left hand corner - past a stranded Allsop.
Gresley didn’t let the setback down them however, and they continued to fight, Lucas Harrison having a good effort blocked whilst Nelson was inches away from connecting with his head at the back post.
The half ended in an ugly fashion though as Danny Jones was sin-binned for dissent and the managerial dugouts erupted with fury at multiple decisions. Half-time couldn’t come soon enough for either side - the game was close to boiling over.
The home side certainly came out quicker in the second half, extending their lead just four minutes into the period. A pinpoint cross from Morris picked out Zaman who flicked his header superbly past Allsop.
Despite Heather’s two goal advantage, the game had been extremely scrappy with very few chances. Fortunately, the away side found a route back in 16 minutes later, Kyle Parchment’s hold up play allowing Nelson to jinx past his markers before nestling the ball into the bottom right corner.
Gresley’s hope that they would find an equaliser, however, was dented in the 76th minute when Sturgess was given his marching orders for a second bookable offence.
The Moatmen continued to press for the all-important leveller, but eventually could not clinch it, Heather nearly added to the scoreline though when Clarke scuffed his shot into the arms of Allsop and a goal was chalked off for offside.
Following the game there were some rather distasteful scenes as both sides became embroiled in an off-the-pitch incident, which highlighted what was a very fiery affair.
Gresley have a few days off now, next returning on the 4th January where they will travel to Boldmere St Michaels.