Gresley were dealt a damaging defeat in their quest to avoid relegation as Haughmond claimed all three points at the Moat Ground.
Carl Rogers’ half-volley in the 20th minute proved to be the difference between the two sides as Haughmond defended resolutely to claim just their second away league victory of the season.
A giant of a midfielder, Rogers was left unmarked on the edge of the box to fire past Ben Hammerton following a recycled free kick to give Haughmond the lead against the run of play.
Before that, Gresley had been the team on the attack, and they were unlucky not to have opened the scoring just minutes before Haughmond’s opener when Exodus Geohaghon’s header was cleared off the line.
With the Moatmen now behind after dominating the opening 20 minutes, they continued to push for a goal. Haughmond, however, were extremely well-drilled in defence, but Gresley still had their chances to get level before the break.
First, Lucas Harrison nearly scored a contender for goal of the season, as he caught a volley perfectly following a cleared corner, but his shot smacked against the crossbar before flying over. Then, an even better opportunity arose for the home side.
A marauding run down the left hand side by Michael Nelson saw the winger cross into the box. It looked as if it would be comfortable for the defence, but a missed clearance left Joe Haines with free rein of the goal, but the Gresley captain side footed wide with the whole goal to aim at.
With the second half underway, the home side looked more and more frustrated as the game wore on. Haughmond continued to shut down Gresley attacks and limited the Moatmen to virtually nothing in the early stages of the second period.
In fact, the away side could’ve doubled their lead when Hammerton was forced to tip Steve Hole’s free kick away from danger before Dave Easthope toe-poked wide following a squared pass from Scott Ryan.
The introduction of Kyle Parchment and Danny Jones on the hour mark did seem to give Gresley a mini revitalisation in their search for an equaliser. The former of the two nearly struck in the 63rd minute as he brought down Michael Nelson’s clever chipped ball before firing inches wide of the target.
For the most part, however, the Academicals barely let their opponents have a sniff at goal with Sam Jones relatively untested in the second half. A mix of astute defending from Haughmond and panicked attacking from the Moatmen looked like it would see the away side hold on to their 1-0 scoreline.
Yet, there would be one more scare for Haughmond. With the game approaching its final moments, a free kick was swung in, and after a quick scramble in the box, the ball fell to Michael Nelson at the front post. The winger looked as if he would fire in a crucial equaliser, however his effort agonisingly struck the post and was cleared away from danger.
With their last chance going begging, the referee’s whistle condemned Gresley to a first defeat in four games. The Moatmen will now have to wait two weeks before getting back to league action, with a crucial battle with basement side, Selston away from home looming.