Walsall Wood 1-2 Gresley Rovers

Rovers scored a dramatic late winner to snatch all three points in an entertaining affair at Walsall Wood.

Paul Sullivan’s early strike had meant Gresley had led for the majority of the contest, until it looked as if they would have to settle for a draw when substitute, John Atherton equalised.

Yet, Rovers would walk away with all three points when Danny Munday tapped home from yards out to win the game, silencing the rambunctious home support.

Gresley started the game with a lot of ambition, and had a couple of early opportunities. The hard-working Danny Munday was at the heart of it, as he steered a header wide, before his shot was blocked from close range by James Wren - with Kolodynski firing over on the rebound.

The away side would eventually get the goal that their dominance deserved when Mitchell’s squared ball was met by Munday. The striker’s effort, however, was well saved by Wren, and on the follow-up Sullivan did superbly to hook the ball into the bottom left corner.

Having hit the front, Rovers decided to be more conservative in their approach, and they did a good job in not allowing Wood the space they craved, whilst still posing a threat on the counter attack.

Wood’s best chance of the opening period came when Jazz Luckie came inches away from heading into an empty net, only to be denied by Joe Haines who did brilliantly to intervene at the final second.

Despite not creating much following the goal, Gresley had done superbly in restricting Wood to relative half chances, and their fast start had rewarded them with the lead.

In the second half, a similar pattern emerged as Gresley sat in and denied the home side any space to launch a threatening attack. However, Wood would be presented a glittering opportunity to equalise in the 50th minute.

Jazz Luckie managed to outmuscle Mason Frizelle as he ran onto a long ball which had evaded the centre-half. The striker’s effort, however, trickled agonisingly wide.

With the home side throwing more and more bodies forward, Rovers were managing to fashion out chances on the counter attack, and really should have put the game to bed.

Louis Briscoe was the first to try as he squirmed away from the attention of Dominic Perkins, before warming the hands of Wren with his effort. It was too close to the goalkeeper to seriously trouble him, however.

The away side’s big chance to seal all three points fell to Munday. A lackadaisical touch out of defence saw Munday nip in and win possession. After regaining his balance, he went for the chip over Wren, and despite getting it out of the goalkeeper’s reach, his shot was wide of the target.

You felt Rovers would rue the miss and after not punishing Wood’s defensive mis-step, the home side would emphatically punish Gresley’s first defensive mishap of the game.

A cross field ball down the left-hand side was misjudged by Junior Smikle, and the substitute, John Atherton was quick to react, stealing in and finishing confidently past Joe Fryatt.

With ten minutes to go, and Rovers looking a little tired, Wood looked the side more likely to grab the winner. Rahiem Faulder had a shot sting the palms of Fryatt, before Mitchell Tolley sent a curling effort over the crossbar.

Deep into injury time, however, Rovers would deliver a sucker punch. A loss of concentration in defence saw the Wood defender let the ball run under his foot - allowing substitute, Louis Briscoe to run free down the left side.

The striker took the ball to the byline and squared the ball across the face - straight to Munday, whose persistence and graft paid off as he got on the end of it and tapped into an empty net.

With back-to-back victories secured for the first time in two seasons, Rovers will look to continue their good patch of form when they welcome Long Eaton United to the Moat next Saturday.

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