Gornal Defeated Against Table Toppers
By Ashley Davies
Droitwich Spa go top with victory over Gornal Athletic
With six out Lee Wood was yet again forced to make changes, he even handed out two Gornal Athletic debuts along the way with Jack Malpass and Burt Kalahas starting in Stourport and Myron Wallace on the bench.
Gornal battled well in the early exchanges with Adam Gwilliam doing well in a new look wide role, a performance that would lead him to win man of the match accolade.
Droitwich took the lead after seven minutes, as Ben Tilbury was left alone on the right hand side to take a touch and put the effort into the far corner past the onrushing Ash Green.
12 minutes in it should have been 1-1 with Andy Burgess pulling a shot well wide of the far post after great work from Gwilliam, Store and Jack Malpass with a lovely little backheel.
A minute later potential a Gornal Athletic first as father Adam Kirkby was brought on for injured son Joe Kirkby who joins the ever lengthening injury list with a Hamstring problem.
Ben Store levelled matters just 19 minutes in, his battling qualities and strength getting him in the position to toe poke one past Matt Oliver in the Droitwich sticks at his far post after great work from Jack Malpass.
A minute later Store then had a shot from range held by Oliver as Gornal were finding more joy.
Against the run a little on 35 Droitwich Spa won a penalty taken by Curtis Towney, the left back smashed his penalty over the bar with Ash Greens mind games clearly working.
Green would then make a smart stop as Brad Burgess had a chance from a similar position they scored from earlier but the winger was denied by an Ash Green starfish save.
With five left in the half Droitwich took the lead with an Ash Green clearance falling to the midfielder who passed it to Brad Burgess who made no mistake this time to slot past Green.
Two minutes later Ben Store very nearly benefited from a Goalkeeper and defender mix up with the loose ball jumped on by Oliver just before Store could get in.
Chris Hill then nearly buried Ash Green as the central defender, who'd done well in the new system, tried to divert a cross out for a corner, instead it fired past Green and onto the upright.
That saw Gornal go in a goal down but great battle gave everyone hope for the second half.
Droitwich started the half with a good chance as the forward could only lift his shot wide of the post with Ash Green reacting well and closing the angle for the goal.
Debutant Burt Kalahas had his first Gornal Athletic shot from 20 yards out which went over the crossbar but Gornal were certainly able to cause problems to the Droitwich Spa back four.
Just before the hour mark Andy Burgess was left frustrated by Matt Oliver as Ben Store turned and rolled his strike partner in off a throw in and Burgess bent a shot that was goalbound but the keeper got up and tipped it over for a corner.
Just after the hour a bit of a talking point as Chris Hill was barged into the advertising boards by James Lemon of Droitwich, the ball was going out, a pointless barge that saw Hill go off with a sling and no movement in his shoulder and considerable swelling. Hill joins the injury list that's now longer than Lee Wood's arm. Lemon booked.
Gornal threw plenty at the home side chasing the draw and Oliver came good again for the hosts as Adam Gwilliam put in a great cross which dropped for Burt Kalahas inside the six yard box, the midfielder got a shot off but was saved from point blank range. With the keeper down the rebound dropped for Jack Malpass but he miskicked the bouncing ball.
With 11 left Droitwich Spa hit the bar from the edge of the area. The rebound hitting Ash Green on the back before Scott Glasby managed to clear.
Gornal were showering corners into the Droitwich box but couldn't get the chance to level it as the hosts showed, somewhat, why they have the best defensive record in the division, although Gornal will feel somewhat aggrieved the equaliser never quite materialised.
With just three minutes left James Lemon scored the third as a counter attack saw the winger role a ball across to the top scorer to sidefoot into the empty net.
Haydn Morris would complete the scoring on 90' with goal of the game as the winger struck with great power and accuracy into the bottom corner leaving Ash Green with no chance.
That was that, thanks to Droitwich for the hospitality, we wish them all the best for their season as they top the lot. Gornal drop to 12th and in cup action next week back at Garden Walk against Sutton United of Birmingham AFA in the Birmingham FA Saturday Vase.