Burgess Penalty Completes Comeback as Gornal do Dudley Double
By Ashley Davies
Nathan Griffiths brace and a late Andy Burgess penalty stole the headlines as Gornal Athletic showed their heart to get victory.
Bonfire weekend upon us and there was a superb display in Dudley from Gornal Athletic in a game that had plenty of fireworks in.
Ash Causers first league away game in charge and keen for a response got one with a couple of changes of roles and a game plan to frustrated the home side who were previously unbeaten at their fortress since Gornal last went there and won 2-1 last season!
The difficulty of the task was never in doubt with Dudley sat third and having lost just once all season, at Garden Walk in a 3-0 loss to Gornal on bank holiday Monday, their run since then has put them right in the promotion shake up.
The game started really well for Gornal who battled superbly throughout, Mikey Bridges forced a low save from Keelan Monger before TJ Munthali had a shot from the edge drop wide, just couldn't get the ball out his feet.
Team Dudley left back Nathan Jones was next to have a chance, playing a one two with Alex Pinches his left footed effort went across Joe Collingridge and wide of the far post.
The battle was definitely there from Gornal early on, really trying to stop Team Dudley enjoying too much time on the ball but the efforts were knocked back as sixteen minutes into the fixture the opening goal arrived for Team Dudley as Callum Swain bent a shot from 20 yards into the top corner, nothing young Joe Collingridge could do a great finish from the Team Dudley 10.
The reaction from The Peacocks was a very positive one as Mike Bridges had a shot blocked, when maybe a pass to Andy Burgess, who was challenging for everything up top, was a better option. Bridges then had a shot from distance that flew over the goal.
Jack Latham then caused havoc in the area as a free kick he sent in dropped eight yards out as Team Dudley captain Liam Smith missed his header, Burgess and Richard Langford couldn't quite get the touch as Monger gladly jumped on the loose ball.
27 in and Team Dudley should've been level as their top scorer Tyrone Clarke was handed a free header inside the box but he sent it down and wide of the post, straight up the other end Gornal went and Mike Bridges showed Marc Lawrence a clean pair of heels to get in but his shot was too weak and sfraught at Monger, Gornal were creating chances and showing they would be no pushover with Ash Causer rallying his troops at every opportunity.
29 played and it was 2-0 as a shot was blocked from Gornal Athletic, the spinning ball was spilt by Joe Collingridge under pressure from Tyrone Clarke, the loose ball then fell to Team Dudley's Romanian winger Vladut Lungu who rolled home the shot to put the home side 2-0 up and last week this is where Gornal lost their heart, not this week!
Four minutes later and Gornal were right back in the game as Nathan Griffiths scored his first Gornal goal. TJ Munthali who's energy and quick feet were a huge positive to everything Gornal did throughout the afternoon saw his shot pushed out to Griffiths who kept his cool to tap in the rebound from a tight angle.
Alex Harvey-Beach was growing into the game for Gornal and with winger Vladut Lungu not tracking the full back Alex had free roam to join attacks and he did with two huge drives, the first saw a shot come cross go right across the Dudley goal. The second was an on target shot blocked by the Dudley defence.
Just before the break Gornal were level, Mikey Bridges showed great awareness and composure to drive forward and then play a cross field ball to the onrunning Nathan Griffiths whose early low shot across Monger nestled perfectly inside the far post with the Dudley backline unable to get back and clear the effort.
The second half started very much as the first had gone, Gornal weren't sitting back and absorbing this game, Nathan Griffiths, a thorn in the Dudley team all day, saw an ambitious half volley fall wide of the far hand post.
Mike Bridges then had a shot deflected and held by Monger.
Marc Lawrence was driving forward for Dudley from right back with Bridges unable to keep up, he had a shot at the near post that was well blocked by Collingridge, he then got on the free ball before Tyrone Clarke and won the free kick for Gornal.
Chris Hill at the back had been superb, blocks and winners everywhere and his efforts weren't unnoticed as Jack Bailey from Team Dudley looked to have a free shot 16 yards out but Hill launched himself in the way of the shot from the former Stourport Swifts player.
Joe Drake Cervantes was calm in possession throughout and had an effort from distance bend wide of the post.
Team Dudley then started to control the tempo a little more as Alex Pinches had a shot from 30 yards fly over the bar but Gornal were dropping a little and the earlier pressure was a little later.
Marc Lawrence then sent in a long throw that bounced four yards out and on the turn Jack Bailey hooked a shot over the bar from such close range the home side would've been disappointed not to retake the lead from that position.
Team Dudley started throwing a few more men forward as they searched for the winner but Gornal were holding strong and denying clear chances to their hosts the effort put in from every Gornal player was stopping Dudley get their opportunity who gradually got a little slower on the ball and balls behind Gornal were often over hit and that man Chris Hill next to captain Richard Langford would shield the ball out or home for Joe Collingridge, between them they dealt with every situation really well, Langford presence at the back a huge help with experience that is invaluable at any level of the game.
As Team Dudley threw men forward Joe Collingridge came up with the goods as an Alex Pinches free kick was into a dangerous area but the keeper came, jumped and held the ball at a key moment.
A minute later Gornal won the penalty to win the game. A free kick put into the area and captain v captain came about as Richard Langford was running into the danger zone Team Dudley captain Liam Smith had a moment of madness and took the legs of his counter part, the rreferee couldn't and didn't miss it and pointed to the spot.
Andy Burgess stepped up and made absolutely no mistake driving the ball past Monger low, hard, emphatic. A deserved goal for Burgess who, alone up top gave Smith and Mantom not a moments piece.
Now came the Dudley kitchen sink, Gornal were industrious throughout and Reece Dabbs efforts weren't unnoticed chasing everything and cutting off the simple pass at every available opportunity, Dabbs really did set the tone for this Gornal performance, he had a late shot fly wide of the post in added time
A late, late free kick for Dudley was awarded and Nathan Jones stood over it his left foot got it over the wall but Joe Collingridge pushed it wide and around the post superbly. The resulting corner saw Team Dudley was a huge chance as Marc Lawrence had a shot blocked, the loose ball saw a shot blocked on the line and the rebound was headed over from Lawrence from eight yards.
That brought up the full time whistle and huge, huge result for Gornal.
Credit to the boys in yellow and green who never stopped working but also showed some real moments of quality on the ball. Not the perfect performance but the will to win and desire to battle for each other got the three points in the end.