REPORT | Widnes 0-1 Kidsgrove Athletic
Four sent off as Widnes beaten at home
Widnes suffered a fourth defeat in five league games on Monday night, losing 1-0 at home to Kidsgrove Athletic in bizarre circumstances, with the Whites reduced to seven-men as four players were sent off.
Pete Williams grabbed an 88th minute winner for Grove after Widnes had already been reduced to nine-men with Jay Roberts and Danny Ventre given their marching orders.
Michael Grogan and skipper Kev Pollard joined them in second half stoppage time as frustration boiled over on a difficult night for Widnes whose slow start to life in the Evo-Stik Division One West goes on.
Joint managers Steve Akrigg and Kev Towey made two changes to the side that were beaten at Colne earlier this month. Roberts returned from a knee injury to replace the injured Mike Burke, while forward Tom Croughan came in for Dale Korie-Butler who dropped to the bench.
Widnes made a positive start and should have taken a first-minute lead as Kidsgrove goalkeeper Dominic Kurasic made a mess of Grogan’s cross, but Ben Hodkinson could only prod over from close-range.
Goalkeeper Richie Mottram was perhaps fortunate not to see red moments later as he handled a through-ball outside his area only to escape with a yellow card.
Both sides struggled on a difficult playing surface at Townfield as rain fell with Williams striking an effort over for Kidsgrove while Towey had a deflected effort sail narrowly over for Widnes.
Croughan, rewarded with a start for his parent club after impressing on dual registration at Rylands, exchanged neat passes with Roberts on the right-flank only for the latter to be flagged offside as he drove into the area.
Widnes custodian Mottram was called into action late in the half, throwing his body at Rhys Thompson’s shot to make a good save before Kidsgrove captain Ant Malbon had the ball in the net but the former Kidderminster Harriers man was correctly flagged offside.
The hosts spurned another good chance to open the scoring inside first half stoppage time, with Hodkinson unable to turn home after Kurasic had a got a glove on Towey’s cross.
Widnes were reduced to 10-men five minutes into the second half. Roberts was shown a straight red card by referee Thomas Elliot for a studs-up challenge on Kidsgrove’s Alex Lingard.
It was a loose, late challenge from the Widnes man who had little complaints as Lingard was stretchered off with suspected knee ligament damage.
The numerical advantage gave Kidsgrove the perfect incentive to pursue a third league win of the season, but Widnes remained positive in their search for crucial points.
However, the hosts were dealt a blow 15 minutes from time as Ventre was sent off for a strong challenge on Kidsgrove substitute Rumineo Valido Barai as the ball behind for a goal-kick. Referee Elliot produced a second red card despite the assistant referee on the far side Daniel Maroney keeping his flag down.
Despite being reduced to nine-men, Widnes came within inches of taking a late lead with substitute Jamie Rainford striking the foot of the post direct from a free-kick with Kurasic well-beaten.
Kidsgrove looked to take advantage of a stretched Widnes side with Williams combining with Barai but Mottram got down well to make a good save.
With their next attack, Kidsgrove took the lead as Mottram made a terrific initial save to deny Chris Budrys but Williams reacted quickest to fire home what proved to be the winner.
A disappointing ended disastrously for Widnes with two further red cards in a lengthy period of stoppage time. Grogan saw red after colliding with Barai before skipper Pollard joined him for an early bath after being dismissed for dissent.
Widnes will be looking to bounce back quickly on Saturday, hosting Glossop North End at Townfield. Kick-off 3pm.