A poor defensive showing saw Frickley Athletic succumb to a 4-2 defeat to Grantham Town in the Evo-Stik Premier League on Monday.
Manager Karl Rose had aimed to stick with the same line-up that drew at Halesowen on Saturday, but the first sign that it was not the Blues’ day came when they were forced into making a late change when Macaulay Parkinson picked up an injury in the warm-up and had to be replaced by Matt Knowles with Lee Stratford coming onto the bench.
But when Frickley took the lead as early as the sixth minute it looked like they were on course for their first win of the season. Gavin Allott’s first goal of the season gave the Blues a flying start as he headed home Ryan Williams’ cross.
But against the run of play Grantham equalised on 18 minutes when Ben Fairclough’s cross was side-footed in by Sam Purcicoe.
Jack Wakefield and Luke Hornsey both shot wide from outside the box before the visitors took a fortunate lead in the 33rd minute when Liam Dickens’ 25 yard free-kick took a deflection off the wall to wrong-foot Ben Simpson and fly into the net.
Frickley started the second half strongly as Allott controlled the ball with his chest 15 yards out before swivelling to shoot just wide.
Wakefield saw his 25-yard free kick easily collected by keeper Jake Turner while seconds later Williams found space on the right of the box to fire in a low shot which Turner touched just past the far post.
Allott then headed just wide from Danny South’s flick on, but hesitancy in the Blues’ defence saw Jack McGovern pick out the run of Alex Simmons who steered the ball past Simpson to put Grantham 3-1 up on 72 minutes.
The Blues scored the best goal of the game to reduce the arrears on 80 minutes when Allott and substitute Brad Riley combined on the edge of the box for Allott to beat Deon Meikle and place the ball past Turner.
Hopes of grabbing a late equaliser were extinguished three minutes later when a poor clearance from Simpson saw the ball headed back forwards for Grantham substitute Jordan Hempenstall to sidestep Simpson and fire into an empty net.
Frickley Athletic: Simpson, Harrision, Knowles, Wakefield (Payne 75), Cyrus, Ible, Hornsey (Riley 62), Young, South (Barnett 81 mins), Allott, Williams.
Matty Young scored a stoppage time equaliser to earn the Blues a point from their trip to Halesowen Town on Saturday.
Young found the net in the second minute of stoppage time when his 30-yard free-kick eluded everyone, including the goalkeeper and found its way into the net.
Frickley were boosted by the return of striker allott while new signing Sanchez Payne was on the bench.
The home side took the lead with their first real chance of the game when Daniel Bragoli headed in at the back post after a corner was flicked on in the 10th minute.
Jack Wakefield’s long throws were causing problems in the Halesowen defence, but it was Wakefield himself who came close to equalising in the 18th minute when his far post header from a Matty Young free-kick was tipped over the bar by Matthew Sargeant.
The resulting corner saw Jameel Ible just fail to make contact with an inviting flag kick from Young.
Macaulay Parkinson saw his 25-yard free kick held at the second attempt by Sargeant before another corner from Young was deflected against the near post with Allott putting the loose ball over.
Isenden Christie broke clear of the Blues defence in the 41st minute, but fired over the bar while at the other end Danny South saw his 20-yard shot deflected wide.
The second half kicked off in heavy rain with the Blues enjoying more of the possession. A long throw from Wakefield led to Luke Hornsey having a goalbound shot deflect off the heels of Ible and clear.
The Blues grabbed their equaliser in the second minute of stoppage time when Young ‘s 30-yard free kick was missed by everyone and sailed past Sargeant into the net.
Frickley Athletic: Simpson, Harrison, Parkinson, Wakefield, Cyrus, Ible, Hornsey (Riley 76), Young, South, Allott, Williams (Payne 56).