Grove threw away two points as Market Drayton came from two goals behind to salvage a 2-2 draw at the Novus Stadium.
A lacklustre start to the game from both sides meant it took until the 12th minute for the first major chance of the game as Lee Williamson slid in Rumenio from a corner but the wingers left footed shot was slice narrowly wide of the Market Drayton goal.
But Grove did take first blood just six minutes later as top goalscorer Anthony Malbon drove a cross into the Market Drayton penalty area which goalkeeper Ash Rawlins failed to make good contact with leaving Lee Williamson with a free volley on the edge of the area which the midfielder placed sweetly beyond Rawlins to give Grove a 1-0 lead.
The goal sparked a flurry of chances at both ends with Grove almost doubling their lead two minutes later as Alex Morris burst beyond the Drayton right midfielder to launch a counter attack before playing an inch perfect through ball over the defence to striker Chris Budrys who then cut inside the back tracking defender but his shot was driven at the goalkeeper who redeemed himself for his mistake just two minutes earlier.
It was then Market Drayton’s turn to threaten the goal as Charles Knowles broke through on goal, but Grove goalkeeper Dom Kurasik stood tall to keep the attacker at bay before the ball feel between the two for a 50/50 and Kurasik once again was Grove’s hero as he threw himself onto the ball to keep Grove ahead.
But on the 28th minute, just ten minutes after taking the lead Grove doubled their advantage with a perfect free kick as man of the hour Lee Williamson struck the ball beautifully over the wall striking the underside of the crossbar as the Blues took control of the game.
Top scorer turned assister Malbon almost bagged one for himself in the 36th minute as he rose high to meet a Grove corner, but his head agonizingly grazed the crossbar as it went over the goal.
Despite being buoyed by an impressive first half display, the Grove were slow out of the blocks as the visitors halved the deficit in the 52nd minute when Josh Bradburn connected with Kevin Buxton’s inviting cross to stab his low effort past Blues keeper Kurasik despite the best efforts of defender, Rhys Thompson on the line.
With a tireless Market Drayton side pushing for an equaliser, the Grove showed their pace on the counter and nearly regained their two-goal advantage in the 58th minute after a good interchange between Malbon and substitute Jordan Cole left Peter Williams with just Rawlins to beat but his powerful strike was palmed away from danger by the Drayton shot stopper.
Blues frontman Malbon, who remained a nuisance to the Drayton backline throughout saw his long-range attempt fly just shy of the top corner just after the hour mark, clipping the cross bar on its way out as the home side began to reclaim a foothold on what was a cagey affair.
Market Drayton’s increasing pressure paid dividends just sixteen minutes from time as a defensive mix up in the Blues backline allowed winger Charles Knowles to capitalise, dispatching his well taken finish into an empty net past a stranded Kurasik to even the tie up at 2-2 heading into the final exchanges.
The introduction of hot prospect Will Saxon gave the home side a boost late on, but the highly-rated youngster was unable to find the spark Ryan Austin’s men needed as they hoped to snatch all three points at the death.
Jake Twyford’s teasing 89th minute cross found Cole in the area however he could only steer his header in the assured second half hands of Rawlins. Both sides were left to rue missed chances as they were forced to settle for a share of the spoils in a game of contrasting halves.
Talking after the game, manager Ryan Austin said: "I have to question the attitude of the lads in the second half, and this is the first time this season I've had to do that this season. We knew they were going to come out and give us a reaction but we just didn't respond to that and they just outworked us in the second half.
"We know that we have to maintain higher standards throughout the game, the players know that the performance today wasn't good enough but we go into another important cup competition on Saturday and there's places up for grabs"
Grove's next game is on Saturday as we travel to Coleshill Town in the FA Trophy.
Updated 23:49 - 26 Sep 2018 by James Houghton