Chances go awry as Grantham Town are defeated in first home game against Rainworth

Gingerbreads skipper Ben Saunders (left) had many an opportunity to score at The Meres on Tuesday night. Photo: 670B
Gingerbreads skipper Ben Saunders (left) had many an opportunity to score at The Meres on Tuesday night. Photo: 670B
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Evo-Stik League

Division One South

Grantham Town 0

Rainworth Miners Welfare 1

GRANTHAM Town missed chance after chance and ran out losers in their first home game of the new season on Tuesday night.

The Gingerbreads went behind early in the first half but generally dominated throughout the match. While their defence was questioned at times, the inability to hit the target was Town’s main downfall on the night, squandering countless opportunities to turn the game around.

Grantham’s first move on goal came in the second minute when Sam Purcicoe’s long ball was picked up Jamie McGhee. He put in a good cross from the byline but no Grantham necks were quite long enough to get the slightest of touches required.

Sam Saunders did get a touch to Alistair Asher’s fourth minute 35yd free kick but his effort went over the bar. An even better chance came 10 minutes later. Ben Saunders squared to Rhys Lewis but he managed to drag his shot wide in front of an open target.

Having had chances to be maybe a couple of goals up, Town were punished for their failure to finish in the 17th minute. Former Gingerbread Sean Cann was given far too much room down the left flank and put in a perfect ball for Craig Mitchell who touched it in off the inside of the far post.

McGhee put in a curling cross to Ben Saunders in the 23rd minute, but the Grantham skipper headed over. Cann fired over at the other end two minutes later and Town’s Martin Ball did the same from 25 yards over the Rainworth bar in the 27th minute.

Perhaps frustrated with the missed opportunities, Ben Saunders then tried his luck from long range. His shot stayed on target and forced keeper Gavin Saxby to parry to keep Rainworth in front.

Saxby beat Lewis to Lee Potts’ 35th minute cross, and both Lewis and Ben Saunders were unable to connect their heads with Asher’s free kick a minute later. Saunders was denied a shot in the 40th minute when he was squeezed into submission by Saxby and a Rainworth defender as he closed in on Ball’s pass.

Puricoe’s long, low ball through a gaggle of players almost caught out Saxby early in the second half and at the other end, Joe Ward tried his luck from distance when he spotted Town keeper out of position, but Rob Murray recovered and caught his lobbed effort.

McGhee was pressured to fire his 53rd minute strike over the Rainworth bar and Potts’ slightly wild volley was never going to trouble Saxby five minutes later. Ben Saunders was not far off target with his 62nd minute low drive.

Grantham continued to apply pressure and again Lewis would have only needed the slightest of touches to tuck Potts’ 66th minute cross into the net. Town had the ball in the Rainworth goal three minutes later but Ben Saunders was adjudged offside after he slotted home from his brother Sam’s cross in the 69th minute.

Gingerbreads substitute Rob Norris’s 83rd minute strike was well blocked and both Ben Saunders and Rhys Lewis had shots repelled in quick succession with two minutes remaining.

Mitchell could have wrapped the game up in the final minute but Town were left off a defensive blunder when the Rainworth number 10 fired over an open goal.

Grantham Town: Murray, Purcicoe, Potts, Asher, Ball (Norris, 65), Watt, Lewis, S. Saunders, McGhee, B. Saunders, O’Rafferty. Subs not used: Carchedi, Brindley, Maddison, Glass. Att: 159.