GRANTHAM took a three goal lead on the stroke of half time and never looked back. The Gingerbreads gave their visitors no way back into the game and could have won by a bigger margin.
Division One South
Grantham Town 4
The Gingerbreads fashioned the only early chance when Matt Glass found Gio Carchedi, but his effort was blocked by the Stamford defence. The two sides probed at each other’s defences with little effect until 15 minutes were gone. Then Jamie Clarke went close for Stamford with a speculative effort from inside his own half. Spotting Grantham goalkeeper Rob Murray off his line, Clarke let fly but was a couple of yards over the crossbar with his shot.
Two minutes later, Grantham had the lead. Ben Saunders won a header on the edge of the Stamford penalty area. His knock on was picked up by Glass and touched for Rhys Lewis. He hit a spectacular volley from 12 yards out that didn’t give Chris Wright in the Stamford goal any chance.
Former Gingerbread Adam Millson got into the action midway through the half. He made a very good block to deny Lewis a shot at goal after good work from Sam Saunders and Lee Potts. He was then involved at the other end, almost getting on the end of a good cross from Clarke, but Alistair Asher was in the right place to clear the danger.
Just before the half hour mark, Grantham extended their lead. Potts again caused problems on the left for the Stamford defence. He twisted and turned before driving in a cross which hit Stamford captain Miles Chamberlain on the arm. Referee Mr Atkin pointed straight to the spot. Glass calmly stroked the ball into the corner of the net while Wright dived the other way.
Ryan Oliver and Ben Sedgemore both tried their luck for Stamford without really stretching Murray. Seven minutes from time, Wright made a good save from Ben Saunders. Saunders met a quick free kick from Potts well, but his volley was grabbed by the Stamford goalkeeper.
The Gingerbreads were well and truly on top of the game as the first half drew to a close. Potts’ cross five minutes before the break begged to be converted, but none of Ben Saunders, Sam Purcicoe or Lewis could get a shot off. Saunders had another effort go well wide before Lewis made it three for Grantham in first half injury time. Carchedi beat the Stamford defence and delivered a cross that wasn’t properly cleared. When Purcicoe retuned the ball into the danger zone, Lewis swept it home from six yards out.
After the break, Grantham took the game to Stamford and forced three corners in the first five minutes. Glass had a shot deflected wide and Potts arrived late at the far post to meet Ben Saunders’ cross, but also shot wide. On 53 minutes, Matt Millns went close to a fourth goal for Grantham. Asher’s free kick deceived Wright who came but got nowhere near the ball. Millns’ header was agonisingly just wide of the post.
In a rare attack from Stamford, Clarke was just beaten to the ball by Murray right on the edge of his penalty area. Grantham roared back and another quick free kick almost caught Stamford out. Lewis nearly got on the end of a great delivery, but the Stamford defence just got the ball away. Millns powered a header into the Stamford net on 57 minutes, but Mr Atkin had already blown his whistle for a foul.
There was no let up as Grantham looked to kill the game off. On 62 minutes, Potts and Carchedi kept the ball moving and Potts crossed for Purcicoe. His shot crashed back off the Stamford crossbar and dropped to Glass. Wright recovered enough to save from the Grantham forward.
Two goals in three minutes wrapped up the scoring. The Gingerbreads finally got their fourth goal on 72 minutes. A corner from the Grantham left was flicked on by Lewis at the near post. It his Chamberlain, came off the bar and landed over the Stamford goal line. Three minutes later, Nathan Adams got a consolation goal for the visitors. Tony Battersby flicked the ball on for him and he rounded Murray before retaining his composure to shoot past Millns on the line.
Inside the last ten minutes, Ben Saunders brought a save from Wright when he fired a shot from 30 yards out low at the Stamford goal. Wright was bravely at the feet of Potts when he got on the end of a cross from Purcicoe. Stamford didn’t give up and in the last minute, Grantham gave too much room to Adams, but he shot wide.
Grantham Town: Murray, Purcicoe, Potts (Kirton, 89), Asher, Millns, Watt, Lewis, S. Saunders, Glass, B. Saunders (O’Rafferty, 83), Carchedi (McGhee, 69). Subs not used: Hallcro, Rhule. Att: 215.