Northern Premier League
Grantham Town 0
Coalville Town 1
Grantham Town were undone by a single late goal again, after dominating offensively throughout against the lowly Ravens.
It was a fairly frenetic start to the match at a muggy Meres on Tuesday night and an early cross-cum-shot from Coalville’s Tom McGlinchey surely had a few home fans’ hearts in mouths.
The Gingerbreads’ first goalscoring opportunity came in the seventh minute when Lee Shaw turned in the box and fired on target, but goalkeeper Matthew Coton caught the ball easily enough. Jordan Hempenstall’s acrobatic bicycle kick a minute later went wide of the far post.
Hempenstall and Lee Shaw combined in a 16th minute move, with the latter’s run in on goal only foiled by Coton who smothered the ball at the edge of the penalty area before Shaw could finish.
Shaw had the ball in the net a minute later but he was clearly offside, as indicated by the referee’s assistant.
In a rare forward move on 20 minutes, Coalville’s Jermaine Hollis lifted a sitter over the Grantham crossbar.
Grantham goalie Kieran Preston brought former Gingerbread Massiah McDonald down on the edge of the box two minutes later and referee Mr Chester pointed straight to the spot – but luckily kept his red card in his pocket.
Preston went from zero to hero when he saved Nathan Watson’s spot kick with an impressive diving catch.
Hempenstall forced another couple of saves from Coton as Grantham continued to have the more chances, although the Ravens always looked dangerous on the break.
The second half followed a similar pattern, with Preston making another miraculous save to block the always dangerous Alex Dean’s close range header in the 49th minute.
The Gingerbreads’ 53rd minute appeal for what looked to be a stonewall penalty was waved away after Coton brought Lee Shaw down in the box.
Yet another foul on Shaw, this time by Ravens skipper Lee Cox, resulted in a 25-yard free kick which Hempenstall sent sailing way over the bar.
Shaw beat keeper Coton in the 62nd minute but had his close range shot cleared off the goal line by a Coalville defender.
Grantham had further chances through substitute Luke Shaw and Hempenstall again, but both went just off target.
The Gingerbreads had a let-off in the 76th minute when Hollis somehow fired over a sitter from inside the 18 yard box.
Lee Shaw was denied again by a good stop and Curtis Burrows struck the far post in the 83rd minute.
Grantham had the ball in the Coalville net a second time five minutes later, this time through Hempenstall, but once again the linesman’s flag was already raised.
With the game looking like ending in a goalless draw, the Gingerbreads were caught out in the 89th minute. In something of a scramble, Grantham cleared one shot off the line, followed by a superb one-handed save by Preston, but the loose ball fell to McDonald who made no mistake from spitting distance.
The Gingerbreads had one final chance to redeem a share of the spoils in the fourth minute of added time, but sub Jack McMenemy fired over the bar with his left boot.
Grantham Town: Preston, Purcicoe (Luke Shaw 57), Luto, Baker, Lewis, Everington (McMenemy 93), Meadows, Wright, Hempenstall, Lee Shaw, Burrows. Subs not used: Dasaolu, Thompson, Curtis. Att: 242.