Evo-Stik Northern Premier League
Hednesford Town 3
Grantham Town 0
The Gingerbreads recorded their fifth straight defeat in the league against title-chasing Hednesford Town. The home side controlled the game from the moment they went in front in the first half and finished Grantham off with two goals in the opening 10 minutes of the second half.
Hednesford took the game to Grantham from the word go. Elliott Durrell curled a free kick three yards wide in the opening minute, and it only took them six minutes to open the scoring. A throw into the Gingerbreads penalty area was not cleared and Ben Bailey was given room to turn. He fired a shot into the net off the inside of the post.
The home side dominated the game, winning many free headers and troubling the Grantham defence regularly. Jamey Osborne turned Adie Hawes easily after 13 minutes and drove a low cross into the Gingerbreads’ penalty area. Rhys Lewis covered well to clear from Aaron Rey.
Grantham created a chance with the first corner of the game. Nathan Watson and T. J. Nightingale worked together well to turn the home defence and force the flag kick. It dropped to Deon Meikle but he fluffed his shot and the chance was gone.
The home side seemed content to sit deep and break quickly. Midway through the half, Durrell and Neil Harvey combined to lay the ball wide for Nathan Woolfe. He stepped past the challenge from Alistair Asher and drove a fierce shot across the face of Jake Turner’s goal.
Turner reacted quickly when first Meikle, then Emeka Nwadike lost the ball in midfield. The newly signed Grantham goalkeeper was quickly off his line to smother a chance for Durrell.
With Woolfe giving Asher a torrid time on the Grantham right, Hednesford put a lot of crosses into the Gingerbreads’ defence. Woolfe seemed to beat Asher every time he got the ball, but from the best cross, Dave MacPherson headed wide.
Late in the first half, Hednesford had further chances to add to their lead. Darren Campion played in Harvey, who let the ball run for Rey. Good defending by Grantham this time snuffed out the danger. On the cusp of half time, a long punt from Dan Crane found Rey who turned Meikle easily, then shot across the Grantham penalty area.
There was no respite after the break as two goals in the first 10 minutes sealed the game for the home side. Jamie McGhee shot well over the top for Grantham before Rey added a second goal for Hednesford. Woolfe delivered another cross after scampering away from his marker. His cross took a deflection and Turner tried to punch over two players. Rey got a touch and looped in a header.
Woolfe delivered a free kick into the Gingerbreads’ penalty area a few minutes later and Turner was all at sea again; this time his defence rescued him.
But there was no rescue on 55 minutes. Harvey was allowed to turn on the edge of the Grantham six-yard box. His shot hit Tommy Hannigan and looped high in the air. With the Grantham defence watching, the ball dropped just inside the post to give Hednesford a three-goal lead.
Turner worked hard to keep the score at three goals. Grantham’s efforts at breaking down the Hednesford defence all came up short. Either an offside flag, a poor cross, or a pass into space rather than to a red shirt meant Crane had an easy afternoon in the Hednesford goal.
The Gingerbreads did not get a shot on target until the first minute of injury time at the end of the game. Even then, when Lewis and Hannigan flicked on a free kick, Hawes’s shot was weak and went straight to Crane.
Grantham Town: Turner, Asher, Meikle, Hannigan, Hawes, Lewis, Watson (McGhee, 45), Nwadike (Elliott, 76), T. J. Nightingale, MacVicar (Troke, 62), Smith. Subs not used: Maddox, Demidh. Att: 463.