FULL REPORT: Grantham Town defeated in first game of the season

An open training day will be held for Sleaford Town Junior FC on Saturday, October 22
An open training day will be held for Sleaford Town Junior FC on Saturday, October 22

Northern Premier League

Premier Division

Blyth Spartans 2

Grantham Town 1

Grantham came back from Blyth with nothing as the home side scored goals midway through each half.

The Gingerbreads had first half chances, but failed to take them, and a late Sam Purcicoe goal was not enough to earn a point.

Blyth started well and caused Grantham a number of problems on the left. A series of crosses and free kicks were dealt with well by the Grantham defence. Nathan Buddle and Robbie Dale were off target and Jake Turner was not tested.

Laurie Wilson had a great chance to put Grantham in front after only 10 minutes. He played a good pass to Greg Smith. The Gingerbreads striker laid a nice ball back to Wilson, but his shot lacked power and did not trouble Peter Jeffries in the Blyth goal.

The game was held up for just over 10 minutes for an injury to the referee. Unusually, the junior assistant took over as the senior one did not feel fit enough himself to run the game.

Paul Lister almost beat Jeffries to a loose ball, but on 21 minutes, Grantham found themselves behind. A long free kick was headed on by Robbie Dale for Danny Maguire. He turned sharply and drove a shot past Turner from just inside the corner of the penalty area.

Grantham continued to have the better chances as the half progressed. Smith looped a header just over the crossbar before a goal-line scramble saw Jefferies save Blyth. A near post free kick was almost turned in by Tom Batchelor. The ball squirted across goal to Jack McGovern, but Jeffries got across well to deny the Gingerbreads.

Jordan Hempenstall had chances both sides of the break to level the scores. At the end of the first half, he made space to hit a shot that flew two yards wide. The other side of half time, both goalkeepers made comfortable saves before Hempenstall almost caught Jefferies off his line. A quick clearance from the back followed by an equally quick shot beat Jeffries, but went just wide.

Blyth tightened things up at the back to deny the Gingerbreads many chances and began to make their own. On 62 minutes, Maguire got away from Sam Purcicoe to gather a long clearance. Turner stood up well and denied the Blyth striker.

Seven minutes later, Turner was beaten for the second time. Aaran Wearmouth was held up by Scott Matthews, but turned the ball inside for Paul Robinson who beat Paul Lister and fired home off Phil Watt.

The game threatened to turn ugly with a number of hefty challenges from both sides. The substitute referee came under pressure from the home fans who bayed for a card for every challenge while telling him every decision in Grantham’s favour was wrong.

Wearmouth and Dale both tried their luck, but Turner saved well from Wearmouth, while Dale shot across goal. Turner also comfortably took a shot from Robinson as Blyth looked to kill the game.

The Gingerbreads finished the game strongly. Wilson had two shots blocked before a good move brought Grantham back into the game. Alex Simmons and Smith worked the ball square for Purcicoe. His low drive from the edge of the penalty area gave Jefferies no chance.

Despite their best efforts, Grantham could not break down the home side again. Both sides were fortunate to finish with 11 men as challenges from Watt and Robinson could have seen a red card on another day.

Grantham Town: Turner, Purcicoe, Matthews, Batchelor, Watt, Lister, McGovern (Fairclough, 73), Towey, Hempenstall (Simmons, 70), Smith, Wilson. Subs not used: Johnson, Walker, Zuerner.

Att: 439