Northern Premier League
Stocksbridge Park Steels 4
Grantham Town 3
Grantham Town headed home defeated after Stocksbridge avenged the Gingerbreads’ home victory back in September.
Poor defending in the opening 20 minutes put Grantham on the back foot for the rest of the game. Despite getting themselves back into the match from two goals down twice, the Gingerbreads could not draw level with their hosts.
A bright start from the hosts forced the first error on eight minutes and saw Stocksbridge take the lead. Adie Hawes came to win a header and missed it, allowing Danny South in behind him. South fed Nathan Joynes and although Sam Purcicoe did well to cover and block Joynes, that left Stephen Hoyle unmarked to fire in the loose ball.
Five minutes later, more loose defending from Grantham led to a second Stocksbridge goal. This time South held the ball up on the edge of the Grantham penalty area and laid off a pass to an unmarked Will Senior who fired an effort past Jake Turner with the outside of his boot.
The Gingerbreads were shell shocked and went further behind on 21 minutes. Turner made a good save when Brett Bowden-Lovell got on the end of a bouncing ball inside the Grantham penalty area. Turner flipped his effort over the crossbar from close range. The corner was delivered in to the near post and flicked off Purcicoe’s head into the far corner of the net to give Stocksbridge a three goal lead.
Greg Smith got Grantham back into the game with two goals in five minutes. His first came when Michael Towey put a ball into the danger area on 29 minutes. Stocksbridge goalkeeper Jack Ward was beaten to it by Smith who nodded the ball into the net.
Five minutes later, another header by Smith gave Grantham a chance. The cross this time came from the other side. Jack Andrews’ perfect delivery went to an unmarked Smith who looped his header over Ward.
Only a good challenge from Nicholas Swirad denied Ash Burbeary after Smith put him in and Towey fired an effort that rose over the crossbar as Grantham pressed for an equaliser. The home side bounced back with two late efforts but neither Senior nor Joynes hit the target.
There was no such mistake from South five minutes into the second half. He controlled a ball into the edge of the Grantham penalty area. Although it seemed to bounce off his hand, referee Mr Smith did not see anything and South turned and fired in a good shot to restore the home side’s two goal advantage.
That did not last too long as Towey pulled Grantham back into contention five minutes later. He picked up the ball in midfield and drove past a couple of tackles before he let fly past Ward for Grantham’s third goal.
The Gingerbreads piled on the pressure with three attacking substitutions, but Stocksbridge covered deep and frustrated the visitors. Ben Fairclough and Gary King moved the ball quickly to create a scoring chance for Burbeary, but from 20 yards out, his shot was gathered by Ward at the second attempt.
A series of crosses were either too easy for the Stocksbridge goalkeeper, or inches away from their target as Grantham looked for a way through.
Inevitably, as Grantham pushed forward, gaps opened up at the back and Stocksbridge almost capitalised late on. Turner had to work hard to keep out a shot from Joynes, then South had a good chance but missed the target.
Grantham Town: Turner, Purcicoe, Andrews, Miller, Hawes, Towey, Burbeary, Nwadike (Graham, 73), Smith, Jackson (King, 55), McGhee (Fairclough, 68). Subs not used: Lewis, Meikle. Att: 134.