Northern Premier League
Worksop Town 3
Grantham Town 1
Grantham pushed in-form Worksop hard for the whole 90 minutes but in the end a combination of good finishing and the benefit of some refereeing decisions gave the home side the three points as the Gingerbreads suffered their third straight loss.
The early exchanges were all action, fast and furious, but neither side gained the upper hand. Jake Scott put a cross too deep for the home side, and Josh Hill headed over the crossbar from a free kick. For the Gingerbreads, Malachi Lavelle-Moore fired his early shot past the top corner of the Worksop goal.
Dan Haystead was the first goalkeeper called into serious action. After 11 minutes, Worksop worked the ball across the Grantham penalty area to give former Gingerbread Conor Higginson the chance to try his luck. Haystead made a good save at the expense of a corner from which Tome Denton headed over the crossbar.
A minute later, Kyle Dixon caused panic in the Worksop defence with a good run that was ended by a foul. Referee Mr McGrath decided it was inched outside the Worksop penalty area and Dixon’s free kick was deflected over the crossbar.
Both goalkeepers had easy shots to gather before Worksop breathed a big sigh of relief on 25 minutes. Lavelle-Moore got on the end of a good cross from Jamie Jackson as Grantham broke quickly. His first shot was tipped on to the crossbar by Jan Budtz. Lavelle-Moore got on to the rebound only to be denied by good work from Scott.
A minute later, the home side were grateful for leniency from Mr McGrath. The Gingerbreads again broke quickly and this time Dixon chased into the area only to be seemingly pushed off the ball by Hill. For what would prove to not be the last time in the game, Mr McGrath saw nothing wrong.
As Worksop moved the ball quickly upfield, a poor back header by Adie Hawes let in Leon Mettam. The league’s leading scorer only had Haystead to beat, but the Gingerbreads’ goalkeeper stood up well and turned his shot round the post. Worksop finished the half stronger and had another good chance just before half time. Hill again got his head to a free kick first but, again, could not find the target.
The opening 10 minutes of the second half proved vital as Worksop started strongly and they took the lead on 55 minutes. The ball was spread wide for Mettam who shot but had his effort blocked. The loose ball ran to Phil Roe who crossed to the far post where Jack Adams hit it first time off Haystead and the post before finding its way into the net.
The home side began to find space on the Grantham right and a crossfield ball to Higginson had Grantham in trouble again a few minutes later. His effort was blocked and Mettam fired over the top as Worksop maintained the pressure.
Pressure down the right flank led to a second goal for the home side on 65 minutes. Mettam took on Ridley inside the Grantham penalty area. He went for the byline and as Ridley stuck a foot out, the Worksop striker went over his leg and was awarded a penalty. Mettam fired the spot kick high into the Grantham net.
The Gingerbreads seemed out of the game but a double substitution and a goal with 17 minutes left changed the complexion of the game. Romaine Graham and Paul Lister came on and the Gingerbreads seemed to get a shot in the arm.
A free kick was whipped into the Worksop penalty area and Lavelle-Moore hooked it towards goal. His effort hit the post, with Budtz beaten, and bounced back off the Worksop goalkeeper and into the net.
Grantham applied pressure but struggled to break down the home defence. On the break, Mettam had another one-on-one with Haystead and, again, the Grantham goalkeeper came out on top.
Five minutes from time, Dixon sent Graham away and the Grantham striker pulled a good cross back into the Worksop penalty area, but there was no-one there to turn it into the net.
With the game already into injury time, Mettam took advantage of another generous decision from Mr McGrath. The striker seemed to push Lister off the ball near the halfway line, but the referee waved play on. Mettam raced away with only Haystead to beat and this time made no mistake to wrap up the game up.
Although Jamie McGhee had a great chance to head a late goal for Grantham, it would only have been as a consolation.
Grantham Town: Haystead, Ridley, Andrews, Meikle, Hawes (Lister, 71), Foster, Dixon, Nwadike (McGhee, 62), G. Smith (Graham, 71), Lavelle-Moore, Jackson. Subs not used: Lewis, Towey. Att: 412.