Division One South
Carlton Town 2
Grantham Town 2
GRANTHAM continued their good form against top of the table sides, coming from behind twice to earn a point against the league’s top scorers Carlton Town.
The home side started brightly and put Grantham under pressure in the opening minutes. They forced two early corners which the Gingerbreads defended well. Having weathered the early storm, Grantham began to play the better football. They broke quickly from a Carlton corner and Matt Glass gave Sam Purcicoe room to cross, but Jermain Hollis cleared his effort.
A quick free kick almost caught the home side out a few minutes later. Alistair Asher chased the ball down and pulled it back for Ben Saunders. Carlton goalkeeper Neil West was quickly off his line to make a brave stop.
Antwon Bonnick had a good shooting chance for Carlton on 19 minutes, but blazed well wide before Grantham almost took the lead on 21 minutes. A poor clearance from West fell to Gio Carchedi with the Carlton goalkeeper out of position. Carchedi curled an effort round him, but it hit the outside of the post and ran away from goal.
Ben Saunders caused problems for the home defence all night. He brought a good save from West, then beat the home side’s goalkeeper on 31 minutes, only to see the goal wiped out. Saunders crashed home a header from Carchedi’s corner, but a push elsewhere in the Carlton penalty area led to referee Mr Carratt ruling the effort out.
Two minutes before half time, Carlton took the lead with virtually their first effort on target. Sam Saunders lost the ball on halfway and it was quickly moved to Neil Grayson. From the edge of the Grantham penalty area, he placed his shot over Rob Murray into the corner of the net.
The second half started in the same vein as the first. Carlton had an early spell of pressure and could have extended their lead. Murray made a good low save to deny Ricky Gardner in the second minute of the half. Two minutes later, Grayson had a good chance, but dragged his shot wide.
Ben Saunders had another powerful header cleared off the line before he equalised for Grantham on 61 minutes. Matt Millns played the ball wide to Saunders. His cross/shot from wide on the right cleared West and went in off the far post.
Bonnick was fortunate to stay on the pitch on 63 minutes. A clear stamp on Rhys Lewis only brought a yellow card from Mr Carratt. Albans was sent to the stand for his reactions to the referee’s decision.
Another official’s decision stopped a good Gingerbreads move on 75 minutes. Carchedi, Lee Potts and Glass combined well on the left. Glass shot just wide, but an offside flag pulled the game back.
Eleven minutes from time, another mistake from Grantham led to a second lead for Carlton. Phil Watt missed a seemingly easy clearance just inside the Grantham half. Bonnick ran on and squared the ball to Terry Hawkridge. He squeezed his shot past Murray into the net.
Three minutes later, Grantham were level. Ben Saunders’ header fell to Carchedi and he curled a shot into the top corner.
The home side were reduced to 10 men six minutes from time when Deon Meikle was sent off for a second yellow card after another heavy challenge. Both sides had late chances, but had to settle for a point each.
Grantham Town: Murray, Purcicoe, Potts, Asher, Millns, Watt, Lewis, S. Saunders, Glass (McGhee, 81), B. Saunders, Carchedi. Subs not used: Kirton, O’Rafferty, Hallcro, Rhule. Att: 124.