GRANTHAM were pushed all the way by an energetic Sheffield side on a windy night in Dronfield. Two second half goals by Gio Carchedi and Ben Saunders gave Grantham all three points, but their hosts had chances to share the spoils.
Division One South
Sheffield FC 1
Grantham Town 2
The early stages of the game developed into a midfield battle. Neither side got to grips with the conditions well until the hosts began to try their luck after 14 minutes. Good work by Jack Smith led to a chance for him that he dragged wide. A minute later, Sheffield took the lead. A long clearance from Sheffield goalkeeper Dan Whatsize cleared the Grantham defence and Joel Purkiss got in to curl a shot past Rob Murray.
Grantham responded well with Gio Carchedi buzzing around in the Sheffield penalty area and almost forcing a mistake from Whatsize. Ben Saunders rose well to meet a corner after 24 minutes, but headed wide of the target.
Play swung from end to end as Sheffield came back at Grantham. Another long ball found Matt Roney, but this time Murray was equal to his shot. The Sheffield captain had another chance a couple of minutes later, but he shot wide.
Grantham went close to an equaliser just before the half hour mark. First Ben Saunders fed Jamie McGhee, but his shot was saved by Whatsize. From the corner, Saunders got highest again but his header came off Sam Saunders and hit the crossbar.
Murray saved well when Sheffield broke quickly shortly before half time as the home side finished the half strongly. Grantham defended corners well to keep them at bay.
The second half was only a few minutes old when Carchedi equalised. Ben Saunders again fed McGhee and he delivered a good cross into the six yard box for Carchedi. The Grantham striker fired past Whatsize to level the game.
Sheffield’s Andrew Gasgoine began to cause Grantham some problems. His direct running took him past midfielders and defenders alike as Grantham struggled to keep him quiet.
He carved through the Grantham defence on 54 minutes and curled a shot past Murray, but off the angle of post and crossbar. When he tried the same again a few minutes later, the Grantham defence stopped his run well. He then got on the end of a cross on 66 minutes, but Murray was well placed to gather his header.
The Gingerbreads gradually got back into the game. On 72 minutes, Ben Saunders won the ball from a free kick and found Rhys Lewis. Lewis shot past the post. Two minutes later, Saunders put Grantham in front. Carchedi’s cross floated over the Sheffield defence to give Saunders a free header into the back of the net from close range.
Late pressure from the home side was repelled by a determined Grantham back line. Gasgoine again caused problems, teeing up Jamie Hadfield, but Grantham eventually cleared their lines.
In injury time, Matt Glass had a great chance to wrap the game up. Played in by Ben Saunders, he only had Whatsize to beat but blazed over the crossbar from six yards out.
Jonah Gosling made a good shooting position for himself deep into stoppage time when he beat Sam Purcicoe, but fortunately for Grantham he could not find the target.
Grantham Town: Murray, Purcicoe, Potts, Asher, Watt, Sucharewycz (Glarvey, 83), Lewis, S. Saunders, McGhee, B. Saunders, Carchedi (Glass, 85). Subs not used: Dyson. Att: 215