Grantham Town bosses’ final game ends in defeat at Ilkeston

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The last game in charge for Jimmy Albans and Wayne Hallcro ended in disappointment as from a good start, Grantham Town were unable to kick on and allowed Ilkeston to control key periods of the first half.

Evo-Stik Northern Premier League

Premier Division

Ilkeston FC 2

Grantham Town 0

When the Gingerbreads pressed for an equaliser in the second half, they failed to threaten Chris Martin’s goal too often and were caught late on.

In a game with very few chances, Town went close to an early lead after five minutes. Martin Ball fired a low shot in from 35 yards out. Ilkeston goalkeeper Chris Martin spilled the shot but recovered quickly enough to beat Rhys Lewis to the loose ball.

Ilkeston gradually got into the game and had a couple of half chances themselves. Gary Ricketts and Jordan Smith got in each other’s way as they both went for the same free kick, and Deon Meikle did well to block a shot from Jack Watts.

Russell Peel began to cause Grantham some problems midway through the half. He worked well with Steven Smith and Ryan Wilson before delivering a dangerous cross. Jimmy Lindley made a good reaction punch to get the ball clear. When Peel set up Steven Smith a minute later, Phil Watt had to hurry across to cover.

Peel gave Ilkeston the lead on 25 minutes. A free kick from halfway was contested by one Ilkeston forward and two Grantham defenders. As a result, when it dropped nicely for Peel, he was unmarked to steer the ball home.

Although Ilkeston had an amount of possession for the rest of the first half, neither side put pressure on either goalkeeper. Ben Saunders and Watt rolled efforts just past the post, but neither seriously threatened Martin. Ricketts defended well for Ilkeston just before half time. A good delivery on a free kick from Lee Potts was headed over his own crossbar by the Ilkeston striker.

Three minutes after the break another good delivery on a dead ball saw Ben Saunders get up to meet Ball’s free kick, but he headed wide of the target. Ash Robinson shot over the bar as Grantham resorted to long range efforts.

Grantham had the ball in the net after 60 minutes. Good approach play saw Robinson play the ball wide to Grimes. He cut inside and crossed for Ben Saunders. From his header, Rhys Lewis scrambled the ball into the net, but Saunders had been flagged offside.

James Troke came on to make his Grantham debut and looked lively, working a shooting chance that brought a low save from Martin in the Ilkeston goal. Grantham began to press more and more, but the Robins back line proves an obstinate nut for Grantham to crack.

Troke clipped the crossbar with Martin out of his ground five minutes from time. Troke picked up the loose ball after Conor Higginson had been released with only Martin to beat. The Ilkeston goalkeeper came off his line to deny Higginson, but could only watch as the Gingerbreads substitute almost levelled scores.

As the game went into injury time, Grantham laid siege to the Ilkeston goal, but still could not break their resistance. Two minutes into injury time, Ilkeston wrapped the game up. Ricketts headed the ball wide for James Cullingworth. He took the ball to the byline and pulled it back low to the edge of the six-yard box where Ricketts fired home.

Grantham Town: Lindley, McGhee (Purcicoe, 52), Potts, Meikle, Brindley, Watt, Robinson, Ball, Grimes, B. Saunders, (Higginson, 61), Lewis (Troke, 61). Subs not used: S. Saunders, Magee. Att: 427.