Northern Premier League
Grantham Town 3
Stocksbridge Park Steels 2
Grantham Town triumphed in what turned out to be something of a suspenseful match, having gone a goal down early on.
A frantic start to the game saw the Gingerbreads under the cosh as the visitors searched in earnest for the opener. Sustained pressure paid off in the eighth minute when William Senior fired in between post and Town keeper Dan Haystead.
Seemingly satisfied with having gone in front, the pressure from Stocksbridge relented and allowed Grantham to gradually gain some composure and get back into the game.
Having tightened up in all areas, the Gingerbreads levelled in the 31st minute when Greg Smith headed in from a Nathan Watson through-ball.
With confidence restored, Grantham put together some neat, one-touch passing football to instil some hope into the modest Meres home support.
Watson forced a full-stretch diving fingertip save from Steels keeper Jack Ward five minutes after the break and, two minutes later, impressive new attacking midfielder Ash Burbeary threaded his way through the visitors’ defence, only to have his shot saved.
The Gingerbreads went in front in the 54th minute when Watson ran from midfield and unleashed an unstopped drive into the Stocksbridge net.
Watson, Gary King, Burbeary, Greg Smith and Michael Towey had further chances to extend Town’s lead, however, against the run of play Stocksbridge countered and a defensive mix-up allowed Danny South to knock the ball into an empty net for the equaliser in the 77th minute.
With parity restored, the visitors had their tails up once again but Grantham knocked the wind out of their sails on 80 minutes when, also against the run of play, Greg Smith found space to cheekily lob Ward and put his side back in front.
Both sides had further opportunities in the final 10 minutes, including Greg Smith’s chance of a hat trick denied by the Stocksbridge stopper.
Town subsitute Romaine Graham could have put the icing on the cake for the Gingerbreads when he broke free deep into injury time but, held back by a defender, he could only dribble the ball straight to Ward before referee Mr Hopton blew the final whistle.
Grantham Town: Haystead, Purcicoe, Ridley, Meikle, Lister, Towey, Burbeary, Emeka Nwadike (c), G. Smith, King (Graham, 86), Watson (Lewis, 82). Subs not used: K. Smith, Keane, Pilierio. Att: 94.