Evo-Stik Northern Premier League
Division One South
Belper Town 0
Grantham Town 3
GRANTHAM Town cruised to all three points as Belper put up very little resistance. Three first half goals were sufficient to see a win for the Gingerbreads.
Despite a half time double substitution, Belper hardly threatened Grantham keeper Rob Murray all afternoon.
Grantham almost took the lead in the opening few minutes. Tris Whitman put a dangerous cross into the Belper 6yd box after two minutes. Lee Potts challenged Belper goalkeeper Tom Turner and the ball fell to Rhys Lewis from only a couple of yards out, but good pressure from the home defence forced him to snatch at the chance and hit the crossbar.
A couple of minutes later, from a corner on the left, Phil Watt stooped to head for goal at the near post. His effort ricocheted off players and was cleared.
Belper offered a threat from a couple of early free kicks. A good far post delivery from Aaron Pride cased Grantham problems, but the Gingerbreads cleared their lines. A minute later, another free kick saw Jon Froggatt head the ball back into the danger zone and Ben Spargo challenged with Murray and bundled the ball over the line. Referee Mr Benton spotted a foul on the Grantham goalkeeper and disallowed the goal.
The Gingerbreads gradually turned up the heat on Belper as they took control of the game. Potts and Whitman combined again and Whitman flashed a ball across the Belper 6yd line where Jamie McGhee was inches away from turning it in the net.
Grantham took the lead on 24 minutes when McGhee crossed form the right. His cross was allowed to bounce inside the Belper penalty area and Gio Carchedi nipped in ahead of Turner to poke the ball in with just enough pace to beat a desperate lunge from Richard Adams.
Another corner from Grantham caused Belper more moments of worry as a poor punch from Turner fell to Sam Saunders. His shot was cleared straight up in the air and the home side only just cleared their lines.
The second goal from Grantham came seven minutes before the break. McGhee jinked past two defenders but was caught as he went past Belper’s Damien Magee. Mr Benton pointed straight to the spot and Potts drove the penalty low into the corner of the net.
Turner rescued some of his earlier blushes with a fine save four minutes before the break. Lewis played a square ball for McGhee who slipped a pass through the Belper defence for Carchedi. His shot was turned round the post by Turner.
Belper tried to break Grantham down by playing four up front but the Gingerbreads comfortably dealt with anything the home side could throw at them. Potts was often left free by the home side and that allowed him to arrive late and unmarked at the far post in first half injury time to head past Turner and give Grantham a three goal lead.
Tommy Taylor made two half time changes to his Belper side to try and get something out of the match. Although the home side were a bit tighter at the back, it made little difference up front as the Gingerbreads back line contained the Belper forwards with ease. Adams surprised the Grantham defence with a run from deep on 55 minutes, but Carchedi tracked back to snuff out the danger.
After sitting comfortably for the opening quarter of an hour, Grantham upped the pace after an hour. Desperate Belper defending prevented the home side falling further behind. A goalbound effort from Carchedi was blocked, then further efforts from Whitman and Sam Purcicoe were also blocked by bodies thrown in front of the ball. Alan O’Hare nicked the ball off Lewis’ toe when it seemed the Grantham midfielder would score as he collected Phil Watt’s header.
The game was over as a contest when Belper’s third substitute Jamie Smith hobbled off the field two minutes after he came on. His only contribution had been to concede a free kick, the tackle forcing him to limp off for the dressing room.
Hallcro and Albans made a triple substitution with 18 minutes to go and although most of the play was in the home side’s half, Belper defended far better than they had earlier in the game.
Ben Saunders went closest for Grantham when got on the end of a corner at the far post five minutes from time. He was unlucky to see his header roll along the Belper crossbar and be cleared when it dropped. In the last minute, Norris flashed a shot over the crossbar, by which time Belper were well beaten.
Grantham Town: Murray, Purcicoe, Potts, Brindley, S. Saunders, Watt, Lewis, Ball, Whitman (B. Saunders, 72), McGhee (Grimes, 72), Carchedi (Norris, 72). Subs not used: Asher, Maddison.