Grantham Town draw with Nottingham Forest for second successive year in friendly

Jordan Hempenstall and Danny Meadows wheeling back to the centre circle following Grantham Town's fourth minute equaliser. Photo: Toby Roberts
Jordan Hempenstall and Danny Meadows wheeling back to the centre circle following Grantham Town's fourth minute equaliser. Photo: Toby Roberts

The visit of Nottingham Forest to Grantham Town ended with the two teams sharing the spoils yet again.

In a copycat result of last year’s encounter, the game ended 2-2 at The Meres on Friday night.

The 2016 fixture saw Forest dominate the first half and the Gingerbreads the second whereas, this time around, Town had the upper hand for the majority of the 90 minutes – with chances aplenty – despite never being in front at any stage of the game.

And Grantham found themselves a goal down as early as the second minute.

A ball through the middle was latched on to by the dangerous Lica and he struck beautifully from 25 yards to tuck the ball into the tiniest of gaps between Town keeper Kieran Preston and the near post.

The crowd and the players had hardly had time to gather their breath before the Gingerbreads levelled two minutes later.

Andy Wright launched a long, searching free kick deep into the Forest 18-yard box, the ball dropping over the flapping gloves of keeper Jordon Wright to where Jordan Hempenstall nodded in at the far post.

The pace of the game was frenetic and, after a brief stalemate of midfield play, Town had a chance to go ahead in the 20th minute, but Matt Baker’s close range effort was blocked in the six-yard box.

With the pace of the game still unrelenting, the Gingerbreads had several more close calls, whereas Forest had barely a sniff.

Kegan Etherington dragged his 29th minute shot wide, Hempenstall put the ball over the bar from inside the box four minutes later, whilst Andy Wright was foiled by the Forest keeper and fired another attempt over the bar on 37 minutes.

Grantham’s last real chance of the first half saw Curtis Burrows’ strike blocked, the rebound going to Hempenstall whose bicycle kick sent the ball over the bar.

The mainly under-23 Forest side made several changes at half time which looked to have done the trick when again, two minutes into the period, they went in front, with Virgil Gomis taking an inattentive Town defence by surprise.

But once more, the visitors’ lead did not last long. Jordon Wright stopped Burrows’ 59th minute 25-yard free kick, but the bungling keeper fumbled the ball and Sam Purcicoe was there to knock it over the line in the goalmouth scramble, and so redress the balance.

And that was how the score was to remain. There were less clear cut goalscoring opportunities in the second half, with Gingerbreads manager Adam Stevens sprinkling on substitutes throughout the 45 minutes of play.

One such sub, Michael Hollingsworth, almost gave Grantham the lead with virtually his first touch in the 70th minute, but his header just looped over after he had picked up the rebound from a Lee Shaw shot seconds before.

Forest had one final chance to steal the glory in the 84th minute with a dangerous 25-yard free kick in front of goal, but Toby Edser drove his effort into the Town wall who stood firm.

And so, once again, a draw was probably a fair result. Although they had more chances, Grantham failed to capitalise on them – nor on the laughable ball-handling antics of the Forest keeper who kept the crowd of 479 amused throughout.

Grantham Town: Preston, Purcicoe, Luto (Thompson, 85), Baker, Galinkski (Couzens, 52), Everington (Curtis, 82), Meadows (Potts, 79), Wright (Hollingsworth, 69), Hempenstall (Dasaolu, 79), Lee Shaw (Morris, 73), Burrows (Luke Shaw, 73).