Grantham Town earn a point under returning management duo

Football
Football

Northern Premier League

Premier Division

Barwell 2

Grantham Town 2

It was all change at Grantham Town over Christmas as joint managers Jimmy Albans and Wayne Hallcro replaced Ian Robinson and Gary Sucharewycz who were sacked last Monday.

The return of Albans and Hallcro saw the Gingerbreads earn their first point for a month on Boxing Day. Grantham twice held the lead,but were unable to hold on either time.

The game had an undercurrent running through it that referee Mr Harty struggled at times to control. In the second minute, Barwell’s Anthony Griffith caught Dan Haystead as the Gingerbreads goalkeeper cleared his lines. Mr Harty only spoke to the Barwell forward.

In the opening minutes, it was the home side who had the better chances. Griffith shot over the top when Tom Weale put him through, Haystead comfortably gathered a couple of high crosses, and good work by Lee Ridley and Kyle Dixon denied Griffith a shooting chance.

The first moment of real quality led to the Gingerbreads’ opening goal. A square ball from Anton Foster to Ash Burbeary started the move. Burbeary laid the ball inside to Malachi Lavelle-Moore who set up Michael Towey. His shot was placed wide of Liam Castle to put Grantham in front.

Barwell were reduced to 1- men after 25 minutes when Danny Spencer led with an elbow into the back of Greg Smith’s head. After speaking to his assistant, Mr Harty showed Spencer the red card. The home side continued to press, however, and Haystead had to punch clear a corner, and then backtrack to gather the return ball from Kevin Charley.

Dixon almost got Towey in again 10 minutes before half time, but Castle was quickly off his line to clear. Four minutes before the break, Barwell equalised. A good ball from Griffith released Charley and he ran on to slip his shot past Haystead and inside the far post.

The gingerbreads started the second half better. An early deflection put the ball at Gregg Smith’s feet. His first effort was blocked by the Barwell defence and Castle saved his second. Burbeary’s cross found Foster, but Barwell defended well and denied him a shooting chance.

The home side came back into the game and caused some problems for the Gingerbreads defence. A cross from Luke Barlone took a deflection off Griffith. Haystead cleared but a cross back into the danger zone led to some panicky defending.

Paul Lister again cleared from Griffith and Haystead had to gather a cross from Barlone under pressure.

But it was Grantham who made the opening after 54 minutes. The Gingerbreads defence cleared a free kick and Kyle Dixon gathered the ball 30 yards out. He took on the Barwell defence, running 70 yards and calmly slipping the ball into the net despite the attendance of two Barwell defenders.

A flurry of yellow cards interrupted the flow of play as Mr Harty booked four players in a 10 minute spell. Only a good Grantham move punctuated this period of play.

Smith and Burbeary set the chance up, but with Lavelle-Moore and Dixon closing in on Jack Andrews’ cross, Barwell goalkeeper Castle took the ball cleanly. Burbeary had a go himself on 72 minutes, firing his low shot just wide of the post.

Barwell dragged themselves level with 11 minutes to play. A cross from Barlone was missed by Charley and Haystead in the six yard box, and ended up nestling just inside the far post.

The last 10 minutes were notable only for another three bookings and the length of the stoppages for injuries. Although some of this seemed to elude Mr Harty who blew his whistle after only three added minutes.

Grantham Town: Haystead, Ridley, Andrews, Meikle, Lister, Foster, Dixon, Towey, G. Smith (Jackson, 67), Lavelle-Moore (McGhee, 67), Burbeary. Subs not used: Lewis, Nwadike, Graham.