Grantham Town ease past United in league cup

Grantham Town defender Ryley Thompson (right) putting in a good shift on the left flank. Photo: Toby Roberts
Grantham Town defender Ryley Thompson (right) putting in a good shift on the left flank. Photo: Toby Roberts
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Northern Premier League

Integro League Cup

First round

Grantham Town 3

Lincoln United 2

Grantham Town eased through to the second round of the league cup comparatively easily at The Meres on Tuesday night, with the narrow margin of victory not really reflecting the Gingerbreads’ general dominance.

Town boss Adam Stevens rested some of his squad’s regulars, at least until the second half, giving a couple of Academy players a run out – including the impressive Kevin Da Silva Bastos who was in the starting line-up.

It was a generally lacklustre start to the game, although Grantham’s superiority showed immediately. Lincoln played a nice passing game, only let down by the occasional poor ball.

With seemingly no sign of a goal on the horizon, United went ahead against the run of play in the 17th minute when former Gingerbread Jack McGovern beat the offside trap, catching Town’s defence out on the right flank and volleying over flailing goalkeeper Kieran Preston.

Grantham restored parity five minutes later, though, through Curtis Burrows who fired in after excellent work on the right by Da Silva Bastos who crossed in behind the Lincoln defence.

The Whites had a couple of chances to regain the lead, with McGovern driving over from 20 yards in the 27th minute and skipper Danny Brooks putting his free kick over the bar on the half hour mark.

However, the Gingerbreads took their chance to go in front two minutes later when Burrows broke down the right and crossed to Jordan Hempenstall whose downward header beat United keeper Kane Hutchinson-Wilkes and bounced into the back of the net.

Grantham’s last real opportunity to extend their lead in the first half saw Tom Curtis try his luck from 25 yards in the 42nd minute, but his effort rose over the crossbar.

Town’s assaults on the Lincoln goal continued after the break, with Hempenstall going ever closer to scoring his second of the match. He headed over from Burrows’ 49th minute corner kick and was just denied by Hutchinson-Wilkes on the goal line on 57 minutes, the Whites custodian smothering Hempenstall’s downdoward goalbound header.

But he did complete his brace a minute later following a good build-up involving Da Silva Bastos and Burrows, the latter putting in a cross to Hempenstall who turned and fired home.

With a two goal cushion, perhaps the Gingerbreads became complacent as their defence was too easily undone in the 71st minute, allowing Andrew Toyne acres of space to slot in from a cross.

It could easily have been 3-3 three minutes later when, once again, Town were opened up with ease, but their blushes were saved and replaced by those of United substitute Sam McCullough who somehow lifted a close range sitter over the bar.

Lincoln keeper Hutchinson-Wilkes also had an embarrassing moment in the 74th minute, only clearing the ball out as far as Hempenstall, who was unlucky to see his snapshot strike the post.

At the other end, White sub Oliver Bean forced a diving save out of Preston in the 81st minute, but the Gingerbreads saw out the remainder of the game without any further alarm.

Grantham Town: Preston, Potts, Thompson, Lewis (c), Baker, Holllingsworth (Wright 59), Da Silva Bastos (Meadows 75), Curtis (Paine 70), McMenemy, Hempenstall, Burrows. Subs not used: Callow, Lee Shaw. Att: 159.