GRANTHAM Town moved back up to fourth in the league after a confident victory over fellow play-off hopefuls Newcastle Town at The Meres on Saturday.
Division One South
Grantham Town 3
Newcastle Town 0
A Gio Carchedi strike and a disputed penalty gave the Gingerbreads a two-goal advantage at the end of a first half bossed by Grantham, and Rob Norris marked his return to The Meres with a goal late in the second half to seal the win.
Grantham had an early chance to take the lead in the third minute, but Lee Potts headed just wide of the near post from a pinpoint Sam Saunders crosss.
Newcastle had their first sniff at goal in the 11th minute. Jordan Johnson fired in a low, hard cross-shot from the edge of the box, but Grantham keeper Rob Murray was equal to his effort and gathered at the foot of the post. Five minutes later, Sam Saunders had a similar effort caught easily by Daniel Read at the other end.
The Gingerbreads went in front in the 18th minute when Carchedi outran the Newcastle defence, rounded the keeper and slotted in from the narrowest of angles.
With their tails up, Grantham began to increasingly dominate. Newcastle lacked confidence and ideas in front of goal, making the Gingerbreads’ task an easier one.
Jamie McGhee had an excellent opportunity to double Grantham’s lead in the 23rd minute. He chased side by side with a Newcastle defender to reach Carchedi’s through-ball and at full stretch, made the connection but managed to lift the ball over the bar.
Having a great game, Carchedi was involved again on the half hour mark, squaring a ball into the 6yd box where Rhys Lewis was barged away from making contact.
The Gingerbreads went two-up a minute later from a disputed penalty. Sam Purcicoe was felled in the box by Jordan Johnson and referee Mr Hunt was quick to point to the spot and issue a red card. A confident looking Potts duly despatched the spot kick past Read.
McGhee nearly made it three 10 minutes later but his powerful drive just rose over the Newcastle crossbar. Grantham had another penalty appeal when Carchedi appeared to be fouled in the area but Mr Hunt was having none of it.
The visitors had a couple of chances towards the end of the first half. Murray saved with his feet from an offside Chris Budrys, and Ian Willis saw his last minute effort bounce wide of the target.
The second half was an altogether scrappier affair. Carchedi and Ben Saunders had a shot apiece early in the half, the latter’s effort just drifting wide of the far post.
Ryan Dicker fired high over the Grantham bar from long range in the 68th minute, and Newcastle had a real opportunity to get back in the game five minutes later. Substitute John Shelden ran down the left flank, outwitting the Grantham defence and Murray, and squared across the face of goal where the slightest of touches would have been enough. Two minutes later, Gareth Richards headed over the Grantham bar from Shelden’s free kick.
At the other end, Newcastle defended desperately to finally clear Potts’ effort off the goal line but Grantham sealed victory with a third goal in the 89th minute. Read punched Matt Glass’s cross out, but only as far as Norris who had a simple job of slotting past the Newcastle keeper, with the visitors’ defence in disarray.
Budrys fired on target from distance in added time, but it was an easy stop for Murray. Norris could have doubled his tally in the dying minutes but fired over after cleverly outwitting the Newcastle defence.
Grantham Town: Murray, Purcicoe, Potts, Asher, Sucharewycz, Watt, Lewis, S. Saunders, McGhee (Norris, 83), B. Saunders (Glarvey, 90), Carchedi (Glass, 83). Subs not used: Dyson, Hallcro.