TWO first half goals sent the Gingerbreads tumbling out of their second major cup competition in eight days.
First Qualifying Round
Grantham Town 0
Bedford Town 2
The visitors were generally look sharper throughout, looking dominant in all areas of the pitch – including in front of goal. Grantham had goal scoring opportunities of their own but were unable to capitalise when it mattered.
The home side’s first chance came in the second minute. Lee Potts put in a good, searching cross in the Bedford 18-yard box but striker Conor Higginson was not close enough to get the touch needed.
The action sped to the other end of the pitch with Ollie Wilkinson scything through the Grantham defence. He supplied Ashley Fuller but the Bedford number 11 kneed his effort wide. Fuller unlocked the Grantham defence three minutes later but keeper James Lindley was a match for his low shot.
Tony Battersby had a good chance to put Grantham in front in the 11th minute but fired his volley off-target.
Bedford’s Mark Bell made no mistake a minute later. The visiting number seven’s shot out of the blue found the target from 25 yards, flying into the top right-hand corner with Lindley rooted to the spot.
Grantham’s defence were undone again two minutes later but Lindley did enough to prevent Nat Peacock getting his shot on target. Lindley got down to stop Wilkinson’s 19th minute effort and the Bedford number two then hit the crossbar a minute later, with the home keeper gathering the rebound.
Karl Demidh had a good run in on goal in the 22nd minute but overdid his final touch and Bedford keeper Ian Brown snaffled the ball before the Grantham number nine could fire off his shot.
Peacock continued to trouble the Grantham goal. Lindley managed to deflect his 26th minute shot for a corner, and the Grantham stopper blocked another of his effort with his feet before gathering the ball in another heart-stopping moment for the home fans.
The Gingerbreads had a couple of chances in the last 10 minutes of the half. Martin Ball slewed his volley and Higginson’s ambitious overhead kick sailed well wide of the mark.
Grantham conceded a second time seven minutes after the break. The dangerous Peacock was allowed too much space and confidently slotted past Lindley with aplomb.
Lindley got a hand out to block Bell’s dangerous squared ball across the 6yd box and at the other end, Higginson forced a save out of Brown after a good run down the left by Potts.
Grantham had another let-off in the 61st minute. An incisive run by Peacock took him to touch, where he cut the ball back to Jamaine Ivy whose volley went over the bar. Two minutes later, Grantham’s Emeka Nwadike had his volley cleared off the line by a Bedford defender.
Lindley did well to get down to smother Jamie Grimes’s 61st effort through a gaggle of legs.
Substitute Paul Grimes injected some creativity into the home side’s offence and could have pulled a goal back when he got on the end of Michael Jacklin’s ball, but his diving header just flew over the Bedford bar.
Higginson scuffed his effort straight to the Bedford keeper a minute later and had Grantham’s final chance to rescue some reward in the final minute, but his shot across the face of goal bounced just wide of the far post.
Grantham Town: Lindley, Purcicoe, Potts, Brindley, Jacklin, Watt (c), Higginson (Carchedi,, Ball (Magee, 45), Demidh, Battersby (Grimes, 58), Nwadike. Subs not used: Robinson, McGhee. Att: 271.