Loughborough Dynamo 2
Grantham Town 2
Grantham certainly got the more physical work out that joint managers Gary Sucharewycz and Ian Robinson were expecting against Loughborough Dynamo.
After watching their side hauled back from a comfortable two-goal lead, the game deteriorated as some bad tackles flew in and referee Mr Parker lost control of the game to such an extent that he blew the final whistle almost five minutes early.
A quiet opening 10 minutes from Grantham saw Loughborough’s Matt Langham and Nathan Kelly cause problems for the Gingerbreads. Grantham soon woke up, however and began to dominate the game.
After a quarter of an hour, Massiah McDonald played a lovely through ball for Romaine Graham. Graham brought a good save from Loughborough goalkeeper Laurie Pearson. Two minutes later, McDonald gave Grantham the lead.
Mr Parker gave Grantham a free kick for handball which was clearly committed inside the penalty area. Nathan Watson laid the ball off to McDonald and, with the help of a deflection, the Grantham striker opened the scoring.
The second goal for Grantham came on 27 minutes. Watson and McDonald combined again to create the chance. Watson played a through-ball that put McDonald clear of the Loughborough defence. He scored his second of the game with a cool finish, sliding the ball past Pearson.
With a two-goal lead, Grantham seemed to take their foot off the gas and allowed Loughborough back into the game. Dean Gent got to the ball first to set up Langham, but Jake Turner was equal to his effort. Two goals in two minutes from former Gingerbread Rob Norris levelled the game before half time.
Norris got his first on 37 minutes. A poor pass from Hawes gave the ball away on the halfway line. Tyrone Kirk played in Kris Nurse who squared the ball for Norris. His shot took a deflection as it beat Turner.
Loughborough’s second goal was a clean strike from Norris after Grantham failed to clear a loose ball.
Just before half time, Norris could have had a hat trick. He got free in the centre again but this time fired over the crossbar.
The first quarter of an hour of the second half was dominated by substitutions and cards from Mr Parker. Some rash challenges saw tempers flare and the referee struggled to keep the game under control.
In between all the stoppages, Grantham created a couple of good chances. A fine move on the right led to Graham forcing Pearson into a good save. Jamie McGhee then beat two men, but his fierce shot was tipped on to the crossbar by the Loughborough stopper.
In the last 20 minutes of the game, either side could have got a third goal. Dan Haystead made a great point blank save to keep out a header from Martin Bowles while, at the other end, Graham fed Karl Demidh but he fired just over.
Demidh continued to look dangerous and should have had a third goal for Grantham 10 minutes from time. McDonald and McGhee worked together well to create the chance, but Demidh screwed his shot wide of the post.
Dynamo’s Kahil Mann-Kler ensured a draw late in the game, making a fine save from McDonald’s volley.
Grantham Town: Turner (Haystead, 45), Keane, Ridley, Meikle (Brown, 62), Hawes (Purcicoe, 52), Lewis, Watson (McGhee, 52), Nwadike, McDonald (Motson, 85), Graham, Demidh. Sub not used: Humphries.