Grantham Town hit rock bottom at Sheffield

Evo-Stik Northern Premier League

Division One South

Sheffield FC 2

Grantham Town 0

THE Gingerbreads hit rock bottom of the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Division One South after a goal each side of half time beat them in Derbyshire. A lack of goals put Grantham bottom of the table on goals scored.

After defending an early Sheffield corner comfortably, Grantham went on the attack and almost took the lead on seven minutes. The Gingerbreads kept the ball well and moved the Sheffield defence around. Sam Saunders whipped a cross in for Jamie McGhee but his header was tipped over the crossbar by Sheffield goalkeeper Dan Whatsize.

For a lot of the game, the home side threatened rarely. A header from Dan White from another corner was their only threat for the first 20 minutes. The Gingerbreads controlled the game, defending well and keeping the ball in their opponents’ half. Ben Saunders flicked a high ball on for Tris Whitman and he in turn set up Sam Purcicoe. His low shot was fielded by Whatsize. The home goalkeeper did enough again to deny Lee Potts a few minutes later, then stood watching as a dangerous cross fizzed across the face of his goal with no-one there for the final touch.

After weathering the Grantham pressure, Sheffield began to play some neat football, although it was route one which gave them their best opportunities. A long Whatsize clearance put Connor Higginson clear on 21 minutes; his shot flew past Rob Murray’s post. Another long clearance a minute later saw Steve Woolley feed Andy Gasgoine who shot as soon as he saw half a chance, but he missed the target.

Murray made a very good save after half an hour. David Graham and Higginson exchanged passes and Higginson ran past the Gingerbreads defence. Murray stood up well and blocked the striker’s shot. Grantham failed to get the ball clear and Gasgoine almost got in on goal, but a good tackle from Phil Watt denied him.

Play swung back to the other end as Martin Ball set Potts racing down the left wing. Ball went for a return pass and let fly from 20 yards out, but shot just too high. A looping header from McGhee as half time approached seemed to signal another period of Grantham pressure.

Instead, the Gingerbreads found themselves going in at half time a goal down. A half-hearted attempt by McGhee to stop a cross from Charlie Weir left the full back with too much space. He picked out Higginson who steered his header past Murray to put the home side in front.

Dan White snuffed out early danger for the home side before another defensive error saw Grantham concede again. This time the error came almost on the edge of the Sheffield penalty area. With Sam Saunders committed outside him, Potts chose an inside pass to Ben Saunders. His pass was behind the Grantham striker and easily picked off by Barnett. A quick ball into the space Sam Saunders had just left, released Higginson. He squared the ball to an unmarked Graham who struck it past Murray.

With Grantham now chasing the game, it was easier for Sheffield to soak up pressure and threaten on the break. They nearly came unstuck two minutes after their second goal. Purcicoe broke clear of the home defence but Whatsize made a good low save to his right. From the corner, Ben Saunders got powerful header on target, but it was hacked off the line. A minute later, his header was just too long for Whitman and ran through harmlessly.

The Gingerbreads were dominating the game at this point with Sheffield unable to get out of their own half. The home side rode their luck after good defending by Callum Harrison saw him whip the ball of Ben Saunders’ toe as he was about to shoot.

Saunders got to a near post corner first on 67 minutes. His shot clearly hit the outstretched arm of White but Mr Plowright waved play on. McGhee also brought a good save from the home goalkeeper as Grantham kept the pressure on, but could not get a breakthrough.

Gio Carchedi flicked a header over the bar and Ball had two free headers from good delivery, but missed the target both times as Grantham ran out of time. The home side could have added a third goal on the break. Matt Roney weighted his pass well for Woolley but he fired over the Grantham crossbar.

Grantham Town: Murray, Purcicoe, Potts (Carchedi, 77), Brindley, S. Saunders, Watt, O’Rafferty (Asher, 87), Ball, Whitman (Norris, 63), B. Saunders, McGhee. Subs not used: Glass, Maddison.