DESPITE losing four players to injury during the game, Grantham earned themselves another point at unbeaten Ashton United. Grantham hung on in the second half but were eventually pegged back by the home side.
Evo-Stik Northern Premier League
Ashton United 1
Grantham Town 1
Grantham were first to show in a lively opening. Lee Potts laid a nice ball for Damien Magee who then found Sam Purcicoe. Unfortunately for Grantham, Purcicoe swept his shot over the crossbar.
Both sides pressed hard and gave little space away. Ashton had a couple of sights of goal, but Aaron Burns and Matty Kosylo only found the arms of Jimmy Lindley with their shots. Purcicoe and Burns both put great crosses into their respective penalty areas but neither had anyone waiting to turn the ball home.
Although Grantham dominated possession, they did not create too many chances to test Terry Smith in the Ashton goal. Martin Ball fired wide after he was set up by Emeka Nwadike. After 29 minutes, Ben Saunders and Purcicoe exchanged passes. Saunders tried to lob Smith but chipped his effort just over the crossbar.
Nine minutes from the break, Grantham took the lead. Magee took a quick free kick and gave Karl Demidh a shooting chance. Demidh had his shot blocked and Phil Watt pounced on the loose ball and rattled the Ashton crossbar. The ball came back to him and this time he poked it home past Smith.
Grantham had to make their first change at half time. Magee felt unwell so Rhys Lewis took his place. From the kick-off, Ashton seemed more determined as they sought an equaliser. Two minutes into the half, Grantham suffered further disruption as Ben Saunders limped off holding his hamstring, to be replaced by Tony Battersby.
Ashton went close just before the hour. A free kick from Matty Burke rattled the Grantham crossbar, Nwadike clearing up the loose ball. Alex Frost had a half-chance after Sam Saunders became Grantham’s third injury of the half. He won a header inside the Grantham penalty area from a free kick and when the ball came back to him, he fired over the top.
Another free kick on 78 minutes led to the equaliser. Drifted across the Grantham penalty area by Danny Caldecott, Kosylo got the better of Michael Jacklin and hit a low shot past Lindley. Four minutes later, Grantham were left with only 10 men on the field as Grant Brindley was carried off with a knee injury.
Battersby was involved in the action at both ends. He got on the end of a free kick from Potts but headed wide. In his own penalty area, Battersby produced a great tackle after a good move by Tom Baker and Frost set up Ben Deegan. As Ashton desperately tried to break down a solid Grantham defence, Jacklin got a great block on another effort from Kosylo and Grantham held on for the point.
Grantham Town: Lindley, Purcicoe, Potts, Brindley, S. Saunders (Jacklin, 65), Watt, Nwadike, Ball, Demidh, B. Saunders (Battersby, 47), Magee (Lewis, 45). Sub not used: McGhee, Higginson. Att: 149.