Grantham Town lose at home to Barwell in fiery encounter

Grantham Town substitute Greg Smith clashes with Barwell keeper Liam Castle.
Grantham Town substitute Greg Smith clashes with Barwell keeper Liam Castle.
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Northern Premier League

Premier Division

Grantham Town 0

Barwell 1

Grantham Town lost by a single goal in a battling tussle that boiled over in the second half, with both sides struggling in a gusting wind at The Meres.

The Gingerbreads had a chance in the opening minute when Jordan Hempenstall dashed down the left, but Michael Towey’s touch to his squared ball went over the bar.

The home skipper, Paul Lister, did well six minutes later to deflect away a dangerous ball into the penalty area with his header.

Town had another opportunity to go in front in the 11th minute when Paul Grimes cut the ball back across to Jack McGovern, but the Grantham number seven directed his header over the target.

Barwell’s Kevin Charley tried a speculative effort from distance five minutes later, but he was also off the mark.

At the other, Town’s Rhys Lewis was not quick enough to react to a good ball in by Michael Jacklin, and his shot was more a deflection, and easy for visiting keeper Liam Castle.

As the game continued apace, the Gingerbreads had another touch go astray by Grimes after McGovern whipped in a cross on 23 minutes.

Barwell number nine Luke Barlone’s speculative effort from 20-plus yards in the 26th minute had the home fans’ and goalkeeper Dan Haystead’s hearts in their mouths, but to their relief the ball drifted just wide of the far post.

Lee Potts had an opportunity for Grantham a minute later but his shot was too timid and Barwell cleared the danger.

The Gingerbreads tried their luck from distance in the 40th minute but Hempenstall’s ambitious plan saw the ball rise over the crossbar.

Grimes played a good ball into the Barwell box a minute later, but neither McGovern or Lewis could connect.

Barwell went in front in the 43rd minute, with Ben Love catching Haystead off his line. The Grantham keeper got a hand to the ball but it carried on into the top right-hand corner.

Town were fortunate not to concede again on the stroke of half time, with Lister clearing a thumping shot off the line.

Haystead was soon called into action early in the second half, pulling off a diving save to tip the ball around the post.

Grimes looked to be on his way to equalising for the Gingerbreads in the 58th minute, but the Barwell defence stopped him in his tracks.

And Hempenstall got his head to a Jacklin cross on the hour mark, but his effort went wide.

The introduction of Grantham substitute in the 65th minute made an immediate impact, but for all the wrong reasons.

Barwell were immediately unhappy with his sometimes over-physical presence in their penalty area and it came as no surprise when the already aggrieved Jamie Hood lashed out at the Grantham number 17 – and received a red card for his misdemeanour.

In an ensuing melee, Grimes found himself floored and referee Mr Smedley gave Guy Hadland a yellow card.

With relative calmness restored, Barwell defended to the hilt as the Gingerbreads desperately sought to level in a ding-dong battle.

Castle tipped Jacklin’s 80th minute strike round the near post and the Barwell keeper made a safe catch to deny Lister on 84 minutes in probably Grantham’s best and last real chance of the second period.

Grantham Town: Haystead, Purcicoe (Smith, 65), Jacklin, Hawes, Lister, Lewis, McGovern, Towey (King, 43), Grimes, Hempenstall (Walker, 90), Potts. Subs not used: Meikle, Ridley. Att: 218.