SHARP second-half finishing from Loughborough sent Grantham Town to only their sixth defeat of the season. Although the Gingerbreads drew level after going behind just after the break, they gave Loughborough enough room to add two more goals.
Evo-Stik Northern Premier League
Division One South
Loughborough Dynamo 3
Grantham Town 1
Both sides played attractive passing football, with Grantham allowing the opposition more time on the ball than they have done in most games this season. That relaxed approach brought Rob Murray into early action. A long clearance was gathered by Dom Brennan. He ran on unchallenged and it took a good save from Murray to deny him.
After 13 minutes, Grantham created their first opening of the afternoon. Lee Potts made room for himself on the edge of the Loughborough penalty area and hit a good low shot that Laurie Pearson did well to save.
Half-chances came for Rhys Lewis and Loughborough’s Brennan, but Lewis’s effort was blocked while Brennan missed the target. Good work by Brennan set up Shawn Richards but he missed the target as well. A great cross-field ball to Richards midway through the half saw him step inside the Grantham defence and set up Sam Young, but he shot over the top too.
Half-chances continued to be traded, with a weak Potts shot hardly troublinag Pearson, then offside flags ended promising moves. Grantham held the ball well on the left and Sam Saunders crossed for Jamie McGhee. He in turn found Sam Purcicoe but he was flagged offside. When Loughborough counter-attacked, Jamie Clarke got on the end of a through-ball and beat Murray but not the assistant’s flag.
Clarke had no such problems two minutes after the break. Murray had reacted well to save the initial shot but Clarke was the only player to follow the ball in and slotted past Murray from a narrow angle.
The introduction of Ben Saunders after 53 minutes livened up the Grantham front line and four minutes later the scores were level. Gio Carchedi ran at the Loughborough defence and squared the ball for Purcicoe who slammed it past Pearson.
Scores only remained level for two minutes as the Grantham defence let Loughborough in almost straight away. A through-ball for Richards saw him race away from the Grantham back line and go on to shoot past Murray.
Eighteen minutes from the end, Loughborough had Pearson to thank for keeping them in front. Potts gathered a cross inside the Loughborough penalty area and hit a good shot. Pearson saved well with the rebound going to Purcicoe, but this time he shot over the crossbar.
Both sides continued to play open games. Reece Lester picked out the run of Dan Henton to the near post but Henton’s shot lacked pace. At the other end, Purcicoe got on the end of a cross from Ben Saunders and returned the ball into the penalty area for Tony Battersby, but he headed over the crossbar.
As Grantham pressed for an equaliser, Loughborough hit them with a late sucker punch. Lester created room to cross from the Grantham right and picked out Luke Edwards. Edwards was unmarked 12 yards out and glanced his header into the far corner of the net.
Grantham Town: Murray, Purcicoe, Magee, Brindley, S. Saunders, Glarvey, Lewis (Battersby, 72), Ball, McGhee (B. Saunders, 53), Carchedi (Cann, 74), Potts. Subs not used: Briers. Att: 190.