Grantham Town miss out on share of the spoils

Torrential rain forced our photographer to shy away from the touchline and flee to the stands to capture this action shot of Grantham attacking the Blyth Spartans goal. Photo: Toby Roberts
Torrential rain forced our photographer to shy away from the touchline and flee to the stands to capture this action shot of Grantham attacking the Blyth Spartans goal. Photo: Toby Roberts

Northern Premier League

Premier Division

High-flying Ben Saunders with Lee Shaw in support. Photo: Toby Roberts

High-flying Ben Saunders with Lee Shaw in support. Photo: Toby Roberts

Grantham Town 1

Blyth Spartans 2

Grantham Town’s first match of a Bank Holiday home double ended in defeat in a deluge of biblical proportions.

The Gingerbreads pretty much matched the visitors throughout the encounter, with the first half ending goalless.

But the home side conceded twice midway through the second period before replying from the spot – and then missing another penalty to miss out on a deserved share of the points.

In a lively start, Grantham striker Lee Shaw tested Blyth keeper Peter Jefferies in the opening minute, and the Spartans stopper had to be alert six minutes later to catch Ben Saunders’ header from a long, high Jack Beckett cross.

Jefferies’ opposite number Jake Turner was called into action two minutes later, scurring to to claim the ball before Robert Dale could pounce on it.

Blyth played the better passing game, with Town continuing with their long ball tactics, but the Gingerbreads looked pacy and strong and were first to most balls to frustrate their visitors.

Dale drove his 19th minute free kick over the Grantham bar and Matty Pattison fired over seven minutes later.

Curtis Burrows’ had a half-chance on 29 minutes but his effort was caught by Jefferies, whilst at the other end Michael Richardson wasted his 20-yard shot when the blasted over Turner’s bar.

Grantham’s defending at times looked desperate but it was nonetheless effective, with a scrappy final quarter-hour seeing the Gingerbreads go closest from a scramble in the final minute.

Two had the first opportunity two minutes after the break with a Lee Shaw breakaway, but his strike was deflected for a corner.

Light rain and the odd rumble of thunder soon developed into an apocalyptic electrical storm that added extra atmosphere into an increasingly tetchy encounter.

Turner did well to punch clear from a free kick and a corner in the 63rd minute – a better option that attempting to catch in the driving rain.

The Gingerbreads conceded in comical fashion in the 65th minute when Richardson spotted Turner out of position and lobbed from 40 yards into the back of the net.

Town found themselves two down four minutes later from a deflected Dale shot, after Danny Meadows had gifted the ball to Daniel Maguire.

But suddenly Grantham were back in it when referee Mr Fryer awarded them a penalty after Lee Shaw was brought down in the box. Meadows made amends for his faux pas a minute earlier and slotted into the right hand corner from the spot.

Meadows was the hero again five minutes later when he cleared a Richardson strike off the goal line.

Luke Shaw’s 79th minute 25-yarder went over the Blyth bar, whilst substitute Grant Ryan headed off target a minute later.

The Gingerbreads were gifted a chance to take a share of the spoils when Jefferies gave away a stupid penalty which resulted in a red card. Spartans skipper Dale took on the mantle of goalie and managed to save Jamie McGhee’s spot kick to leave the home side crying in the rain.

Grantham Town: Turner, Meadows (Durkin, 83), Storey, Carr, Galinski, Hollingsworth, Burrows (Ryan, 76), Beckett (McGhee, 68), Saunders, Lee Shaw, Luke Shaw. Subs not used: Lewis, Sinclair.

Att: 175.