Grantham Town miss out on Sincil Bank final

Grantham Town defende to numbers to avert an early Stamford threat, with Deon Meikle rising highest to head away the danger. Photo: 990D
Grantham Town defende to numbers to avert an early Stamford threat, with Deon Meikle rising highest to head away the danger. Photo: 990D

Lincolnshire Senior Shield

Semi-final

Grantham Town 0

Stamford 1

Unable to find the back of the net all night, Grantham Town missed out on a place in the final at Sincil Bank after conceding early on to the Daniels on Tuesday.

Both sides looked pretty shapeless in the opening skirmishes, with the Gingerbreads getting the first chance in the third minute, but Michael Towey scuffed his effort wide on the turn.

The home side had another opportunity five minutes later. Stamford keeper Will Jones had barely scampered back to his area before Lee Potts whipped in a cross to striker Greg Smith, but Town’s big number 10 headed wide.

Play switched immediately to the other end of the pitch where slack defending left Stamford’s Shawn Richards in acres of space and he hammered home past Dan Haystead in the ninth minute.

Richards forced Haystead to tip another effort round the post three minutes later, but Grantham also had chances from a Kieran Walker header, a Gary King shot at the keeper, and an almost comical 24th minute goalmouth scramble from which the ball refused to go into the Stamford net.

Former Gingerbread Ashley Robinson’s long throw-ins proved troublesome throughout, none more so than when Charlie Binns connected with his launch into the Grantham box, with Haystead just managing to tip his header away at the foot of the far post.

Probably Grantham’s best chance of the first half came in the 36th minute when Greg Smith got on the end of a quickly taken free kick and blasted against the post. The ball bounced back kindly into Jones’s arms.

Town were caught wide open on the break three minutes later, but the Daniels were too quick for their own good and Ryan Robbins was flagged for offside.

With the half time break looming, Grantham front man Paul Grimes had his 41st minute shot stopped by Jones’s foot. Two minutes later, Greg Smith’s thumping effort appeared to be blocked by a defender’s hand but referee Mr Atkin saw nothing untoward.

Town’s real first opportunity of many in the second period saw Gary King volley wide from a looping Potts cross in the 52 minute. Alvin Jarvis headed wide from a corner for the visitors and Haystead denied him with his foot a minute before the hour mark.

Greg Smith skied his 62nd minute strike from inside the Stamford box and Potts was not far off with his lob three minutes afterwards.

Haystead had to be alert to snatch the ball in mid-air just before Robbins could make contact with his boot, and then the home stopper smothered Jordan Smith’s shot in the 76th minute, but from then on all the action was at the other end of the ground.

In the 78th minute, Grimes found himself clear through and struck the post with Jones challenging. Greg Smith pounced on the rebound and was summarily bowled over by the Daniels’ keeper – but again Mr Atkin saw no infringement.

The shot of the night saw the ball come out to Town’s Deon Meikle who volleyed a screamer back at goal from 25 yards, forcing Jones to make a good save to tip over the bar.

Grantham substitute Rhys Lewis rifled over the target in the 81st minute and Grimes’s drive went the same way three minutes later.

The Gingerbreads were awarded a free kick with five minutes of regular play remaining. Grimes stepped up and curled around the Stamford wall but straight into the arms of the visiting keeper.

As the clock ticked down, Town continued to look for an equaliser to take the game to penalties, and Lewis went close with a header from a whipped in Sam Purcicoe cross in the 87th minute.

Grantham had further opportunities to level in the five minutes of added time, but Kallum Smith blasted well wide and fellow subsitute Jack McGovern was unable to respond quick enough when Towey’s sliced effort came his way in the six-yard box.

Grantham Town: Haystead, Purcicoe, Potts, Meikle, Lister (c), Whyman (Lewis, 64), Walker (McGovern, 45), Towey, Grimes, G. Smith, King (K. Smith, 87). Subs not used: Hawes, Cotterill. Att: 124.