Evo-Stik Northern Premier League
Whitby Town 2
Grantham Town 0
For the second consecutive game, Grantham became the first league victory for their opponents. Whitby outfought Grantham all round the pitch as the Gingerbreads struggled to impose themselves on Wednesday night’s game.
Whitby started brightly and had the ball in the net in the first minute. A deep cross from Alex White found Graeme Armstrong behind the Grantham defence and he put the ball past Jimmy Lindley, only to be flagged offside.
The game developed into a fast paced affair, but neither side retained possession for very long. Whitby used their possession better than Grantham and got quick challenges in to stop Grantham building any attacks of note. After a quarter of an hour, the hosts went close twice. First Nathan Mulligan tried to turn Phil Watt, but a good challenge stopped him in his tracks. Then goalkeeper Nick Liversedge beat Karl Demidh to a through ball and from his clearance, Mulligan hit a good shot, but Jimmy Lindley saved well.
In a frantic couple of minutes, Grantham’s first real chance fell to Sam Purcicoe. Paul Grimes delivered a cross that had Mark Robinson stretching. His header fell to Purcicoe, but his volley was just wide of the target.
Midway through the first half, Grantham went behind. The Gingerbreads lost the ball in midfield and it was quickly worked to Shane Henry. He spread play to Armstrong on the right and his low driven cross was turned over the line by Mulligan.
Five minutes later, Mulligan had the ball in the net again when he got on the end of a flick from Ibrahim Hassan, but the offside flag beat him again. The same player got on the end of a good move on 33 minutes. Whitby moved the ball across the field from left to right and played it into the danger zone. Mulligan caught his shot well, but Lindley was equal to it.
The game turned scrappy before half time and Grantham’s luck in front of goal was summed up six minutes before the break. Purcicoe won a strong tackle and put the ball into the penalty area. As it bounced around, neither Grimes nor Demidh could get a shot off.
The Gingerbreads were on the back foot straight after the break. Armstrong made some room and found Mulligan. He curled a shot past Lindley, but saw it come back off the foot of the post. Although Grantham had more vitality about themselves after the break, it was still the hosts who had the better chances. Hassan went down the line and delivered a cross for Henry. His shot was blocked by the Gingerbreads defence. Mulligan and Armstrong worked a good position again, only for Watt to make a crucial intervention.
Grimes picked up a poor clearance from Liversedge in the Whitby goal on 64 minutes, but Alex White got back to deny him a shooting chance. A quick clearance for Mulligan saw him again with just Lindley to beat, but he pushed his shot wide.
Mulligan got his second goal of the game on 67 minutes as Grantham were reduced to ten men. Hassan put a ball into the penalty area from deep. Lindley came to the edge of his penalty area and took the ball, but then released it to stop himself handling it outside his penalty area. Mulligan picked up on the loose ball and took it round Lindley. The Grantham goalkeeper pulled him down and was shown a red card by Mr Martin after he pointed to the spot. Grant Brindley went in goal and almost saved the penalty, getting a hand to it, but unable to keep the ball out.
The Gingerbreads defended well to protect Brindley’s goal for the rest of the game, but couldn’t fashion a way back into the match. Tony Battersby had Grantham’s only chance in injury time when Purcicoe and Grimes set him up. Liversedge was off his line well to save at Battersby’s feet.
Grantham Town: Lindley, Purcicoe, Potts, Brindley, Sam Saunders, Watt, Lewis, Magee (Nwadike, 83 mins), Grimes, Demidh (Battersby, 74 mins), Carchedi (McGhee, 71 mins). Sub not used: Ben Saunders, Higginson.