Division One South
Grantham Town 1
Carlton Town 0
GRANTHAM Town recorded their third successive one-nil win at a bitterly cold Meres on Tuesday night, taking them up to fourth in the league.
Once the Gingerbreads had adjusted to the biting wind behind them in the first half, they looked the match of Carlton and went ahead before half time. Grantham went on the defensive after the break, sitting back perilously deep as Carlton peppered in crosses, but hung on to take another hard fought for three points.
The first shot of the game came from Carlton’s captain Ashley Kitchen, his speculative 25yd effort into the wind still rising well over the bar. A ninth-minute long Grantham free kick taken by Alistair Asher swung over the Carlton defence, but Jamie McGhee couldn’t quite get the vital touch.
Carlton and Grantham’s respective number nines, Neil Grayson and McGhee both failed to capitalise on chances within a minute of each other, before the wind caught out Gingerbread Lee Potts as he failed to get on the end of Sam Purcicoe’s long ball in the 17th minute.
Another speculative long-range effort from Carlton’s Deon Meikle rose over the bar in the 23rd minute and seconds later at the other end, McGhee set up Sam Saunders for a scamper down the left flank. Saunders sent in a teasing cross that Carlton keeper Neil West did well to hold on to under the crossbar.
What would have been a contender for goal of the season was McGhee’s quick turn and shot to the far corner on the half hour, but West was on his toes and managed to parry. Two minutes later, Gingerbread Chris Glarvey tried one from 40 yards and wasn’t far off target.
The deadlock was broken in the 39th minute. A long ball caught Carlton’s defence weak and napping and Rhys Lewis pounced with a practically unmissable close-range header.
Grantham had a chance to double the lead four minutes into the second half. McGhee beat three defenders and put a peach of a cross in to Potts at the centre of the Carlton penalty area, but the number three was unable get his shot off.
Grantham’s second half tactic appeared to be to defend deep every time the ball came into their own half – which was most of the time. Sometimes skin-of-the-teeth clearances had hearts a-flutter in the directors’ box, and Carlton went closest to levelling when Meikle’s header struck the bar in the 55th minute.
Grayson had a wild shot for Carlton before the hour mark and Joe Naylor couldn’t direct his 62nd minute header downwards, to the relief of the static Grantham defence.
Grantham’s tactic looked to be a recipe for disaster but a goal continued to elude the visitors as they struggled to cope with the strong wind at their backs.Keeper Rob Murray had to stay alert and was called into action to save on the line a couple of times. He fumbled Curtis Shaw’s 89th minute corner kick but Grayson could only knock the ball into touch.
Carlton’s last opportunity to grab a late equaliser was foiled when Murray made another confident catch from Shaw’s injury time cross-cum-shot.
Grantham Town: Murray, Purcicoe, Potts, Asher, Sucharewycz, Watt, Glarvey, S. Saunders, McGhee, B. Saunders, Lewis. Subs not used: Carchedi, Kirk, Glass, Hallcro, Rhule. Att: 122.