GRANTHAM Town’s chances of finishing in a play-off spot diminished somewhat following a humiliating defeat to lowly Rainworth. After conceding early on, the Gingerbreads pulled a goal back just before the break but an even more disappointing second half performance let the game slip away once more.
Division One South
Grantham Town 1
Rainworth Miners Welfare 3
Lee Potts was prominent for Grantham in the opening minutes, involved in a move with Gio Carchedi and also crossing dangerously across the face of goal, but with no team-mates close enough it was a wasted ball. Skipper Ben Saunders was on the end of Sam Puricoe’s fifth minute cross but he scuffed his shot in the 6yd box.
Rainworth went ahead two minutes later after Grantham failed to clear from Max Wright’s free kick, with Matt Millns heading vertically in the 18yd box. Rainworth won the ball which went to Kyle Gee-Pemberton who volleyed in through a tight gap.
Potts put in another good cross for Town in the 16th minute but Rainworth keeper Mark Hales was first to the ball. Grantham keeper Rob Murray made a double save to deny Danwell Francis a minute later, following an incisive Gee-Pemberton run into the box.
Jamie McGhee’s 21st minute thunderous shot was on target but headed clear by Rainworth’s Tommy Hannigan, and Rhys Lewis headed wide from Alistair Asher’s long free kick four minutes later. Sam Saunders put his cross-shot into the side netting on the half hour mark and at the other end, Gee-Pemberton was unable to control his effort from a Rob Paling cross.
Gee-Pemberton had a good crack from outside the box for the visitors, forcing a dive from an anxious Murray. At the other end, Ben Saunders beat the Rainworth defence but his shot rose over the bar.
McGhee shot wide from the edge of the Rainworth penalty area in the 43rd minute and two minutes later Grantham levelled when Millns headed in from another long Asher free kick.
Town had opportunities to go ahead at the beginning of the second half, but to no avail. Carchedi had his squared ball cut out by a defender, Puricoe’s low, hard shot was saved by the foot of keeper Hales, and Potts slid in to a curling Asher cross but was just unable to make contact.
Rainworth restored their lead in the 62nd minute from a counter-attack which saw Mark Camm run at the Grantham defence, before Francis fired in past Murray.
The Gingerbreads won a free kick in the Rainworth D four minutes later but substitute Rob Norris’ free kick failed to clear the visitors’ wall. Further chances came from Ben Saunders who headed over and McGhee sliced his 78th minute volley skyward.
Grantham conceded a third time a minute later following an error by Murray in the 79th minute. The Grantham keeper left his net unguarded as he sought to close down Chris Hewitt. Hewitt squared to Francis who appeared to control the ball with his arm before slotting home. Referee Mr Smith at first seemed to indicate a handball but the goal was awarded nonetheless.
With the clock running down, Millns forced a diving save from Hales, Chris Glarvey volleyed on target but Hales caught. Norris had a final quick turn and shot in the third minute of added time, but once again it was too easy for keeper Hales before Mr Smith blew his whistle for the last time.
Grantham Town: Murray, Purcicoe (Norris, 64), Potts, Asher, Millns (Glarvey, 81), Watt, Lewis, S. Saunders, McGhee, B. Saunders, Carchedi (Glass, 64). Subs not used: Dyson, Beardsley. Att: 176.