Division One South
Grantham Town 1
Leek Town 3
GRANTHAM Town’s early season woes continued with a second home defeat in five days on Saturday.
The Gingerbreads found themselves a goal down at the end of the first half and then conceded a second time to Richard Minor soon after the break. Grantham pulled a goal back before Leek added a third to seal the win.
The game began at quite a pedestrian pace but in the fourth minute, Gingerbread Jamie McGhee found space in the Leek box after a steady build up, but curled his shot just wide of the post.
Play continued to be generally all in the Leek half as the Staffordshire defended in numbers to foil the Grantham attack, a ploy that would continue throughout the 90 minutes.
Counter-attacks would be Grantham’s undoing an early indication came in the 17th minute when Devon Gibson found space to get a shot in, with the home defence at sixes and sevens.
Rob Norris’s 19th minute effort came off the sole of his boot and was too soft to trouble Leek keeper Danny Roberts.
The visitors began to assert themselves more as the half wore on and the Gingerbreads correspondingly started to look a bit ragged. Leek defended solidly as Grantham struggled to find a way through.
Alistair Asher fired over the Leek goal from 30 yards in the 28th minute and a minute later his long, curling cross eluded everyone including keeper Roberts before striking the crossbar.
Gingerbread Norris broke away down the left flank in the 31st minute. He cut the ball back to McGhee on the edge of the Leek 18yd box but he rushed his strike and sent his effort wide.
Leek went in front in the 36th minute. Two of their players appeared to be blatantly offside but the linesman’s flag stayed down and Richard Minor slotted past Grantham keeper Rob Murray.
Two minutes later, Phil Watt got his head to a Lee Potts corner kick but his attempt landed on the roof of the net.
Grantham’s last chance to level in the first half came with a minute remaining. Roberts punched Potts’s corner kick out but only as far as Norris. But Roberts reacted quickly to parry Norris’s own reaction shot.
The Gingerbreads’ second half started in the worst possible way. Three minutes in, Grantham’s defence was too easily opened up and once again Minor was there and slotted past a helpless Murray.
Murray stood up well to block Minor’s 54th minute shot as the Leek number seven eagerly chased his hat trick.
Grantham finally got a foothold in the game on the hour mark. Substitute Grant Brindley immediately made his presence known with a deft cross-pitch ball to Potts. The home number three nipped down the left wing and crossed to Norris who knocked in from the edge of the 6yd box.
Grantham had a chance to level two minutes later. Niall O’Rafferty streaked away and put a good ball in to McGhee, but he was immediately crowded off the ball by a group of Leek defenders.
The Gingerbreads had the wind taken out of their sails in the 71st minute when Leek scored a third time. Sam Purcicoe let breakaway man Minor slip through. His ball down the right was picked up by Gibson who slid the ball past Murray.
Potts’s 74th minute downward header was easy for Roberts and at the other end a minute later, Murray comfortably caught Christian Millar’s curling free kick to the top right corner of goal.
Darryl Proffitt brought a diving save from Murray in the 78th minute and a minute later skipped through the Grantham defence at the end of a 50yd run but fired wide of the target. Proffitt then pulled another shot wide in the 83rd minute.
Grantham’s last chance to make the score more respectable came in the 84th minute when Brindley rose in the box to meet a Potts corner but headed wide of the mark.
Grantham Town: Murray, Purcicoe (Whitman, 75), Potts, Asher (Brindley, 59), S. Saunders, Watt, O’Rafferty, Ball, McGhee, B. Saunders, Norris (Glass, 75). Subs not used: Carchedi, Maddison. Att: 202