Northern Premier League
Grantham Town 2
Grantham Town recorded their sixth successive game unbeaten after they drew 2-2 for the second time this week.
Following on from Saturday’s frankly disappointing result, considering it was against basement side Ramsbottom United, the Gingerbreads showed real vigour with a sterling performance on Tuesday to hold the high-flying Glassboys to a share of the spoils – and really deserved more.
Just 152 supporters braved the bitterly cold night at The Meres, only made worse by having to endure a 15-minute delayed kick-off.
A couple of early Grantham forays forward were extinguished by a dogged and determined Stourbridge, who quickly looked organised up front too, keeping Town on their toes with their pace and quick, accurate passing.
Grantham’s first good chance came in the eighth minute when Leandro Browne broke down the centre of the pitch and laid the ball out left to Grant Ryan, but his impetuous first touch cross went high and wide, with fellow front man Lee Shaw waiting in space in the box.
But Shaw’s frustration was soon forgotten when he put the Gingerbreads in front five minutes later – a fine solo effort that saw him outwit the Stourbridge defence in style before curling a classy left foot strike high into the top corner.
Already warmed by Town’s early lead, Gingerbreads supporters were in rapture again in the 21st minute when Shaw bagged his second goal of the night, fooling nigh on everyone with what looked like being a cross-cum-shot that he instead rifled straight into far side of the Glassboys goal.
The visitors’ first real opportunity came three minutes later when a Grantham defender gifted danger man Matthew Dodd the ball in the box, but his shot was deflected wide of the far post.
Grantham continued to match their opponents for steely determination in an energetic performance, but eventually conceded against the run of play four minutes before the half time break when confusion between keeper Jake Turner and his defence allowed Karl Hawley’s lame effort to bobble over the goal line.
The Gingerbreads’ last chance of the half was a cheeky, low and hard 30-yard drive from Michael Emmott that nevertheless needed visiting keeper Matthew Gould to be alert.
Stourbridge were out of the traps quickly again at the start of the second period, with Chris Lait putting in a dangerous 48th minute cross-cum-shot that skimmed the Grantham bar.
Justins Richards handed Town another lifeline when he headed over the bar 10 minutes later.
Lait then broke from deep in the Stourbridge half on the hour mark but his eventual shot was deflected wide, and Hawley’s 64th minute half volley brought a specacular dive from Turner, although the shot went awry.
Grantham’s defensive wall blocked Leon Broadhurst’s 72nd minute 25-yard free kick.
Stourbridge substitute Tom Tonks’s long throw-ins were to prove a problem for the Gingerbreads late on, his first seeing Stuart Pierpoint rising highest to head goalward on 77 minutes, but Turner was equal to his effort and caught safely.
An identical throw-in a minute later proved equally tricky to defende and this time Dan Scarr headed into the back of the net to level the scores.
Town had a couple of chances to steal the win in the final 10 minutes, the first of which was brought to a half when Tonks brought down Shaw as he ran clear up the left.
Shaw was in the frame again with five minutes remaining, but was unable to judge Michael Hollingsworth’s scuffed cross-cum-shot that did neither with any success.
At the other end, Scarr headed over another Tonks throw from the edge of the box in the 87nd minute, and on 90 minutes Turner’s reaction save from a close range shot ensured Grantham shared the points.
Grantham Town: Turner, Meadows, Storey, Hollingsworth, Galinski, Carr, Browne (Burns, 68), Lewis, Shaw, Ryan, Emmott. Subs not used: Bilyk, Harris, McGhee.