Grantham Town share points with Lincoln United in league opener

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Evo-Stik League

Division One South

Lincoln United 1

Grantham Town 1

GRANTHAM picked up a point from their opening league game thanks to Rhys Lewis’ equaliser just before half time.

Tenacious play almost put Grantham in front after two minutes. Lewis won a challenge in midfield and sent Jamie McGhee away. He shot across the face of goal and just wide. A few minutes later, McGhee went on a good run, but a well timed challenge from Jack McGovern halted his progress.

Grantham dominated early possession, but did not test Craig Turner. Ben Saunders tried to lob the Lincoln keeper but got it wrong, and then got a touch on Lee Potts’ free kick but it was just too much for Lewis.

Lincoln showed their menace with a 20th minute free kick. McGovern swung it across the front of the Grantham defence and it was met by Brendan McDaid. His header was beaten out by Rob Murray, but as Lincoln tried to capitalise on the loose ball, an offside flag halted their progress.

The Gingerbreads immediately went up the other end and played some of the most fluent football of the first half. Lewis, Ben Saunders and Sam Purcicoe were involved in the move which saw Lewis cross for McGhee, but just too long. Phil Watt also had a chance to open the scoring when he got on the end of Potts’ cross after a short corner, but his header lacked power.

The warning posted after 20 minutes was not heeded by Grantham and they fell behind from an identical free kick after 30 minutes. This time it was Kallum Smith who delivered and Scott Coupland who got on the end of things. Coupland gave Murray no chance as he put his free header past the Grantham goalkeeper.

The Gingerbreads took a few minutes to get back on their game but when they did, the equaliser came just before half time. Ben Saunders headed Potts’ cross wide and then got on the end of a diagonal ball from Martin Ball. Lincoln only half cleared their lines and when the ball fell to Lewis, he fired home into the bottom corner of the net.

After half time, Grantham continued to put Lincoln under pressure. In the first two minutes of the second half, McGhee put a lob at Turner, then the home keeper made a good save to deny Potts. Potts delivered a good low cross after beating McGovern on the left wing, but Ben Saunders’ shot was somehow deflected just wide.

As the second half wore on, the game opened up and chances came at both ends. Murray had to punch a long Turner clearance away from Alex Troughton, and then with 20 minutes left had to react quickly to deny the same player again.

Inside the last 10 minutes, another free kick arrived at the Grantham far post. McDaid was the only player there and Murray had to spread himself to deny the Lincoln captain from six yards out. It was soon Grantham’s turn to go close. Watt picked up the ball and advanced on the Lincoln defence. From 35 yards out, he drove a shot just past the angle of post and crossbar.

With five minutes to go, Grantham thought they had the winner. Ben Saunders won another challenge from a Watt clearance and turned his man to fire past Turner, only for an offside flag to wipe his effort out. Lewis then had a free header from a corner, but could not keep his effort down.

Both sides could have snatched victory in injury time, but the two goalkeepers ensured the scores remained level. McDaid and Craig Leverett set up Chris Funnell, but Murray did enough to keep him out. Ben Saunders then drove a pass across the face of the Lincoln goal that just evaded Lewis and Watt.

Grantham Town: Murray, Purcicoe, Potts, Asher, Ball, Watt, Lewis, S. Saunders, McGhee, B. Saunders, Carchedi (O’Rafferty, 69). Subs not used: Norris, Brindley, Maddison, Glass. Att: 233.