Grantham Town snatch a point with last gasp penalty

Gingerbread Paul Grimes (right) sprints to outpace his Lincoln United opponent. Photo: 068C

Gingerbread Paul Grimes (right) sprints to outpace his Lincoln United opponent. Photo: 068C

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GRANTHAM Town bounced back from a 2-0 half time deficit to take a share of the points in injury time against Lincoln United at The Meres on Saturday.

Evo-Stik League Northern Premier League

Division One South

Grantham Town 3

Lincoln United 3

A swirling wind did neither side any favours in general, although it did help Sean Wright’s volley into the net to stun the Gingerbreads after just four minutes.

Town had a couple of chances in the eighth minute. Lee Potts’s free kick from the edge of the box was cleared by the Lincoln defence, and Jamie McGhee’s strike into the wind made it an easy catch for keeper Phil McGann.

McGhee was in the thick of it again a minute later. Set up by a good ball down the wing from Potts, Paul Grimes squared to McGhee but McGann was first to the ball and smothered it to the ground.

McGhee’s 13th minute free kick was cleared and fired a shot from a Phil Watt long ball just wide of the post three minutes later. McGann parried McGhee’s 20th minute effort, and Grantham skipper Ben Saunders had a good chance seconds later but firing into the wind, his strike lacked the necessary power.

With Town having chance after chance, an equaliser seemed on the cards, with Potts raining in dangerous crosses.

Grantham’s free kick specialist Martin Ball was tested in the 36th minute. Wright was yellow carded for pulling Grimes back by his shirt. Ball curled the free kick beautifully, but it sailed just wide with McGann rooted to the ground.

Against the run of play, the Gingerbreads conceded a second time, and in a farcical fashion. Keeper Rob Murray rushed out of his area at the same time as his defender Grant Brindley headed the ball over him and towards the now open goal. Alex Troughton was there to tuck the ball home.

But Town’s belief in themselves was visibly still evident as the game headed towards half time. The last real opportunity saw Rhys Lewis curl one just over the bar.

Half time substitute Tony Battersby got stuck in straight away and had his shot blocked two minutes into the second period. Five minutes in, Grimes’s cross-cum-shot looked to be in the net, but dropped just over the bar.

Battersby had another effort blocked in the 53rd minute and Grantham pulled a goal back three minutes later when Saunders lobbed over the Lincoln keeper.

The Gingerbreads levelled two minutes later. Potts picked his way through the United defence after a long run and squared to Lewis who picked his spot to bring the crowd to its feet.

Town continued to threaten. Grimes could not quite get the touch needed to deflect McGhee’s squared ball on the hour mark, and Ball volleyed over a minute later.

Ball’s 65th minute low, hard drive forced a good save from McGann who had to dive to punch the ball clear. Battersby tried his luck with a cheeky lob with McGann out of position, but a United defender managed to block.

Both McGhee and Potts had free kicks cleared from danger but Grantham were knocked back when they conceded a penalty in the 77th minute. Brendan McDaid had a shot when he got on the end of Kallum Smith’s free kick, but in the melee a United player was tripped in the box and referee Mr Smedley pointed to the spot where Tom Garrick made no mistake.

The two sides scrapped out the final 10 minutes, with the Gingerbreads still earnestly searching for at least a share of the points.

With two minutes remaining, Battersby had a shot blocked and then volleyed over from the rebound.

Town were unable to create anything from the free kick after Grimes was fouled on the edge of the box just into added time.

But Grimes was felled again five minutes later inside the 18yd area. With seconds left on the clock, Grimes blasted in the spot kick to give the Gingerbreads some reward for their efforts.

Grantham Town: Murray, Maddison (Battersby, 45), Potts, Brindley, Magee, Watt, Lewis, Ball, Grimes, B. Saunders (Cann, 85), McGhee (Melton, 90). Subs not used: Glarvey, Briers. Att: 310.