Grantham Town suffer Bank Holiday blues

Greg Smith's penalty was saved by Grantham keeper Jake Turner. Photo: John Burgess
Greg Smith's penalty was saved by Grantham keeper Jake Turner. Photo: John Burgess

Northern Premier League

Premier Division

Grantham Town 1

Stamford 4

Grantham Town’s Easter Bank Holiday came crashing down with a humiliating defeat to Lincolnshire rivals Stamford at The Meres on Monday.

The Gingerbreads conceded all four goals in the first half and scored their own from the penalty spot after the break.

It was a fast and frenetic start but Grantham’s third minute chance for Lee Ndlovu to square to Liam Read in front of goal was soon forgotten when they went behind after just seven minutes.

Town were undone too easily by a cross into the box. Lightning quick Danny Clements was first to the ball, ahead of Gingerbreads keeper Jake Turner, and slotted home.

Barely over the early concession, Grantham leaked a second goal just two minutes later. Clements’ initial shot was deflected out for a corner kick that was launched in inch-perfect for Tom Batchelor to float a beauty of a header over everyone and in under the crossbar.

It was hardly the best display of football in general by either side, but it was the Daniels who continued to give Town the runaround in the first 45 minutes.

Grantham went three down on 21 minutes. An innocuous looking long free kick was fumbled by Turner and it was that man Clements again who was first to the ball and calmly volleyed home with aplomb.

The visitors went close again when Nathan Fox’s 26th minute corner kick came off the bar, and the Gingerbreads were fortunate two minutes later when no Stamford player managed to get a touch to Jon Challinor’s squared ball.

The home side’s chances were few and far between, with Rhys Lewis’s 32nd minute 25-yard effort sailing wide but bringing some hope to the Meres faithful. He tried again a minute later from the same distance but, though on target, it was easy enough for Stamford stopper Andrew Stevens.

At the other end, Fox went for an even more ambitious 35-yard free kick that was not too far over the bar.

Half time could not come quickly enough for the Gingerbreads, especially after they conceded a fourth time in the 44th minute when Clements claimed his hat trick after he got on the end of a Challinor throw-in.

Grantham had the first shot of the second half but Ndlovu’s effort was easy enough for Stevens.

If things could not get any worse for Town, they conceded a penalty on 47 minutes when Clements was brought down in the box. Ex-Gingerbread Greg Smith took the spot kick but was foiled by his former team-mate Turner, to the jeers and taunts of the East Stand terrace.

Three minutes later, referee blew Mr Perry for another penalty, but this time at the other end, when Ndlovu was fouled in the area. He brushed himself down and made no mistake, slotting the ball to the diving Stevens’ right.

Liam Read had an opportunity to double Grantham’s goal tally but Stevens tipped his shot around the post.

There were fewer and fewer chances for either side as the second half wore on in an increasingly tetchy game, with Stamford’s players falling out with each other, despite their handsome lead, but still continuing to frustrate the Gingerbreads all over the pitch.

Smith hit the woodwork for the Daniels in the 76th minute and Grantham’s last chance to save some pride came in the 90th minute when a rare foray into the Stamford box saw Lewis shoot over the bar.

Grantham Town: Turner, Purcicoe (c), Wholey (Rawdon, 50), Hollingsworth, Hellewell, Meadows, Read, Lewis, Emmott, Ndlovu, Hurst (Miveld, 56). Subs not used: Bilyk, Duffy, Saunders.

Att: 311.