Lincolnshire Senior Shield
Deeping Rangers 0
Grantham Town 1
A first half goal was enough to see Grantham through to the semi-finals of the Lincolnshire Senior Shield.
The Gingerbreads had the better of the first half from early on. Sam Purcicoe picked out Jack Millward after only three minutes. Millward made room for a shot but put his effort wide. Gary King put in a couple of good crosses for Rhys Lewis. The Gingerbreads midfielder got across his marker, but both times headed past the post.
Deeping were a threat on the break. When the Gingerbreads gave the ball away in midfield, Deon Meikle had to work hard to close down Ryan Oliver, forcing him to shoot wide. Mitch Griffiths also curled a shot just wide after 16 minutes.
Griffiths brought a save from Dan Haystead a few minutes later when Grantham only cleared a corner to him. From 18 yards, another curled effort was denied by a good save from the Grantham goalkeeper.
Liam Motson showed his quality midway through the first half when he turned on the ball and took on the Deeping defence, making room for a shot that James Doughty saved at full stretch. Doughty conceded a corner on 24 minutes when Millward again caused problems for the home defence. His low shot was turned round the post by the Deeping keeper.
A mix-up in the Deeping defence gifted Grantham what turned out to be the winning goal after 33 minutes. Millward again posed questions of the Deeping defence. His cross led to both Doughty and another defender going for the ball and presenting it to Niall Davie with an open net three yards away from the Gingerbreads youngster. A composed Davie controlled the ball and rolled it over the line.
Five minutes later, Grantham had a scare at the back. Griffiths broke clear of the Grantham defence. Purcicoe tracked back and brought him down just outside the Grantham penalty area. Purcicoe was shown a yellow card but Griffiths put the free kick over the top of the Gingerbreads goal.
Deeping had more purpose to their play after the break and Haystead had to be at his best to keep Grantham in front. After 53 minutes, Alex Beck was put through with just Haystead to beat. The Grantham keeper stood up well and denied Beck, who then fired the rebound over the crossbar.
Play switched from end to end as it was Grantham’s turn to open up their opponents. Davie played a neat pass to Greg Smith who in turn laid the ball off to Lewis. The Grantham midfielder cut inside and let fly, bringing a good save from Doughty. Greg Smith then fed Davie who linked up with Kallum Smith. When the ball was delivered into the Deeping penalty area, Motson got in a near post header that went just wide.
A Deeping free kick brought another good save from Haystead. Scott Ginty rolled the ball for Griffiths to strike, but Haystead was equal to the test.
Doughty was also equal to the challenge two minutes later. Greg Smith met Davie’s cross but could not beat the Deeping goalkeeper. King was next to try his luck with a curling shot that went off the top of the Deeping crossbar. Lewis also rattled the woodwork when he beat a defender then shot as Grantham looked for a second goal.
Deeping finished strongly, forcing four corners in the last 10 minutes. Despite the pressure, solid defending by Grantham prevented any more scares at the back. There was still time for Greg Smith to hit the woodwork again as Grantham closed the game out well.
Grantham will now meet Stamford in the semi-finals at The Meres on February 11.
Grantham Town: Haystead, Purcicoe, Humphreys (Davie, 23), Meikle, Hawes, Lewis, King, Foster (Hardy, 83), Motson, Millward (G. Smith, 45), K. Smith. Subs not used: Lister, Holland. Att: 84.