Northern Premier League
Grantham Town 3
Grantham Town battled high winds and their opposition and came out on top with a Greg Smith hat trick the icing on the cake.
The Gingerbreads faced the gale in the first half and Marine took advantage with chances early on, although neither side really imposed themselves in the opening exchanges.
The home side broke the deadlock out of the blue in the 16th minute, after Marine had enjoyed a period of possession. Paul Grimes’s bicycle kick found Smith who outwitted Marine keeper Callum Williams, who was out of his area, and tapped in from 20 yards.
But the lead was short lived and Marine drew level six minutes later after Grantham gave a free kick away 20 yards out. Connor Roberts-Nurse stepped up and deftly curled his effort over the Grantham wall and into the top right hand corner, aided somewhat by the swirling wind. Gingerbreads keeper Dan Haystead’s double-handed punch cleared another dangerous free kick four minutes later.
At the other end, Smith tried his luck from 20-plus yards in the 32nd minute but fired wide and three minutes later he turned provider for Grimes who beat his defender but had his shot tipped wide by Williams. In the last action of the half, Grimes and Gary King combined well, only for the latter’s cross to be deflected out for a corner kick.
Marine had a chance early in the second half but Haystead gathered, and King fired over a minute later at the other end. Haystead had to be alert to gather again from an on-rushing Dale Wright in the 49th minute.
Smith had another chance for the Gingerbreads two minutes later, shooting from a tight angle, but Williams was equal to his effort. Smith had the ball in the net a second time in the 52nd minute but was denied by an offside flag.
Grantham continued to pressure as Marine struggled to get out of their own half. King headed just over from a Deon Meikle ball, and Meikle himself had a shot fly over the bar in the 56th minute. Smith then hit the woodwork.
Town got the reward their efforts deserved in the 67th minute when Haystead’s free kick from the centre circle found Smith whose header drifted in the wind and over Williams into the net.
Williams saved well at the near post to deny Grimes on 76 minutes and Smith was just unable to poke his head out far enough to make contact with Lee Ridley’s cross three minutes later.
But the Grantham number 10 made no mistake with nine minutes remaining, heading in Grimes’s ball in off the post to seal victory.
Grantham Town: Haystead, Purcicoe, Ridley, Lister, Meikle, Lewis, King (Walker, 78), Towey (McGovern, 90), Grimes, Smith (Hardy, 90), Potts. Subs not used: Whyman, Hawes. Att: 182.