Evo-Stik Northern Premier League
Grantham Town 1
Witton Albion 3
Grantham Town suffered a home defeat at a very windy Meres on Saturday, and were under the cosh from the kick-off.
Gingerbreads goalkeeper Jake Turner was called into action with seconds on the clock, blocking Shaun Tuck’s effort after the number nine scythed with ease through the Grantham defence.
Three minutes later, Turner was kept on his toes with another Tuck attempt which he caught, and seconds later Daniel Andrews fired not far wide and over.
Unsurprisingly, Witton Albion went in front a minute later when Joshua Hancock fired in unopposed from the edge of the penalty area.
The visitors doubled their advantage within a minute. Tuck looked to be offside but the linesman’s flag stayed down and he carried on running and slotted in, with Turner’s fingertip touch unable to deflect the ball away from the target.
Fighting the strong head wind, Grantham finally had a shot on goal in the 13th minute, but Albion defender Ben Harrison blocked Jordan Smith’s effort. Seconds later, Sam MacVicar headed on target but Witton keeper Matthew Cooper caught the ball over his head on the goal line.
MacVicar had another chance on 20 minutes. Although hindered somewhat by Harrison, Town’s number nine managed to get a shot off but made it too easy for Cooper.
At the other end, Turner pulled off a good diving save to deny Witton defender Anthony Gardner in the 24th minute. Hancock’s subsequent corner kick found Marc Joseph but he drove the ball into the ground and over the bar.
Gingerbreads fans were given some hope when the pulled a goal back in the 26th minute, with Gio Carchedi taking advantage of keeper Cooper’s fumble and tapping in on the line.
Albion’s Michael Powell tried his luck from a 35-yard free kick but curled his effort wide and over. At the other end, MacVicar attempted a cheeky lob and was not far off target.
Witton turned the screw further when they went 3-1 up on 34 minutes, with Hancock rocketing in his 20-yard free kick past the Grantham wall.
Town had a free kick of their own with a minute left to play in the first half, but Deon Meikle could get no direction to his header from Danny Elliot’s set-piece.
With seconds of the half remaining, Grantham missed the best chance of the match to pull back within a goal of their opponents when Jordan Smith somehow managed to fire over an open goal from close range.
The second half turned out to be one of few chances for either side. Witton struggled against the wind but the Gingerbreads failed to capitalise on the tailwind advantage.
Town substitute Karl Demidh had his 64th minute drive blocked on the line. Meikle got to the rebound but the keeper was equal to his effort.
Witton sub Jason Oswell had a header on target in the 74th minute but Turner plucked the ball to safety.
Grantham looked to be going 4-1 down two minutes later after a defensive fluff which allowed Steve Foster through one-on-one with the Town’s keeper, but the Witton skipper fired wide of the mark.
The final 10 minutes were all Grantham’s but they failed to take advantage. Kallum Smith chased a wind-assisted long ball which bounced too high for the Town substitute and allowed Cooper to collect.
MacVicar drove his shot over the bar from distance in injury time and the Gingerbreads’ final attack saw sub Nathan Watson’s effot stopped at the near post by keeper Cooper.
Grantham Town: Turner, Purcicoe (Watson, 87), Ridly, Hannigan, Hawes, Meikle, Elliot (K. Smith, 75), Lewis (c), MacVicar, J. Smith, Carchedi (Demidh, 60). Subs not used: Asher, Martin. Att: 210.