Grantham Town win final game at Stocksbridge

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Evo-Stik Northern Premier League

Premier Division

Stocksbridge Park Steels 0

Grantham Town 3

Grantham rounded of the season in style. The three points that joint manager Gary Sucharewycz said he wanted his team to get were brought home in style with a comfortable win to take Grantham above Stocksbridge in the table.

The Gingerbreads got off to the best possible start when after only four minutes, they took the lead from a corner. Nathan Watson delivered to the near post where Greg Smith timed his run perfectly to power a header past Ben Scott and give Grantham the lead.

The visitors relaxed after taking the lead and allowed Stocksbridge to threaten, but the home side had no cutting edge up front. Sam Purcicoe cleared after Nathan Joynes won his battle with Deon Meikle and Emeka Nwadike was turned by Nicky Darker, as Grantham were lackadaisical at the back. Matthew Hamshaw made space on the Grantham left to put in a good cross. Joynes’s header came off Deon Meikle, then the striker fired the loose ball over the top.

After the first 15 minutes, Grantham began to impose themselves on the game. Jamie McGhee drifted past three challenges but was eventually crowded out on the edge of the penalty area. Purcicoe than worked well with McGhee and Jordan Smith to make an opening, but his shot was straight at Ben Scott. On 20 minutes, Meikle got up well to meet another well delivered corner. This time, his header was somehow scrambled off the line by the Stocksbridge defence.

The home side had some joy down their right hand side as Hamshaw got the better of Lee Ridley. His crosses, however, led to nothing. Joynes had a free header but only found Jake Turner. A curling shot from Hamshaw also only found Turner.

Greg Smith should have added a second goal as Grantham finished the half strongly. First he hit a dipping 30 yard shot that Scott was well positioned to collect, then a Turner free kick cleared the Stocksbridge defence to leave Smith in a great position, but his header was easy for Scott.

Nathan Watson and McGhee caused problems for the Stocksbridge defence when they got the ball down and ran at the home defence. McGhee curled one shot just away from goal and had another saved by the home goalkeeper. Watson was eventually tackled on the edge of the home penalty area after he went on a mazy run past the Stocksbridge midfield.

Greg Smith almost ended the half as he had started it. He worked well with McGhee to create his shooting chance, but his effort took a deflection and went harmlessly wide.

Stocksbridge had the wind at their backs and, predictably, came at Grantham a bit more after the break. Two minutes into the half, they won a free kick 25 yards out in the centre of the pitch. Grantham only half cleared their lines and Alex Callery fed Matthew Telling, but his shot flew wide. Ridley kept Grantham in front on 58 minutes. The Gingerbreads again struggled to get the ball clear and James Knowles struck a drive that Ridley did well to clear off the line.

McGhee took the wind out of the sails of Stocksbridge on 63 minutes. Nathan Watson picked up the ball on the left hand side and cut inside past two defenders. A shooting chance opened up for him but he chose to feed McGhee. McGhee took one touch before rifling the ball into the corner of the net.

Turner preserved Grantham’s lead a minute later. Poor defending allowed Telling to pick up a short clearance from Ridley and he hit a fierce drive that Turner did well to turn over the crossbar. Five minutes later, he did it again when Hamshaw got the better of Ridley and fired in an effort that Turner again spectacularly turned over for a corner.

Fifteen minutes from the end, both sides were reduced to 10 men after a scuffle involving Karl Demidh and Telling. The pair clashed when Telling challenged Demidh and both players tumbled to the ground. Fists briefly flew and Mr Bartlett immediately showed both players a red card.

Greg Smith had another good chance to add to the Grantham lead seven minutes from time. McGhee set him clear of the Stocksbridge defence, but he got the ball under his feet and stabbed his shot past the post.

Late substitute Gio Carchedi did make it three as the game went into injury time, picking up a poor back header and finishing well from a narrow angle.

Grantham Town: Turner, Purcicoe, Ridley, Lewis, Meikle, Elliott, Watson (Carchedi, 86), Nwadike, G. Smith, J. Smith ( Demidh, 67), McGhee (Asher, 84). Subs not used: MacVicar. Att: 168.