Grantham Town wipe the floor with 10-man Nantwich

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Northern Premier League

Premier Division

Ben Fairclough was instrumental in Grantham's offence throughout. Photo: Toby Roberts

Ben Fairclough was instrumental in Grantham's offence throughout. Photo: Toby Roberts

Grantham Town 4

Nantwich Town 0

Grantham Town followed up Saturday’s home win with a convincing victory over Nantwich at a chilly Meres on Tuesday night.

A solid performance throughout saw four goals, a clean sheet and another three points take the Gingerbreads up to seventh in the league.

It was a nervy but lively start to the game with Ben Fairclough showing the Nantwich defence a clean pair of heels early on with a darting run down the wing which ended with a cross-cum-shot going over the target.

Alex McAney’s 11th minute low free kick bobbled safely into the arms of Grantham keeper Dan Haystead whilst four minutes later, at the other end, Greg Smith headed into the side netting from Liam Dickens’s ball into the box.

Nantwich found themselves down to 10 men after 20 minutes when Mathew Kosylo received his second yellow card for bringing down Fairclough.

Three minutes later, another Fairclough run down the left flank outpaced Nantwich’s defenders and saw him square deftly across the face of goal, with Smith just unable to get a toe to the ball at the far post.

The Gingerbreads continued to maintain a brisk pace all over the field, although at times it was a little brisk for their own good, but they remained confident and certainly up for the job.

The visitors failed to make use of a couple of chances around the half hour mark and paid for them on 36 minutes when Grantham took the lead. Once again, it was Fairclough who did the groundwork to set up Laurie Wilson who fired home past Nantwich keeper David Stevenson.

The pace of the game slowed after the goal, which allowed the Gingerbreads more space around the field and enabled them to pass the ball on the ground with accuracy.

Grantham had several good opportunities to extend their lead in the final minutes of the half. Alex Simmons blasted straight at Stevenson from the side of the box, Wilson’s 25-yarder went the same way, and Deon Meikle’s acrobatic 45th minute bicycle kick struck the post.

The home side continued to dominate after the break and doubled their advantage on 62 minutes when Simmons got on the end of a Michael Towey ball, swinging wildly to send it ricocheting in off the far post.

Simmons doubled his tally 11 minutes later when he broke away and made it look easy as he slotted in past Stevenson.

Smith had a chance to extend his side’s lead in the 75th minute but could not quite stretch to Simmons’s cross, following a good long ball from Meikle.

Connor Johnson was tripped on the edge of the penalty area in the 83rd minute and fellow Grantham substitute Jack McGovern curled the free kick around the wall, but Stevenson just got a hand to it at the far post.

With four minutes remaining, Simmons looked to complete his hat trick but rushed his effort and sliced the ball past the near post with his left peg.

The best of Nantwich’s few second half chances tested Haystead as Harry Clayton’s drive moved in the air, but the Grantham stopper was up to the challenge and caught safely at the near post.

Simmons was denied his chance of a hat trick again in the 90th minute when he fired into the stanchion.

The Gingerbreads sealed victory two minutes into added time. A Simmons shot was blocked and went out for a corner. The flag kick went out to sub Jordan Hempenstall who thundered the ball in with aplomb.

Grantham Town: Haystead, Purcicoe, Meikle, Batchelor, Watt, Wilson (Johnson, 79), Dickens, Towey, Simmons, Smith (Hempenstall, 79), Fairclough (McGovern, 79). Subs not used: Lewis, Turner. Att: 105.