GRANTHAM Town drew 3-3 at Quorn in their first pre-season friendly game on Saturday.
A competitive and fast paced game against a Quorn side that had beaten fellow Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Premier Division side Eastwood Town the previous week, saw the Gingerbreads comfortably in control before some sloppy defending let the home side back into the game.
Grantham showed attacking intent from the off, setting the pace by getting Sam Purcicoe to the by-line. His cross picked out Rhys Lewis but his shot was at Matt Nurse in the Quorn goal. The home side responded a few minutes later with a long ball for Luke Edwards to chase. He gathered it with only Jimmy Lindley to beat but the Gingerbreads’ new goalkeeper stood up well and deflected his shot away.
After 13 minutes, the Gingerbreads got their noses in front. Play was held up well with Purcicoe on the right. He delivered a deep cross perfectly for Lee Potts who gave Nurse no chance with his header.
The home side had as many early chances as Town. A corner flashed across the Gingerbreads penalty area and Edwards played a good ball in for Liam Turner, but solid defending by Michael Jacklin denied him the chance.
The first of a number of refereeing decisions to go against Grantham came in the 22nd minute. Karl Demidh caused problems for the Quorn defence all afternoon and played a nice ball for Potts. He in turn played in Tony Battersby who found Purcicoe.
Just as the Grantham player shaped to shoot, a challenge through him from behind took the ball away, but referee Mr Hollidge waved play on with Purcicoe in a heap on the ground.
As the half wore on, Grantham began to dominate possession. Battersby linked play well for Grantham and again put Potts in on the left. This time, Potts’s cross was just too heavy for Lewis to reach.
Over elaboration lost Grantham the chance to extend their lead on 35 minutes. Demidh, Niall O’Rafferty and Battersby were involved in the move which eventually broke down on the edge of the Quorn penalty area.
As half time approached, Quorn came back into the game. Martin Bowles robbed the Gingerbreads defence on the half-way line. Good defending by Damien Magee held him up before he got a shot away, only to see Lindley make a good save.
Lindley kept Grantham in front again on the stroke of half time. Edwards was allowed to run on despite looking offside, but the Gingerbreads keeper again proved his worth.
Battersby shot wide for Grantham and Quorn substitute Lee Sutton hit the bar as both sides continued to make chances after the break. Nathan Watson carved his way through the Grantham defence on 57 minutes, finding Sutton, but the Quorn striker took too much time before shooting and Grantham cleared their lines.
Around the hour mark, Grantham got on top of the game again. Some quality passing saw Quorn pressed back into their own half, unable to get to the ball. Jacklin, Purcicoe and Demidh combined to get the ball to Connor Higginson and it took a good save from Nurse to keep his effort out.
Another good passing move led to Potts grabbing his second goal of the game. Purcicoe and Demidh were again involved in the build-up, setting up Gio Carchedi. His shot was blocked, but eventually the ball fell to Potts who drove it past Nurse.
At that point, there seemed only one winner, but Grantham let Quorn back into the game in the last quarter of an hour. On 74 minutes, Sam Wood picked up a loose ball in the centre of the field and threaded a pass through for Sutton. He finished well to beat Lindley.
The home side were level two minutes later. Kalern Thomas sent the ball down the line for Sutton who slipped it on for Watson. His low cross was turned in by Turner.
With 11 minute left on the clock, Grantham thought they had scored a third goal. Joe Briers delivered a cross. Higginson had his shot blocked and as Potts and Carchedi followed in, the Gingerbreads were sure the ball had crossed the line, but the referee and his assistant saw it differently.
Quorn took the lead five minutes from time when a long clearance was touched on in midfield and Sutton ran on to score his second of the game.
Grantham were not to be beaten and scored the goal of the game in the last minute. Another cross from Briers took a deflection but fell to Higginson who volleyed it cleanly past Nurse.
Grantham Town: Lindley, Purcicoe (Briers, 71), Potts, Jacklin, Watt (Brindley, 61), S. Saunders, Lewis (Robinson, 61), Magee, Demidh, Battersby (Higginson, 55), O’Rafferty (Carchedi, 55).