GRANTHAM Town suffered their first defeat since December and only their second league defeat since August thanks to a very late goal in a game which boiled over in a flurry of second half cards. The Gingerbreads almost brought another point home with them, but defensive mistakes cost Grantham dearly.
Evo-Stik Northern Premier League
Division One South
Carlton Town 2
Grantham Town 1
Grantham started well, forcing three corners in the first 10 minutes. Some tigerish tackling allowed the Gingerbreads to keep on the front foot. From the third corner, Lee Potts crossed the ball back in and Ben Saunders got a good flick on the ball, only to see Andrew Richmond save well.
When Carlton broke, they delivered a dangerous angled ball behind the Grantham back line, but Phil Watt, Grant Brindley and Sam Saunders kept everything out for the first quarter of an hour.
Then Ruben Wiggins-Thomas picked up a loose ball inside the Grantham penalty area and turned sharply and was tripped by Watt. Wiggins-Thomas took the penalty, but for the second successive time, Rob Murray saved a spot-kick. He went low to his left and kept out the Carlton striker’s effort.
The home side had a spell of pressure but Adam Kimberley could only fire straight at Murray from a distance. The same player hit a snap shot wide of the mark and when Wiggins-Thomas had the chance to make up for his earlier miss, he could not beat Murray in the Grantham goal.
Two late chances in the first half fell to Gio Carchedi but he failed to make the most of them. First on 31 minutes, Sam Saunders played a ball out of defence for Paul Grimes. His cross found Carchedi but he swept his shot over the crossbar. Just before half time, quick work from Ben Saunders put Carchedi in. He hit the target this time but Richmond pulled off a good save.
After 57 minutes, Carlton’s Josh Thornton delivered a good low cross into the Grantham penalty area. A shot from former Gingerbread Matt Millns deflected over the crossbar for a corner. Four minutes later, a miskick by Sam Purcicoe led to the opening goal. Carlton capitalised on the mistake to whip the ball into the danger zone where Sammy MacVicar turned it into the net from close range.
Grantham reacted straight away. Ben Saunders charged down a clearance by Richmond and the ball squirted across the penalty area. Purcicoe reacted quickest at first but Richmond did well to make up ground and block his shot.
Twenty minutes from the end of normal time, Carchedi had another good chance. Ben Saunders broke on the Grantham left and sent in a low cross. Carchedi tried to shoot across his body but miskicked.
Michael Jacklin headed another corner over the crossbar before Grantham were reduced to 10 men when Grimes kicked out at an opponent after being awarded a free kick. A further two Carlton players went in the book for their part in what happened, to eventually be joined by another four yellow and blue shirts.
Despite their handicap, it was Grantham who looked stronger and they duly equalised when Carlton failed to clear a corner out of their penalty area and Watt lashed the ball into the corner of the net.
It was almost advantage Grantham a minute later, but Richmond dropped on to Sam Saunders’ shot quickly to smother the danger.
Gary King came on for his Gingerbreads debut and almost put Grantham in front. He reacted quickly to Richmond being off his line and looped a shot goalward. Richmond back pedalled and turned King’s shot round the post for a corner.
Murray was a spectator seven minutes into injury time when Terry Hawkridge sent in a pass for Josh Thornton. His shot was deflected and looped just over Murray’s crossbar.
A minute later, another mistake let Carlton grab a dramatic winner. This time MacVicar turned provider as the Grantham defence failed to clear his cross. Kimberley put the ball into the danger zone and Thornton grabbed a goal and all three points for Carlton.
Grantham Town: Murray, Purcicoe (Jacklin, 74), Potts, Brindley, S. Saunders, Watt, Rhys Lewis (King, 90), Magee, Grimes, B. Saunders, Carchedi (Cann, 74). Subs not used: Battersby, Glarvey. Att: 272.