Evo-Stik Northern Premier League
Blyth Spartans 1
Grantham Town 0
Grantham only had themselves to blame again for missing out on points, although this time it was missed chances, not a poor performance, that let Grantham down.
The Gingerbreads put up a good display but the only time they got the ball in the net, an offside flag controversially denied them a goal which would have led to a point.
Town had closed Blyth down from the off and began to dominate the game as they got into their stride. The Gingerbreads’ first chance came when Kallum Smith played a neat pass to Karl Demidh. In turn, he found Jordan Smith who made himself room to hit a low shot that Conor Grant in the Blyth goal saved low to his right.
When Blyth did threaten, Grantham defended well and broke quickly when they got the ball back. Grant made another good save as the Gingerbreads won the ball from a Blyth corner and quickly moved up-field. Sam Purcicoe helped the ball on for Kallum Smith who turned and shot, but Grant again kept Town at bay.
The Blyth goalkeeper was beaten after 22 minutes. Dean Meikle set himself and struck his shot well after the home side struggled to clear a corner. Unfortunately for the Gingerbreads, Meikle’s shot hit his opposite number Jordon Melish who cleared off the line.
As the first half wore on, the game became more open and Blyth had their share of chances. Craig Hubbard played a good through ball for Lee Mason. As the Gingerbreads defence stood still, Mason dragged his shot wide when he should have done better.
Two free kicks from similar positions saw Grantham finish the half on top and go close to opening the scoring. Both came in the last five minutes of the half, from central positions 25 yards out. Showing variety, the first was struck by Demidh, but Grant was quickly across to his left to turn the ball away. Nathan Watson took the second and hit his shot through the Blyth wall. This time Grant could only watch gratefully as the ball rolled just past his right hand post.
After the break, it was the turn of Grantham goalkeeper Jake Turner to come to the rescue. Daniel Maguire turned away from both Meikle and Adie Hawes then fed Dale. Turner dived to his left to keep scores level. After 48 minutes, he frustrated the home side again with a great double save
Blyth took advantage of their good fortune after 63 minutes. Mason played the ball on to Maguire who made himself some space off Hawes, and then struck a low shot past Turner into the net.
The Gingerbreads put pressure back on the home side. Demidh hit the wall with a free kick and Grant saved bravely at the feet of Jordan Smith before Blyth got a big break. Rhys Lewis hit a shot from the edge of the Blyth penalty area and Grant spilled the ball. Jordan Smith reacted quickest and beat everyone to the loose ball to bundle in what he thought was the equaliser. The referee’s assistant thought otherwise and flagged him offside.
As the Gingerbreads pressed for an equaliser that would count, Turner kept them in the hunt with another couple of good saves.
Kallum Smith’s frustration with the referee’s assistant boiled over in the last minute when he gave another decision against Grantham. He said something to the assistant that was reported to referee Mr Kettlewell who showed Smith a red card.
Grantham still pushed, but their last chance went when Watson and Jordan Smith exchanged passes, but Watson shot wide.
Grantham Town: Turner, Purcicoe (Carchedi, 80), Ridley, Meikle, Hawes, Lewis, Watson, Nwadike (Elliott, 87), Demidh, J. Smith, K. Smith. Subs not used: Hannigan, Asher. Att: 316.