Northern Premier League
Whitby Town 2
Grantham Town 1
After conceding early on, Grantham had the better of the game for a long time but did not take their chances.
Whitby started brightly and Scott Matthews and Deon Meikle both made good tackles on the edge of their penalty area to deny the home side shooting space. But after eight minutes, a piece of poor defending cost Grantham.
The Gingerbreads seemed as though they would clear their lines comfortably, but Alex Simmons and Phil Watt managed to lose the ball to Matthew Waters. With Dan Haystead out of position, Waters curled his shot into the unguarded half of the goal.
Grantham began to play the better football, denying their opponents time and space while making the most of their own possession. Simmons and Jordan Hempenstall went close without testing Shane Bland in the Whitby goal.
The tide was all one way as Grantham looked for the equaliser. Chances came for Michael Towey and Simmons as good crosses went just short of their targets. When Whitby did threaten, the Gingerbreads defence was solid, with Watt and Deon Meikle winning almost everything in the air.
The deserved equaliser came eight minutes before half time. Hempenstall worked hard to keep the ball on the left and his determination allowed him to deliver a near-post cross. Greg Smith beat the home defence to crash home his header.
Smith almost gave Grantham the lead a couple of minutes later. A poor punch from Bland dropped to Smith. He tried to lob the ball back over a crowd of players, but looped his effort over the bar.
After the break, it was all Grantham for a while, but Bland was not stretched. Hempenstall had two efforts but curled one effort wide and looped the other over the bar with an overhead effort.
Laurie Wilson began to have an influence after the hour. Smith put a free header from one free kick over the bar, before Wilson and Scott Matthews worked a free kick routine that saw Wilson curl an effort just over the bar.
Whitby’s substitution after 63 minutes turned the game. Matthew Brown’s runs down the Grantham right began to open things up for the home side. He worked well with Waters and Liam Shepard to bring saves from Haystead, and after 80 minutes made the decisive move.
Another run into the Gingerbreads penalty area saw Wilson make contact and Brown went over. Mr Dicicco pointed to the spot.
Dave McTiernan hit the spot kick low to Haystead’s left. The Gingerbreads keeper seemed to have got to the ball but it squirmed out of his grasp and rolled over the line.
Grantham put the home side under pressure for the last 10 minutes but could not break down the home defence. Towey and Liam Dickens both had great chances, but both miscued their headers and missed the target.
Grantham Town: Haystead, Purcicoe, Matthews, Meikle, Watt, Wilson, Lewis (Johnson, 88), Towey, Hempenstall, Smith (Dickens, 81), Simmons. Subs not used: Batchelor, Rawden, Turner.