Second half mistakes cost Grantham Town the game

An open training day will be held for Sleaford Town Junior FC on Saturday, October 22
An open training day will be held for Sleaford Town Junior FC on Saturday, October 22
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Northern Premier League

Premier Division

FC United of Manchester 3

Grantham Town 1

Mistakes late in the second half were punished to send the Gingerbreads home pointless again from an encounter with FC United of Manchester.

Grantham started on the front foot and could have shocked their hosts in the first minute. Jordan Hempenstall robbed a dithering FC United defence and sent Greg Smith through. Smith was closed out by the home defence and the chance was lost.

That came back to haunt Grantham as FC United scored with their first attack after four minutes. Greg Daniels turned Scott Matthews and delivered a low cross into the Grantham six-yard box where Matthew Woolfenden turned the ball into the net.

The opening goal allowed the home side to relax and put Grantham under pressure for most of the first half. The Gingerbreads’ passing to their front line was not accurate enough and allowed the home side to gather too many balls under no pressure and start to build attacks.

After 21 minutes, Woolfenden had a chance to score again. Another cross from the Grantham left picked him out, but his header skimmed off the top of the crossbar. Two minutes later, Grantham struggled to clear the ball from the edge of their penalty area. It fell to Tom Greaves and his stabbed shot needed to be cleanly taken by Dan Haystead.

A minute later, the home side had a corner that Grantham defended well and broke from quickly. Alex Simmons took the ball into the FC United penalty area and appeared to be bundled over, only for referee Mr Mulhall to give the free kick the other way and book Simmons for diving.

Although FC United had most of the possession during the second part of the first half, Grantham defended strongly. Phil Watt and Deon Meikle gave nothing away and frustrated the home side.

Straight after half time, Grantham increased their frustration by levelling the game. Simmons delivered a good cross from the Grantham right only 22 seconds into the second half. At the far post, Hempenstall bundled home the equaliser.

The next 20 minutes saw an open game with chances at both ends. Greaves and Callum Byrne had chances for the home side, but Greaves’ touch was too heavy and Byrne blazed wide. For the Gingerbreads, Matthews fired over the crossbar and Simmons and Rhys Lewis battled hard to create an opening, but David Carnell in the FC United goal was alert to snuff out the danger.

The home side took the lead again on 63 minutes. A mistake by Meikle allowed Greg Daniels in and he squared the ball to Greaves. In turn, Greaves played the ball on for Woolfenden to slot in his second goal of the game.

Four minutes later, FC United rode their luck as a weak punch from Carnell only found Lewis. His header looped back over the goalkeeper, but was cleared off the home goal-line. A minute later, Simmons had a shot deflected wide, then desperate defending from Chris Lynch denied Sam Purcicoe as the Gingerbreads looked for a second equaliser.

The killer blow for Grantham came two minutes from full time. With FC United pinned back in their own half, Liam Dickens lost the ball and a quick break saw Watt outnumbered two to one. The first pass seemed to have taken the ball too wide, but it was laid back for Byrne who drilled his shot into the net.

Grantham Town: Haystead, Purcicoe, Matthews, Meikle, Watt, Dickens (Johnson, 90), Lewis, Towey, Hempenstall, Smith (Fairclough, 66), Simmons. Subs not used: Batchelor, Rawden, Turner. Att: 1,985.