A SINGLE mistake gave Rushall the chance to send Grantham to their first away defeat in 11 Evo-Stik League Division One South games. A tight game at Dales Lane had few chances for both sides and despite a triple substitution with 10 minutes to go, Grantham couldn’t break down a Rushall defence that is the meanest in the division.
Division One South
Rushall Olympic 1
Grantham Town 0
Both sides set out their stalls with very strong defences and that led to a game of very few chances. While Grantham tried to get Jamie McGhee beyond the Rushall defence, the hosts tried to do the same with Ahmed Obeng. For the first half, neither side succeeded as both defences got the measure of their opponents.
Free kicks for the home side gave them an early advantage. Strong defending from Grantham reduced their chances. Danny Lennon fired one effort well wide before Rob Murray comfortably took a header from Nick Amos.
Rushall striker Matthew Lewis had a chance to get a shot off on 17 minutes. Phil Watt tried to clear his lines but Lennon closed him down and blocked his clearance. The ball fell to Lewis on the edge of the Grantham penalty area with time to choose his spot. He rushed his effort and hooked his shot over the crossbar.
Murray comfortably gathered an overhead kick from Lewis before Grantham began to exert some pressure on the home side. The Gingerbreads probed for an opening but it took them until the 30th minute to open up the Rushall defence. Alistair Asher’s cross was headed down by Ben Saunders for Chris Glarvey, but his effort was easy to gather for Chris Gemmell in the Rushall goal.
A change by Rushall early in the second half might have given Grantham a way to open up the home side more, but despite playing three at the back for 40 minutes, if anything, Rushall defended stronger after the introduction of Adrian Smith. Grantham shouted for a penalty as Sean Platt edged Lee Potts away from a Rhys Lewis header.
Obeng showed what a danger he could be to Grantham with a sharp effort on the hour mark. He gathered a cross from Lei Brown and turned sharply, only to fire into the side netting.
Asher delivered another dangerous cross that forced Gemmell to punch away from Ben Saunders as Grantham began to press the home side. Their pressure was undone 19 minutes from time. Watt challenged for a clearance and ended up heading the ball back towards his own goal. Gary Sucharewycz had to stretch to try and clear the situation and only headed the ball into the path of Obeng. He calmly controlled the ball and lifted it over Murray into the corner of the net to put Rushall in front.
The Gingerbreads management responded with a triple substitution and it almost paid off. Rob Norris volleyed a deep cross over the crossbar and Matt Millns got another ball from Asher stuck in his feet as Rushall were forced on to the back foot. In the last minute, Ben Saunders turned and lashed a shot goalward that Gemmill beat out. The rebound came to Matt Glass but his shot hit the Rushall crossbar and flew over the top.
Grantham Town: Murray, Purcicoe (Millns, 80), Potts, Asher, Sucharewycz, Watt, Glarvey, S. Saunders, Ghee (Norris, 80), B. Saunders, Lewis (Glass, 80). Subs not used: Carchedi, Dyson. Att: 139.