Single second half goal spells defeat for Grantham Town

Grantham Town v Rushall Olympic

Grantham Town v Rushall Olympic

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Northern Premier League

Premier Division

Grantham Town 0

Rushall Olympic 1

Grantham Town suffered a slender defeat at The Meres on Tuesday night, conceding a single goal just after the hour.

But it was the Gingerbreads who had the first chance in the fourth minute, with Alex Simmons’ half volley going close, seconds before Jake Heath did the same thing for Rushall.

The opening exchanges were frenetic but the paced slowed towards midway through the first half.

Town’s Connor Johnson drove his 19th minute drive into the side netting and, six minutes later at the other end, Aaron Williams’ effort curled away from goal, with keeper Dan Haystead covering it all the way.

Simmons and Jordan Hempenstall combined well together to try and unlock the visitors, as the Gingerbreads looked busy all over the pitch, including a confident defence with an exemplary Deon Meikle fully back on his game.

Grantham went close on the half hour mark, but Rhys Lewis was just beaten to a good curling cross from Scott Matthews.

A minute later, Zak Martin drove a rasping shot just past the post to the gasps of the Gingerbreads fans, after a poor clearance found the Rushall number three.

Lewis had another opportunity to put Town in front on 36 minutes but his looping header was caught by visiting keeper Cameron Belford.

Haystead did well to spot Heath’s 40th minute drive through a gaggle of legs and stooped to scoop the ball just in time.

The final action of the first half saw Grantham saved by the offside flag as well as Haystead’s foot while, at the other end, Meikle played a good ball into the Rushall box but Lewis scuffed an easy chance.

The Gingerbreads were awarded a free kick two minutes into the second period, but Hempenstall powered his effort straight at the Olympic wall. Simmons drove just past the far post seconds later as the home side searched for the opener.

Haystead kept Grantham level with two solid catches but was powerless to stop Farrell’s header from a corner kick in the 61st minute.

Town continued to play generally a long ball game that never looked like bearing fruit, especially when the ball found an opposing player the majority of the time.

Grantham stepped up their efforts to find an equaliser in the final 15 minutes. Captain Phil Watt’s header was too easy for keeper Belford, and Meikle’s cross-cum-shot hit the post.

Watt failed to get full contact on another header and the Gingerbreads’ final real chance saw Liam Dicken’s drive blocked by the Rushall defence in the sixth minute of added time.

Grantham Town: Haystead, Purcicoe, Matthews, Meikle, Watt, Dickens, Lewis, Johnson, Hempenstall, Smith, Simmons. Subs: Batchelor, Towey, Rawden, Fairclough, Turner. Att: 143.