Division One South
Kidsgrove Athletic 1
Grantham Town 2
THE Gingerbreads were given a run for their money by a tough Kidsgrove side, but held their hosts at arm’s length in a pressured last 15 minutes to claim all three points and their sixth straight league win.
With the slope in their favour, Grantham were on the front foot from the start of the game. They had a great chance to take the lead in the fourth minute. Lee Potts scampered down the left flank and delivered a deep cross. Sam Purcicoe came in from the opposite flank and beat Kidsgrove goalkeeper Steve Hodgson with his header, but saw it crash back off the crossbar. Potts returned the ball to the danger zone and Ben Saunders shot just wide.
Fifteen minutes in, Kidsgrove worked an opening. They played a ball through the Grantham defence and Dave Walker turned Grant Brindley. Rob Murray did well to block his effort. The home side won a number of free kicks around the Grantham penalty area, but could not create anything to trouble the Gingerbreads defence.
Three minutes later, Potts set up Grimes again. His effort was blocked by Alex Morris, Purcicoe fired the loose ball wide of the mark. A quick break on 27 minutes, as Grantham pressured their hosts, saw good play as Paul Grimes squared the ball for Rhys Lewis. Lewis let it run to Potts but he fired well wide.
The hosts’ defence just held firm two minutes later when Martin Ball sent Grimes away down the right wing. His low cross caused problems for the home side as Ben Saunders closed in and cleared their lines from four yards out.
Kidsgrove had a great chance to open the scoring a minute after the break. A free kick fell to Ashley Carter who played it on for Karl Charlton. Charlton only had Murray to beat but lifted his shot well over the top from 10 yards out.
That miss came back to haunt Kidsgrove three minutes later. The Gingerbreads were awarded a free kick 20 yards out. Both Ball and Grimes shaped to strike the ball. It was Ball who took it and beat Hodgson into the bottom corner of the net to put Grantham in front.
Phil Watt went close twice in a minute, seven minutes into the second half. His free kick was pawed away by Hodgson from a corner. From the flag kick, Watt got in at the near post but shot wide.
The Gingerbreads kept up the pressure on Kidsgrove, pinning them back without breaking through until the 66th minute. Gio Carchedi delivered a corner beyond the far post. Ben Saunders headed the ball back into the danger zone. Watts’s effort was blocked on the line but Grimes reacted quickest to fire the ball into the net.
Two goals behind, Kidsgrove were finally sparked into life. Wayne Johnson got a header on to a free kick that had Murray scrambling to make sure it went just wide of the post. With 17 minutes left, the home side pulled a goal back. Kidsgrove got a break when the ball bounced off Andy Taylor for Charlton. His shot took a deflection and looped up to fall nicely for Carter to touch home.
With the slope in their favour, Kidsgrove pushed for an equaliser but found Grantham in resilient mood, and looking more dangerous on the break than the home side did for all their pressure. Hodgson took a dangerous cross from Carchedi under pressure. Then made a good save from Grimes.
As the game approached the six minutes of added time Mr Clark managed to find, despite indicating he would only add three, Kidsgrove got more and more desperate. The Grantham defence kept them at bay and Murray only had to come out to gather the ball just in front of Andy Kinsey.
Kidsgrove goalkeeper Hodgson was lucky to stay on the pitch deep in injury time. Grantham cleared their lines and Hodgson raced out of his box and launched himself at Ben Saunders as the Grantham striker rose to head the ball for goal. Hodgson’s challenge left Saunders in a heap and his defender Danny Smith racing back to clear Saunders’ header off the Kidsgrove line. Despite being well placed, referee Mr Clark saw nothing wrong with Hodgson’s challenge.
Grantham Town: Murray, Purcicoe, Potts, Brindley, S. Saunders, Watt, Lewis, Ball, Grimes (Whitman, 93), B. Saunders, Carchedi (McGhee, 83). Subs not used: Norris, Maddison, Melton. Att: 182