Grantham Town 2
Grantham overcame a second half disadvantage of being down to ten men with half an hour to go and recorded their third straight home win.
Early goals in each half put Grantham in the driving seat and a solid defensive performance ensured Trafford could not make the extra man count.
Grantham took the game to Trafford from the off. A first minute corner was followed by Ash Burbeary and Massiah McDonald combining to deliver a cross for Gregg Smith. Jamie McGhee got on the end of his header to fire in a volley at goal.
Sam Purcicoe delivered another cross for Gregg Smith and Burbeary ran at the Trafford defence before laying the ball for Lee Ridley to deliver the cross, but Trafford cleared their lines.
After only nine minutes, Gregg Smith took advantage of a mistake in the Trafford defence. Burbeary won the ball in midfield and played a pass forward that seemed certain to be cut out by Shelton Payne. He dallied on the ball and Gregg Smith robbed him 20 yards out. Smith advanced on the Trafford goal and picked his spot before firing firmly past Kieran O’Hara.
For a while, it looked as though Grantham would run riot. McDonald and Michael Towey worked space on the Grantham left to set up McGhee. He beat his man and hit a firm shot, but O’Hara was well placed to save his effort.
Patient play by Trafford got them back into the game. They played a short passing game that gradually pushed Grantham back.
Although Towey had a good run ended by a timely tackle from Lewis Parker and Burbeary drove a shot at O’Hara, it was the visitors who had most of the possession. Payne teased the Grantham defence before Kern Miller got across to block his effort.
After 28 minutes, Trafford moved the ball about comfortably and Parker dropped a pass over Miller for Michael Oates. He rolled a shot across the face of the Grantham goal and Dan Haystead was grateful to see it come out off the foot of the post.
Haystead was in action again a minute later. Payne curled an effort in after Ridley tried to stand him up. Haystead made a good one handed save.
Twelve minutes before the break, however, he could not prevent Payne from levelling the scores. A Trafford free kick was only cleared to the edge of the Grantham penalty area where Payne fired in a shot that beat Haystead off the inside of the post.
Three minutes into the second half, Grantham had the lead.
A deep corner was returned low into the six yard box by Miller. At the near post, Rhys Lewis stretched to fire the ball high past O’Hara.
The Gingerbreads continued their bright start. Gregg Smith played a good ball in for McDonald, but O’Hara got there first.
The visitors were on the back foot as Grantham began to play some nice football. From another corner, the pressure was kept on Trafford and Miller got up high to meet a cross, but couldn’t keep his header down.
Referee Smith seemed to give some strange decisions around the hour, starting when O’Hara dropped the ball on the edge of the penalty area at Gregg Smith’s feet.
Smith made enough room to get a shot off which took a deflection, only for Mr Smith to give a goalkick.
A minute later when he gave a throw to Trafford that clearly came off a Trafford player last, Burbeary said something to Mr Smith that the referee didn’t like. Burbeary was booked twice immediately for his dissent and sent off.
Grantham re-grouped to operate more defensively and for the rest of the game, Trafford dominated possession and territory. A well organised Grantham side defended well to keep chances to a minimum.
Straight after the sending off, Payne hit a shot that came back off Haystead. A combination of the Grantham goalkeeper and Miller cleared the ball.
Ten minutes from the end, Trafford substitute Brett Mbalanda beat Paul Lister and crossed for Jake Parker. Parker had space, but hit his shot straight at Haystead.
On the break, Michael Towey lifted a shot over the crossbar a couple of minutes after Mbalanda had done the same at the other end.
Trafford fashioned their last chance of the game from a corner in injury time. Rory Fallon and Mbalanda combined to set up Payne, but his measured effort was just wide.
Grantham Town: Haystead, Purcicoe, Ridley, Miller, Lister, Towey, Burbeary, Lewis, Smith (King 77 min), McDonald (Nwadike 65 min) McGhee (Graham 82 min). Subs not used: Smith, Sucharewycz.