Nantwich Town 0 v 2 Grantham Town
ANOTHER strong performance from the Gingerbreads who were too good for hosts Nantwich Town.
Grantham set the tone for the game in the opening minutes. Ben Saunders won a free kick from James Martin and headed the ball on for Lee Potts. His first time effort rose over the Nantwich crossbar.
A quick free kick at the other end of the pitch showed Nantwich would be a threat. Fraser McLachlan sent Rod McDonald clear, but the Grantham defence did well to clear his cross.
With Jimmy Lindley suspended and James Martin making his debut, Nantwich were expected to put pressure on the Grantham goal. It never materialised and when Martin was called on, he performed well.
The Grantham goalkeeper was off his line quickly to snuff out the danger when McDonald played a pass over the top of the Grantham defence for Kyle Wilson, but just too long for the striker.
The Gingerbreads pressure led to the first goal on 11 minutes. Martin Ball took a quick free kick and found Ben Saunders. He controlled the ball and held it up well inside the Nantwich penalty area. A rash challenge brought him down and referee Mr Hobday pointed to the penalty spot.
Potts calmly sent Jon Brian the wrong way to put Grantham in front.
Karl Demidh caused the home defence headaches all afternoon. Three times he was almost in on goal.
A moment of hesitation at the back almost cost Grantham after 19 minutes. The Gingerbreads misjudged how far a throw-in was going to carry and gave Beesley the chance to take on Martin. The Gingerbreads goalkeeper stood up well and made a good save.
At the other end, it was Nantwich’s turn to deny Grantham. The Gingerbreads won the ball back and Demidh and Rhys Lewis exchanged passes, but the home defence crowded Lewis out on the edge of the penalty area.
Grantham began to turn the screw as the first half progressed.
After 24 minutes, Phil Watt’s clearance was picked up by Ben Saunders. He turned and fired a shot that was just too high.
Demidh hit a low shot that Brain got down comfortably to deal with, then Demidh should have won Grantham a second penalty. He turned three defenders on the edge of the Nantwich penalty area before being tripped.
Referee Mr Hobday was the only person in the ground to see it as a free kick to the home side.
A minute later, however, Grantham were two goals up.
The Gingerbreads broke quickly with Damien Magee and Potts opening up space on the left. Pots turned back inside and laid the ball off to Ball.
The Nantwich defence backed off and Ball cracked a superb drive from 30 yards that left Brain clutching air.
The home side made a change at half time and with the breeze in their favour came at Grantham after the break but a free-kick from Caspar Hughes proved the best chance for the home side after 51 minutes. The cross was met by McDonald and his header came back off the post too quickly for Beesley who stabbed it wide.
Nantwich began to have a good spell, spreading the ball well and running at the Grantham defence but the Gingerbreads’ defence remained solid, denying the forwards any chances despite the pressure from the home side.
Sam Purcicoe and Michael Jacklin both defended well and cleared the danger when Nantwich threatened.
Having weathered the Nantwich pressure, Grantham could have added a third goal five minutes from time.
Ball played a lovely cross field pass to Purcicoe who picked out Tony Battersby. His ball was laid on for Demidh who turned the Nantwich defence and hit a good shot that was matched by a good save from Brain.
Match Report by Graham Cowell.
Nantwich Town: 1.Jon Brain, 2.Darren Moss, 3.Rod McDonald, 4.Caspar Hughes, 5.Mat Bailey, 6.JJ Bailey (14.Chris Flynn, 45 mins), 7.SeanCooke, 8.Fraser McLachlan (12.Zach Foster, 66 mins), 9.Mark Beesley (16.Will Jones, 59 mins), 10.Kyle Wilson, 11.Lewis Short. Subs not used: 15.Niall Maguire, 17.Christian Smith.
Grantham Town: 1.James Martin, 2.Sam Purcicoe, 3.Lee Potts, 4.Grant Brindley, 5.Sam Saunders (16.Michael Jacklin, 64 mins), 6.Phil Watt, 7.Rhys Lewis, 8.Martin Ball, 9.Karl Demidh (14.Jamie McGhee, 85 mins), 10.Ben Saunders (12.Tony Battersby, 80 mins), 11.Damien Magee. Sub not used: 15.Gio Carchedi, 17.Connor Higginson.
Grantham Town: Potts (11 mins, pen),Ball (44 mins).
Nantwich Town: Moss (13 mins).
Grantham Town: Purcicoe (36 mins), Watt (69 mins).
Mr P Hobday.