UPDATED: King crowns ‘legends day’ with goal from the spot to earn Grantham Town a share of the points against Matlock

Northern Premier League

Premier Division

Grantham's Rhys Lewis (left) keeps one step ahead of his Matlock opponent. Photo: 935D

Grantham's Rhys Lewis (left) keeps one step ahead of his Matlock opponent. Photo: 935D

Grantham Town 1

Matlock Town 1

Grantham Town battled out a draw on the club’s ‘legends day’ which saw the Gingerbreads 1974 FA Cup heroes return to the club.

In a generally scrappy affair, an end-to-end opening saw few real chances on goal with neither side showing much promise in a less than scintillating first 45 minutes.

Michael Towey did have a free header in the eighth minute but it went well over the Matlock bar after a good ball into the box by Sam Purcicoe. Rhys Lewis’s 12 minute hopeful lob was caught under the bar by Matlock keeper Jon Kennedy.

Four minutes later, another good Purcicoe ball to the far post was just out of reach for Greg Smith. Smith was denied again two minutes after when a Matlock defender got to Towey’s through-ball first.

Grantham’s best opportunity of the half came in the 26th minute. Lee Ridley’s corner kick was only cleared only as far as Kyle Dixon who sent the ball back into the danger area, from where Greg Smith’s effort struck the bar.

The visitors threatened on 44 minutes with Daryl Thomas’s header going just wide after a good build-up.

As the first 45 minutes looked to be heading for a half time goalless stalemate, Matlock went in front in injury time. The home side failed to clear their lines, leaving James Ashmore in space to fire in with panache.

Ashmore had an opportunity to double the visitors’ score two minutes later but shot over the bar.

The second half saw the Gingerbreads continuing to battle with a never-say-die attitude. But it was the visitors who threatened first, with Lewis McMahon just unable to connect to a danger ball across the face of goal that also eluded Grantham keeper Dan Haystead. At the other end, Rhys Lewis could not quite get his head to Gary King’s 55th minute ball into the box.

Three minutes later, Matlock’s James Ashmore had his shot charged down by Ridley, and McMahon fired the rebound straight into the arms of Haystead.

The Gingerbreads continued to search for an equaliser. Purcicoe’s ball in to the far post was headed goalward by Greg Smith on 68 minutes, but it went straight to Kennedy. Lewis’s 25-yarder skimmed the bar five minutes later.

Matlock broke away in the 75 minute with Thomas searing down the pitch, but Grantham skipper Paul Lister stayed with him all the way and the visiting number 10 skied his shot well over.

The Gingerbreads eventually got some reward for their efforts when Gary King picked up a sublime ball from substitute Liam Motson and was brought down in the penalty box. King brushed himself down and put away the spot kick with verve.

Grantham searched in earnest for a winner, upping the pressure with waves of attacks, but the visitors held out for a share of the points in what was perhaps a fair result.

Grantham Town: Haystead, Purcicoe, Ridley, Meikle, Lister (c), Lewis, Dixon (K. Smith, 85), Towey, G. Smith, Lavelle-Brown (Motson, 59), King. Subs not used: Foster, Hawes, Millward. Att: 249.