Division One South
Grantham Town 0
Spalding United 0
GRANTHAM Town only managed to take a second single point from their Bank Holiday Monday game against Lincolnshire rivals Spalding.
A fairly evenly balanced match saw chances go awry at both ends in what at times became a somewhat ill-tempered affair.
The Gingerbreads were under the cosh in the opening few minutes, with Spalding United keeping the ball in the Grantham half. But the nearest the Tulip went to scoring was Andrew Tidswell’s glancing header that proved no problem for Town keeper Rob Murray.
A ninth minute Gareth Pritchard shot came from nowhere, catching Grantham off guard, and Murray was fortunate that the effort struck and rebounded off the post. Town countered and Chris Glarvey put in a good cross but United keeper Jamie Brassington beat Ben Saunders to the ball at the far post.
Tidswell put a dangerous free kick into the Grantham 18yd box in the 11th minute, but Grantham eventually scrambled the ball away from danger. Three minutes later, Town’s Lee Potts wasted a 25yd free kick, putting his left-footed effort well over the Spalding bar.
Former Gingerbread Pritchard had a chance to put United in front in the 17th minute. Murray was equal to his former team-mate, with the linesman’s flag for offside offering secondary relief.
Grantham’s first spell of really sustained pressure in the Spalding penalty area saw Ben Webster’s shot go out for a corner kick. Glarvey then had his effort saved by Brassington.
Jamie McGhee’s long-range 21st minute shot sailed just wide and a minute later, Tidswell did the same at the other end. Gingerbread Gary Sucharewycz conceded a corner three minutes later to deny Daniel Westwood. Pritchard met Andy White’s flag kick but headed wide of the mark.
Yellow cards were dished out by referee Mr Ward following an altercation between Pritchard and Sucharewycz just after the half hour.
Grantham’s Sam Purcicoe saw his 36th minute strike deflected on to the post and Phil Watt turned and shot over in the box from the resulting corner kick.
The closest opportunity either team had to snatching the lead went to Town five minutes before half time. Ben Saunders put a ball through to Potts who floated a shot goal bound. But cheers from the stands were premature, as United keeper Brassington amazingly hooked his hand round the ball and tipped it to safety from behind his back.
Grantham looked the most likely to score as the first half came to a close, Potts again having another shot saved following more good work from skipper Ben Saunders.
Spalding United started the second half in a similar fashion to the first but it was Town who had the first decent chance after the break. Alistair Asher swung in a pinpoint cross and McGhee’s teasing header forced Brassington to tip the ball over the bar.
Spalding’s Tidswell raced through the Grantham midfield unchallenged a minute later, but unleashed his strike too early, allowing Murray a comfortable save. At the other end, Ben Saunders had his 52nd minute effort cleared off the line by a United defender.
Glarvey shot wide for the Gingerbreads and captain Pritchard did the same for the Tulips in the 56th minute. The United skipper was the focus of attention again on the hour mark when Sucharewycz received a second yellow following an incident with that man Pritchard once again.
Grantham were once more seemingly powerless to prevent a long run up field, this time from Josh Fuller. Fuller reached the 18yd box, cut into the area but somehow managed to put the ball over the bar from short range.
United went close again in the 77th minute. Pritchard headed down a free kick to substitute Mark Webb at the post, but Murray was quick to respond and got to the ball first.
A trademark Potts darting run down the left flank in the 81st minute resulted in Purcicoe having a chance on goal, but he misdirected his header over the Spalding goal.
Player numbers were evened up again four minutes before full-time when the overly-physical Jonathan Jones was given a straight red for a challenge on Town substitute Gio Carchedi.
The final excitement of the game saw Pritchard once again causing his former side problems, but he pulled his 89th minute effort wide of the post.
Grantham Town: Murray, Purcicoe, Potts, Asher, Sucharewycz, Watt, Glarvey, S. Saunders, Glass (Carchedi, 71), B. Saunders, McGhee (Lewis, 79). Subs not used: Kirton, Hallcro, Rhule. Att: 177.